Monday, August 30, 2010

Teen Smoking - N.O.T.

A casual smoking habit can easily turn into a lifelong battle with addiction. Find out how to keep your teen from starting to smoke - or help him/her quit now.

With school opening, peer pressure can start.  Maybe a friend picked up this bad habit of smoking and your teen is curious about it.  Curiosity is normal - however be sure you have taken the time to talk to you your teen over and over again about the dangers of smoking.  It is a topic you don't just talk about once, you have to remind your teen over and over about taking care of their bodies.

The Florida Quitline has valuable information, resources and tips to help you or your teen to quit smoking. It is easier said than done, as with many addictions, you have to have the desire to quit before you can start to give it up.


Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) is a state of the art anti-tobacco program specifically designed for high school students who want to quit smoking. N-O-T helps teens to stop smoking or reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke by identifying why they smoke, pinpointing social influences that encourage them to smoke, combating social pressures, understanding immediate benefits of quitting, setting realistic and attainable goals for change, and developing life management skills.

Call 1-800-LUNGUSA to learn more about N-O-T in your area.

Read more.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Teen Hate Crimes - Teach Tolerance and Encourage Diversity

Hate crimes are criminal actions intended to harm or intimidate people because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or other minority group status. They are also referred to as bias crimes.


The headlines of the three Long Island teenagers who admitted to being part of a gang that targeted Hispanics for violence were sentenced to seven-year prison terms Wednesday for their roles in the 2008 killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant. A fourth teen who met the group on the night of the slaying was sentenced to a six-year prison sentence, is yet another awareness to hate crimes.

In Broward County we have experience hate crimes with teens through bullying and violence.  16 year-old Wayne Treacy is being tried as an adult in the brutal beating of 15 year-old Josie Ratley.  There are 3 teen defendants being tried as adults for the near death of 15 year-old Michael Brewer.  In these cases, although we are not dealing with religious or sexual orientation prejudice, we are looking at teens with so much hate and anger they react in savage ways.

As school has opened we to reiterate tolerance and talk to our teens about how hate can destroy lives. Teaching Tolerance is a great website and project by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Parents can teach tolerance by example — and in other ways, too. Talking together about tolerance and respect helps kids learn more about the values you want them to have. Giving them opportunities to play and work with others is important as well. This lets kids learn firsthand that everyone has something to contribute and to experience differences and similarities.

Sources: CBS News, Psychology UC Davis, Teaching Tolerance, KidsHealth

Read more and watch important 3 minute video that can change your life.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Texting and Riding: Distracted Bicycling

BikeMonkey
Over and over again we read articles about distracted driving.  Oprah featured the No Phone Zone and accumulated thousands to join in.  It is a fact, texting and driving or talking on your phone can kill.  It is distracted driving that can take your focus off the road and into an oncoming car within seconds.

Newsflash: Distracted driving includes bicycles!


As school has opened in many parts of the country, including Broward County, teens will ride to their bikes to get to school.  After witnessing several teenagers in Sunrise biking and texting in the morning to school, suddenly I realized that there are not enough warnings about the dangers of biking and texting.
Riding a bicycle is part of growing up, however riding a bike responsibly is maturity.  Teenagers need to realize distracted driving extends to distracted riding.

In many situations teens are not allowed to have their cells on in class, so every other waking moment during the day, including their commute to school, they are mingling with their tech gadgets and arranging their social day with their friends.

Parents need to speak with their teens about the dangers of texting and talking with only one hand on the bike handles.  It is dangerous, it is deadly and it can be an accident waiting to happen. No text is worth dying over!

Sadly, the driver that may hit your teen can be held accountable while it was the bikers fault for drifting on to the road while texting or talking.

Stop, talk, repeat, talk again - you can never talk enough about the dangers of distracted biking or driving. Remember parents, be an example to your kids!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!


Watch video for potential ban on texting and biking.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teen Help: What is your Teen Thinking? Getting them to open up....

A common thread among parenting teens today is getting our teen to actually listen to us and open up.  Maybe they hear us, but do they listen?  Many know communication is key to parenting, but how can you get a teen to open up?

Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert and Educator, offers excellent tips to help us get in touch and stay in touch with our teens.  As an author of over 25 parenting books, she has sound advice and proven results with extensive research.  Her latest book, Big Book of Parenting Solutions, has been one of the top selling parenting book and every parent and teacher must own.

From the expert herself, take the time to review Michele Borba's expert advice to help your teens to open up.
  • Don’t push. Think of friends you really feel comfortable talking to. They’re usually calm, open, and not pushy. Use those same listening strategies whenever you’re with your child.
  • Honor silence. Research shows that some kids need a bit longer to open up. So don’t give up during those lulls. Just wait a little longer.
  • Halt the criticism. If you need to bite your tongue to stop those critical, judgmental comments, do so. Don’t come off like a prosecutor or judge. Nothing stops a conversation faster than those “You should have” kind of comments.
  • Listen during active times. Some kids–particularly boys–are more responsive to talking when they are doing something active. So find active things your child likes to do whether it is kicking around a soccer ball, playing Old Maid, building Legoes, drawing, or shooting baskets. Use those active times for those chats. You just may find your kid is more receptive to talking.
  • Talk about your kid’s interests. Try tailoring the conversation around your child’s interests: her CD collection, his baseball cards, her Barbie doll, his Ipod downloads. Doing so might be a great entrĂ©e to discussing about what’s really going on your son or daughter’s life. One of my clients admitted that she read Teen People just to find some tidbit about some hot celeb to chat about with her daughter.
  • Go to your kid’s zone. If you want some one-on-one talking time, try going to a place your kid enjoys: A mall to look for shoes, the batting cage to practice his swing, the golf range to hit a bucket of balls, a Starbucks for a latte. Your teen will be more relaxed because he’s in his territory and just might be more likely to open up to you.
  • Ask specific questions. Kids say generic: “How was your day?” type questions are a big turn off. If you want to invite conversation ask more specific questions: “Who did you sit next to during lunch?” “What story did your teacher read today?” “What game did you play at recess?” You’ll be far more likely to get a response because the question conveys your real interest.
  • Ask questions that elicit more than one-word responses. Make skillful use of your questions so that your child must respond with more than a one-word answer: “How would you have ended that book?” “What would you have done differently in the game?” “What are your feelings about…?”
  • Find the best time and place for listening. With one of my own sons I realized it was almost impossible to talk with him before noon.(I swear he was on a different time zone is whole adolescence). I finally discovered the time he was most open to chatting was around five o’clock in the afternoon. And the place was in the kitchen where he would raid the refrigerator. So that’s where I’d plant myself each day knowing it was my best shot for a conversation. Which place and time is when you and your kids are most likely to have those great talks?
  • Sit side by side. This one is interesting: some kids—particularly boys–are often more receptive to talking side by side. Face to face chats–especially during those teens years—put them ill at ease. So try rearranging your chair. Sit next to your son on the couch and chat during those TV commercials. Take advantage of those rides in the car to discuss those CD lyrics. Or do what I did: learn to ski so you can sit on that chair lift with your kid. There is a twenty-minute time period they are stuck with ya!
  • Mandate family together times. If your home is anywhere like ours, sports, church group meetings, music lessons, and play practices used to constantly appear on the calendar, taking away fro our “together time.” So we finally sat down and figured out the times no one had anything scheduled, and those were mandated for our together times to just talk. If your family schedule is equally hectic, you may want to set aside specific times as well. Then don’t let anything interfere with your plan.
  • Set unplugged times. Many parents set an “unplugged policy” from six to eight in the evening. They’ve figured that’s the time when their family gathers for family meals and to share their day. The rule sends a clear message to the kiddos: family comes first. Set times in your home where listening to your kids with your full presence matters most. And turn on those answering machines!
Thank you to Michele Borba for sharing her excellent parent tips

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Watch video and read more.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School Diasters: Teen Truancy

School is open, is your teen attending?  Teen truancy (skipping school) is a growing problem.

Truancy is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. Children in America today lose over five million days of their education each year through truancy. Often times they do this without the knowledge of their parents or school officials. In common usage the term typically refers to absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to a medical condition. It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes. Because of this confusion many schools have their own definitions, and as such the exact meaning of the term itself will differ from school to school and district to district.

