Monday, May 31, 2010
This latest game, 'vodka eyeballing', which different theories link the trend back to British tabloids or Vegas nightclubs, is back.
There are two ways people can do it. The first is with a shot glass. However, because the name of the game is all about getting drunk quickly, some people just take a bottle of booze and pour it straight to the eye.
According to News4Jax, "It can lead to severe and ultimately permanent blindness," said Dr. Amit Chokshi, a local ophthalmologist.
What can parents do? Talk to your teens. Education and communication is the key to prevention.
Be Too Smart to Start.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Teens love to gossip too. Gossip can seem like fun until you are its target. There’s something enjoyable about talking about other people among your friends, but when you are the one being talked about, it’s not easy.
Part of growing up and maturity is learning empathy, an understanding of how your actions and words make others feel. It’s not easy to stand up to gossips in your social group, but you might be able to change the subject or make a joke about the person spreading the rumor to break the cycle.
If you’re the one spreading rumors about other people, take some time to think about how your actions make those people feel. It can be funny to see how people react to the stories you tell about them, but laughter at the expense of another person isn’t right. Teens need to be mindful of other teens feelings.
Although someone may be laughing with you, they can be hurting inside. It is an emotional scar that can stay with them for years. Like bullying, gossip can have a very negative side effect.
Keep your chatting clean, both online and off. There is nothing wrong with having a good laugh, hanging with friends or even creating funny scenarios about others, but when it leads to hurting people, there is a limit.
Researchers say that a little bit of gossip is healthy. - MSNBC
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
What prompts an 11 year-old fifth grader to commit suicide? What drives them to a closet with a belt to end their life? What could possibly be so bad that you cannot go on living? It comes back to that horrible world of bullying!
In Florida we have heard these bullying stories too often. In October 2009 Michael Brewer, 15 year-old, was nearly burned to death by other teens. In March of 2010 Josie Ratley, 15 years-old, was nearly beaten to death. In April 2010 Anthony Jones, 16 year-old, was shot and allegedly on a text hit list.
Now we have an 11 year old in Port St. Lucie, Florida, that felt life, just over a decade long, was too difficult to deal with. Celina Okwuone was found in her bedroom closet by her parents. Police say she used a belt to wrap around her neck and she had wrapped the belt around the metal shelving. Her father tried to lift her up and her mother tore the shelving from the wall.
According to reports, her parents later found her diary where she had written that she was being bullied by classmates at St. Anastasia Catholic School in Fort Pierce.
It is time to check your School Climate and BullyBust your communities! If you haven't had the time to form or take part in an anti-bullying.
Watch video. Many prayers and thoughts are with the Owuone family and friends. Read more.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Teenagers surf the net more than ever and what they are finding can be educational but it can also be harmful to their health. There are actually sites that promote anorexia and show your teens how to hide this deadly disorder.
Parents should also be aware of what their kids may be exposed to online - and the websites that promote dangerous and destructive dieting. The best Internet filter is the one that runs in teens' heads - not any filter a parent may install on a home computer. Talk with your children about dangerous and inappropriate sites and keep the lines of communication open so that they might come to you when they encounter destructive information and images online. - Connect with Kids
The National Eating Disorders Association offers these tips for kids on eating well and feeling good about themselves:
- Eat when you are hungry. Stop eating when you are full.
- All foods can be part of healthy eating. There are no "good" or "bad" foods, so try to eat lots of different foods, including fruits, vegetables, and even sweets sometimes.
- When having a snack try to eat different types.
- If you are sad or mad or have nothing to do-and you are not really hungry find something to do other than eating.
- Remember: kids and adults who exercise and stay active are healthier and better able to do what they want to do, no matter what they weigh or how they look.
- Try to find a sport or an activity that you like and do it! Join a team, join the YMCA, join in with a friend or even practice by yourself
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Sue Scheff: Josie Ratley (teen nearly beaten to death) Coming Home Soon - Supplies Needed, Please Donate
According to Jowharah Sanders, founder of the National Voices for Equality, Education & Enlightenment, http://www.nveee.com/ (pronounced "Envy") and spokesperson for the Ratley Family, "There is a list of items the family will need at this time from the basic medical supplies, educational item, and a new home that will allow the family more space for a child whose primary form of transportation is now a wheelchair and a walker."
