Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Disengaged Students

I hear this frequently from parents. More with older teens (students) where they used be an overachieving student and now fortunate to get B’s and C’s. With younger students, sometimes it is learning difference that hasn’t been recognized or difficulties focusing. Connect with Kids offers an excellent article on this topic with some great parenting tips.

Source: Connect with Kids

Disengaged Students

“If you look at a 4th grade classroom with 32 kids, the kids at either end of that bell curve aren’t getting attention. And so it’s not the kids in the middle of the road, it’s the kids at either end who tend to disengage much more quickly.”

– Deborah Christy, Educator

A new university study comparing American students to Chinese students finds that our kids place less value on education than their Asian counterparts and aren’t as engaged in their studies. But interestingly, both groups of students show less interest in school at about the same time: middle school.

Andrew, 17, was an ‘A’ student in elementary school. Then he went to middle school, and his grades went down … way down. “A big change happened probably in 6th grade,” says Andy, “and then just started to get worse.”

But why? “I found new interests, got a taste of different things in life, “I could just not be inside, locked inside having to do all this work, that didn’t seem to be getting me anywhere.” Instead, Andy says, he focused his attention elsewhere, like Irish dancing. He became a champion dancer.

Educators say typically, there are two kinds of kids who lose interest in school. Gifted kids, like Andy, and kids with learning disabilities. ”If you look at a 4th grade classroom with 32 kids, the kids at either end of that bell curve aren’t getting attention,” says educator Deborah Christy. “And so it’s not the kids in the middle of the road, it’s the kids at either end who tend to disengage much more quickly. “

So how can parents help? First, avoid using threats about the future. “You can keep saying you’ll never get into a good college if you don’t take this. A lot children can’t think that far in advance, they’re interested in the right now,” says Ms. Christy.

Christy says next, think about tutors or alternatives to conventional schooling. She explains, “almost every school system in the United States offers magnet programs or accelerated programs or some form of unconventional approach to education.”

Finally, stay connected with your child, and listen. Christy says,“I think the simple act of a parent walking into a child’s bedroom, sitting on the bed with no agenda, just showing up and saying what’s going on. And a lot of high school parents don’t do that anymore.”

Andy’s parents’ never stopped encouraging him and, finally, his grades started to improve. “I’m still working hard to pull them up,” says Andy, “and they’re standing by me all the way, they’re helping me out as much as they can.”

Tips for Parents
There is a common pattern that many students seem to follow as they get older. When they are in elementary school, they tend to enjoy homework and school, but as they get into middle and high school, they begin to lose focus, dislike homework and even regret having to attend classes. The National Parent Information Network (NPIN) of the U.S. Department of Education has developed a list of things that may help parents who have students who are becoming unconcerned about homework. Everyone needs to work together – the school, teachers, parents and the student – to solve the problems. If your child refuses to do assignments, call his or her teacher. If you and your child can’t understand the homework instructions, call the teacher. The teacher may also be able to help you get your child organized to do the homework. The NPIN says different homework problems require different solutions:

•Does your child have a hard time finishing assignments on time? Maybe he or she has poor study skills and needs help getting organized.
•Is the homework too difficult? Maybe your child has fallen behind and needs special help from a teacher or tutor.
•Is your child bored with the homework? Maybe it’s too easy and your child needs extra assignments that give more challenge.
The NPIN suggests asking your child these questions to combat any problems about homework that may arise:

•What’s your assignment today?
•Is the assignment clear? (If not, suggest calling the school’s homework hotline or a classmate.)
•Do you need special resources (a trip to the library or access to a computer)?
•Do you need special supplies (graph paper, poster board, etc.)?
•Have you started today’s assignment? Have you completed it?
•Is it a long-term assignment (a term paper or science project)?
•For a major project, would it be helpful to write out the steps or make a schedule?
•Would a practice test be useful?
There are certain things you can offer your child whether he or she asks for help or not, according to the Chicago Public Schools.

•Encouragement – Give your child praise for efforts and for completing assignments.
•Availability – Encourage your child to do the work independently, but be available for assistance.
•Scheduling – Establish a set time to do homework each day. You may want to use a calendar to keep track of assignments and due dates.
•Space – Provide a space for homework, stocked with the necessary supplies, such as pencils, pens, paper, dictionaries, a computer and other reference materials.
•Discipline – Help your child focus on homework by removing distractions, such as television, radio, telephone and interruptions from siblings and friends.
•Modeling – Consider doing some of your work, such as paying bills or writing letters, during your child’s homework time.
•Support – Talk to your child about difficulties with homework. Be willing to talk to your child’s teacher to resolve problems in a positive manner.
•Involvement – Familiarize yourself with the teacher’s homework policy. Make sure that you and your child understand the teacher’s expectations. At the beginning of the year, you may want to ask your child’s teacher these questions: What kinds of assignments will you give? How often do you give homework? How much time are the students expected to spend on them? What type of involvement do you expect from parents?

•American School Board Journal
•Academic Quality Improvement Program
•Chicago Public Schools
•National Parent Information Network
•National School Board Associations
•U.S. Department of Education

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Kids spending less time outside

Source: Connect with Kids

Less Time Outside

“The more freedom that you give - and if it’s a freedom that doesn’t have a hazard with it - the more independence, self-esteem and everything else the child’s going to have.”