In order to avoid or diminish confusion, many schools explicitly define the term and their particular usage thereof in the school's handbook of policies and procedures. In many instances truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.

Many educators view truancy as something much more far reaching than the immediate consequence that missed schooling has on a student's education. Truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education they are receiving, or both. Because of its traditional association with juvenile delinquency, truancy in some schools may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school.

This can be especially troubling for a child, as failing school can lead to social impairment if the child is held back, economic impact if the child drops out or cannot continue his or her education, and emotional impact as the cycle of failure diminishes the adolescent's self-esteem.

Learn more at www.helpyourteens.com or Skipping Out On Life: Youth Truancy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Teen Drinking Help - Troubled Teens - Parent Resources

Teen Drug Use and Teen Drinking also known as Substance Abuse amongst teens and even children.

With today's society, kids have access to many different substances that can be addictive and damaging. If you suspect your child is using drugs or drinking alcohol, please seek help for them as soon as possible. Drug testing is helpful, but not always accurate.  Teen Drug use and Teen Drinking may escalate to addiction.

Parent's Universal Resource Experts get calls constantly, that a child is only smoking pot. Unfortunately in most cases, marijuana can lead to more severe drugs, and marijuana is considered an illegal drug. Smoking marijuana is damaging to the child's body, brain and behavior. Even though marijuana is not considered a narcotic, most teens are very hooked on it. Many teens that are on prescribed medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Concerta, Zoloft, Prozac etc. are more at risk when mixing these medications with street drugs. It is critical you speak with your child about this and learn all the side effects.  Educating your child on the potential harm may help them to understand the dangers involved in mixing prescription drugs with street drugs. Awareness is the first step to understanding.

Alcohol is not any different with today's teens. Like adults, some teens use the substances to escape their problems; however they don't realize that it is not an escape but rather a deep dark hole. Some teens use substances to "fit in" with the rest of their peers - teen peer pressure. This is when a child really needs to know that they don't need to "fit in" if it means hurting themselves. Using drug and alcohol is harming them. Especially if a teen is taking prescribed medication (refer to the above paragraph) teen drinking can be harmful. The combination can bring out the worse in a person. Communicating with your teen, as difficult as it can be, is one of the best tools we have.  Even if you think they are not listening, we hope eventually they will hear you.

If your teen is experimenting with this, please step in and get proper help through local resources. If it has extended into an addiction, it is probably time for a Residential Placement. If you feel your child is only experimenting, it is wise to start precautions early. An informed parent is an educated parent.  This can be your life jacket when and if you need the proper intervention.  Always be prepared, it can save you from rash decisions later.

A teen that is just starting to experiment with substance use or starting to become difficult; a solid short term self growth program may be very beneficial for them.  However keep in mind, if this behavior has been escalating over a length of time, the short term program may only serve as a temporary band-aid.
Drugs and Alcoholic usage is definitely a sign that your child needs help. Teen Drug Addiction and Teen Drinking is a serious problem in today's society; if you suspect your child is using substances, especially if they are on prescribed medications, start seeking local help.  If the local resources become exhausted, and you are still experiencing difficulties, it may be time for the next step; Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.

If you feel your teen is in need of further Boarding School, Residential Therapy or Program Options, please complete our Information Request Form.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Good Kids, Bad Choices - Where Did I Go Wrong?

Listening to parents on a daily basis struggle with what is going on with their teens today can be stressful and pull at your heartstrings.  Many times it has nothing to do with the parenting, it is today's society and the harsh pressures of peer influence.

In the same respect, you can't be a parent in denial - you can't assume since your teen's friend is making bad choices that your teen that is following that behavior is not part of the issue.  Remember, it is your teen making the choice to smoke that joint - or drink that beer.  Yes, it is peer pressure, but a teen has free will and they can say no.

Need help?  Is your teen spiraling out of control?  Check out www.helpyourteens.com - Stop being a parent in denial and give your teen a second chance at a positive future.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Teen Drug Abuse - Recovery Month 2010

Sadly many parents watch their teens spiral out-of-control using drugs and drinking.  Today it seems there is more accessibility as well as freedoms that teens are taking advantage of.  Worse than all of this is if your teen becomes addictedAddiction can control your life and ruin it, as well as destroy families.

