Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Helping Your Teen Reach Their Goals

Getting your teens involved, helping them realize and reach their dreams and goals – in my opinion, that is part of parenting. Today teens have so much more to deal with, such as peer pressure as well as the competitiveness to get into their first choice colleges. If your teen has that special interest, dream, or goal in life, encourage them to reach for their passion.
It can happen!

YES Seminar is about helping your teen reach their success.

Inspire & Connect

Two of the four reasons for this event are to INSPIRE and CONNECT young entrepreneurs, their parents and mentors, not only with other like-minded kids and mentors, but with Inspiring people that have been where you are and the Connectors that have “made it happen” for so many. This is not a Motivational Seminar – it’s purpose is to Inspire you on your journey!

Empower & Educate

The third and fourth reasons are to provide you with the tools you need to Empower and Educate Yourself! We would like to Open your eyes to the amazing Possibilities that are waiting for you, not only here, but right outside the front door of your home, in your town, today!
2009 Young Entrepreneurs Success Seminar, Orlando Fla.

When: September 25-27, 2009
Where: The Caribe Royale, Orlando Florida
Who: Young entrepreneurs aged 9 and up and their parents/guardians/mentors
Web: http://www.yesseminar.com/

The purpose of this event is to inspire, empower and educate young entrepreneurs and their parents to embrace their natural creativity, learn to find and leverage their resources, and grow their businesses and ventures.

Most importantly, this event will CONNECT young entrepreneurs and their parents with other like-minded people! This alone will provide powerful inspiration and empowerment that will live on long beyond the event! These connections will continue to grow within the community that will be created here.

This will be a “conference” unlike any other! Speakers will include best-selling authors such as Bob Burg, author of “The Go-Giver” and “Endless Referrals”, as well as teen entrepreneurs, and experts in fields related to publishing, marketing, social media and more.

Breakout sessions will provide parents and teens to receive information specific to them, and will include fun, interactive and highly educational and powerful workshops and activities designed to inspire creativity and innovation, teach team building skills, marketing techniques, public speaking, networking and more! There will also be panel discussions and the opportunity for attendees to talk to speakers and experts one-on-one. Entertainment and time to meet and interact with one another will be an integral part as well.

How Can You Participate?

Attend! We have gone to great lengths to make this event affordable AND incredibly valuable! Ticket prices are $199 for parent AND teen, or $299 for 2 parents and teens. See our website for early bird special at $177. Register online at http://www.yesseminar.com .

Sponsor! Your support can make this event even better, and accessible to even more people.
Sponsor a teen: We would love to offer sponsorships to the many amazing young people who would like to attend, but will be unable to due to finances. Feel free to sponsor an entire family, or simply provide a fixed donation to be applied toward their attendance costs.

Sponsor a portion of the event: We will also gladly promote anyone who would like to sponsor a specific portion of the event (ie. AV equipment provided by______), or a specific activity such as a cookout or workshop.

Sponsor a Speaker: We have young speakers who would be great for our event! Feel free to help them to attend by donating to their travel costs.

Sponsor with your Product: We would love to have products as prizes for our contests and activities! Donations can be gift cards, mp3 players, computers or anything you’d like! If you are a t-shirt designer, or promotional products provider and would like to donate products for our attendees, please contact us.

PROMOTE! Please support us by helping us promote this event! Please share our information, web address, etc with anyone that might be interested in attending, sponsoring, or who may know someone else who would!

Please feel free to contact us at http://www.yesseminar.com or call us by phone at 919-427-7770.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Preventing Teen Drug Addiction

As a Parent Advocate, it is always frightening when a parent realizes their teen or tween may be experimenting with drugs (substance use). Here are some warning signs you should be aware of. Remember, an educated parent gives you the power to help your teen before it escalates to addiction.

Why do they start? What Should I Look For?

A major factor in drug use is peer pressure. Even teens who think they’re above the influence of peer pressure can often find it hard to refuse trying drugs when they believe their popularity is at stake. Teens may feel that taking drugs or alcohol to fit in is safer than becoming a perceived social exile, and may not realize that their friends will not abandon them simply for refusing a joint or bottle of beer.

A popular adage that is thrown around regarding peer pressure says if your friends would abandon you for not accepting an illegal substance, they’re not “real” friends- but try telling this to a teenager. A more effective method is to acknowledge the pressure to fit in and work with your teen to find solutions to these problems before they arise. Suggest that your teen offer to be the designated driver at parties, and work with them to develop a strategy for other situations.

Even agreeing to back your teen up on a carefully crafted story can help enforce your bond with them- giving them the okay to tell their friends to blame you or that you give them random drug tests will go a long way. Knowing they have your support in such a sensitive subject can alleviate many of their fears, and knowing they can trust you helps instill the idea they can come to you with other problems.