– Don Keenan, child advocate and attorney

American children spend 50 percent less time playing outside than they did 20 years ago, that according to the Institute on Social Research at the University of Michigan. Today, some parents feel its safer for their kids to stay inside, but that safety comes with a price.

Suzianne Garner lives in a safe neighborhood. But when her kids go out to play, she’s usually right behind them.

That is quite a change from her childhood. “We would disappear in the morning and pretty much just listen for the lunch bell,” she says, “and then come back in.”

Garner says she barely lets Cole, her five-year-old, out of the front door by himself. “Only very recently did I let him start doing things like check the mail.”

Experts say parents are more afraid than a generation ago.

“I think we all have to realize that our children live in a much different world than we did,” explains Don Keenan, child advocate and attorney. “Our radiuses were a lot larger, because there were less hazards.”

But, he says, in our attempts to keep kids safe we’re limiting their full potential.

“We’re dealing with children at a point in their lives when they are developing, when they are exploring, they’re understanding, they’re being inquisitive, he says, “and the shorter the play area you’ve got, the more limited that development of that child’s personality and ideas of responsibility and everything.”

Garner agrees: “I really do think I’m limiting them - with issues like childhood obesity and not getting the kind of socialization that you would in a neighborhood.”

Between speeding cars, strangers, even unsafe playgrounds, experts say parents are left with only two choices.

“You either put a lo-jack on your child and have zero play zone,” says Keenan, “or you do the responsible thing - and that is you use your common sense, you go out into the extended play area and you make it safe.”

And the best way to make it safe, he says, is to get the whole neighborhood watching out for every child.

Tips for Parents

Most children will have more energy when they are young than at any other time in their lives. They also are at a critical stage for intellectual and creative development. Statistics have shown watching television excessively may not be the best option for this development, but many parents still use television to keep their children occupied. Consider the following:

■In a typical American home, the television is on for over seven hours each day.
■The average child spends more time watching television than in school.
■On average, kids spend about 20 or more hours each week watching television, which is more time than is spent in any other activity besides sleeping.
■An average person will have watched seven to 10 years worth of television by age 70.
■Advertisers target children, and each year an average kid sees tens of thousands of commercials on the television.
■Television viewing starts earlier than other forms of media, often beginning before the child is 2 years old.

The television can act as a very useful tool when you need to keep your children occupied in order to get things done. However, this can often be a detrimental situation unless is approached with caution and wisdom. Experts at Young Media Australia suggest the following tips concerning television usage:

■Lead by example – Children will model their viewing patterns on what they see you doing. Try to avoid turning on the television as soon as you arrive home and then leaving it on as background. Practice some guidelines for yourself such as turning the television off as soon as visitors arrive or after your favorite show is finished. Watch and support programs you believe are good. Let television and radio stations, network executives, and advertisers know what you like and dislike.
■Choose which programs to watch on television – If we accept that we all use the television as a babysitter from time to time, consider how carefully you would normally choose a baby-sitter for your child. Remember your children will be picking up values and attitudes from the television they watch every day. Try to make sure these values and attitudes are what you believe in, too. The younger the child, the more impressionable he or she is, and the less experienced in evaluating content against the values of family and community. Some images in the news, for example, are extremely disturbing for very young children and could lead to sleep disturbance.
■Keep the television out of kids’ bedrooms – It is difficult to monitor what your children are watching when they are watching television in their own room. They may be tempted to watch it when it would be more appropriate for them to be studying, reading, sleeping or working on more creative activities. Having a television in a child’s room discourages participation in family activities. It also means that you are not able to explain disturbing or misleading information, or explain how your family values may contradict the values being depicted.
■Decide as a family what you will watch in advance – Go through a television-viewing guide and make family decisions on shows to watch for the week. Discuss the reasons for the decisions with your children. Discuss issues and ideas with other adults, friends and parents of your children’s playmates.
■Teach children how to plan their own television viewing – For very young children, have them write a list or draw pictures of their favorite shows that are coming up in the next week. Give them a counter for each one and have them give it to you as they watch it. Many very young children respond to star charts based around this idea. Or, give them a certain number of counters for a week, reflecting the amount of television you will allow them to watch. If they have counters left over, reward them with a special activity they enjoy.
■Tape programs the family wants to see – If there is a program or movie on television that everyone wants to watch, tape it and schedule a special family viewing – complete with popcorn. If a show is on at an inconvenient time, such as mealtime, homework time, creative activity time or family time, tape it to watch later. Tape good children’s programs for later viewing. Young children love to watch their favorites over and over again.
■Choose some times when the television is off – Plan television-free times during the day. Set clear guidelines about when it can be on. Depending on the age of your children, you can work out these guidelines with their input. The sort of guidelines you might want to think about are: no television before school, the television only goes on once homework is completed, only one hour of television per day, etc. The clearer the guidelines, the better. Sticking to these guidelines is important, and children of all ages need and will respond to guidelines if they think they are fair and if they are consistently applied.
■Choose a family area that is a television-free space – If possible, set up an area where people can sit and read, play games or make crafts. Make it comfortable and use it. Don’t make television the focal point of the room. If it isn’t possible to create a separate area, try to rearrange the room so that the television is no longer the focal point. Research shows that people watch less television if it is not in the most prominent location in the room. Try putting it in an entertainment center with doors that close, or drape a rug over it.
■Have meals in a different room – Turn off the television at meal times and sit around a table. Catch up with one another and share stories and activities from each family member’s day.
■Talk about programs seen on the television – Discuss what you are watching and ask specific questions. Ask what your children see; it may be very different from what you see, so ask them to tell you what they think is happening. Express your views. You can be a powerful media educator by pointing out devices that are used – or values that are being promoted – that contradict your family values.Encourage children to describe how television watching affects them – Ask them why they watch specific shows, what characters they like and don’t like, etc. Discuss how family members feel about certain programs – happy, scared, excited, worried, angry, etc.

