Monday, September 29, 2008

Sue Scheff: Following the Rules

By Lisa Medoff

Nina posted some questions about her 10-year-old daughter lying about eating and drinking in the bedroom and watching TV with the door closed. Nina wants to how she can tell if her daughter is deliberately lying or simply forgetful, as her daughter was a micro-preemie, and Nina is worried that her premature birth has affected her behavior and memory.

Nina is also wondering about the best way to encourage her daughter to tell the truth about her behavior. Her husband feels that their daughter plays both of her parents against each other, and he punishes her by saying that he is not going to take her anywhere for the summer; she won’t be allowed to go bike riding or have other interesting adventures. Nina wants to know if these are apt punishments for her daughter’s behavior.

Unfortunately for parents, there is no absolute, surefire way to determine if your child is deliberately lying or has simply forgotten the rules. Therefore, instead of spending your time trying to figure out if your daughter is lying, shift your focus to trying to help her remember the rules.

Tell your daughter, “I can see that it has been hard for you to remember our rules about not eating in the bedroom and watching TV with the door closed. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to help you remember.”

Try different ways to help her with her memory, such as having her write sticky notes with the rules and posting them near the TV, or making poster collages with pictures of food that is crossed out.

Any extra practice with memory tricks will be helpful for children who have experienced developmental difficulties.

Tell her that even though it may be hard for her to remember, she will still need to learn the consequences for breaking the rules.

Discuss what those consequences will be and follow through on them every time. She needs to see that the end result is the same, whether she lies or forgets, and you won’t have to waste time or energy trying to figure out if she is lying.

Be on the lookout for times when she does remember the rules. Give lots of positive attention, such as saying, “I noticed that you finished your snack in the kitchen before you went in to watch television. You must feel good about remembering to follow the rules. I’m really proud of you.”

Make a behavior chart to keep track of days where she was able to follow the rules.
Think of rewards that she can earn after a week or a month of good days.

In terms of the consequences, discipline works better if it is specific, immediate, is appropriate for the situation, and allows the child to make up for breaking the rules.
For example, a consequence of eating where she is not supposed to could be having to clean and vacuum the area.

Read entire article here:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sue Scheff: 10 Types of Teen Internet Users

For all parents and others that work with today’s teens and tweens - OnTeensToday is a fantastic way to find out what our kids are thinking today! Vanessa Van Petten is not only an author, she shares her own teen experiences to help us today. Visit for so much more!

From OnTeensToday:

I have noticed that there is a huge spectrum of teens online. There are literally thousands of articles that have been written in the past four years about teens online (I have written some of them!) but they refer to teens online all the same. This is simply not true, there are many different kinds of ‘users.’

Teen Internet User 1: Centers

These are the heaviest users. They live and breathe online. They sneak internet in the middle of the night and are on every social network imaginable. They also want all the latest trends and new gadgets. Taking away their phones or computers is the worse possible punishment. They are the ultimate techies and love to write their own Java and HTML.
Teen Internet User 2: Networkers

These users do not visit anything but the social networks. They do not care to discover new sites or learn programming. All they want to do is chat, share and network with friends. They are the first to discover any changes on MySpace and have started 36+ groups on Facebook.

Teen Internet User 3: Communicator

These teens do visit social networking sites occasionally but only as a means of communicating. They live on IM. Video chat, IM and emails are where they spend the most time.

Teen Internet User 4: Seeker

These teens tend not to be as social and like to discover online. Unlike the Centers, when they discover something new they do not spread it around to all of their friends (maybe a select few), but they like to find new websites and participate in more of the underground internet. They are the tech insulars and only want websites that are grassroots and authentic.

Teen Internet User 5: Listener

Some teens seem to use the Internet exclusively to find, follow and research music and new bands. They are usually addicted to MySpace and cruise the web with their earphones in.

Teen Internet User 6: Schooler

These teens have little interest in the Internet besides what is necessary for school. If they chat it is not much, their friend set-up their Facebook profile for them and they are not overly impressed with anything online except maybe the occasional YouTube video.

Teen Internet User 7: Gamer

Gamers, quite obviously are avid Internet players. They play World of Warcraft until 3am (or they would if you would let them) love games on and They asked for a joystick for Christmas.

Teen Internet User 8: Watcher

Some teens love to watch webisodes, YouTube surf or TV shows online. They get all of their entertainment through your broadband cable and often reject traditional TV.

Teen Internet User 9: Expresser

These teens keep online diaries, write poetry for ezines and might even have their own blog. They love posting comments on other blogs and writing articles to submit for larger online publications. The Internet is their voice.

