Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents Learn More About Inhalant Abuse

Inhalant use among teens is more common than parents want to believe. Why? Usually because the products are accessible, right in your own home. It is critical that you are an educated parent – learn more about household products and how teens are using them to get high. Of course, I don’t mean all teens, but if you suspect your child is using, open those lines of communication, it could save a life.

What is Inhalant Abuse?

Source: Inhalant.org

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.

Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and BaggingInhalation 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 individual’s 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.

List of Products used for Huffing and Sniffing

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Causes of Teen Depression

There are many causes of teen depression.

The most common causes are:

•Significant life events like the death of a family member or close friend, parents divorce or split, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or moving to a new school/area.
•Emotional/Physical neglect, being separated from a nurturer, abuse, damage to self esteem.

•Many changes happening too quickly can cause depression. For some teens, any major change at one time can trigger symptoms.

•Stress, especially in cases where the teen has little or no emotional support from parents, other family members, or friends.

•Past traumatic events or experiences like sexual abuse, general abuse, or other major experiences often harbor deep within a child and emerge in the teen years. Most children are unable to process these types of events when they happen, but of course, they remember them. As they age, the events/experiences become clearer and they gain new understanding.

•Changes associated with puberty often cause emotions labeled as depression.
•Abuse of drugs or other substances can cause changes in the brainÕs chemistry, in many cases, causing some types of depression.

•Some medical conditions such as hypothyroidism are believed to affect hormone and mood balance. Physical pain that is chronic can also trigger depression. In many cases, depression caused by medical conditions disappears when medical attention is sought and treatment occurs.
•Depression is a genetic disorder, and teens with family members who have suffered from depression have a higher chance of developing it themselves.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Warning Signs of Teenage Depression

Common warning signs/symptoms of teenage depression

•Changes in eating and sleeping habits (eating and sleeping too much or too little)
•Significant change in weight (loss or gain)
•Often misses school and/or shows bad school performance
•Reclusive, withdrawing from friends or family members
•Quick to show anger/rage
•General restlessness or anxiety
•Overreacts to criticism, even constructive
•Seems very self conscious, guilty
•Unusual problems with authority
•No longer partakes in or enjoys activities and events they once loved
•Indecision, lack of concentration, or forgetfulness
•Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
•Frequent health complaints despite being healthy
•Lack of motivation and enthusiasm for every day life
•Drug/alcohol abuse
•Mentions or thoughts of suicide

Learn more - click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Book Clubs for Kids

Source: Connect with Kids

“You can see the book from everybody else’s perspective and get their opinions on certain things in the book.”

– Antonia McManus, 16 years old, discussing what she enjoys about book clubs

Thanks to online communities and social networking sites, today young people are using new ways to rediscover an old pastime … talking about books in a book club. Even old fashioned face-to-face book clubs are enjoying a resurgence.

It’s a Saturday afternoon…and instead of sleeping late or watching TV, this group of kids are talking about books.

In fact, book clubs are becoming more popular among American kids.

11-year-old Kenya read about singer Lena Horne, who was the first African-American pin-up girl. “It was just amazing to see a black women as the star and not just a mammy or a maid,” she says.

But did all these kids come enthusiastically?

No, not exactly.

“I was like ‘book club, uh, I don’t know,’ but – so, I was just trying it out. My mom didn’t make me, but I just tried it out,” says 16-year-old Antonio.

And if they’ll try it, the experts say, there are ways to get them to come back.

“Make it fun, serve pizza, serve brownies, have door prizes,” says Carla McManus, the president of Sisters and Brothers of Hotlanta Book Club.

She says it also helps to connect books to the real world. “We talk about things that are happening in the community, so you can relate whatever you’ve read in the book to what’s happening now.”

Here they have long talks about the books they have selected, which most kids don’t get to do when they’re in school.

“I mean, they’ll talk about the Civil War, maybe, but you don’t learn specifically on specific black people and what they’ve done,” says Antonio.

“There’s not a lot of history- African-American history being taught in the schools,” says McManus. “If you don’t know your history you are bound to repeat it and I want the children to understand and be familiar with where they’ve come from so that we will not repeat history.”

And these kids say, book clubs work - they’re learning to love books and love reading.

“I feel like I’m actually in the book and doing what the actual main character is doing,” says 13-year-old Justin.

16-year-old Antonia says reading gives her a nice break from the day, “It gives me time to sometimes get my mind straight and get away from the world and just sit down and read a book.”

Tips for Parents

Fewer teens are reading for fun today than in 1971. That statistic from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) is significant because reading for fun is considered an important factor in improving teens’ reading comprehension. Although the literacy movement in the United States is strong, the American Library Association (ALA) says it is focused primarily on elementary school-aged children.

“Reading development is a continuum,” according to the ALA, “yet emphasis on literacy decreases after elementary school.”

Consider these facts about teens and reading from the NAEP:

■The latest reading test scores from the NAEP show that children scored lower in reading than in 1992.
■The percentage of students performing at or above Basic decreased from 80 percent in 1992 to
73 percent in 2005, and the percentage of students performing at or above the Proficient level decreased from 40 to 35 percent over the same period of time.
■Higher average reading scores were generally associated with higher levels of parental education. Students who reported that at least one parent graduated from college scored higher than students who reported lower levels of parental education.
■In 2005, female twelfth-grade students scored 13 points higher on average in reading than male students.
The Rand Reading Study Group cites this additional reading research:

■All high school graduates are facing an increased need for a high degree of literacy, including the capacity to comprehend complex texts, but comprehension outcomes are not improving.
■Unacceptable gaps in reading performance persist between children in different demographic groups. The growing diversity of the U.S. population will likely widen those gaps even further.
How can teens improve their reading skills and learn to enjoy reading more? The ALA says that parents and teachers need to help teens realize the value of reading in their lives by providing them with the following elements:

■Time: Teens need specific opportunities to schedule reading into their days.■Choice: Choosing their own reading materials is important to adolescents who are seeking independence.■Support: Time and choice mean little if no support exists. Support includes actions like bringing books to the classroom, arousing children’s interest in reading, reading aloud selections and fostering student-to-student and student-to-adult conversations about what is read.
Ten million American children have difficulties learning to read, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD). Of those, 10-15% eventually drop out of school, and only 2% complete a four-year college program.