This is also an excellent time to remind them to never allow friends to drive under the influence and to never get into a car with someone under the influence. Reassure your teenager that if they should give in to peer pressure and become intoxicated or high, or if they have no sober ride home though they are sober themselves that it is always okay to call you for a ride home. Some parents may want to consider getting teens a cell phone for emergency use, or giving them an emergency credit card for cab fare.

Depression is another major factor in drug use. For more in depth information on teenage depression, please visit Sue Scheff™’s Teen Depression Resource. Despite the fact that many substances actually make depression worse, teenagers may be lured in by the initial high, which in theory is only replenished by more drugs. Thus begins the vicious cycle that becomes nearly impossible to break without costly rehabilitation. If you notice your teen is acting differently, it may be time to have a talk with them to address these changes. Remember- do not accuse your teen or criticize them. Drug use is a serious cry for help, and making them feel ashamed or embarrassed can make the problem worse. Some common behavior changes you may notice if your teen is abusing drugs and alcohol are:

Violent outbursts, disrespectful behavior
Poor or dropping grades
Unexplained weight loss or gain
Skin abrasions, track marks
Missing curfew, running away, truancy
Bloodshot eyes, distinct “skunky” odor on clothing and skin
Missing jewelry money
New friends
Depression, apathy, withdrawal
Reckless behavior

Defining Gateway Drugs
What Can You Do?
Need help? Are you considering outside treatment? Visit http://www.helpyourteens.com/

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Suicide

Suicide is the third most common cause of death amongst adolescents between 15-24 years of age, and the sixth most common cause of death amongst 5-14 year olds. It is estimated that over half of all teens suffering from depression will attempt suicide at least once, and of those teens, roughly seven percent will succeed on the first try.

Teenagers are especially vulnerable to the threat of suicide, because in addition to increased stress from school, work and peers, teens are also dealing with hormonal fluctuations that can complicate even the most normal situations.

Because of these social and personal changes, teens are also at higher risk for depression, which can also increase feelings of despair and the desire to commit suicide. In fact, according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) almost all people who commit suicide suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder or substance abuse disorder.

Often, teens feel as though they have no other way out of their problems, and may not realize that suicidal thoughts and feelings can be treated. Unfortunately, due to the often volatile relationship between teens and their parents, teens may not be as forthcoming about suicidal feelings as parents would hope. The good news is there are many signs parents can watch for in their teen without necessarily needing their teen to open up to them.

At some point in most teens’ lives, they will experience periods of sadness, worry and/or despair. While it is completely normal for a healthy person to have these types of responses to pain resulting from loss, dismissal, or disillusionment, those with serious (often undiagnosed) mental illnesses often experience much more drastic reactions. Many times these severe reactions will leave the teen in despair, and they may feel that there is no end in sight to their suffering. It is at this point that the teen may lose hope, and with the absence of hope comes more depression and the feeling that suicide is the only solution. It isn’t.

Teen girls are statistically twice as likely as their male counterparts to attempt suicide. They tend to turn to drugs (overdosing) or to cut themselves, while boys are traditionally more successful in their suicide attempts because they utilize more lethal methods such as guns and hanging. This method preference makes boys almost four times more successful in committing suicide.

Studies have borne out that suicide rates rise considerably when teens can access firearms in their home. In fact, nearly 60% of suicides committed in the United States that result in immediate death are accomplished with a gun. This is one crucial reason that any gun kept in a home with teens, even if that teen does not display any outward signs of depression, be stored in a locked compartment away from any ammunition. In fact, the ammunition should be stored in a locked compartment as well, and the keys to both the gun and ammunition compartments should be kept in a different area from where normal, everyday keys are kept.

Remember to always keep firearms, ammunition, and the keys to the locks containing them, away from kids.

Unfortunately, teen suicide is not a rare event. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. This disturbing trend is affecting younger children as well, with suicide rates experiencing dramatic increases in the under-15 age group from 1980 to 1996. Suicide attempts are even more prevalent, though it is difficult to track the exact rates.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADHD Alternatives

As a parent of an ADHD child, I have always been aware of the Feingold Program. Although I wasn’t able to use the diet for my son, I know many success stories and believe that parents should be aware of all alternatives.

What: Free seminar on dietary options for children (and adults!) with learning, behavior, and other health problems,AND a hands-on activity in which you can find out for yourself just how much food dye it takes to create those pretty colors of frosting on a cupcake.