Teen Internet User 10: Informer

These teens use the Internet to stay current. They read newspapers, comment in political forums and have impressive RSS feeds of lots of online resources.Yes, teens can be a combination of a few of these, or dabble in a little bit of gaming but are really Networkers (or they game to network via World of Warcraft chatting.) What kind of teen do you have?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Parents Everywhere!

I recently discovered a great website of podcasts to help educate parents on today’s kids - including teens, pre-teens and younger!

Take a peek at - If you are a parent, I am sure there is topic that will interest you!

The Parents Everywhere Network is an incredible resource of experts who provide you with the parenting tools you need every week. Subscribe to our Podcasts for free and each show will be automatically downloaded to your computer where you can listen to each episode on your computer, or copy the files to your iPod or MP3 Player. You can also listen directly from our website, where ever you see the embedded player. The shows are free, convenient and only 20 minutes long. You can listen anytime, anywhere!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Teen Runaways

Teen Runaways are on the increase. Many teens think that the grass is greener on the other side.

They are confused and following the crowd of peers making poor choices. Teens want to escape the “rules of a household” and we as parents, become their number one enemy. They feel that they are fearless and can prove they can survive without their parents and our rules. Rules are put in place for a reason; we love our children and want them to grow up with dignity and respect we try to instill in them. Their flight plan, in some ways, is a cry for attention. Many times runaways are back home shortly, however there are other situations that can be more serious. This is not to say any child that runs away is not serious, but when this becomes a habit and is their way of rebelling, a parent needs to intervene.

So many times we hear how “their friend’s parents” allow a much later curfew or are more lenient, and you are the worst parents in the world. This is very common and the parent feels helpless, hopeless and alone. It is all part of the manipulation the teens put us through. With their unappreciative thoughts of us, they will turn to this destructive behavior, which, at times, results in them leaving the home.

Some teens go to a friend’s house or relative they believe they can trust and make up stories about their home life. This is very common, a parent has to suffer the pain and humiliation that it causes to compound it with the need to get your child help that they need. If you fear your child is at risk of running, the lines of communication have to be open. We understand this can be difficult, however if possible needs to be approached in a positive manner. Teen help starts with communication.

If you feel this has escalated to where you cannot control them, it may be time for placement and possibly having your child escorted. Please know that the escorts (transports) are all licensed and very well trained in removing children from their home into safe programs. These escorts are also trained counselors that will talk to your child all the way, and your child will end his/her trip with a new friend and a better understanding of why their parents had to resort to this measure.

Helpful Hint if you child has runaway and you are using all your local resources – offer a cash reward to their friends privately, of course promising their anonymity and hopefully someone will know your child’s whereabouts.

Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your wits end. Try to remain positive and hopeful and do all you can to help understand why your child is acting out this way. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents.

Visit my Teen Runaway Website and for more information.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Movies Smoking Make Teens Smoke

Source Connect with Kids
“That makes a lot of kids think about doing the same thing because these are their role models.”

– Arielle Jacobs, 13 years old

Will kids smoke just because they see an actor or actress in a movie light up? Sixteen-year-old Jay McManeon says, “no way.”

“For me, it doesn’t really matter if I saw someone smoking in the movie,” he says.

But other teens argue that smoking in movies does have an effect on teens.

“If they thought it was cool enough, like you if it was your idol, you might. If he smokes … you might want to do it,” 17-year-old Ryan Moses says.

A new report suggests he’s right.

After a review of more than 1,000 different studies, the National Cancer Institute finds that some kids start smoking because of what they see in the movies.

“Now what that is saying is even if you are doing a lot of things, like not smoking in your house and helping your kids stay away from other influences, the movies can overcome all of that influence,” says Dr. Terry Pechacek of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts say that’s why it’s important for parents to talk to kids about how movies may glamorize smoking and to explain that it’s not reality.

“Kids need resistance skills. They need to be able to interpret the media images,” Dr. Pechacek says.

The CDC produces three-minute video clips, hosted by teen actors, designed to do just that – show kids how actors use smoking in movies as a crutch.

“And there are even people who believe high rates of smoking in movies should be used as a criteria for parents saying, just like sex, just like violence … that I don’t think you should see this movie,” Dr. Pechacek says.

No matter what influences a child to start smoking, few would disagree that stopping is a whole lot harder.

Sixteen-year-old Jay McManeon could not agree more.

“I never think smoking’s an OK thing. It’s bad for your lungs. I just do it ‘cause I’m addicted,” he says.