Children with reading difficulties stop and start reading frequently (known as choppy reading), mispronouncing some words and skipping others entirely. They soon grow ashamed as they struggle with a skill their fellow students seem to master easily. Reading-impaired children also experience difficulty exploring science, history, literature, mathematics and other information that is available in print.

NICHD research shows that reading disabilities affect boys and girls at about the same rate. However, boys are more likely to be referred for treatment since they are more likely to get the teacher’s attention by misbehaving. Reading disabled girls may escape the teacher’s attention and withdraw into themselves.

■American Library Association
■National Institute of Child Health and Development
■National Institute for Literacy ■Rand Reading Study Group

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Runaways

One of any parent's greatest fears is a missing child.

Each year, one million troubled teens from every social class, race and religion run away from home. Unfortunately, for American families, that number continues to rise.
Confused, pressured and highly impressionable teens follow their peers into bad choices. In most cases, runaway teenagers want to escape the rules and regulations of their family and household. Disagreements with parents leave them unhappy and frustrated to the point of rebellion. Naiveté leads them to believe they could survive outside the nest; and dreams of a life without parental guidance, rules and punishment seem ideal.

The dangers of a runaway lifestyle are obvious. Afraid and desperate, teens on the street are easy targets for robbery, rape, prostitution, drug addiction and violent crime. While the official Runaway Hotline cites nine out of ten teens return home or are returned home by the police within a month, any amount of time on the street can change a child forever. Protecting our children from a potential runaway situation is incredibly important; the problem is serious, and the effects are severe.

My name is Sue Scheff™, and through my organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, I am working to keep America's teens safe. A troubled teenager is a difficult and uphill battle, but you are not alone! As parents, we must work together to educate and support each other through the crisis. The best resource is that of someone who has been there; and at P.U.R.E.™, parents can find the information and support of so many dealing with the same situations.
Are you worried that your troubled teen will run away from home? We have compiled some of the most helpful resources on teenage runaways.

Looking for support or professional help? Visit our website, Help Your Teens. Our consultation service is free of charge and available to any parent seeking help. You are not alone!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Could Your Child Be A Bully?

By Kara Tamanini - Author and Therapist
Could your child be a Bully??

Bullying is a problem that occurs in social settings. Bullying behaviors can occur at school, in a peer group, or anywhere a child interacts with their peers. Most bullying behaviors occur at the school setting where there is less adult supervision, such as in the hallway or the cafeteria. In addition, cyber-bullying or bullying a child on the internet is also occurring at an increased rate and there is extensive research in this area.

What are the characteristics of a bully:

1.) Bullying usually occurs at school and not on the way to and from school
2.) Boys most likely are the bullies and tend to be more physically aggressive; however bullies that are girls tend to spread rumors and are verbally aggressive
3.) Bullying is the most prevalent in elementary school, however bullying is prevalent in middle and high school as well.
4.) Bullying by boys declines substantially after age 15. Bullying by girls declines significantly after the age of 14.
5.) Schools in disadvantaged areas tend to have higher bullying rates by research findings. Also, schools where there is a higher prevalence of children that have behavioral, emotional, or learning disorders, the bullying rate is also higher. In classroom settings where the children are of at least average intelligence, there tends to be less bullying behavior
6.) Bullies often tend to have a below average level of intelligence and a lower reading level than their peers.
7.) In schools that have a high level of parent/teacher and principal involvement, the bullying rate is lower
8.) Girls tend to bully girls through gossiping, spreading rumors, giving the girl the "silent treatment" or refusing to talk to her and getting a group of girls to also not talk to her. Boys tend to be more physically aggressive and boys will bully both boys and girls.
9.) Most bullies do not "operate" alone. They want a group of people on "their side".

A bully tends to be a child that is aggressive, dominant and tends to have little remorse for their actions or whether or not they hurt others. Unfortunately, parents are often unaware of the problem or their child’s actions towards other children and as a result the parent has never discussed bullying behaviors with their child. A number of researchers believe that a bully comes about or is cultivated through a combination of their interactions with their adults, peers, and their teachers. A bully tends to focus on peers that are chronic victims and their peers that they see do not react well to any form of aggression.

Kara T. Tamanini, M.S., LMHC
Author and Therapist
Founder of Kids Awareness Series

Kara T. Tamanini is a licensed therapist that works with children/adolescents with a variety of childhood mental disorders.

Follow Kara Tamanini on Twitter at @KidTherapist

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Safe Teen Driving Club

The Safe Teen Driving Club, Inc., based in Atlanta, Georgia has been chartered to help parents educate, mentor, manage and monitor their teen drivers. We provide parents of teen drivers with tools, services and technology solutions they need to monitor the driving habits of their young drivers. With the help of parents, teen drivers can enjoy enhanced safety, security and protection.

To that end we are involved in several initiatives.

Products and Services-- Using various technologies and systems that report driving behavior, as well as legal and roadside assistance programs, parents can not only manage their teen's driving performance; they can also defend and protect their teens when driving incidents occur.

Education and Teen Advocacy-- Simultaneously, the Club delivers persuasive, educational content to teens to further drive home important ideas that can change attitudes and perceptions of young people leading to changes in behavior. We believe that teens talking to teens about safe driving is an effective way to improve actual on-the-road behavior. To that end, teen advocacy programs designed to meet that goal are planned in connection with high schools, driving schools, educators, parents, teens and others who share concerns about the high fatality rate among our young drivers.

Research -- In 2005 the Club conducted a web-based survey of parents with teens - both teen drivers and those about to begin driving. The survey provided important qualitative data reflecting parental attitudes toward teen driving. Additional periodic surveys are planned to evaluate the impact Safe Teen Driving Club initiatives have on teen accident and fatality rates.
We encourage members of the Club to contribute their views during these occasional surveys.