WHEN: Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

WHERE: Marriott SpringHill Suites Hotel 899 Elkridge Landing RoadLinthicum, Maryland (near BWI Airport)(410) 694-0555

SPONSOR: The Feingold AssociationTel: 800-321-3287 or 631-369-9340

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens, Kids and Physcial Education

More and more kids and teens are more attached to their electronical gadgets rather than physcial activites. What happened to the past generations of playing kick ball or riding your bikes with neighborhood friends? PE4Life helps parents incorporate physical education back into your lives. Learn More:

Source: PE4Life

Parents are busy with a full workday, helping their children with homework, engaging their children in after school activities, and so on. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for physical activity in your own lives. Do you realize that schools have devalued and cut physical education to the point that the majority of children get one day of PE per week?

Children today have a shorter life expectancy than their parents for the first time in one hundred years because of the epidemic of obesity, according to Dr. William Klish, Professor of Pediatrics and Head of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine. Lack of PE at school is a disservice to your child’s health. Speak up. Demand that your school offers daily quality physical education.

Use PE4life as a resource partner to enhance your school’s PE program. A recent study revealed that 81% of teachers and 85% of parents favor requiring students to take physical education every day at every grade level. As parents, you can rally people in your community to get involved by ordering a PE4life Community Action kit video and show it to the PTA, the school board and other community groups.

The next step is to invite PE4life to make a presentation to your school leaders, bring a team of people to train at a PE4life Academy, or invite PE4life to do an in-service for your school staff. As your resource partner, PE4life can provide these and many other services to your school as you work to get children more active and healthy.

The PE4life Approach to Physical Education:

Be offered to every child every day
Be available for all students, not just the athletically inclined
Provide a wide variety of sports and fitness activities to promote an active and healthy lifestyle
Assess students on their personal progress toward fitness and physical activity goals
Incorporate technology on a regular basis

Extend beyond the walls of the gymnasium to form community and business partnerships

Today’s “New P.E.,” as exemplified by PE4life, is a health-and-wellness-based approach to physical education that caters to all students, not just the athletically inclined. Students are encouraged to pursue a variety of sports and physical activities (team and individual) – for a lifetime.

Get Involved—Become a Friend of PE4life, get your community involved, sign up up for the PE4life newsletter and communicate to government leaders.
News & Info—Get the latest information on physical education, childhood obesity, exercise and the brain, youth fitness and legislative news. Also link to other great websites.
Results—Review research findings and measurable outcomes of PE programs.
Grant Info—Find creative sources of funding for the physical education program at your child’s school and a forum where you can ask questions or share your thoughts and successes.
PE4life Program Services—Find information about our Program Service Packages, how to order our services, training dates, academy locations, and testimonials.
Events–Find dates for Academy Training, National PE4life Day, PE4life Workshops, and PE Conferences.

Students in PE4life programs are inspired by the opportunity to set personalized goals and be graded on effort not athletic ability. PE4life Programs incorporate technological tools so students can develop personal responsibility through self-assessment. With these tools, students are able to set goals appropriate to their individual fitness levels and check their progress as they move forward. Gone are the days of grades based solely on a stopwatch. Today’s “New PE” places more emphasis on assessing a student’s progress toward cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance goals.

We’ve heard time and time again from parents who have attended PE4life Program Service training sessions that they wish they’d been able to participate in a physical education program like this when they were in school. None of us can turn back the clock, but we can all help make the benefits of a health-and-wellness-based physical education program available to our children.

“Kids bring their excitement about daily activity into their families. PE4life keeps kids and famillies together: the foundation of a stronger America.”–Archie Manning, Former NFL Pro Bowl Quarterback & League MVP

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen and Youth Gangs


“Usually I know guys paralyzed for life…sipping through straws.”

– “Jose”, 19

He doesn’t want to reveal his name. We’ll call him “Jose”. He was 12 when he joined a gang. Jose says, “I’m looking at them like, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ And they’re like, ‘If you’re going to do it you’ve got to say yes, you don’t think about it.’”

Saying yes meant a three-minute beating from four older gang members. He says, “They only give you three chances to fall down. After the third one, you got jumped for being stupid.” He didn’t fall down. He was beaten and bloody, but he made it into the gang.

Police say at first, gangs hide the crime and violence from their new recruits. Corporal Edward Campuzano, a gang officer with the Cobb County Police Department in Georgia says, “To them it’s one big party. What they don’t realize a lot of times, is that it might be like that at the beginning, but if you stay focused on that gang and you progressively get older, you’re progressively required to do other things and start committing crimes and start giving back to that gang.”

He says parents should explain to kids that “giving back to the gang means” fighting, stealing, and killing people. Corporal Campuzano says, “That’s when it doesn’t become appealing to them and they try to get out, and they can’t get out because now they have to take what is known to them as a beat out.” It’s a beating to get out of the gang. Jose says, during the beating, gang members could use any weapon but a gun. Often kids die….others barely live. Jose says, “Usually I know guys paralyzed for life…sipping through straws.”