Among the items specifically noted are:
"Easy to read" books
Legos, blocks and any type of building items (to aid in motor skills)
Preschool learning toys
Electronic interactive learning items with batteries. The items include a Leap Frog learning Pad or leap Frog Computers and DynaVox EyeMax Educational Systems.
Magnetic letters and puzzles
Wall stickers in the shape of numbers of letters
Soft cushy balls in different colors (to aid in sensory development)
Learning CD's and music for children.
Artist sketch pads or water color pads
Paints and brushes
Wash cloths that are white
Queen-size bedding and queen-size
Waterproof mattress covers
Regular Gauze (size 2x2 and 4x4)
Rolled Gauze (2")
Allevyn (Adhesive Hydrocellular Dressing) in both sizes, 3x 3 and 5x5
Blue Chux Underpads or any type of disposable changing pads.
The requested items can be DROPPED OFF at the following locations:
501 N. Andrews Avenue, Suite 103
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
750 NE 124 Street, Suite 2
North Miami, FL 33161
The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
1799 S.E. 17th Street,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Or you can MAIL YOUR DONATIONS to:
PO Box 23837
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33307
** Please make checks payable to NVeEE/Josie Lou Ratley
For more information, please visit Pray for Josie Lou Ratley Facebook Group.
Please forward this list to all your friends in your contact list. If everyone gives a little, there will be a lot!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Connect with Kids
Teens and Drinking What Parents Don't Know
“Faithfully I stayed up every Friday and Saturday night, to check to see if [my son] was sober, to make sure that he got home. And he always appeared fine to me... I was clueless.”
– Hedwig O'Brien, mother
The statistics are sobering. In a recent national survey of more than 2,500 eleventh and twelfth graders, 90 percent of teens believe their counterparts are more likely to drink and drive on prom night and 79 percent believe the same is true for graduation night.
Would most parents know if their children were drinking or using drugs? Would you know?
Even parents who consider themselves aware of their kids' behavior know they have been proven wrong.
"Faithfully I stayed up ever Friday and Saturday night, to check to see if [my son] was sober, to make sure that he got home," says Hedwig O'Brien. And he always appeared fine to me. I really didn't.... I was clueless."
"We had no idea truly, though," says Carol Gorgonne, "and I thought I was a pretty sharp mom, how much, how many drugs and how much she was abusing."
But experts say it's not all the parents' fault.
"It's not like these parents are bad or are missing something," says Dr. Vincent Ho, a psychiatrist. "The kids are just really good at tricking people."
And it doesn't help that the behavior of a kid drinking or on drugs is a lot like the behavior of an ordinary, rebellious teenager.
"What the parents will report to us," says clinical psychologist Robert Margolis, "is a whole variety of behaviors that accompany drug use: declining grades, sneaking out at night, changing peer group, change in dress, change in behavior, attitude, isolating more, maybe money being missing from the house. All those ancillary behaviors, which they don't associate in their mind with drug use."
Experts say one way to protect kids is to know their friends – and their friends' parents.
"We assume, or at least I assume sometimes, that all parents think like I do," says Tim Jordan, a behavioral pediatrician. "There's some parents that allow kids to drink alcohol, there's some parents who allow some of those kind of behaviors; so it's our job as parents to make sure we know where our kids are and who they're with - and that there's supervision."
What Parents Need To Know
Despite the tragic tales of reckless driving on prom and graduation nights, teens have a pervasive "it won't happen to me" attitude. Add to the alcohol factor distractions like texting or talking on the cell phone while driving, or the greater likelihood of multiple people in the car, and the crash potential is very real.
A recent AAA/Seventeen magazine survey reports an increasing number of teens multitasking and engaging in other distracting behavior while behind the wheel. According to the survey of 1,000 teens, 46 percent text messaged while driving, 51 percent talked on the phone while driving, 58 percent drove with friends in the car and 40 percent have exceeded the speed limit by 10 miles per hour.