Outreach and Community Support-- Finally, the Safe Teen Driving Club has chosen to support not-for-profit organizations that help and support young people and their families. The Club reviews candidate organizations periodically, and supports those chosen by donating a portion of its annual income. As a member of the Club, you can feel confident that your purchases are supporting charitable organizations doing important work with young people.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens with ADHD

By: Jennifer Shakeel

You know that your child has presented special challenges to you as they have grown. This is true of all kids, however when your child is living with ADHD those challenges can be extreme. No one said that parenting was easy… parenting a child with ADHD is not easy… and parenting a teenager with ADHD can be, well, even more challenging. We all know the lovely teen years. Our children go into the teenage phase, they turn into some unrecognizable species that have their own rules to go by.
Depending on the time of the day or some other circumstance, they display their utmost warm love. Then at a flip of a coin, they do not want anything to do with you and think of you, their parents, to be morons. They want you when it is appropriate to them and hold you responsible for ruining everything, including their lives.

We know that they will grow out of it, and that even if they don't want to completely admit, they need us. What is even more important is that you know they need you, and this can be especially true if your child is living with ADHD. Our son has ADHD, was diagnosed in the 2nd grade. Up until I gave in and believed what the specialists were saying… and seeing my baby boy almost give up, and we started him on medication, I had lost count of the number of phone calls from the principal. I had a stack of notes from the teacher. Yes we even had in school and after school suspensions. It wasn't his fault, he needed help… and once he got it, he was a changed boy. READ More on Parenting Teens with ADHD

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADHD and a Bad Reaction

Source: ADDitude Magazine

People with ADHD tend to run with negative thoughts and emotions. When I don't notice the present—and fixate on the past—there is a sense of desperation, and no one to share it with.

The vicious cycle continues. Ever since I've been taking Adderall for my adult attention deficit disorder, I've felt focused, and yet sadder and angry. There is an edge that is sharpened by this medication, and I'm not sure that I like it. I wonder if it is childhood trauma, a personality disorder, or the ADHD medication. There are extreme ups and downs, and little control over either.

The new guy's name is Mr. Put Together, clean, organized, on the heavy side, smart, and attentive. He has many friends (many of them female), is very social, and has given me the keys to his apartment. And yet I am hung up on the Chef, who has clearly told me that we're not dating. There is no interest, he's bored. I wonder if that is how I will be too. After the chase what else is there? I too will be bored.

Recently, the father, Mr. Put Together, and I met at a fund-raising benefits event that I helped put together. It was truly a New York moment. The event was held in an expansive loft with a grand terrace, and one of the finest views of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

The caterers served white sangria and all-you-could-drink red and white wine. We sat on the terrace, the sky above gray, the wind kicking up a notch, and talked. Mr. Put Together loves to talk. He's very ambitious and has grand plans—life after his government career includes a best-selling novel. And yet I felt extremely subdued. I wanted no part of the party and the conversation, I was not happy.

Later, when we had drinks at a restaurant not far from the event, I was equally as blue. In desperation I called up the Chef, who brusquely asked me what I wanted. I lied and said I had a crisis. There was a mouse under the sink. "Can I come over, I'll sleep on the couch," I said.
There was a long pause, and he said, "OK, but I have to get up at 4 a.m." I felt like a swimmer lost at sea who had stumbled upon an island at last. I did not want sex, I did not want a boyfriend, and I did not want to go back to the room in the sketchy neighborhood.

I wanted an oasis and a place to exhale. That much the Chef gave me. He buzzed me in and threw me a pillow and sheet. "Do what you want, Jane," he said. "I'm going to sleep."

I thought back to the night. Mr. Put Together had observed that I seemed stressed and jittery. I said that I'm really an introvert and I just need a bit of down time, time to work out and swim. There is truth in that, but at the same time I don't know what is going wrong, why the sadness and feeling of hopelessness. There is much that is wrong and much that is right, too. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is when we don't notice the present, and I fear that once again I am fixated on the past, on beating a dead horse. I wish that I were more carefree, more focused, that I lived up to my potential.

Will I tell Mr. Put Together about the meds, and what might be his reaction to them? Perhaps at some point, but right now it's too early. The result would be like aborting a flight that had not even taken off yet.
by Jane D.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Gambling Addiction

“I think if someone had asked me if I had wanted to go out with a beautiful girl or sit at home and play poker, I probably would have said I'd play poker.”

– Daniel Gushue, 22 years old

Recent studies show that a growing number of young people are compulsive gamblers, particularly obsessed with gambling on the Internet. And now, Canadian researchers say that you may be able to discover who will become an addict one day by studying the behavior of kindergartners. How can you prevent your teen from getting hooked?

Daniel was a compulsive gambler.

Over the course of two years he racked up 18 thousand dollars of credit card debt.

“So on a typical night, my gambling at its worst, say here Oct. 25th,” Daniel says looking at his bank statement, “I deposited $50, I deposited another 50, another 50, a 100, another 100, 50, and then 200. So all-in-all that’s 6- $600.”

But was he an impulsive child years ago?

Researchers at the University of Montreal say there is a direct correlation: the more impulsive kids are, the more likely they will become gambling addicts.

And, experts say, because of the Internet, addiction is a greater problem today than ever.

“So whereas 15-20 years ago you have to get into a car, drive to a casino, might take you an hour or two hours or three hours to get there, now you can just pick up your cell phone and be gambling while you are waiting in the doctor’s office, or while you’re waiting at the bus stop,” explains Dr. Timothy Fong, Addiction Psychiatrist.

That’s why, experts say, parents need to be proactive.

According to psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen that means, “Familiarize yourself with what potential problems your kids might come up against, and sit them down and talk to them.”

Daniel doesn’t play online poker anymore, but he does gamble on sports.

That makes his girlfriend, Carlee Schaper, nervous. “When it comes to watching him online, sports betting and things like that, I don’t like to see him doing that, because I feel like it’s a slippery slope, and, um, it’s possible for him to go back to his old ways.”

“Should I be gambling?” says Daniel, “Probably not. But for the time being I’m in a good place.”

Tips for Parents

Three-quarters of a million teens have a serious gambling problem, according to research from the University of Buffalo. That includes stealing money to gamble, gambling more money then initially planned, or selling possessions to gamble more. Another 11 percent of teens admit to gambling at least twice a week. Evidence shows that individuals who begin gambling at an early age run a much higher lifetime risk of developing a gambling problem.