So Jose left the gang, but he was never “beat out.” Now, and maybe forever…he is forced to hide.

Jose is 19-years-old. He never finished school, never learned to control his temper, and has been fired from several jobs. That’s why he’s hoping his story will keep others out of a gang.

Tips for Parents

Gangs are the new mafia, and their organization systems resemble traditional Cosa Nostra operations. Gang crime runs the spectrum of offenses, including underage drinking, extortion, prostitution, drug manufacturing and distribution, and murder. National gang organizations, with infamous names like Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings, often send trusted lieutenants to cities across the country to establish local chapters, called “sets.” Consider the following:

■Gang violence is not an urban problem or a rural problem, nor is it a problem for any one economic class – it is a community-wide problem.
■In 2002, youth gangs were active in over 2,300 cities with populations over 2,500.
■Over 90 percent of large cities (population over 100,000) in the United States reported gang activity between 1996 and 2001.
■There are more than 750,000 gang members nationwide.
■Ninety-five percent of hard-core gang members drop out of high school, and most range in age from 12 to 24.
■The media’s dissemination of gang culture and a restructuring of the economy (unemployment, increases in the urban underclass, etc.) are cited as major factors in the rise of gangs during the ‘90s.
A street gang occurs when three or more people share a unique name or display identifiable marks or symbols (e.g. tattoos, clothing styles, colors, hairstyles, graffiti) and associate together on a regular basis, often claiming a specific location or territory. A gang will have an identifiable organization or hierarchy, and a typical gang will engage in antisocial, unlawful or criminal activity in an effort to further the gang's social or economic status. Such behavior can be carried out either individually or collectively.

Risk factors for gang membership include individual characteristics, family conditions, problematic parent-child relations, low school attachment and academic achievement, peer group influences, prior and/or early involvement in delinquency (especially violence and drug use), association with peers who engage in delinquency, community context, and disorganized neighborhoods where many youth are in trouble. Often, a gang provides young members with comforts society and/or family fails to give them. A gang can morph into the child’s parental unit and also his/her sibling. Gangs can provide a sense of belonging, security and economic opportunity. Unfortunately, most monies are generally attained through crime.

Gender-mixed gangs are becoming more common. Years ago, females were considered property of gang members. Today, some gangs are initiating females as full-fledged members. Estimates indicate between 25 and 33 percent of all youth gang members are female. Consider the following:

■Police see gang recruitment directed toward students as early as elementary school.
■A survey of nearly 6,000 eighth-graders in 11 cities found that 11 percent were currently gang members, and 17 percent said they had belonged to a gang at some point in their life.
■Gang members are far more likely than other delinquents to carry guns and, perhaps more importantly, to use them.
■Research has consistently shown that adolescents are significantly more criminally active during periods of active gang membership.
■Gangs are showing increased sophistication. For example, hard-core gang members are shying away from wearing gang colors or getting symbolic tattoos, knowing school and police authorities will recognize such signs.
Kids often participate in gang activities without their parents’ knowledge, and children can become interested in gang activity as young as elementary-school age. As a parent, it is important to be aware of the warning signs that could indicate your child’s interest in gangs. This is a partial list of those signs, compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

■Your child suddenly begins performing poorly in school
■He/she doesn't attend school regularly
■He/she becomes disinterested in extra-curricular activities or family events
■He/she has negative contact with the police
■He/she writes the name of a gang in graffiti, or you find gang symbols in his/her notebooks or in his/her room
■He/she has problems at home
■He/she has gang tattoos
■He/she has friends who are in gangs
■He/she dresses in gang clothing
As a parent, you can play a huge role in helping your child feel accepted, important, worthy and loved – the feelings he/she seeks. For instance, if you continually skip meetings with teachers or don’t attend your child’s team games or extracurricular activities, your child may begin to feel unwanted or underappreciated, increasing the risk that he/she will seek approval elsewhere. Experts at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have developed a list of other tips to help you minimize the chances of your child joining a gang:

■Get to know your child's friends, how they influence him/her and what they do when they're together. Discourage your child from hanging out with gangs.
■Spend your free time with your child. Give him/her chores to do around the house or enroll him/her in after-school activities, sports, and community center or church programs.
■Stress the value of an education and motivate your child to do well in school.
■Develop good communication skills with your child. Good communication means that it's open, frequent and positive. This will allow your child to express himself or herself and confide in you.
■Find positive role models for your child.
■Plan activities for the entire family, such as trips to parks, libraries, museums or the beach. Give your child attention!
■Give your child some one-on-one time – your undivided attention.
■Don't let your child wear clothing that resembles gang wear. It might attract attention from the wrong people.
■Set limits and rules for your child. From an early age, let him/her know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Enforce a curfew. Don't let him/her hang out until all hours of the night.
■Don't let your child write or draw gang-like graffiti.
■Get involved in your child’s education. Go to his/her school, get to know his/her teachers and attend parent-teacher events.
■Learn about gangs and gang activity in your community. Get educated!
■Faith and the City
■Gang Resistance Education And Training
■Know Gangs
■Michigan State University
■The National Youth Gang Center
■U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
■The Nawojczyk Group, Inc

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Preventing Drug and Alcohol Addiction

New Data Shows Fathers Missing Key Opportunity to Be More Active in Preventing Drug and Alcohol Use among their Kids New York, NY (June 16, 2009) –
New data from the 14th annual national survey of parents’ attitudes about teen drug and alcohol use by the nonprofit Partnership for a Drug-Free America and MetLife Foundation reveals dads take a much more passive role than moms when it comes to preventing substance abuse in their families.

As Father’s Day draws near, this new data underscores a unique opportunity for fathers to get more involved and engage further with their children on this critical health issue. New research from the Partnership/MetLife Foundation Parents Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) reveals dramatic differences between mothers and fathers:·

Fathers were nearly three times as likely to believe that drug education should take place in school (34 percent of fathers versus 10 percent of mothers).

Additionally, fathers report having greater difficulty reconciling the desire to have their child see them as a friend with the need to set rules and monitor their teens.

Fathers placed greater value on being their child’s friend (59 percent of fathers, 51 percent of mothers) although the majority of parents thought friendship with their child was important.
Fathers were far more likely (18 percent) to report having difficulty enforcing rules about alcohol, cigarette or drug use than mothers (10 percent).

“Fathers have real power in influencing the decisions teens make for themselves, yet many dads find it difficult to talk with their kids about drugs and alcohol,” said Partnership President Steve Pasierb. Visit the Partnership for Drug-Free America’s Parent Toolkit available for free download at http://www.drugfree.org/ for tips to help dads get the conversation going with their teens. For more information or to schedule an interview with an expert or to speak with a dad who can speak to the challenges of raising tweens and teens, please contact Candice Besson at candice_besson@drugfree.org or 212-973-3517.

About PATS: PATS is a nationally projectable survey of 1,004 parents of children in grades 4-12 and was conducted in-home by the Partnership with major funding beginning in 2008 from MetLife Foundation.


The Partnership for a Drug-Free AmericaWorking with parents to prevent and get help for teen drug and alcohol abuse

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Military Schools - Are they right for your child?

Almost on a daily basis I have to explain to parents that Military Schools are an honor and privilege to attend – they are not for troubled teens. For parents that seem to defy this, I share with them that if their child is expelled for any reason (such as drug use, alcohol, defiance, etc.) you -the parent – risk forfeiting your tuition which can be upwards of $20K or more. The misconception that drugs are not on Military School campus’ is simply not true. Where there is will, there is a way. They are not lock-downs.

In many Military Schools, your child needs to interview with the school, have a good GPA and in many cases have letters of references. Another words, they have to have a desire to attend a Military School. In some cases they may go reluctantly, but are not beligerent about it. Usually if you start them younger, you will find your child more cooperative.
So what are Military Schools?

Military Schools and Academies offer a student the opportunity to reach their highest academic potential as well as build up their self-esteem to make better choices in today’s society. We encourage parents to let their children know that Military Schools are a privilege and honor to attend and not for troubled children.

Military Schools are not for punishment; they are a time for growth. With many students the structure and positive discipline that Military Schools offer are very beneficial. It not only encourages them to become the best they can be, it enhances them to grow into mature respectable young men and women. Many students do not realize they would enjoy Military Schools until they actually visit the campus and understand the honor it is. Military Schools will give your child the vision to reach their goals and dreams for their future. The high level of academics combined with small class sizes creates a strong educational background.

Many ADD/ADHD students do very well in a Military School and Military Academy due to the structure and positive discipline. If your child is ADD or ADHD you may want to consider this type of environment. Many parents start with a summer program to determine if their child is a candidate for Military School.

Military Schools and Academies tuitions vary. Most start at $22,000.00 per school year. There is financing available through lenders and some scholarships. Visit http://helpyourteens.com/ if you would like more information about Military Schools and believe your child would be a good candidate. As a parent of a child that is ADHD, he successfully graduated Military School and obtained a full academic scholarship in a private college and starting medical school next year. Military Schools are an exceptional education for many students.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Connecting with your preteen

Source: KidsHealth.org

Connecting with Your Pre-Teen

Staying connected as kids approach the teen years and become more independent may become a challenge for parents, but it’s as important as ever — if not more so now.