When it comes to teens, alcohol and driving, parents may be unwitting enablers of teen drinking and driving. The Liberty Mutual Research Institute survey determined more than one in three teens (36 percent) say their parents have allowed them to attend parties where it is known that alcohol will be served, and 14 percent say their parents have, in fact, hosted such teen gatherings.
Graduation and prom celebrations can be risky for youth because, in American culture, students are sometimes expected by parents, community and peers to celebrate with all night parties, co-ed sleepovers and drinking. In fact, some parents and communities condone this behavior and even encourage it. The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information suggests these strategies for parents to help keep their teens safe:
■Communicate, Communicate Ask where your children are going, with whom they will be and what they will be doing. Ask who and how they will be supervised at a party. Be wary of sleepovers and all night parties. For some teens, sleepovers are opportunities to use drugs, alcohol and/or have sex, and can put them under too much peer pressure. Teen use of alcohol can lead to unprotected sex or dating violence. If your teen is at a home party, be sure you and the supervising adults share the same values and expectations for behavior at the party. Check in by phone or drive over to make sure a responsible parent is supervising the event and your child is still there. Make sure your teen has a safe ride home at the end of the party.
■Get involved. Volunteer to supervise school or neighborhood parties. Offer to chauffer kids to and from graduation celebrations. Host an alcohol free party at your home.
■Discuss Safety with Your Child Even if your child resists alcohol and drugs, he or she is still at risk for becoming victimized by them. Emphasize the importance of watching out for careless, and possibly drunken, drivers and using the "buddy system" so that he or she is with at least one friend at all times. Encourage your child to call you at any time if he or she needs a safe ride home or for any other reason.
■Be clear about what you expect and be firm. Around age 17 and 18 is a time when youth are expected to seek more independence and are often eager to separate from parental controls. The combination of more independence along with pressures to party and fears about what the future holds can make graduating students vulnerable. Talk with your teen about what is a reasonable curfew and stick to it. Have your teen check in often. Discuss in advance the consequence for breaking the rules.
■Encourage graduating teens to take healthy risks. It is normal and healthy for teens to take appropriate risks that help them to learn, develop independence, conquer fears and build confidence. Rather than celebrating the graduation rite of passage with drinking and sex, encourage your teens to celebrate with their friends and family in some creative and healthy ways.
■Drugs and Alcohol – Talking with Kids about Tough Issues
■Underage Drinking Mayhem – National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
■Recent Study Results on Teen Drinking
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Circle of Friends is changing that one school at a time. Circle of Friends is a social skills programs for teens and adults with disabilities such as autism, through understanding, acceptance, friendship and inclusion. Going into local high schools, teens are changing lives. They provide valuable support and friendship to those with disabilities. Teens and adults that were once isolated and lonely with their disability are now experiencing living through Circle of Friends. From a simple phone call, to going out to eat, Circle of Friends is providing a sense of normalcy to people with disabilities.
Special events are planned such as dances and organized outings to the movies and shopping help these disabled people learn better social skills and enhances their communication skills with others. Circle of Friends helps make dreams come true for these otherwise isolated teens and adults with disabilities.
A priceless gift that Circle of Friends creates is the gift of giving. Teens that take part in Circle of Friends are influenced by bringing an awareness of understanding and acceptance to those that have disabilities. It is true, it just feels good to give!
Encourage your school and community to open a local chapter today. Read Ella's story. Learn more, click here.
Watch video of how Circle of Friends is changing lives for many teens. World News Tonight
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Her parents, John-Michael and Ellen Keyes created a foundation in her memory promoting school safety. "I Love U Guys" is a foundation that is helping schools, helping students and helping communities.
During the time she was held hostage, Emily sent her parents text messages... "I love you guys" and "I love u guys. k?" Emily's kindness, spirit, fierce joy, and the dignity and grace that followed this tragic event define the core of The "I Love U Guys" Foundation.