Some individuals and organizations support teaching poker to adolescents as a real-life means of instructing on critical reasoning, mathematics and probability. They say teaching the probability of winning is the most important aspect of the game and that the mathematics behind the reasoning that will show kids they won’t win in the long run.

The legal gambling age in the United States is 21. Poker sites enable minors to play by clicking a box to verify that they are the legal age and entering a credit card number. Age is verified further only if suspicions are raised.

Some researchers call gambling the fastest-growing teenage addiction. Teens are especially vulnerable to gambling because of the excitement, the risk and their belief that skill is involved. The Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling and the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling lists the following warning signs that a teen may be struggling with a gambling problem:

■Unexplained need for money: Valuables missing from the home and frequently borrowing money
■Withdrawal from the family: Changes in personality, impatience, criticism, sarcasm, increased hostility, irritability, making late-night calls, fewer outside activities, a drop in grades and unaccountable time away from home
■Interest in sports teams with no prior allegiance: Watching televised sports excessively, exhibiting an unusual interest in sports reports, viewing multiple games at one time, running up charges to 900 sports phone numbers and showing hostility over the outcome of a game
■Gambling paraphernalia: Betting slips, IOUs, lottery tickets, frequent card and dice games at home and the overuse of gambling language, such as “bet,” in conversation
■Coming to parents to pay gambling debts
■Using lunch or bus money to gamble
Ask yourself the following questions if you suspect your child has a gambling addiction:

■Is your child out of the house or confined to a room with a computer for long, unexplained periods of time?
■Does your child miss work, school or extra-curricular activities?
■Can your child be trusted with money?
■Does your child borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?
■Does your child hide his or her money?
■Have you noticed a personality change in your child?
■Does your child consistently lie to cover up or deny his or her gambling activities?
Compulsive gambling is an illness, progressive in nature. There is no cure, but with help the addiction can be suppressed. Many who gamble live in a dream world to satisfy emotional needs. The gambler dreams of a life filled with friends, new cars, furs, penthouses, yachts, etc. However, a gambler usually will return to win more, so no amount of winning is sufficient to reach these dreams.

The compulsion to gamble can easily lead to self-destructive behavior, especially for teens. If you are concerned that a young person you care about has a gambling problem, encourage him or her to contact a gambling help line in your area or to seek professional help at a gambling treatment facility.

■American Family Association
■Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling
■Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling
■National Gambling Impact Study Commission
■Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
■University of Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Mommy Perks!

People that know me, know I always share parenting ideas, articles, books, websites and more. Today, well, it is more! It is Mommy Perks! I am sure there are many mom’s and dad’s out there that would enjoy being part of a parenting network – check this out! As a Parent Advocate, I loved all these ideas to help reach out to more families.

What is Mommy Perks?

About Mommy Perks
Click here to see what others are saying about Mommy Perks.

Meet Shara Lawrence-Weiss, owner of Mommy Perks:

Prior to purchasing Mommy Perks, I was a Mommy Perk Rep. I then become co-owner and later, sole owner. Over the last few years I have researched, read, studied, watched and compared a variety of marketing and networking trends. I have modified the way that Mommy Perks runs based on those changes and the needs of small business owners.

Many mom-owned sites are now selling advertising space. In my experience, these ad spots almost never turn sales. From time to time they do but not often. What does turn sales for a small business? Especially a niche business? Well, word of mouth is a big part of the equation. As a Mommy Perks client, I will personally buy your product (if possible) and test it, use it, blog about it and more. I will do this in order to truly understand what you do and how you do it. I can then refer to you others honestly and without reservation. Research shows that 3rd party endorsements are far more effective than self-plugging. Of course you’ll say your own product is terrific, right? That will quickly go over many heads. If someone else is promoting you, though, the chances that your product or service will gain more attention are far higher.

I know this to be the case based on numerous factors. One of those factors is my other business: Personal Child Stories. When I first signed up with Mommy Perks as an advertiser (back in 2007), my graphic ad was placed on the website. Nothing came. Nothing happened. I got visits to my website but no sales. Since that time, I have built relationships with people – through the Mommy Perks site. Lots of book sales have occurred based on those relationships; the networking, marketing, word of mouth, having others refer me out and so on. By working together as a team far more has been accomplished. Newsletter sign ups, book sales, new friends made.

That is my ultimate goal with each business that I serve and help. To help them plant seeds and to teach them to water those seeds. It all takes time. Nothing grows over night (other than bacteria but let’s not go there).

Patience and perseverance, I always say. Slow and steady wins the race. Why spend money on flat ads being placed on a website with no PR to back your money? Other sites charge even more than Mommy Perks just to place your graphic on their site. Why not spend the money more wisely?

Welcome to the Mommy Perks way of thinking
Click here to visit our Ad and PR Packages page.

Why join the Mommy Perks Community?We have been turning the heads of some big names lately and continue to gain more media attention across the country for our small business philosophies. Mommy Perks is the BIG place for SMALL business!

We are a COMMUNITY of moms, small businesses, friends and family.

We offer:

A one-stop shopping experience
Free Membership to shop the discounts
Free ads for mom’s groups and non-profits
Our popular VIP Blog: free business reviews, giveaways, freebies and more
Enter to Win contests each month for members
Informative eNewsletters sent 1-2 times per month
Newsletter giveaways exclusive to members
Periodic email specials/discounts sent on behalf of our partners (advertisers)
Kid’s Corner with tips, crafts, articles and more
GreenScene: simple green living tips
Affordable advertising for any family friendly business or service

Join our growing community today and let others know they too can get PERKED!

Once we receive your information you will get a membership card in a Welcome email. You can use your membership card and code to save on purchases online and in stores locally and nationally.