Now the positive side. Year after year, National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) witnesses tremendous success and commitment from people and organizations across the country. For more than 20 years, the campaign has joined together millions of people to celebrate recovery and educate communities about addiction.

This year is no different.  Get ready for September 2010 when Recovery Month is back and ready to reach into your community and make a difference in lives.

in South Florida on September 25th, Family Fun Day sponsored by South Florida Behavioral Health Network/ Concept House starts at 10:00am.  Located at Morningside Park in Miami, there will be a BBQ and lots of fun with games, sack races, food and more.  Contact Martha Morales at mmorales.concepthouse@yahoo.com for more information.

Find your local event for Recovery Month or have one!  Put your zip code in the box on Recovery Month page. Click here. Come back here to watch the quick and powerful video.

Make a difference in someone's life today.  Download the 2010 Recovery Kit today.  Click here.
Follow Recovery Month on Twitter and join their group on Facebook.

MUST WATCH VIDEO . PASS IT ON.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sextortion: Teens Blackmailing Teens

What is next?  As schools are opening and teachers, parents and administrators get ready for another school year, there is another form of bullying/cyberbullying developing.  Sextortion. Teens blackmailing other teens for what they do online with less than flattering photos. 

Broward County is not foreign to text rage, as we saw in the Josie Ratley beating.  Or is it stranger to bullying, as we witnessed when 15 year-old Michael Brewer was nearly burned to death.  Now we are dealing with teens blackmailing each other to protect themselves from humiliation.

What can you do?  Talk to your kids about this now.  This is even more reason for them not to be passing photos of any kind virtually.  Knowing pictures can be manipulated and photo cropped into some very unflattering pictures, is a fact your teens need to not only recognize, but understand the consequences.

Communication is key to prevention - talk, talk, talk and don't stop.


Teens can be more vulnerable to blackmail because they're easy to intimidate and embarrassed to seek help, this is even more reason for parents to open the lines of communication now.

Tips to prevent sexting that can lead to sextortion:

Don't take or send nude or sexually suggestive photos of yourself or anyone else. If you do, even if they're of you or you pass along someone elses - you could be charged with producing or distributing child pornography. If you keep them on your phone or computer you could be charged with possession. If they go to someone in another state (and that happens really easily), it's a federal felony.

Then there's the emotional (and reputation) damage that can come from having intimate photos of yourself go to a friend who can become an ex-friend and send it to everyone you know. Not only can they be sent around; they can be distributed and archived online for people to search for pretty much forever.

Sexting can be done on any media-sharing device or technology -
including email and the Web. Teens have been convicted for child porn distribution for emailing sexually explicit photos to each other.
Many causes. In some cases, kids are responding to peer pressure in a form of cyberbullying or pressure from a boyfriend or girlfriend (they break up, and sometimes those photos get sent around out of revenge). Sometimes it's impulsive behavior, flirting, or even blackmail. It's always a bad idea.

Parents: Talk with your kids about sexting in a relaxed setting.
Ask them what they know about it (they may not have heard the term, so "naked photo-sharing" works too). Express how you feel in a conversational, non-confrontational way. A two-way dialog can go a long way toward helping your kids understand how to minimize legal, social and reputation risks.

The bottom line: Stay alert when using digital media. People aren't always who they seem to be, even in real life, and sometimes they change and do mean things. Critical thinking about what we upload as well as download is the best protection.

Source: ConnectSafely.org

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

WATCH VIDEO and read more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Chat Decoder - Learn What Your Teens Are Really Saying

There is nothing wrong with admitting there is no way we actually know all the teen lingo and the acronyms they use.  However it is very smart to keep a few websites handy for when you are in doubt or concerned about a text or IM that you can't figure out.

Teen Chat Decoder is an excellent website that not only has lists of acronyms and abbreviations, it has a search box you can type your questionable word/acronym in and it will give you the meaning.

As parents, when our kids started to use the Internet more and more, we did what any good parent would do – we monitored their online activity.

We reviewed their browser history, or some parental control software product like PC Tattletale. But it was really frustrating when we found that our kids used abbreviations and acronyms in when chatting online or via their cell phones.