Tips for Parents
A study published in The Lancet further illustrates how watching television or movies with actors who smoke negatively impacts youth behavior. Researchers from Dartmouth Medical School analyzed the viewing habits of 2,603 nonsmoking children aged 10 to 14, keeping track of how many incidents of smoking occurred in each movie they watched from a list of 50. After two years, they found that 10% of the children took up smoking or had at least tried it. Consider these additional findings from the study:

Of those children exposed to movies with the least amount of on-screen smoking, 22 began smoking.
Of those children exposed to movies with the highest occurrence of on-screen smoking, 107 became smokers.
Approximately 52% of the startup in smoking could be attributed to the movies.
Children of nonsmokers who watched movies with the highest number of smoking scenes were four times more likely to begin smoking than those who viewed movies featuring few smoking actors.
More than 6,000 children under the age of 18 try their first cigarette each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that more than 3,000 become daily smokers every day. It’s estimated that 4.5 million adolescents in the United States are cigarette smokers. 90 percent of cigarette smokers start before they turn 21.

The statistics show that little progress has been made in the past decade in reducing teen smoking. The American Lung Association calls smoking a “tobacco-disease epidemic” and points to the high rates of cigarette use among high school seniors, particularly girls, as evidence of this lack of progress.

Health and medical experts agree that parents must discourage children from starting to smoke and becoming addicted. Parents should also talk to their children about the health risks of tobacco and set a good example for their children by not smoking themselves. School-based tobacco education programs have also been shown to be effective in reducing the onset of teen smoking.

According to research from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), the key to keeping kids from smoking and using drugs is dependent on the extent to which parents take a “hands-on” approach to raising their kids. The more they establish appropriate rules and standards of behavior and monitor their teens, the lower the teen’s risk of substance abuse.

A “hands-on” approach to preventing your teen from smoking, drinking or trying drugs, according to CASA, includes consistently taking 10 or more of these 12 actions:

Monitor what your teen watches on television.
Monitor what your teen does on the Internet.
Put restrictions on the music (CDs) your teen buys.
Know where your teen spends time after school and on weekends.
Expect to be told the truth by your teen about where he or she is going.
Be “very aware” of your teen’s academic performance.
Impose a curfew.
Make clear you would be “extremely upset” if your teen smoked.
Eat dinner with your teens six or seven times a week.
Turn off the television during dinner.
Assign your teen regular chores.
Have an adult present when your teen returns from school.
National Cancer Institute
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
The Lancet

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts: Sue Scheff - 'Pharm' Drugs

Street drugs, such as pot, crack, heroin, etc…. is being replaced with pharmacy drugs kids are finding at home. Parents need to take the time to see what their medicine cabinets are holding and what prescription drugs they have at home such as pain pills from ordinary root canals - as well as medications for ADD/ADHD. Here is a great article with helpful tips for parents.

Source: Connect with Kids

“Just take whatever we had you know, not really thinking about how high I was going to get or you know, how messed up.”

– ‘James’, age 21, explaining how he and friends shared drugs during his teenage years.

“We all had different prescriptions,” says 18-year-old Laura.

“You know, percocets, valium, zanex, oxycontin,” says James, 21.

“I wanted to get as loaded as I could. Didn’t care what I was taking, how much of it,” adds Laura.

James and Laura met in rehab. Both are drug addicts who used to get high at parties. Parties where everyone brought some kind of prescription drug and passed them around, often combining them with pot or alcohol.

“When I first started using and mixing drugs, I felt like a superhero, like nothing, you know, I was invincible,” says Laura.

Some kids call them ‘pharm’ parties… for ‘pharmaceutical’.

Experts say the allure is… the unknown. “What kind of new experience can I get? And very often it’s kids who are just bored of smoking pot day in and day out… cause they’ve reached a saturation point,” says Addiction Counselor Robert Margolis, Ph.D.

But experts say taking someone else’s prescription is dangerous… especially when combined with other drugs.

“There are combinations out there that if you start to mix together will create reaction in your body that by the time you know what’s happening, it’s too late,” Dr. Margolis.

“What I did notice is that I would black out a lot of nights,” says James.

Laura survived her years of drug years… but her addiction led to mood swings and depression that made her suicidal.

“Once I started getting heavily addicted, I tried overdosing several times, so I wanted to die, I didn’t want to live anymore,” she says.

“The risks are immense and the kids don’t realize that,” says Dr. Margolis, “And they’re everything from having a tremendous hangover to fatal.”