Check back often to find new partners and perks at http://mommyperks.com/

Sue Scheff: Choosing Books for your Pre-Teens and Teens

Choose books that preteens and teens like:

•Preteens and teens are increasingly interested in local, national, and international current events. Read editorials and articles from the newspaper and news magazines.
•Preteens and teens question authority. Read classic and modern novels that deal with 'big' issues such as when the needs of a community are more important than those of individuals.
•Preteens and teens are striving for independence, yet still want to be connected to their families. Read your favorite books and explain why they are important to you and read books that let you share laughter, a good mystery, an action-packed adventure, a science fiction journey.
•Preteens and teens are gradually learning to think abstractly and understand the reasons behind views that differ from their own. Read books that challenge them to think 'out of the box' and see the world beyond their daily experiences.
•Preteens and teens are thinking about what they will do in their lives -- college, careers, and more. Read books that introduce a wide range of opportunities and experiences.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Getting Your Teen Involved in Community Education

Promoting Community Education

One of the most important parts of any community is the local school system, and it’s easy for concerned parents and good citizens to become intimately involved in some important aspects of school decisions.

Becoming involved with local schools helps decide the direction of the youth in your community, which is of the upmost importance for the success of any community system. A simple way to begin your citizen school involvement is by attending school board meetings. School board meetings help decide most of the important aspects of a school’s future, including school curriculum, dress code policy, disciplinary measures, budgeting, hiring teachers, new school buildings, and a variety of other things.

This is one the best ways to be a part of local school decision making, and if your school board is elected it allows you to vote on school board members while understanding the types of administrative issues that my affecting your kid. At the very least, attending school board meetings provides you with a better understanding of how to be a productive citizen in both the community and school system.

Many schools also seek volunteer help. This work could include anything from grading papers to providing transportation on school field trips. Most public school systems in this country are overcrowded and underfunded, so any volunteer work is looked upon favorably and can help the schools function better. In the end, maintaining the education of our younger generation is always a major part of a good citizen’s workload. Another great way to get involved in education is organizing after school programs.

Many schools have after school programs that they coordinate with volunteers designed to give kids something productive to do after school. Keeping kids out of trouble after school and stimulating them with meaningful work is an excellent way to promote community involvement and healthy learning. Studies show that kids who participate in afterschool programs and extracurricular activities are much more likely to succeed in school then those who don’t.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Texting and Driving (and Teens)

Texting and driving is something that just won’t go away. I’ve already written about it several times. Sorry if it is getting to be an old topic for my reader. It bugs me when I’m driving to see people doing it and it concerns me A LOT about my teens and their driving. My daughter doesn’t have her license to drive by herself yet but I know the temptation to answer the text or the phone will be huge.

The Today Show recently featured a test of someone driving while texting.
They demonstrated that texting while driving is in fact more dangerous than driving DRUNK. Scary, huh? I see it every day. It’s adults too. In fact, they are the worst. I tell my kids not to text me when I’m driving (they know my driving schedule) but rather to make a phone call. I have hands-free and although I don’t usually initiate phone calls or want to have long phone calls while driving on the highway to pick my son up, I know there are times when my kids (or husband) do need to reach me. It’s much safer for me to talk to them over speaker-phone. How can I possibly answer a text while driving 70 mph on a freeway?? But, I see people do it every day.

There is NO text or phone call as important as staying ALIVE. There is a gadget (actually there are several on the market) available that can stop you from calling or texting while driving. I think trying to use this to monitor my teenagers won’t work. Maybe it will work for someone else’s family, in which case, go for it. But in my house, my kids would figure out a way to disable the Bluetooth receiver on their phone so that they wouldn’t have to deal with the problem. You need to consider the level of technical sophistication your teen has before buying a monitoring product.We can try to teach our teens self-control. They may listen. But, what about the adults driving around doing the same thing? Where is this going?? It’s crazy out there…
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Dating

By Denise Witmner at About.com
Teens need to learn many things while traveling through the life stage of adolescence. Help your teen learn about dating by knowing these five truths:

•It is normal for a teen to be interested in dating.
While some teens tend to be interested in dating earlier than others, it is a normal adolescent life stage experience for all teenagers. Girls are more vocal about the dating interest and tend to be interested to a greater degree at a younger age, but boys are paying attention also. There is no way around it; your teenager is going to want to date. When he/she does, you’ll have to step up to the plate with some parenting skills.(Try this parenting contract for teen dating too.)

•Teenagers do not know how to date.
A teen does not learn how to date in the classroom and most likely has only picked up on some of the basics, like respecting someone’s personal space, at home. But they haven’t learned the ins and outs of a give and take relationship yet. They will be learning this as they date, and ‘on the job’ type of training. You can reinforce the values that concern dating and relationships by discussing them with your teenager and modeling them with your spouse or significant other. Do not be afraid to bring up these issues. Do not feel that they are not important. Teens that are taught values are important will look for dates with similar good values. That is who you want your teen dating, right?

•Teens whose parents talk to them about dating are better prepared and happier.
You want your teenager to grow up happy, so remember that happiness in life is found in the journey. While the topic of teens and dating can make the most confident parent nervous, you should do your best not to project those anxious feelings when discussing dating - and the rules and limits of dating - with your teen. Relax and have informative dating conversations that will strengthen your relationship with your teen and empower you both to enjoy this part of their life.

•Your teen will need privacy.
As parents, we are not very comfortable not knowing what is going on in our child’s life. But as your teen starts to date, you will need to take a step back and not try to know ‘everything’. You may at first have a hard time and feel like something is wrong. That is normal – your parenting role is changing. Change always feels awkward at first. On the other hand, your teenager may want to chat about the experience. He/she may have some questions to ask. If so, make yourself available. But remember to try not to ‘read into’ any of the questions and begin prying.

•Your teen will still need you to be ‘around’.
When you have one of your talks with your teen about dating, you will need to set up a pick up scenario. Teens are notorious for getting themselves into situations that they have a hard time getting out of by themselves. Many times this happens on dates. Therefore, let your teenager know you are available for a ride home. You will pick him/her up at anyplace or anytime, even three o’clock in the morning. You will do so without any consequences to your teenager with the understanding that everyone makes mistakes in judgment. You simply want your teen to be safe. Arguments, drinking, etc can all be a part of a bad dating experience. So, hope for the best, prepare for the worst and be there for your teen.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen are having more plastic surgery

Teens are having more plastic surgery.