Play ‘Spot the Gimmicks and Trickery’ in television commercials – Discuss the commercials and their perception of toys, cereals, etc. Talk about the people who sell them. Point out the tricks that advertising companies use and play a game around children noticing these for themselves. Point out the real thing in the shops and compare what has been promised with what the toy actually does.

Make a list of other things for the family to do – Sit down with your children and write down other activities they enjoy. They might think of craft activities, games, toys or visiting friends. Compact discs are often a good alternative for younger children.

Perhaps most importantly, find the ‘off’ button on the television and learn to use it more – Encourage your children to participate in activities that will stimulate them more than just sitting in front of the television.

These guidelines can increase your child’s viewing intelligence and allow open communication lines for questions they may have about what they’ve seen or heard. However, it is important to remember that getting your child involved with creative activities unrelated to television viewing is a wonderful way to stimulate their development and decrease their (and your) dependence on the television.

■University of Michigan Health System
■Young Media Australia
■The Real Truth

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Inspiring Kids - Be an encouraging parent...

This past weekend I wrote about teens that inspire. The response was overwhelming. What I discovered was that there are also many kids that are not quite teens, yet they are full of inspiration and dedication to their causes. Here are only two of many! I will write another article soon about these amazing kids!

I have written about Kids are Heroes on another one of my Blogs, but it deserves to be recognized again. They are a growing group that continues to encourage and recognize kids all over the world. Did you know a 10 year old girl, Mary Margaret created this idea? Her encouraging father, Gabe, put it into action for her. The website is full of kids, parents, schools and others that are making a positive difference in lives today.
Don’t be shy, go ahead – nominate someone special today! Parenting a child in a positive direction builds self esteem and confidence, both emotionally and academically.

Another amazing kid is Jaylen Arnold! Only 8 years old and on a mission to STOP Bullying! His story is one of courage and strength. He is determined to stop childhood bullying, especially for kids with special needs as himself.
I also Blogged about him recently, but like Kids are Heroes, we need to keep the positive energy flowing and more parents and people need to take an awareness to what young people can accomplish!

Remember: Kids, tweens, teens – they are our future! Let’s keep driving them in a positive direction! All these kids, and others, are making a difference. Help support them – visit their websites and follow them on Twitter!

Follow Kids are Heroes @KidsareHeroes and on Facebook.

Follow Jaylen @JaysChallenge

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Tips

Back to school is here, however these tips are recommended all year round. As a Parent Advocate, I always remind parents - an educated parent is a prepared parent.

1. Communication: Keeping the lines of communication of your child should be a priority with all parents. It is important to let your kids know you are always there for them no matter what the subject is. If there is a subject you are not comfortable with, please be sure your child has someone they can open up to. I believe that when kids keep things bottled up, it can be when negative behaviors can start to grow.

2. Knowing your Children’s Friends: This is critical, in my opinion. Who are your kids hanging out with? Doing their homework with? If they are spending a lot of time at a friends house, go out of your way to call the parent introduce yourself. Especially if they are spending the night at a friends house, it important to take time to call the parents or meet them. This can give you a feeling of security knowing where your child is and who they are with.
3. Know your Child’s Teachers: Keep track of their attendance at school: Take time to meet each teacher and be sure they have your contact information and you have theirs if there are any concerns regarding your child. In the same respect, take time to meet your child’s Guidance Counselor.

4. Keep your Child Involved: Whether it is sports, music, drama, dance, and school clubs such as chess, government, school newspaper or different committees such as prom, dances and other school activities. Keeping your child busy can keep them out of trouble. If you can find your child’s passion – whether it is football, soccer, tennis, gymnastics, dance, music – that can help keep them focused and hopefully keep them on track in school.

5. Learn about Internet Social Networking: In today’s Cyber generation this has to be a priority. Parents need to help educate their kids on Cyber Safety – think before they post, help them to understand what they put up today, may haunt them tomorrow. Don’t get involved with strangers and especially don’t talk about sex with strangers. Avoid meeting in person the people you meet online without you being there. On the same note – cell phone and texting – don’t allow your child to freely give out their cell numbers and never post them online. Parents should consider ReputationDefender/MyChild to further help protect their children online.