While activities at school, new interests, and a growing social life become more important to growing kids, parents are still the anchors, providing love, guidance, and support.

And that connection provides a sense of security and helps build the resilience kids needs to roll with life’s ups and downs.

What to Expect

Your preteen may act as if your guidance isn’t welcome or needed, and even seem embarrassed by you at times. This is when kids start to confide more in peers and request their space and privacy — expect the bedroom door to be shut more often.

As difficult as it may be to swallow these changes, try not to take them personally. They’re all signs of growing independence. You’re going to have to loosen the ties and allow some growing room.

But you don’t have to let go entirely. You’re still a powerful influence — it’s just that your preteen may be more responsive to the example you set rather than the instructions you give. So practice what you’d like to preach, just preach it a little less for now.

Modeling the qualities that you want your preteen to learn and practice — respectful communication, kindness, healthy eating, and fulfilling everyday responsibilities without complaining — makes it more likely that your son or daughter will comply.

What You Can Do

Small, simple things can reinforce connection. Make room in your schedule for special times, take advantage of the routines you already share, and show that you care.

Here are some tips:

•Family meals: It may seem like drudgery to prepare a meal, particularly after a long day. But a shared family meal provides valuable together time. So schedule it and organize it just as you would any other activity. Even if you have to pick up something pre-made, sit down together to eat it. Turn off the TV and try to tune out the ringing phone. If it’s impossible to do every night, schedule a regular weekly family dinner night that accommodates kids’ schedules. Make it something fun, and get everyone involved in the preparation and the cleanup. Sharing an activity helps build closeness and connection, and everyone pitching in reinforces a sense of responsibility and teamwork.

•Bedtime and goodnight: Your child may not need to be tucked in anymore, but maintaining a consistent bedtime routine helps preteens get the sleep needed to grow healthy and strong. So work in some winding-down time together before the lights go out. Read together. Go over the highlights of the day and talk about tomorrow. And even if your preteen has outgrown the tuck-in routine, there’s still a place for a goodnight kiss or hug. If it’s shrugged off, try a gentle hand on the shoulder or back as you wish your child a good night’s sleep.

•Share ordinary time: Find little things that let you just hang out together. Invite your preteen to come with you to walk the dog. Invite yourself along on his or her run. Washing the car, baking cookies, renting movies, watching a favorite TV show — all are opportunities to enjoy each other’s company. And they’re chances for kids to talk about what’s on their mind. Even riding in the car is an opportunity to connect. When you’re driving, your preteen may be more inclined to mention a troubling issue. Since you’re focused on the road, he or she doesn’t have to make eye contact, which can ease any discomfort about opening up.

•Create special time: Make a tradition out of celebrating family milestones beyond birthdays and holidays. Marking smaller occasions like a good report card or a winning soccer game helps reinforce family bonds.

•Show affection: Don’t underestimate the value of saying and showing how much you love your preteen. Doing so ensures that kids feel secure and loved. And you’re demonstrating healthy ways to show affection. Still, preteens may start to feel self-conscious about big displays of affection from parents, especially in public. They may pull away from your hug and kiss, but it’s not about you. Just reserve this type of affection for times when friends aren’t around. And in public, find other ways to show that you care. A smile or a wave can convey a warm send-off while respecting boundaries. Recognize out loud your child’s wonderful qualities and developing skills when you see them. You might say, “That’s a beautiful drawing — you’re really very artistic” or “You were great at baseball practice today — I loved watching you out there.”
•Stay involved: Stay involved in your preteen’s expanding pursuits. Getting involved gives you more time together and shared experiences. You don’t have to be the Scout leader, homeroom mom, or soccer coach to be involved. And your child may want to do more activities where you’re not in charge. That’s OK. Go to games and practices when you can; when you can’t, ask how things went and listen attentively. Help kids talk through the disappointments, and be sympathetic about the missed fly ball that won the game for the other team. Your attitude about setbacks will teach your preteen to accept and feel OK about them, and to summon the courage to try again.

•Stay interested: Stay interested and curious about your preteen’s ideas, feelings, and experiences. If you listen to what he or she is saying, you’ll get a better sense of the guidance, perspective, and support needed. And responding in a nonjudgmental way means your child will be more likely to come to you anytime tough issues arise.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Build a connection with your middle school child

Author of A Parents' Guide to Middle School Years, Joe Bruzzese offers parenting podcasts. Check them out - they are very educational and always something new for parenting today's kids.