I’m not talking about reconstructive surgery, I’m talking about plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons: Breast enhancement. Botox. You know — procedures that are supposed to “improve” one’s looks and, many people assume, bolster one’s self esteem.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of plastic surgery procedures (among teens 18 and younger) has increased from 59,890 in 1997 to more than 205,119 in 2007. That number includes surgical procedures such as breast reduction and nonsurgical procedures such as laser hair removal, micro-dermabrasion and chemical peels. Nearly 8,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed on females 18 and younger in 2007. The most frequently performed surgical procedure among teens was otoplasty (having ears pinned or reshaped).

In “Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem”, a survey of more than 1,000 girls in the United States showed that 70 percent of girls ages 8 to 17 believed that they “are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.” Distressing, yes? If you combine this information with the information about plastic surgery increasing…well, you see where I’m going.

Forget the word cosmetic and remember the word surgery.

Teens bodies are still changing. Their facial skeletal structure is still changing. Is it possible that what bothers them today will change and NOT bother them when they reach adult-hood? I would just raise this issue and ask if we are projecting our definition of adult beauty onto younger and younger girls (and boys). Here are some other articles on this subject you might be interested in:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Why Actions Speak Louder Than Words When It Comes to Building Moral Development

My first teaching job almost three decades ago was with a group of adorable six and seven-year-olds in Saratoga, California. I was also working on my doctorate at the same time and was fascinated with Harvard psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg’s new research on moral development. He believed morality is acquired in stages and could be increased by posing moral dilemmas to kids to stretch their moral reasoning.

So I read everything I could on his theory and began using his ideas with my students. After several lessons I noticed a few students seemed to have a better understanding of good and bad behavior and were responding to my questions with the “correct” moral answers. I was ecstatic: I thought for sure that my lectures were making a major difference on my students’ moral growth.

My excitement quickly faded: The next day my principal notified me that he’d caught my two best “moral talkers” throwing rocks at a neighbor’s house during recess and broke a window. He was especially upset that the boys couldn’t understand why their actions were wrong and showed little remorse for the damage they caused. I was bewildered: these were the same kids who always impressed me in our moral discussions.

They sure had all the right answers and sounded like they knew right from wrong. So how could they be acting immorally if they were talking so morally? My discussion with them taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

“The rocks were just there and we didn’t have anything to do, so we just started throwing them,” explained one boy. “We didn’t think the window would break.”

The second boy admitted: “I guess if it were my house I’d be kind of mad, but walls were really dirty. If the window didn’t break the man would never know that we were throwing rocks at his house.”

These two kids sure had me fooled! I quickly realized my mistake: I assumed because these kids talked morally, they would also act morally. Was I ever wrong! They also taught me that sounding as though you have a strong conscience is no guarantee for good behavior. After all, how we choose to behave really does speak louder than what we say with our words. Just make sure you don’t make the same mistake with your kids.

Knowing the right and decent way to act and acting that way should be the only test to determine whether your child has developed a strong moral compass. It’s up to us to make sure our kids’ moral compasses are solid and in place so they really will talk as well as act right and do so with or without our guidance.

Just remember: Using simple parenting solutions can make real differences on your children’s lives—especially when you choose ones that matter most in raising good kids. Then commit to making those strategies become a habit in your own daily parenting so your child internalizes them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Survival Tips for Families Managing ADHD

Striking a Balance: Summer Survival Tips for Families Managing ADHD

One major issue with ADHD and summer vacations is the bored factor. Once the novelty of having all that free-time-to-do-anything wears away, what to do with all that free time becomes a problem. On the other hand, over-scheduling and over-planning the summer can lead to burn-out and irritability for both parents and children. The art of managing ADHD during the summer is really about the art of finding balance. Several strategies can help strike this balance.

Keep a calendar: Use a monthly or weekly calendar and write down vacation, camp and community trip dates. Kids need routine to feel secure, but be sure to leave some dates empty to allow for free time to simple create and imagine in the back yard.

Prescript your day: Early in the day, sit with your child and review what they want to accomplish and what you need to accomplish. Negotiate how each of you will spend your time so as not to conflict. Explicitly state how you expect your child to behave for any important activities (like that very important conference call at 1PM) and be sure to reward them for following the “script.”

Make a summer contract: Use the summer as an opportunity to help your child explore their interests, reinforce their academic skills, and find their passions. Write out a contract with your child, in which they list their goals for the summer. Goals could include places they would like to visit, books they would like to read, cub scout activities they would like to complete, models they would like to build- the list of possibilities is endless. Include goals you and the teacher identify as well. If you have a therapist, consult them regarding activities to persue over the summer break. Activities can be focused on building a friendship with a particular friend, trying new foods with dinner, volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or learning the steps to complimenting a sibling. Set a due date and reward for completing each goal. Consider rewarding the child with a bonus for completing all their goals for the summer.

Loosen up but keep a routine: Part of the brillance of summer is the long days and lazy nights without a tight schedule to keep. The occasional later bedtime and relaxation of the rules are part of the inherent beauty of summer vacation. That being said, basic family rules, chores, and routines still need to be followed. Be mindful that a little sleep deprivation can lead to meltdowns for both parent and child any time of year. Rules about not playing on the computer all day, still need to be followed, even during the summer. Too much screen time robs kids of opportunities to build social skills and develop interests as well as leads to irritability.

Manage medicine: Some parents take a medication vacation over the summer, in an effort to allow their children to gain some weight and height. There is little evidence however, that ADHD medications permanently impact a child’s height. Kids often grow slower than their non-medicated peers, but do eventually catch-up.
Before taking a medication vacation, consider all the aspects of your child’s summer. Will you be taking a long trip, during which time your child will need to sit still? How will you all survive the trip? Will your child be in camp, where she will need to follow directions? Will ADHD behavior make it hard for her to participate in group activities or attend to social cues from new friends? Will your child have lots of unscheduled time with neighborhood kids, in which impulsive behavior could result in unsafe decisions or poor peer interactions? Before taking a medication vacation, consider all these potential situations.

ADHD is a chronic lifelong condition that needs to managed- will your child’s self-esteem, self-image, and social skill acquisition benefit from a medication vacation? Consider your goals for your child’s summer and how a medication vacation could affect your child’s success in their summer activities.