Tips for Parents
As a parent, it is important to understand that teens may be involved with legal and illegal drugs in various ways. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) reports that many teens begin using drugs to satisfy their curiosity, to make themselves feel good, to reduce stress, to feel grown up or to “fit in.” While it is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems, the National Institute of Drug Abuse says the following types of teens are at greatest risk of becoming addicted:

Those who have a family history of substance abuse
Those who are depressed
Those who have low self-esteem
Those who feel like they don’t “fit in” or are out of the mainstream
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration puts its seal of approval on prescription drugs, many teens mistakenly believe that using these drugs – even if they are not prescribed to them – is safe. However, this practice can, in fact, lead to addiction and severe side effects. The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research cites the following most commonly abused prescription drugs:

Opioids – Also known as narcotic analgesics, opioids are used to treat pain. Examples of this type of drug include morphine, codeine, OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone) and Demerol (meperidine). In the short term, these drugs block pain messages and cause drowsiness. A large, single dose can cause severe respiratory depression and death. Long-term use leads to physical dependence and, in some cases, addiction.
Central nervous system (CNS) depressants – These drugs are commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disorders. Examples include Nembutal (pentobarbital sodium), Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam). CNS depressants slow down normal brain function and can cause a sleepy, uncoordinated feeling in the beginning of treatment. Long-term use can lead to physical dependence and addiction.
Stimulants – These drugs are commonly used to treat the sleeping disorder narcolepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Examples include Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine). Stimulants, which can be addictive, enhance brain activity and increase alertness and energy. They elevate blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. Very high doses can lead to irregular heartbeat and high body temperature
How can you determine if your teen is abusing drugs? The AACAP suggests looking for the following warning signs and symptoms in your teen:

Physical – Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes and a lasting cough
Emotional – Personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression and a general lack of interest
Familial – Starting arguments, breaking rules or withdrawing from the family
School-related – Decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy and discipline problems
Social – having new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music
If you believe your teen has a problem with drug abuse, you can take several steps to get the help he or she needs. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests contacting your health-care provider so that he or she can perform an adequate medical evaluation in order to match the right treatment or intervention program with your teen. You can also contact a support group in your community dedicated to helping families coping with addiction.

Substance abuse can be an overwhelming issue with which to deal, but it doesn’t have to be. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers the following strategies to put into practice so that your teen can reap the rewards of a healthy, drug-free life:

Be your teen’s greatest fan. Compliment him or her on all of his or her efforts, strength of character and individuality.
Encourage your teen to get involved in adult-supervised after-school activities. Ask him or her what types of activities he or she is interested in and contact the school principal or guidance counselor to find out what activities are available. Sometimes it takes a bit of experimenting to find out which activities your teen is best suited for, but it’s worth the effort – feeling competent makes children much less likely to use drugs.
Help your teen develop tools he can use to get out of drug-related situations. Let him or her know he or she can use you as an excuse: “My mom would kill me if I smoked marijuana!”
Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents. Set appointments for yourself to call them and check-in to make sure they share your views on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Steer your teen away from any friends who use drugs.
Call teens’ parents if their home is to be used for a party. Make sure that the party will be drug-free and supervised by adults.
Set curfews and enforce them. Let your teen know the consequences of breaking curfew.
Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Sit down for dinner with your teen at least once a week. Use the time to talk – don’t eat in front of the television.
Get – and stay – involved in your teen’s life.

Substance Abuse & Mental Human Services Administration
Drug Abuse Warning Network
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
National Institute on Drug Abuse
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
American Academy of Family Physicians
Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Is Teen Pregnancy on the Rise?

Teenage Pregnancy

Every year approximately 750,000 teenage girls become pregnant in the United States. This is roughly 1/3 of the age group’s population, a startling fact. Worse, more than 2/3 of teens who become mother will not graduate high school. Many young teen girls that are suffering with low self worth or feelings of not being loved believe that having a baby will give them a purpose in life. Unfortunately they are not looking at the whole picture and the reality of raising a child.

These girls are not emotionally prepared to make such a major decision in their young life – yet many are in this situation. As a parent, we need to keep the lines of communication open, as hard as that is, it is necessary.

If you are parent who recently discovered that your teenage daughter is pregnant or may be pregnant, we understand your fear and pain. This is a difficult and very serious time in both of you and your daughter’s life.

No matter what happens, you and your daughter must work together to make the best choice for her and her unborn child. Your support and guidance is imperative as a parent. You can and will make it through this as a family.

For more information on Teen Pregnancy visit .