Now some acronyms are pretty easy to figure out, like “LOL” (Laugh Out Loud), but many made no sense at all – unless you were 15!

So several years ago we put together what would eventually become the largest “Teen Acronym Only” database on the net. Teen Chat Decoder was designed to help parents understand what their kids were “really” saying online and to help keep them safe.
 

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

Read more.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Defiant Teens, Teen Help, Troubled Teens - Parents At Wit's End

How much is a parent supposed to tolerate before they reach their wit’s end?


How many times do you blame negative behavior on the friends they are hanging with, since your teen would never act like this? (Not my Kid)

How long do you continue to allow your teen to speak to you with disrespect and defiance?
How much is too much?

Let’s face it, parenting teens today has become more challenging than years before.  Think about your generation.  When your parent said to be home at 10:00pm, most were home by 9:50pm.  Why?  Because we respected our parents.  We also knew there would be consequences.

Was that considered tough love?  Not really, it was simply following the rules of the house.  These simple boundaries seem to have disappeared in many homes.

Is it because there are more single parent households?  Is it because most families have both parents working, meaning there is less supervision?

Without a doubt, the level of respect that some teens show today is despicable.  No matter what the reason is, your teen is creating tough love - and it gets tougher to love them as they continue to defy us, yet we will always love unconditionally.  Could this be why they push our buttons?

Years ago we rarely heard about residential therapy.  Today these boarding schools are busting at the seams as teens are learning to appreciate what they had at home.  Is residential therapy tough love?  No, residential therapy it is about regaining your child back. Tough love can be part of the process.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information for private residential therapy.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Read more.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Girl World Tour 2010 - Mark Your Calendars with Rosalind Wiseman

World renown Author and Parenting Tween and Teen Expert, Rosalind Wiseman is taking her Girl World Tour back on the road again this fall.

With many stops on her schedule, Miami is one of them and they couldn't be more excited!

Date: December 7, 2010
Host: Books & Books
Location: Temple Judea, 5500 Granada Boulevard, Coral Gables
Time: 7-9pm
Tickets: TBA

This is an invitation to save the date!

About this exciting event sponsored by Dove go fresh deodorant:


Moms & daughters (ages 8-14) are invited to join Rosalind Wiseman, an internationally-recognized author, mom and expert on teens & parenting for a fun-filled evening of mother-daughter bonding. In addition to celebrating Rosalind’s latest books, the tour will feature an interactive discussion about confidence, friendships, sweat-inducing moments and common mother-daughter challenges. A Q&A session and book signing will follow. The two-hour event is sure to get mothers and daughters talking, laughing and connecting.

As a new school year begins, some girls are starting new schools or have moved to new areas.  This can be a difficult time for them.  It is more important than ever before that parents get and start involved in their teens and tweens lives.

For more information on more dates, tickets and locations for Rosalind Wiseman's Girl World Fall Tour 2010, click here.

Watch video and read more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Teen Help: Finding Healthy Snacks


Help Your Teen Find Healthy and Energetic Snacks
Life is perhaps the most difficult when you’re a teenager; of course, being an adult brings its share of worry and responsibilities, but you also have the maturity and hindsight that a teenager lacks. They’re caught between their parents and their friends, they’re torn between doing what is right and what comes instinctively, and most of all, they battle the bulge as they struggle to remain slim (because it matters more than anything in their world) even as they’re tempted by lure of fast food and sugary sodas. It’s up to you as a parent to ensure that they look and feel great by helping them find and eat the right snacks.
It’s not too hard to prepare and provide them with healthy snacks that boost their energy and keep hunger pangs away; the most difficult part is getting them to avoid junk food and eat healthier options. While adults are forced to exercise and stick to healthy diets because they’re worried about their health, to a teen, all that matters is how they look and whether they’re going to be accepted by their peers. So use their weakness as your strength – get them sold on the idea of healthy snacks by promoting them as ways to look great and keep their skin smooth and clear of acne.
It’s the only language teens understand, and it’s also the truth – when they go overboard on fast food and sugary drinks, they gain weight and lose their complexions; they begin to pasty and plump instead of slim and sexy. Use these facts to get them to eating healthy food and snacking in healthy ways.
The best snacks for teens include:
·       Slices of fruits and vegetables they can munch on
·       Trail mix of nuts, dried fruits and perhaps a little chocolate
·       Fresh fruit juices without sugar or any other additives
·       Yogurt and fruit smoothies
·       Whole grain, low fat crackers
·       Frozen juice bars
·       Low fat cheese and milk
In general, you can give your teen any kind of food as long as it is low in fat, salt, sugar and artificial substances including preservatives and additives.
Support your teen’s decision to eat healthy snacks by avoiding junk food yourself. Set goals and standards that the entire family can follow; if you insist that your teen eat healthy while you gorge on junk food and chips, your words are not going to hold water. So avoid buying unhealthy snacks or stocking them in your home. Once your teenagers are able to discipline themselves, it’s easy to send them along on the path to good health.
By-line:
This guest post is contributed by Paul Hench, he writes on the topic of masters in public health. He welcomes your comments at his email id: paul.23hench@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sue Scheff: TIME TO TALK - New Study Shows Teens Spend 53 Hours a Week Electronically!