In lieu of a complete ADHD medication vacation, consider the use of shorter acting medications for the most challenging activities of your child’s summer- like a long car ride or plane trip. Shorter acting medications can cause fewer appetite- suppressing effects. Speak with your child’s physician, and collaborate with your child, as you make these decisions. Remember that as you are modeling healthy management of a condition that will likely be a lifelong journey for your child. Fuel their passions, provide opportunities to build skills, and model a healthy approach to symptom management.

Relax: Use the summer to reconnect and play. Just as your kids schedule time to do homework during the school year, schedule regular time to play with your kids every day after work. Play catch, go for a swim, bike down to the ice cream shop- do activities together to build your relationship and create a healthy self- image. Enjoy your summer together!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Bystanders Can Stop Bullying

Source: Connect with Kids

“These are the people who aren’t bullied, and neither are they the bulliers, but they stand by and they really permit these actions to take place; and I believe that that’s one of the major groups that we have to focus on, and get them involved, you know and basically say ‘we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more,’ and we’re going to intervene.”

– Bill Modzeleski, U.S. Department of Education

At a middle school in Wisconsin, students perform in front of a class - in what is called ‘social improvisation’. In the performance, one student is bullied, while others stand around and watch, or giggle…

But they don’t do anything about it.

The girl who’s being bullied, whose hair was pulled, asks the others: “Didn’t you guys see that?”

But they respond, “It’s no big deal…”

The ‘play’ illustrates a common problem. The Department of Justice found that 88 percent of teens have witnessed bullying. And experts say they have the power to stop it, if only they acted.

“We will not solve the bullying problem until we educate the silent witness,” says Stacey DeWitt, President of Connect with Kids. “The biggest issue for bullying is the majority of children who watch it happen and let it go on.”

13-year-old Krystal has been bullied - and knows the frustration of having no one come forward to help. “It hurts,” she says. “You feel like you’re alone, and that, like, no one is there to help you.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics is about to release their new policy about ways to stop bullying and how to change the culture inside our schools. Among their recommendations: increased training for teachers and the formation of anti-bullying groups for students.

And in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, they’re trying to do just that. They’ve instituted a change in the curriculum. At least once a semester, in every academic class, they talk about bullying… and witnesses… and courage.

“I don’t think we should put the onus just on the victim,” says Bill Modzeleski, with the U.S. Department of Education. “It’s wrong to say the victim has to have courage. It’s also the bystander that has to have courage. And oftentimes I would say that those who turn away are those who don’t have courage.”

Kids in Lacrosse say it’s working – that the culture inside their school has changed… and they have, too.

“It’s given me, like, a whole new point of view,” says 13-year-old Delaney, “If I see someone being bullied, I’m more likely now to stand up for the kid being bullied and say to the bully, ‘That’s not right.”

“We almost have to take it upon ourselves to take that risk to help people who truly need it”, adds 18-year-old David.

“For them to just stand there and do nothing? That’s just not right,” says Kyle, 14.

Tips for Parents
Who is likely to be a victim of bullying? The NCRSS says that passive loners are the most frequent victims, especially if they cry easily or lack social self-defense skills. Many victims are unable to deflect a conflict with humor and don’t think quickly on their feet. They are usually anxious, insecure and cautious and suffer from low self-esteem. In addition, they rarely defend themselves or retaliate and tend to lack friends, making them easy to isolate.

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, you can help him or her in the following ways cited by the Committee for Children:

■Encourage your child to report bullying incidents to you. Validate your child’s feelings by letting him or her know that it is normal to feel hurt, sad, scared, angry, etc. Help your child be specific in describing bullying incidents – who, what, where and when.
■Ask your child how he or she has tried to stop the bullying. Coach him or her in possible coping methods – avoidance of the bully and making new friends for support.
■Treat the school as your ally. Share your child’s concerns and specific information around bullying incidents with appropriate school personnel. Work with school staff to protect your child from possible retaliation. Establish a plan with the school and your child for dealing with future bullying incidents. Volunteer time to help supervise on field trips, on the playground or in the lunchroom. And become an advocate for school-wide bullying prevention programs and policies.
■Encourage your child to continue to talk with you about all bullying incidents. Never ignore your child’s report. Remember that you should not advise your child to physically fight back. Bullying lasts longer and becomes more severe when children fight back, and physical injuries often result. Also, you should not confront the bullying child or his or her parents.
Unlike victims, bullies appear to suffer little anxiety and possess strong self-esteem, according to the NCRSS. They often come from homes where physical punishment is used and where children are taught to strike back physically as a way of handling problems. Bullies thus believe that it is all right for stronger children to hit weaker children. They frequently lack parental warmth and involvement and seem to desire power and control.

If you suspect that your child is bullying others, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) suggests you seek help for him or her as soon as possible. Without intervention, bullying can lead to serious academic, social, emotional and legal difficulties. Talk to your child’s pediatrician, teacher, principal, school counselor or family physician. If the bullying continues, the AACAP advises you to arrange a comprehensive evaluation of your child by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other mental health professional should be arranged.

The Coalition for Children says that you can also help your child by discussing with him or her these key points about bullying:

■Remind your child that bullying is not acceptable in your family or in society.
■Provide your child with alternatives to taking frustration or aggression out on others. You can even role-play different ways to behave in situations where your child would normally bully another.
■Specify concretely the consequences if the aggression or bullying continue.
While bullying, harassment and teasing are unfortunate aspects of childhood, you can help minimize these occurrences by raising non-violent children. The American Academy of Pediatrics cites the following tips for curbing hurtful behavior in your child:

■Give your child consistent love and attention. Every child needs a strong, loving, relationship with a parent or other adult to feel safe and secure and to develop a sense of trust. Without a steady bond to a caring adult, a child is at risk for becoming hostile, difficult and hard to manage.
■Make sure your child is supervised. A child depends on his or her parents and family members for encouragement, protection and support as he or she learns to think for himself or herself. Without proper supervision, your child will not receive the guidance he or she needs. Studies report that unsupervised children often have behavior problems.
■Show your child appropriate behaviors by the way you act. Children often learn by example. The behavior, values and attitudes of parents and siblings have a strong influence on them. Most children sometimes act aggressively and may hit another person. Be firm with your child about the possible dangers of violent behavior. Also remember to praise your child when he or she solves problems constructively without violence.
■Don’t hit your child. Hitting or slapping your child as punishment shows him or her that it’s OK to hit others to solve problems and can train him or her to punish others in the same way he or she were punished.
■Be consistent about rules and discipline. When you make a rule, stick to it. Your child needs structure with clear expectations for his or her behavior. Setting rules and then not enforcing them is confusing and sets up your child to “see what he or she can get away with.”
■Make sure your child does not have access to guns. Guns and children can be a deadly combination. Teach your child about the dangers of firearms or other weapons if you own and use them. If you keep a gun in your home, unload it and lock it up separately from the bullets. Don’t carry a gun or a weapon. If you do, this tells your child that using guns solves problems.
■Try to keep your child from seeing violence in the home or community. Violence in the home can be frightening and harmful to children. A child who has seen violence at home does not always become violent, but he or she may be more likely to try to resolve conflicts with violence.
■Try to keep your child from seeing too much violence in the media. Watching a lot of violence on television, in the movies and in video games can lead children to behave aggressively. As a parent, you can control the amount of violence your child sees in the media by limiting television viewing and previewing games, movies, etc., before allowing access to them by your child.
■Help your child stand up against violence. Support your child in standing up against violence. Teach him or her to respond with calm but firm words when others insult, threaten or hit another person. Help your child understand that it takes more courage and leadership to resist violence than to go along with it.
■American Academy of Pediatrics
■American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
■Coalition for Children
■Committee for Children
■Families and Work Institute
■National Resource Center for Safe Schools
■National School Safety Center
■U.S. Department of Education
■University of Zurich

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: Why Kids and Teens Steal

Source: KidsHealth

Your child does homework on time, helps you clear the table after dinner, and even helps with housework on the weekends. So can it be true that this same child is stealing?
Before you react, it helps to know a little about why kids steal and where to get help.

Why Kids and Teens Steal

Kids of all ages — from preschoolers to teens — can be tempted to steal for different reasons:
Very young children sometimes take things they want without understanding that things cost money and that it's wrong to take something without paying for it.

School-age kids usually know they're not supposed to take something without paying, but they might do so anyway because they lack enough self-control.

Preteens and teens know they're not supposed to steal, but might steal for the thrill of it or because their friends do. Some might believe they can get away with it. As they're given more control over their lives, some teens steal as a way of rebelling.

And other complex reasons can be factors. Kids might be angry or want attention. Their behavior may reflect stress at home, school, or with friends. Some may steal as a cry for help because of emotional or physical abuse they're enduring.

In other cases, kids and teens steal because they can't afford to pay for what they need or want — for example, they may steal to get popular name-brand items. In some cases, they may take things to support drug habits.

Whatever the reason for stealing, parents need to find out the root of the behavior and address other underlying problems, like drug abuse, that may surface.
What Should I Do?

When a child has been caught stealing, a parent's reaction should depend on whether it's the first time or there's a pattern of stealing.

With very young children, parents need to help them understand that stealing is wrong — that when you take something without asking or paying for it, it hurts someone else. If a preschooler takes a piece of candy, for instance, parents can help the child return the item. If the child has already eaten the candy, parents can take the child back to the store to apologize and pay for it.
With school-age kids, too, it's important to return the stolen item. By the first and second grades, kids should know stealing is wrong. But they may need a better understanding of the consequences.

Here's an example: If a child comes home with a friend's bracelet and it's clear the child took it without the friend's permission, the parent should talk to the child about how it would feel if a friend took something without asking first. The parent should encourage the child to call the friend to apologize, explain what happened, and promise to return it.

When teens steal, it's recommended that parents follow through with stricter consequences. For example, when a teen is caught stealing, the parent can take the teen back to the store and meet with the security department to explain and apologize for what happened.

The embarrassment of facing up to what he or she did by having to return a stolen item makes for an everlasting lesson on why stealing is wrong.

Further punishment, particularly physical punishment, is unnecessary and could make the child angry and more likely to engage in even worse behavior.

If it's a first-time offense, some stores and businesses may accept an apology and not necessarily press charges. However, some stores press charges the first time around. And there's often little sympathy for repeat offenders.

Kids of all ages need to know that shoplifting isn't just about taking things from a store — it's taking money from the people who run the businesses. Plus, shoplifting makes prices higher for other customers. They should also know that stealing is a crime and can lead to consequences far worse than being grounded, including juvenile detention centers and even prison.

If stealing money from a parent, the child should be offered options for paying back the money, like doing extra chores around the house. It's important, however, that a parent not bait the child by leaving out money in the hopes of catching the child in the act. That could damage the sense of trust between a parent and child.
If a Child Keeps Stealing

If your child has stolen on more than one occasion, consider getting professional help. Repeat offenses may indicate a bigger problem.

One third of juveniles who've been caught shoplifting say it's difficult for them to quit. So, it's important to help kids and teens understand why stealing is wrong and that they may face serious consequences if they continue to steal.

Others who may be able to talk to you and/or your child about the problem and help you address it include a:

family therapist or counselor
family doctor (who may be able to refer you to a family therapist or counselor)
minister, priest, or rabbi
school counselor (especially if your child is stealing from the school)
support group, such as the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) or Cleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous (CASA), which may be able to provide information or help (look in your phone book for groups in your area)

Although most ordinary acts of theft or shoplifting are deliberate, some people who steal may have kleptomania. With this rare compulsive disorder, which makes up a very small portion of all shoplifting cases, a person feels a sense of tension or anxiety before the theft, then feels relief or gratification when committing the theft. The person may feel guilt afterward and often discard the objects after stealing them, and also might have other compulsive disorders (such as an eating disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD).
Whatever the underlying cause, if stealing is becoming a habit with your child or teen, consider speaking with a doctor or therapist to get to the cause of the behavior. It's also important to routinely monitoring your child's behavior, keep him or her away from situations in which stealing is a temptation, and establish reasonable consequences for stealing if it does occur.
Reviewed by: W. Douglas Tynan, PhD, ABPPDate reviewed: November 2008