While listening in on a mother-daughter conversation today I overheard the young girl say, “Alright it’s summer. When does the fun start Mom?” To which her mother replied, “Well, we are going to take a vacation in three weeks, but I need to work.” With a frustrated grin, her daughter turned and walked away. When kids hit summer they equate the words, summer break, with fun. Fun typically means vacation, camp, trips to the movie theater and time spend with Mom and Dad. Finding time to spend with your child during the summer months helps to strengthen your connection. Planning for a short trip or outing with your child in the hours after the workday or on the weekend has a dramatic impact on the connection you will continue to build in the coming years.

Does your middle schooler have you completely confused, frustrated or confused and frustrated? I would love to hear from you? Send me an email with your story. joe@thinking-forward.com

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Protecting Kids Online

This is an article that will help you to better understand we do what we have to do as responsible parents. I remember years ago (well, a decade or more now) when AOL was fairly new and the IM’g was the “hot ticket for teens” - I would sneek a peek at what my young teen was chatting about. I still believe that we have to be a responsible parent - respect their privacy but also know that if we suspect strange behavior, we need to take the appropriate precautions to keep our kids safe.

Source: WiredMoms.com
By: Admin
Here is my personal opinion - Parenting is parenting. It is not espionage. When you bring a child into your home to raise and love and care for there is an unwritten contract of sorts that you will do everything you possibly can to keep that child safe from harms way, give them a safe place to come home too and love them unconditionally.

Lately, there have been several articles in the blog world about parents that are concerned about “spying” on their children. The big problem with this concept ( as one mother reminded me the other night ) the operative word here is “child”.

Somehow as parents we have been given a bill of goods that watching over their Internet life is somehow sneaky or invading their privacy.

In real life, you ask them where they are going and when they’ll be home. You check up on the friends they are hanging out with and if they were to put up a big gigantic poster on the front of your home saying terrible swear words - you would probably make them take that down.
There is really not very much that is “private” online.

If they are posting something they wouldn’t want their mother to see it can be just as much of a problem for them as if that post was a poster on the front of your house. It is out there for the public to see. And as parents, we are part of the public. If they are posting something that a million other loons can view I definitely want to be one of those loons.

Talk to your child about what is a reasonable expectation for Privacy while they are under 18. It is completely reasonable for them to expect privacy in the bathroom - it is completely reasonable for them to expect privacy when they are talking to their friends face to face.

There is even a reasonable amount of privacy in their own bedroom - as long as there are no internet connections in there. You can even ask them directly what they expect in regards to privacy. Talk about privacy issues as it regards to them at school and other public places as well. Then just let them know that you love them and that there are boundaries that are set by parents and clearly define what yours are.

We are not a secret society of espionage agents - we are their parents. It’s not spying - it’s parenting.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Mothers Against Predators Online

Mothers Against Predators is a non-profit corporation whose mandate is to promote legislation and education to facilitate the creation on an effective defense against Internet predators. Through outreach programs and advocacy groups, M.A.P. will educate children and parents on effective ways to be protected from Internet predators, and how to properly report inappropriate or illegal behavior. M.A.P. works in partnership with local and national elected officials and law enforcement to create effective legislation and laws to provide a defense against Internet predators.
Mothers Against Predators inc. Is a group of Parents, Political Leaders, and Law enforcement who strive to protect our children online. It was formed to create a united front in response to the ever in creasing dangers our children face online. In 2004 my daughter had just turned 12; she became the victim of an online predator. Experience is the best teacher; in the past four years many have realized the need for a strong moveme nt to stem the tide of violence and exploitation of innocent children. We are gaining support, we are making a difference, please join us.
Visit http://www.wearemap.org/aboutus.htm to receive a copy of their flyer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: Video Game Addiction

As summer approaches, I am sure many parents can benefit from learning more about what our kids are playing online or with their handheld digital games. Check out this website with advice and resources to help you naviagate your child and their attraction to video games.

Video game addiction? Yes, it could be common problem in America youth. According to a latest study published in Psychological Science May 2009, a top-tier peer-reviewed scientific publication in psychology, about 8.5 percent of youth between 8 to 18 years old show symptoms of video game addiction.

As one of the most representative scientific study on video game addiction, this publication has been getting a lot of medium attention. As a result, it has been raising concerns from parents. Unsurprisingly, it also raised some debates, from game players and video game makers.

The goal of this website is to provide unbiased information about video game addiction and influence of video game to the daily life of ours and our next generation in both positive and negative ways.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Alcohol and the Teen Brain

Alcohol and the Teen Brain

“And one important difference we found…was that the kids with the heavy drinking patterns were not able to retain as much information as the kids who were non-drinkers.”