It's out. It's official.  It's new research from the Partnership for a Drug Free America that is shocking and revealing about today's teen and electronic media.  As schools are opening all over the country and you are diligently getting your teen's supply list filled, stop and take the time to talk!

According to a recent Press Release


New omnibus research from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America shows that more than one-third of parents are concerned that TV (38%), computers (37%) and video games (33%) make it harder for them to communicate with their media-engrossed teens about risky behaviors, like drug and alcohol use. The survey of more than 1,200 parents also confirms that a quarter or more are worried that newer forms of media, including cell phone texting (27%) social networking sites, like Facebook (25%) and Twitter (19%) hinder effective parent/child communication about the dangers of teen substance abuse.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study of 2,000 teens released earlier this year, the average amount of time young people (8-18 year olds) spend consuming entertainment media is up dramatically to almost eight hours per day – that’s at least 53 hours a week of immersion in some form of media. The research also noted that the more media teens consume, the less happy they tend to be and those who are most captivated by media reported their academic performance suffered. About half (47&) of heavy media users reported they usually get fair to poor grades, mostly C’s or lower, compared to about a quarter (23%) of light media users.

Are we awake yet?  Are parents getting it?  With all this time teenagers are putting into their social, digital and electronic world, when is there time to talk to their parents?
Now it is up to the parent to make the Time to Talk!

TimeToTalk.org has provided an excellent tool kit for parents to help get engaged with their teens.  For those parents who are hesitant or don’t know how to send text messages, the Partnership has created a free, downloadable guide called “Time To Text.” The tool is now available at TimeToTalk.org and offers quick tips on how to text, suggests examples of different messages to send to teens and even provides a cheat sheet parents can keep in their wallet.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.


Must watch video and read more.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Father's Getting Involved in Their Teen's School: All Pro Dad

School is opening soon and parents are scrambling to get school supplies, uniforms books and other things needed to start off the school year.  There is one item you can't forget, that is yourself!  

Parent involvement has a positive impact on their child's academic and social life in school.  It can be difficult with many single parent households or parents that are working more than one job to make ends meet, but your child's school should be high on your priority list. Even if you can only volunteer an hour a month, it makes a difference.

Many think that parent involvement is focused around moms, don't be fooledFathers are needed and wanted!  More and more dads are getting involved and finding the time to make a difference their child's life.
All Pro Dad's  is a simple idea with a profound impact. It's a one-hour monthly breakfast held before school where fathers and their children meet with other dads and kids in the school cafeteria or a local restaurant. During this time, they discuss a wide range of family topics, spend time together, create fun memories, and are equipped with resources to strengthen their relationship. For more about All Pro Dad’s, please watch the short video.

Is your community or school participating in All Pro Dad's?  In Broward and Dade County, we are home to many athletes.  If they are your neighbor, introduce them to this great organization and start inspiring others to join.  Find a chapter near you, click here. Remember, family first!

Meet your team captain here.  

Read more.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Teen Help: TIME TO ACT!