The mission of "I Love U Guys" was created to restore and protect the joy of youth through educational programs and positive actions in collaboration with families, schools, communities, organizations and government entities.
After extensive research, The "I Love U Guys" Foundation developed the Standard Response Protocol (SRP), a classroom response to any school incident.
You can find out more about this foundation on their Facebook page and their website at http://www.iloveuguys.org/ .
Many articles will talk about the dangers of texting, text rage, driving and texting etc. Here is one time that a text message is considered priceless in a strangely positive way. Ellen and John-Michael Keyes are commended for taking this horrific incident and bringing out the positive side of it. Changing lives, creating school safety and most of all, sharing their story to promote awareness to the need of schools, teachers, communities, authorities and parents banning together for the sake of our children.
Watch video and help secure your school and community are safe places for your children. Read more.
Monday, May 17, 2010
The Guard Fit Challenge and the Physical Fitness Month
Did you know that May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month? What better time than the present to begin to help your teens understand the value and benefits of being physically fit. And thanks to the Army National Guard's Guard Fit Challenge, helping your teen set and achieve fitness goals has never been easier.
Fitness Resources for Students, Young Adults, Teachers, and Parents
Whether you are a student who is starting to think about fitness, a young adult passionate about reaching your fitness goals, a teacher who is looking to inspire students, or a parent looking for additional resources to help improve the health of your family, the videos, calculators, and other resources offered by the Guard Fit Challenge Program can help you reach your goals.
Celebrating Presidential Physical Fitness Month
During this Presidential Physical Fitness Month, why not spend some time exploring all of the resources that are available to you. Schools can bring the Guard Fit Challenge Program to their students. Students and members of the community can access resources on the Guard Fit Challenge website. And everyone can learn more about The President's Challenge.
Common FAQs about Guard Fit Challenge:
Q: The students in my physical education class are on many different fitness levels, and some may not be able to do all of the exercises in the program. Can they still participate?
Guard Fit Challenge is designed to benefit and motivate every student in your class. The Army National Guard representative is prepared with alternate exercises for students who may not be able to execute some or all of the planned exercises. The presenter also talks to the students about avoiding injury while working out, and makes sure to ask if anyone has any injuries or conditions that need to be considered before participating in Guard Fit Challenge.
Q: What curriculum standards can Guard Fit Challenge help my school meet?
Guard Fit Challenge offers high schools the opportunity to meet national standards including Movement Forms, Physical Fitness, and Setting Goals for Good Health. Visit the Curriculum Standards section of this website to learn more.
Q: I don't want to join the National Guard, so why should I care about being Guard Fit?
No matter what path you take, physical fitness enables you to perform to your potential. Participating in Guard Fit Challenge can help you develop a new physical fitness routine, improve the way you work out, and set a foundation for a healthy future.
Q: I'm an Army National Guard Soldier, and I need a fitness boost before my next APFT. What resources are available to me?
In addition to the health and fitness information on the Guard Fit Challenge website, you can also join the Army National Guard Decade of Health community to learn more about Soldier health and wellness. And be sure to check out your copy of GX magazine for monthly fitness features, and get in touch with your local Master Fitness Trainer, who can offer personal fitness advice.
Parenting to Prevent Obesity
Food Revolution and Your Teens
Teens and Physical Education
Just Turn it Off
Let's Move Campaign
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert and Author, was featured on Today Show with Ann Curry on the new study just released and breaks down new findings that credit teens' high test scores to the high quality of day care during their younger years. (Watch video below).
The federally funded study, which has been tracking more than 1,300 children since 1991, found that obedience and academic problems among those who received low-quality care in their first 4 1/2 years of life persisted through their 15th birthdays, suggesting the potential for lifelong difficulties.
These results underscore the importance of interaction between children and their daytime caregivers according to experts.
Michele Borba has listed the Top 10 Questions to Ask Day Care Providers. Click here. Be sure to pick up The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. There isn't one parenting question or concern that goes unanswered.
Take the time to be an educated parent, you will have smarter and healthier teens!