6. Encourage your teen to get a job or volunteer: In today’s generation I believe we need to instill responsibility and accountability. This can start early by encouraging your teen to either get a job or volunteer, especially during the summer. Again, it is about keeping them busy, however at the same time teaching them responsibility. I always tell parents to try to encourage their teens to get jobs at Summer Camps, Nursing Homes, ASPCA, Humane Society or places where they are giving to others or helping animals. It can truly build self esteem to help others.

7. Make Time for your Child: This sounds very simple and almost obvious, but with today’s busy schedule of usually both parents working full time or single parent households, it is important to put time aside weekly (if not daily at dinner) for one on one time or family time. Today life is all about electronics (cell phones, Ipods, Blackberry’s, computers, etc) that the personal touch of actually being together has diminished. Pick a time, 8:30pm? 9:00pm? Take 15 minutes and turn off all electronics and talk about your day.

8. When Safety trumps privacy: If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or other suspicious behaviors (lying, defiance, disrespectful, etc) it is time to start asking questions – and even “snooping” – I know there are two sides to this coin, and that is why I specifically mentioned “if you suspect” things are not right – in these cases – safety for your child takes precedence over invading their privacy. Remember – we are the parent and we are accountable and responsible for our child.

9. Are you considering outside treatment for your child? Residential Therapy is a huge step, and not a step that is taken lightly. Do your homework! When your child’s behavior escalates to a level of belligerence, defiance, substance abuse or God forbid gang relations – it may be time to seek outside help. Don’t be ashamed of this – put your child’s future first and take steps to get the help he/she needs – immediately, but take your time to find the right placement. Read Wit’s End! for more information.

10. Be a parent FIRST: There are parents that want to be their child’s friend and that is great – but remember you are a parent first. Set boundaries – believe it or not kids want limits (and most importantly – need them). Never threaten consequences you don’t plan on following through with.
Take the time to be an educated parent.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry

“She got a really ugly look on her face and came back and said ‘you do not love me as much as you love Luke.’”

– Beth Scussel, talking about her 5-year-old daughter’s reaction to new baby

Over a million children in America will experience a change in status this year: they will no longer be an “only child” because their family is about to have a second child. And becoming a brother or a sister brings with it some challenges.

“She has been the princess for five years,” says Beth Scussel of her 5-year-old daughter Sara. “She has been all we do basically, just the center of our world.”

But Sara, who was an only child, had her world turned upside down this year, when Luke was born.

“She got a really ugly look on her face,” says Beth, “and (she) came back and said ‘you do not love me as much as you love Luke’.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.3 million children will no longer be an “only” child. They will get a new baby brother or sister and some will need a little help.

They no longer have the full, undivided attention of their mom and dad and they don’t really know how to explain how that feels.

“Parents have to verbalize that for the child and say ‘you must be feeling angry now because mommy has to have her attention on the baby.’ And putting those words in the child’s mouth so the child understands,” says pediatrician Dr. Karen Dewling.

Experts say older siblings often feel ignored, and worry that they’ve just been replaced. One solution is to let the older child help care for the new baby.

“Letting the sibling know that you need help to get through the situation, help this little one grow, they will feel responsible in some way and will usually help make the integration of the family much easier,” says psychiatrist Dr. Vincent Ho.

Sara has begun to catch on. “I help change the diaper,” she says, “I help him get his (pacifier).”

Her mom, Beth, adds, “I think she’s getting better. She really does adore him. She wants to help.”

Tips for Parents

The arrival of a new baby is a joyous time for families. But for older children, it can also be a time of confusion, frustration and jealousy. According to the Center for Effective Parenting, older children’s routines are often disturbed, they realize their parents no longer have as much time for them as they used to, and they notice that the new baby gets a lot of attention from both parents.

But there are ways to prepare children for the arrival of a new baby brother or sister that will help to minimize the sibling rivalry and jealousy. The Center for Effective Parenting recommends that expectant parents:

■Tell older children about the pregnancy. When? When the pregnancy begins to show.
■Tell children what to expect. Explain that caring for a new baby takes a lot of time, but doesn’t mean the older child is loved any less.
■Include children in what is going on. Let them take part in preparations for the new child.
■Make arrangements so that the arrival of the new baby changes older children’s lives as little as possible.

Once the baby is born:

■Encourage older children to help with the baby.
■Spend time alone with the older children.
■Be patient, understanding and supportive. They need to be shown and told that they are still loved very much.
Despite the best efforts of parents to avoid it, rivalry between siblings is likely to occur in a family. Why? The National Network for Child Care (NNCC) says there are a number of reasons why kids “quarrel, fight and tease”:

■Boredom, hunger, fatigue
■Seeking attention, companionship
■Developing their own sense of power
The NNCC has suggestions for what parents can do to minimize sibling rivalry:

■Ignore mild quarrels (only if no one is in danger of getting hurt).
■Spend time with each child. Studies show that 15 to 20 minutes of one-to-one attention with a child each day will significantly reduce whining and aggressive behavior.
■Teach children to ask for attention in a positive way. (“When you need a hug, let me know.”)
■Make each child feel uniquely special.
Sometimes parents ignore, deny or overlook cruel behavior between their children. But sibling violence, or “sibling abuse” is more common than violence between parents and children, or spousal abuse, according to the NNCC. The abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual.