School is opening and many teens will be starting high school for their first year.  9th grade can be a difficult transition for many teenagers.  Just when you finally felt comfortable at your middle school, familiar with the guidance counselors and even chipper with the school nurse, life is making a major shift.

According to a survey of 6,500 teens by the Partnership for a Drug Free America, 73 percent said the number one reason they turn to drugs and alcohol is to relieve stress at school. As the new school year begins, how can you help your teen adjust especially if they are starting a new school.

The last thing we want to have happen is our teen turning to substance abuse to relieve their anxiety and stress about fitting into their new school and surroundings.  Peer pressure can be overwhelming and the desire to be part of a group.

Fear of not fitting in could fuel your teenager to engage in harmful activity such as drinking and using drugs to be part of a clique.

TIME TO ACT! is a first-of-its kind online help resource for parents and caregivers who suspect or know their child is experimenting, using or has a problem with alcohol or drugs.

Many teens feel like an outsider and long to feel included and liked by their teenage peers. This need can be so strong that they engage in teenage drinking or drug use to help them make friends, fit in or be accepted. 

What can parents do?

  • Get to know your kid's friends and the friends' parents
  • Encourage your teen's friends to hang out at your house: give them a private space if possible, feed them and leave them alone.
  • Know the cell phone and house phone numbers of your child's closest friends
  • Pay close attention when kids mention new names and find out who those kids are
  • Tell stories (either from your own life or from history, books, movies, etc.) of people who chose not to go along with the crowd — and achieved great things because of it.
  • Encourage and help your teen to sign up for a team, club, youth group, art class, or volunteer organization
  • Explain to your child that real friends don't make you do things you aren't comfortable with
Click here for more tips and resources.

Being an educated parent will help you have safer and healthier teens.  As this new school year begins, take the time to talk to your teens. 

Communication is key to prevention of drug and alcohol use.  Read more.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sue Scheff: Social Mingling and Your Teens

Teens love to hang out, whether it is in malls or at their friends, however it is when they are mingling online where serious danger can happen.  Yes, when they are alone with their keyboard and mouse.
Here is a great reminder of social web safety tips for teens.  They can never be reminded enough!
  • Think about what you post. Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause you problems later on. Even people you consider friends can use this info against you, especially if they become ex-friends.
  • Read between the “lines.” It may be fun to check out new people for friendship or romance, but be aware that, while some people are nice, others act nice because they’re trying to get something. Flattering or supportive messages may be more about manipulation than friendship or romance.
  • Don’t talk about sex with strangers. Be cautious when communicating with people you don’t know in person, especially if the conversation starts to be about sex or physical details. Don’t lead them on – you don’t want to be the target of a predator’s grooming. If they persist, call your local police or contact CyberTipline.com.
  • Avoid in-person meetings. The only way someone can physically harm you is if you’re both in the same location, so – to be 100% safe – don’t meet them in person. If you really have to get together with someone you “met” online, don’t go alone. Have the meeting in a public place, tell a parent or some other solid backup, and bring some friends along.
  • Be smart when using a cell phone. All the same tips apply with phones as with computers. Except phones are with you wherever you are, often away from home and your usual support systems. Be careful who you give your number to and how you use GPS and other technologies that can pinpoint your physical location.
Posted with permission from ConnectSafely.org.
For those juniors and seniors that will be applying to colleges, remember, what goes online stays online.  Keep your social networking pages clean!  What you post today, can haunt and hinder you tomorrow.  This applies to everyone, even adults!

Broward County schools will be opening on August 23rd.  Be an educated parent, talk to your kids about bullying and cyberbullyingLet's have a safe and fun school year!  Like talking about dangers of drugs, you can never talk  to much about the dangers that lurk online.

Communication is key to keeping your teens safe!


Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

Read more.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teaching Diversity - Connect Your Family to the World

As a parent, it is important to educate your children about diversity, teaching them to respect and understand other countries and their cultures and customs. Well how would you like to get involved with an organization that builds bonds of friendship and trust with the power to change the world too?

Welcoming a high school foreign exchange student into your home is a great way to increase global awareness for your family, your schools and even across your community.