Sources: Washington Post
Be sure to watch video and read more.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
– Alicia, 17 years old
17-year-old Byron has a stack of 430 empty cups. He slams down around two large, caffeine-loaded energy drinks every day.
"It hits my brain in about 11 seconds," he says. "I've timed it."
19-year-old Pam has ten caffeinated drinks a day.
"I probably have three cups of coffee," she explains, "and the rest, soda."
Energy drinks, coffee, even caffeine pills.
According to a new study from Drexel University, more and more kids are overusing caffeine. And parents shouldn't be fooled. Kids are often surfing the web into the wee hours of the night rather than studying – and when that caffeine buzz wears off, they can get very sleepy at school.
While experts say drinking coffee in moderation is a relatively safe habit, 85% of kids studied reported an average daily caffeine intake of 144 mg. Doctors warn too much caffeine can cause nausea, chest pain or panic attacks.
Occasionally, kids will land in the emergency room - thinking they're about to have a heart attack.
"Typically this would be a kid who's in some sort of a stressful situation like finals," explains Dr. Stephen Roy Pitts, an emergency room physician at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, "and on top of that anxiety will have not slept much, and will have drunk a lot of coffee or energy drinks and will develop palpitations - meaning an abnormal heartbeat where they can feel their own heart beating."
"When I drink too much caffeine my heart flutters and it goes really fast," says 17-year-old Alicia, "and I get really dizzy and light-headed - and I feel like I'm going to pass out or throw up."
Doctors say some kids should avoid caffeine altogether.
"Caffeine is a horrible idea in kids who already suffer from anxiety that's been identified by some other person," says Dr. Pitts. "I would strongly discourage kids with anxiety problems to ever drink any caffeine."
Pam knows she should cut back on coffee - but so far, hasn't made the effort.
"Everybody tells me I shouldn't drink as much as I do," she admits, "but it tastes good."
What Parents Need To Know
Caffeine is also produced artificially and added to certain foods. In its natural form, caffeine tastes very bitter. Caffeine is in tea, coffee, chocolate, many soft drinks, and pain relievers and other over-the-counter medications. But most caffeinated drinks have gone through enough processing to camouflage the bitter taste.
A recent study conducted by Dr. Christina Calamaro, assistant professor in Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions, was reported in Science Daily. Study results found that, fueled by caffeine, teens are up late at night, and they aren't just focusing on homework. Web surfing, text messaging and gaming are keeping them up for hours into the night. At least 85 percent of those studied reported drinking caffeine. At least 30 percent of teenagers reported falling asleep during school. Caffeine consumption tended to be 76 percent higher among those who fell asleep. For those, the average caffeine intake was 144 mg with a range from 23 to 1458 mg. Only 27.5 percent consumed less than 100 mg of caffeine daily or the equivalent of drinking a single espresso, whereas 11.2 percent drank more than 400 mg daily or the equivalent of four espressos.
Teens usually get most of their caffeine from soft drinks and energy drinks. Caffeine is not stored in the body, but you may feel its effects for up to six hours. It is thought to be safe in moderate amounts. Experts consider 200 to 300 mg of caffeine a day to be a moderate amount for adults. But consuming as little as 100 mg of caffeine a day can lead a person to become "dependent" on caffeine. This means that someone may develop withdrawal symptoms (like tiredness, irritability, and headaches) if he or she quits caffeine suddenly.
While caffeine doesn't stunt one's growth, as one myth suggests, it is an addictive drug that can have lasting effects. Teens should try to limit caffeine consumption to no more than 100 mg of caffeine daily, and kids should get even less.
■National Soft Drink Association: Caffeine Content of Popular Drinks
■Soda Pop Information from the Center for Science in the Public Interest
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Text4baby is a free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health. An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby provides pregnant women and new moms with information they need to take care of their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. - www.text4baby.org
How does Text4baby work?
Registration is easy and can be done online here or from your cell phone. Simply text the word BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411. You'll be asked to enter your baby's due date or your baby's birthday and your zip code.
Once you are registered you will start receiving free messages with tips for your pregnancy and caring for your baby. These messages are timed to your due date or your baby's birth date. If your due date changes, you can text UPDATE to 511411 and enter your new due date.