How to tell when sibling rivalry may have gone too far? Here are some telltale signs to look for in children (from the NNCC):

■Protecting themselves
■Screaming and crying
■Constantly avoiding a sibling
■Abusing a younger sibling in turn
■Acting out an emotionally abusive message
■Telling parents
■Fighting back

If you are having trouble with sibling abuse in your family, you may also want to consider seeking professional help.


■Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
■Center For Effective Parenting
■National Network for Child Care

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting teens in a positive direction

School is opening throughout our country this month. It can be an exciting time for some and a trying time for others.

Having a successful school year is always a parent’s desire, however sometimes there are bumps and struggles. Especially if your child is in High School and preparing for their college applications, we need to be sure your teen is motivated in a positive direction.

I always encourage parents to find their child’s passion. It could be tennis, swimming, photography, baseball (sports), chess, fine arts, music, dance, or many other interests. Does your child show an interest in writing? Get them involved in the school newspaper or on the yearbook committee. Doe your child like politics? Look for groups and clubs within their school or outside and encourage them to join. Check your local library for a variety of clubs or groups.

A teen that is guided in a positive direction has a better chance at reaching their goals and developing their skills in their area of interest. It can also enhance their academic progress knowing they have a goal. I also recognize many teens don’t know what they want to be when they “grow up,” however many do have something they are passionate about.

One 15 year old,Danielle Herb, has taken her passion and reached heights that many only dream of. Her mother has been her inspiration and has encouraged Danielle to be all she can be.
Danielle Herb organized and runs Drop Your Reins, a program for kids with ADD/ADHD and Autism. She and her mother offer peaceful solutions for ADHD/ADD & Autistic Children using natural horsemanship. Visit Cheers Ranch on Amelia Island, Florida.

As a young teen, Danielle is driven, motivated and determined to do what she does best, relate with her horses and help others with her gift. Danielle herself is ADHD, and relates to the children she is helping and mentoring.

I understand this is an exceptional young woman, however your teen can be successful too. Find their passion – encourage them to get involved – be an involved parent – and don’t forget, these years go so fast, don’t waste a minute.

Be an educated parent; learn more about your teen and their goals. You may have a teen entrepreneur in your home and not realize it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: How to help your ADHD child cope with the stigma

During my years as a parent of an ADHD child through Elementary and Middle School, I know firsthand the struggles that some of these kids can have. One of the hardest days was when my son was “labeled” as a shrimp by his peers, or worse when he had to go down to the nurses office for his noon medication. I am not quite sure parents realize just how difficult this is for young children.

As a Parent Advocate, I make it my job to find information and educational material for parents raising kids today.

In my networking, I was introduced to Kara Tamanini, Therapist and Author, specializing with ADD/ADHD children. She created a website with a wealth of information that is user friendly and easy to understand. I find many websites about ADD/ADHD are a bit over-overwhelming; however Kids Awareness Series has easy to understand articles and advice.

With Kara Tamanini’s permission, I am sharing her latest tips on how to help your child cope with an ADHD stigma as school is opening. Be an educated parent.

1.) As a parent, the first thing you need to do to reduce the stigma of ADHD, is to not make a big deal about it. Watch and control your reaction about the symptoms of ADHD when they rear their ugly head. You making a big deal about having ADHD or that they have to take medications or an alternative treatment (natural vitamins or therapy) will only increase the challenge that they are already fighting.

2.) Don’t tell your child not to tell anyone! This definitely sends the message that having ADHD is something to be embarrassed or ashamed of.

3.) If your child is embarrassed to take medications for ADHD at school then work with your child’s pediatrician or psychiatrist on finding a way for your child to take medicines before or right after school. Many children and especially older children and teenagers are embarrassed in front of their friends no matter what you say to them about taking medication.

4.) Remind your child regularly that ADHD is merely a different way of thinking about things and that their brain works differently. Don’t treat ADHD as something awful, I have found that ADHD has many positive aspects and treat it as a gift. Do not treat your child differently because they have ADHD and expect less of them, they will act accordingly and will lower their own expectations of themselves.

5.) Determine as a parent whether or not you plan to share a diagnosis of ADHD with your child or teen’s school. Parents often differ in this regard on whether or not they want their child’s teacher and school to know of an ADHD diagnosis. I highly recommend to parents that they share their child’s diagnosis of ADHD with the school and discuss strategies that need to be implemented for your child in the classroom. Your teacher should also not lower his/her expectations for your child. Yes, the ADHD child may have to have a modified curriculum, but it does not mean that they cannot learn like everyone else.

6.) Talk openly with your child about an ADHD diagnosis in order to take away the stigma of the diagnosis. Boost their self-confidence and explain how those around them may perceive their ADHD behaviors. Unfortunately, many children at your child’s school will discriminate against a child that has ADHD and often because ADHD children struggle socially, they have difficulty making and keeping friends. Encourage your child to participate in activities that will raise their self-esteem and emphasize their positive attributes. When you see your child doing something good or helpful, point it out.

7.) Encourage your child to be around other children that have similar strengths and weaknesses. ADHD is a common problem and your child may benefit from attending a social skills or an ADHD group with children that are experiencing similar struggles. Psychological treatment is also another option, where your child can learn self-confidence, coping skills, social skills, and parents can learn about how to manage negative behaviors associated with ADHD.