This month, EF Foundation for Foreign Study is looking for host families for the 2010-2011 school year.  South Florida is a melting pot with many families from all over the world.  It’s wonderful to think that by being a host family, you’d not only be learning about another culture in which you may not be too familiar with, but you’d also be creating a positive view of the United States that crosses oceans and lasts a lifetime.

EF Foundation has:
  • Connected over 100,000 talented, enthusiastic students from 30 countries with caring host families across America
  • Been facilitating foreign exchange for more than 30 years.
  • Connected more students with American host families than any other program of its kind!
Want to hear firsthand how this program has changed lives?

Watch video and read  more.

Learn more, contact EF Foundation here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Boot Camps, Tough Love

There are many adjectives to describe parents when they are looking for outside help for their struggling teenager.

Is your teen reaching a level that he/she are out-of-control?  Going down a negative path with only a few years left of high school?  Do you fear for their future if they continue down this road?

Okay, I love the phrase, "typical teenage behavior", which much of it can be.  However what happens when this "typical" behavior lands them in juvie?  Or in the hospital with an overdose?

Most have tried therapists.  Most have even tried out-patient programs.  Some have tried sending their teen to a relatives to live.  What happens when these ideas fail?

For many, it is time for residential therapy.  Now you really need to be engaged, do your homework and be extremely cautious.  The world of teen-help is a major business and they are waiting for parents that are at their "wit's end"  to call!

There are many good programs in our country.  The most important decision you will make is choosing the right one for your child.  Don't rely on marketing arms, toll-free numbers, and spams of email promises.  Do your due diligence and work through this process in the best interest of your family.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for helpful hints and tips for finding what is best for your family. Remember, if you are on the East Coast, just because the Internet seems to continue to point you to the West Coast, there are programs on the East Coast that are extremely high quality - and some of the best.  Although you don't want your teen's program in your backyard, you also don't want to be so far away that visiting them would be difficult.

Don't forget to pick up Wit's End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen - it could save your teenager today!  By visiting Parents' Universal Resource Experts (PURE) you can receive a free chapter here.

Remember, be a parent first - friendship will come in time. This is not about shipping your teen off, it is about giving them a second opportunity at a bright future!

Parents' Universal Resource Experts (PURE) is a Member of the Better Business Bureau.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Drugs, Sex and Alcohol - Know the Teen Truth

Teen Truth:

  • More teens are using alcohol to get drunk.
  • More teens are smoking pot regularly.
  • Even more teens are having sex, and many without protection.
  • Don't always where they tell their parents where they are.
  • Many teens are driving and texting.
  • Some teens engage in dangerous behavior such as trunking to be cool.
  • Most teens know more about technology than you do.
Parent's beliefs:

  • My teen is not doing drugs, but their friends are.
  • My teen tried alcohol, but it was only once.
  • My teen would not have sex, they know the consequences.
  • It is not my teen, it is the teens they are hanging with.
  • They only smoked pot once, that really doesn't count.
  • My teen is so smart, good looking, very athletic, they know better.
  • My teen knows the dangers of Internet, they would never chat with strangers.
The Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) in partnership with WAHI Media has created TeenTruth.org, an interactive, web-based initiative promoting positive lifestyle choices among Florida youth. The website is designed to educate teens, parents, and citizens about a wide range of issues that teens deal with on a daily basis. DOH’s Office of Positive Youth Development has been able to use WAHI’s highly effective technology to reach and hold the attention of teens, engaging them in conversation and presenting them with valuable facts.

Teen Truth tells real stories and how you as a parent can improve your communication skills with your teenagers. Times have changed with teens today! Teen life is a mind field, they have access to all sorts of things that generations prior weren't aware of.

Teen Truth tells you like it is, even if you don't want to hear it, you will and you will also see why it is imperative you learn this.

Before your teen hooks-up (gets together with a total stranger for sex), be proactive, talk to your teens, ask them about it and let them know the dangers of hooking up.

Teens can guard their private lives very well, it is up to parents to learn all they can about them. This is not invasion of privacy - it is when safety trumps privacy!

Do yourself a favor, watch the short videos on TeenTruth.org. Answer the questions honestly, don't be a parent in denial, you are not helping your teen that way.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!


If your teen is going down a negative road, visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

Read more.