Although this is a great service and actually speaks a language teens understand, it is not a free pass to have a baby when you are not emotionally or financially ready. If you have watched these shows, you will see many of these teen moms, as much as they love their children, agree this can change your life in many ways.
Your teen years are no longer your own, your life is not about you and going out with your friends. Usually your friends have moved on and going to college. Although many teen moms can and will complete their High School or get a GED, many will conclude that is not easy.
Follow Text2Baby on Twitter!
As technology expands, and knowledge of learning the risks of having sex is more available, take the time to learn the risks and make smart decisions.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Teaching tolerance to our teens is part of parenting. Although in some cases, it is clear our teens have to educate our parents and especially our grandparents.
Thinking back to the last presidential election, there were elder white people that simple wouldn't vote for a colored man. Yes, that word came up more than we realize. It is was the generations of years past.
Unfortunately there is still some racism that exists with some people. Whether it is your grandparents or parents, adults from prior generations have a harder time accepting all walks of life. Children today are more likely not to see color, race, religion.
Tolerance is often taught in subtle ways. Teaching your children to think before they speak before they can speak and watch your own behavior. Children will imitate their parents. Kids of all ages develop their own values, in great part, by mirroring the values and attitudes of those they care about.
Be an educated parent, your teens will have a healthier and brighter future.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Do you have a good teen making bad choices?
Are you surfing the Internet, totally confused by all those toll free numbers, marketing arms, and sales reps?
Are you totally at your wit's end???
As responsible parent, we need to get our teen help, however we also need to stop, think, research and consider what is best for your individual teen.
Many years ago, I struggled with my own teen daughter and her unacceptable behavior and needed outside help. My story has made headlines - and also lead to a book - Wit's End! that has helped many parents when they are about to make a major decision.
I was sucked in by a group that told me all I "needed" to hear - and delivered on just about zero of it.
Learn from my mistakes - gain from my knowledge. If you are considering any of the above referenced "teen-help" programs (in the title) or marketing arms - take your time - do your research and please read my horrific experiences with them. I am considered a disgruntled parent, yes, I am. When someone harms your child, you become that way. However, I won two jury trials - I even won the appeals when they attempted to overturn the verdicts - so I proved my case in a court of law....
I heard they say the jury made a mistake - well, what we would we expect them to say.....
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
It is important your teenager has goals and aspirations for their future. If they are in need of summer help, checking into local resources that offer assistance. The Broward Educator website may have an interest that perks your teen up. Florda Smart website is part of the Broward County public school system that offers numerous magnet programs, special education centers, and after school programs. You can also find summer programs listed.
Florida Virtual School is free to Florida Residents! This may be a great option for parents that need to enhance their teens GPA or even just get them caught up academically. They offer certified and caring teachers.
Of course all teens want to be out there surfing, swimming, fishing, playing sports and more and they can. However they need to also be in tune with their education and it is up to the parent to guide them in the right direction. They can do it all, it is all about planning your summer ahead!
Education is the key to your teenagers future. Be a part of it now and they will be grateful (probably later).
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Every day, your child and teenagers are exposed to advertising - not just on TV and online, but on buses, buildings, and even inside their classrooms. Many ads target kids ages 8 to 12. Given what kids see and hear around them, it's important for them to know how to decode and understand ads.
As the nation's consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission, (FTC) is responsible for enforcing laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising and marketing practices. It brings cases, issues guidance to businesses, and educates consumers about their rights. Consumers can file a complaint or get free information about consumer issues at ftc.gov.
Recently the FTC launched Admongo which helps educate kids with a behind the scene look at what advertising does.
The Admongo Campaign will help kids learn to ask three key "critical thinking" questions when they encounter advertising:
Who is responsible for the ad?
What is the ad actually saying?
What does the ad want me to do?
As a parent or an educator, you should review their curriculum to share with your students or children including lesson plans, student worksheets, family activities and more.
Be an educated parent, you will have smarter teens and children.
Watch video and read more.