8.) Children and parents need to surround themselves with individuals that are positive and supportive of ADHD. The last thing a child needs to hear is that, “ADHD is not a real diagnosis, it’s just an excuse to misbehave.” This a very common misconception among the general public and many parents will experience this very thing as will their children.

9.) Lastly, use the resources that are available to you. Discuss with other parents, teachers, family members, or a local or national support group about your child’s ADHD. Information for parents and educating those around you about what ADHD is and how it affects your child and adults is the best weapon against the stigma of ADHD. Get your child the help they need at school so that they are NOT discriminated against.

Let’s start off this school year the right way and give your child every opportunity to learn and be successful!

Also on The

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

“I realized something today: I would rather be dead than be ugly.”

– Francy, 19, suffers from Body Dysmorphic Disorder

One of the stranger parts of Michael Jackson’s life was called Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD): an obsession with how you look, particularly a fixation on a physical defect, whether real or imagined. An estimated nine million Americans suffer from the disorder.

“It’s an overwhelming anxiety, you just feel so ugly and so disgusting, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” says 19 year-old Francy. She’s been suffering from BDD for almost ten years.

Emory University psychiatrist, Dr. Philip Ninan explains, “Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a sense of imagined ugliness that the person perceives there’s something wrong with the way they look.”

Though no one else can see them, when Francy looks in the mirror, all she can see are flaws. “I see my face being way too round. My skin looks blotchy. My lips look too small. (My) hair looks frizzy and flat,” she says.

Every teenager worries about how they look, but BDD is much more. It is a mental disorder and usually begins in adolescence. It can be debilitating. Francy says, “I probably spent hours a day in front of the mirror. If I’m having an attack, I can’t leave the mirror; I can’t look away. And your mind is racing while you’re looking in the mirror, and it’s just, you’re telling yourself how ugly and disgusting you are. You know there’s a lot of times when I just want to lock myself up in my room and look in the mirror all day ‘cause it’s so hard to be around other people.”

Many people with BDD avoid social situations altogether or worse. “I realized something today. I would rather be dead than be ugly,” Francy reads from a computer bulletin board posting.

Dr. Ninan says she’s not alone. “The risk of suicide attempts is relatively high with people with this kind of problem.” That’s why getting the proper treatment is crucial. Anti-depressants and cognitive-behavior therapy have been successful. And without it, BDD won’t go away, something Francy knows firsthand. “I know I need to get on medicine. I can’t do this alone anymore,” she reads.
Experts say online support groups like the one Francy posts to can be an important step in getting kids to realize they need help. Discovering that they’re not alone, and hearing from others with the same problem can be invaluable.

Tips for Parents

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is listed in the DSM-IV under somatization disorders (the conversion of anxiety into physical symptoms), but clinically it seems to have similarities to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). BDD is a preoccupation with an imagined physical defect in appearance or a vastly exaggerated concern about a minimal defect. The preoccupation often regards facial features, hair or odor, and can cause significant impairment in the individual’s life where the affected thinks about his or her perceived defect for at least an hour per day. The affected individual may fear social ridicule, may consult dermatologists or plastic surgeons, and may undergo painful or risky procedures in an attempt to change the perceived defect. Among the detrimental effects of BDD are constraints on friendships and difficulty in concentrating on schoolwork because of obsessive thoughts on appearance. BDD can lead to social isolation, school dropout, major depression, unnecessary surgery, and even self-amputation or suicide. Behaviors associated with BDD include:

■Frequent glancing in reflective surfaces.
■Avoiding mirrors.
■Comparison to photographs of other females (this trait rarely surfaces in BDD males).
■Skin picking.
■Repeated measuring or touching the defect.
■Repeated requests for reassurance of the defect.
■Elaborate grooming rituals.
■Camouflaging one’s appearance with the hand, a hat or makeup.
■Avoiding social situations where others may see the defect.
■Avoiding social situations where photographs may be taken.
■Anxiety in social situations.
■Predetermined positioning, or sitting in a preplanned place they perceive as having flattering lighting and showing their “good side.”

This disorder often begins in adolescence. It is often difficult to get individuals with BDD to seek the treatment they need through a psychiatrist as they consider their problem to be physical rather than mental. Should the individual see a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, a good technique is to inform that doctor of the situation in advance. This physician can then strategically encourage the patient to accept the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Treatment of BDD usually involves:

■SSRI medications like sertraline or fluoxetine.
■Cognitive-behavior psychotherapy where the doctor helps the patient resist their compulsions.
■Family behavioral treatment.
■Gradual, progressive facing of feared situations.
■Discouraging surgical remedies.
■Therapy to help the patient understand that his/her perceptions are distorted.
■Involvement in support groups.

■BDD Central
■Northern County Psychiatric Associates

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Internet Safety

Guidelines for Parents of Teens

Talk with your Teens About What They Can and Cannot Do Online

Be reasonable and set reasonable expectations. Try to understand their needs, interests, and curiosity. Remember what it was like when you were their age.