– Susan Tapert, Ph.D., clinical psychologist

16-year-old Veronica Dyer is taking part in a long-term study. The National Institutes of Health is examining the effects of alcohol on the teenage brain.

“And one important difference we found…was that the kids with the heavy drinking patterns were not able to retain as much information as the kids who were non-drinkers,“ says Susan Tapert, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist involved in the study.

“The subject on the left is a normal, healthy 15-year-old boy,” says Tapert, as she looks as brain images, “and the subject on the right is a 15-year-old boy who is actually a very heavy drinker. You can see that this is a really important area of the brain for remembering locations of things, and over here – nothing. [The heavy drinker] is not using these important brain areas to do this task, and as a result he actually didn’t perform as well on the task.”

Teens who drink twice a week consistently scored an average of ten percent lower on short-term memory tests, compared to non-drinkers.

In other words, says Tapert, “the heavy drinker is more likely to get a B, whereas the non-drinker would be able to get an A. So it’s kind of that amount of a difference.”

16-year-old K.T. Taylor says she’s been drinking heavily for four years. Now in rehab, Taylor says the alcohol has affected her memory.

“Yeah, my memory changed a lot,” she says. “I can’t remember anything anymore. I still do good on my tests – it’s just more effort than I used to have to put into it.”

Has K.T. suffered any long-term damage from drinking? No one knows. But Veronica isn’t taking that risk.

“I personally have never drunken even an entire drink of alcohol,” she says. “A lot of my friends have and I have seen how it affected them. They’re slower in school and that’s all they think about doing. And they become addicted to it in a way and I don’t want to be into that, so I don’t do it.”

Tips for Parents

Research shows that adolescents may be more vulnerable to brain damage from excessive drinking than older drinkers. Alcohol impairs brain activity in the receptors responsible for memory and learning, and young people who binge drink could be facing serious brain damage today and increased memory loss in years to come. If one begins drinking at an early age, he/she is more likely to face alcohol addiction. Consider the following …

Imaging studies have revealed a connection between heavy drinking and physical brain damage.
Neither chronic liver disease nor alcohol-induced dementia, the most common symptoms of severe alcoholism, need be present for alcohol-induced, physical brain damage to occur.

Alcohol-induced brain damage usually includes extensive shrinkage in the cortex of the frontal lobe, which is the site of higher intellectual functions.

Shrinkage has also been observed in deeper brain regions, including the cerebellum, which helps regulate coordination and balance, and brain structures associated with memory.

Alcohol abstinence has shown positive results. Even three to four weeks without alcohol can reverse effects on memory loss and problem-solving skills.

Adolescents have a better chance of recovery because they have greater powers of recuperation. If you suspect your child has alcohol-related brain damage, it is imperative to have him or her assessed by a medical doctor or psychologist. Treatment depends on the individual and the type of brain damage sustained. People with impaired brain function can be helped. Often it is necessary to reduce the demands placed on the patient. Also, a predictable routine covering all daily activities can help. Consider the following points when easing your child’s routine …

Simplify information. Present one idea at a time.
Tackle one problem at a time.
Allow your child to progress at his or her own pace.
Minimize distractions.
Avoid stressful situations.
Structure a schedule with frequent breaks and rest periods.
Consider joining an alcoholism support group.


Alcoholism Home Page
Better Health Channel
National Youth Violence Prevention Center
Psychological Assessment Research and Treatment Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents Need to Learn More about Inhalant Abuse

As summer is here, teens and tweens may find idle time and many parents are unaware of a deadly substance abuse that can be located within their own home - ordinary household product that could potentially have harmful affects on your child's health.

I hear from parents about their child smoking pot, or taking prescription pills (bars) but are you aware of cooking spray, gasoline, spray paint, felt tip pens, nail polish remover and much more?

Learn more at Inhalant.org and don't become a statistic.

Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of common products found in homes and communities with the purpose of "getting high." Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products.

When used as intended, these products have a useful purpose in our lives and enhance the quality of life, but when intentionally misused, they can be deadly. Inhalant Abuse is a lesser recognized form of substance abuse, but it is no less dangerous. Inhalants are addictive and are considered to be "gateway" drugs because children often progress from inhalants to illegal drug and alcohol abuse.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.Inhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly.

With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individuals head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.

What Products Can be Abused?

There are more than a 1,400 products which are potentially dangerous when inhaled, such as typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue.

Most are common products that can be found in the home, garage, office, school or as close as the local convenience store. The best advice for consumers is to read the labels before using a product to ensure the proper method is observed. It is also recommended that parents discuss the product labels with their children at age-appropriate times. The following list represents categories of products that are commonly abused.

Click here for a list of abusable products.