Be Open with Your Teens and Encourage Them to Come to You if They Encounter a Problem Online

if they tell you about someone or something they encountered, your first response should not be to blame them or take away their Internet privileges. Work with them to help avoid problems in the future, and remember – you respond will determine whether they confide you the next time they encounter a problem and they learn to deal with problems on their own.

Learn Everything You Can About the Internet

Ask your teens to show you what’s cool. Have them show you great places for teens and fill you in on areas that you might benefit from as well. Make “surfing the net” a family experience. Use it to plan a vacation, pick out a movie, or check out other family activities. Make this one area where you get to be the student and your child gets to be the teacher.

Think before blocking

There are services that rate web sites for content as well as filtering programs and browsers that empower parents to block the types of sites they consider to be inappropriate. These programs work in different ways. Some block sites known to contain objectionable material. Some prevent users from entering certain types of information such as their name and address. Other programs keep your children away from chatrooms or restrict their ability to send or read E-mail. Generally these programs can be configured by the parent to only block the types of sites that the parent considers to be objectionable.

Whether or not it is appropriate to use one of these programs is a personal decision, but you should think it through carefully. At the end of the day, there is no technology that can prevent a teen from accessing information or sites if that’s what they are determined to do. If you do use such a program, you’ll probably need to explain to your teen why you feel it is necessary. You should also be careful to choose a program with criteria that reflects your family’s values. Be sure to configure it so that it doesn’t block sites that you want your teen to be able to visit.

It is important to realize that filtering programs cannot protect your child from all dangers in cyberspace. To begin with, no program can possibly block out every inappropriate site. What’s more, it’s possible, in some cases, for the programs to block sites that are appropriate. If you use a filtering program, you should re-evaluate it periodically to make sure it’s working for your family.

Regardless of whether you use a filtering program, you should still be sure that your teen follows all of the basic rules listed in this brochure. Filtering programs are not a substitute for good judgment or critical thinking. With or without filters, children and their parents need to be “net savvy” and communicate with each other.

Remember, the best filter is the one that runs in teens’ heads, not on the devices they use.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Drivers - Crash Factors

School is opening, will your teen be driving to school? Be an educated parent, learn about teen driving safety - it can save lives.

“They’ve got the stickers on their cars ‘no fear’ it’s absolutely true, they don’t stop to think about it.”

– Robert Ruede, son Dan was scarred when the car his friend was driving hit a tree.

In terms of car crashes, we are about to enter the most dangerous month of the year: September. The highest number of accidents happen in September, the worst day is Saturday and the worst time are the hours just before midnight.

“Went into a tree at about 50 miles per hour,” says 19-year-old Dan Ruede, describing how the friend he was driving with last February lost control of the car and went off the road.

Now, two months after the accident, Dan’s face is still streaked with scars from the shattered windshield.

“He’s scarred. That’s never going to go away,” says Dan’s father Robert, “His eye need more surgery. His eyelashes are growing into his eye.”

The factors that likely contributed to Dan’s crash are all too common.

One, it happened at night, when nearly two thirds of accidents involving 16 t0 19 year olds occur.

“What you have to recognize is that it’s more difficult to drive at night and that parents and teenagers need to practice nighttime driving,” says Len Pagano with the Safe America Foundation, “not just assume that you know, once they have a license they should be able to drive 24-7.”

Two, Dan was with a friend, and adding one teenager in a car doubles the chance of a serious accident.

“You better have a pretty good idea of whether or not they can handle the distraction of having other passengers. And if they’re not up to it, then you shouldn’t allow them to travel with other teens,” says Pagano.

Three, Dan and his friend were driving on a narrow, tree-lined street where the margin for error is small.

“Parents need to be thinking about identifying where they know there are hazards on those roads and try to work with the teen to say, you know it wouldn’t take a whole lot for you to end up in a tree,” says Pagano.

He says when a driver is inexperienced, parents should map out safe routes. And… drive with your child on every kind of road and condition before ever letting them handle it on their own.

“At the end of the day most kids recognize they do have a lack of knowledge,” he says.

But , Dan adds… an excess of confidence, “until the crash actually happened it was never… I kind of seemed invincible.”

Tips for Parents

Driving is a risky proposition for many American teenagers. Despite spending less time driving than all other age groups (except the elderly), teenage drivers have disproportionately high rates of crashes and fatalities. Experts say that the high accident rates for teens are caused by a combination of factors, most notably teenagers’ immaturity and lack of driving experience. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System collected the following data about teenage drivers:

■Crashes are the leading cause of death among 16- to 19-year-olds.
■The majority of teenage passenger deaths occur when another teen is driving.
■Two-thirds of teens killed in motor vehicle crashes are male.
■Among teenage drivers, alcohol is a factor in 23 percent of fatal accidents involving males, 10 percent of fatal accidents involving females.
■More than half of the teenage motor vehicle deaths occur on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Of those deaths, 41 percent occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The risks involved in letting a teenager get behind the wheel of a car are very real, but there are safety measures parents can take to improve the odds for beginning drivers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers these tips:

■Don’t rely solely on driver education. High school driving courses may be the most convenient way to teach driving skills, but they don’t produce safer drivers.
■Supervise practice driving. Take an active role in helping your teen learn how to drive. Supervised practice should be spread over at least six months and continue even after your teen graduates from a learner’s permit to a restricted or full license.
■Remember, you are a role model. New drivers learn by example, so you must practice safe driving. Teens with crashes and violations often have parents with poor driving records.
■Restrict night driving. Most nighttime fatal crashes among young drivers occur between 9 p.m. and midnight, so your teen shouldn’t be driving much later than 9 p.m.
■Restrict passengers. Teenage passengers in a vehicle can distract a new driver and/or lead to greater risk-taking. The best policy is to restrict the number of teenage passengers your teen is allowed to transport.
■Require safety belts. Don’t assume that your teen is using a safety belt when he’s with his friends, just because he uses it when you’re together. Research shows that safety belt use is lower among teens than older people. Insist that your teen use a safety belt at all times.
■Prohibit driving after drinking. Make it clear that it is illegal and highly dangerous for a teen to drive after drinking alcohol or using any other drug. While alcohol isn’t a factor in most crashes of teenagers, even small amounts of alcohol are impairing for teens.
■Choose vehicles for safety, not image. Teens should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of a crash and offer protection in case they do crash. For example, small cars don’t offer the best protection in a crash. Avoid cars with performance images that might encourage speeding. Avoid trucks and sport utility vehicles, particularly the smaller ones, which are more prone to roll over.
■Drive Home Safe
■Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
■National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sue Scheff: Difficult Teens, Defiant Teens - Parent Help

Is your teen struggling or at risk? Are they experiencing the bumps of puberty combined with the pressures of teen-life today?

There are many reasons why your child could be experiencing a confusing time in their young life, but it is our responsibility as a parent to try to determine the cause of their inner hurt and sadness that can potentially cause negative and inappropriate behavior. Many teens will close up like a clam, but we need to keep on digging to help our child from sinking to a level of making bad choices. As a parent, this can be extremely difficult, and may require outside help.
Don’t ignore it, search for answers then find your take action. Seeking outside assistance is nothing to be ashamed of and knowing you are not alone is comforting.

If a teen is struggling in school with their academic's, this could be a learning disability that has not been diagnosed or properly diagnosed. Your child could also be having some emotional problems that are distracting them from school and hopefully a therapist or guidance counselor could help you with. This can evolve from many sources including problems at home, a disagreement with a friend, or even an issue that they have been suppressing. With this, we always encourage parents to seek local therapist to evaluate the situation. Early prevention can help your child not to become a troubled teen.

At times a child may view an issue as extreme, when in reality it is minor. It is how a child perceives the problem, in comparison to how an adult would see the same problem. Children do not have the maturity parents have which may cause a child to act out negatively due to a minor incident. We may think it is small issue, but to the teen, it is huge. This needs to be addressed before it escalates into "major trouble." Problem teens, at risk teens, struggling teens, troubled teens, depressed teens, angry teens, difficult teens, violent teens all need proactive parents to seek help sooner rather than later.

If you feel your teen is in need of further Boarding School, Therapeutic Boarding School, Military School or Program Options, please visit .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Internet Addiction


In today’s society, the Internet has made its way into almost every American home. It is a well-known fact that the web is a valuable asset for research and learning. Unfortunately, it can also be a very dangerous place for teens. With social networking sites like Myspace and Friendster, chat rooms, instant messaging, and online role-playing video games, our children are at access to almost anyone. Sue Scheff, along with Parent’s Universal Resource Experts™, is tackling the dangers of the web.

Keeping tabs on our teens’ online habits doesn’t just keep them safe from online predators. More and more parents are becoming wary of the excessive hours their teens spend surfing the web, withdrawing from family, friends and activities they used to enjoy. Internet Addiction is a devastating problem facing far too many teens and their families. While medical professionals have done limited research on the topic, more and more are recognizing this destructive behavior and even more, the potential mental effects it can have.
Though the web is a great place for learning and can be safe for keeping in touch, it is important that families understand the potential risks and dangers to find a healthy balance between real and virtual life.

The Basics: The Dangers of Teen Internet Addiction

It’s clear that, for teenagers, spending too much time online can really deter social and educational development. The Internet world is such that there is always something new to do and to distract one from one’s responsibilities. We all do it- take ten minutes here or there to explore our favorite gossip or sports site. There is nothing wrong with using the Internet as a tool for research, news, and even entertainment. After all, the World Wide Web is the world’s most accurate, up to date resource for almost any type of information.

But as the Internet evolves and becomes more tailored to the individual, it grows increasingly easier to develop a dependency on it. This is especially true for teens- a group that tends to be susceptible to flashy graphics and easily enticed by the popularity of social networks. In a sense, the Internet is the new video game or TV show. It used to be that adolescents would sit in front of the TV for hours on end operating a remote, shooting people and racing cars. Now they surf the web. Teens are impressionable and can at times be improperly equipped to handle certain situations with a degree of reason and rationality. And although they may have good intentions, they might be at risk of coming across something inappropriate and even dangerous.

Sexual Predators

We’ve all heard the stories about children entering chat rooms who end up talking to someone older than them who may be looking for something more than merely a chat. These tales may sound far-fetched, or to some, even mundane, because of the publicity they’ve received, but as a parent it would be rather foolish to dismiss them as hearsay or as something that could never actually happen to your child. The fact is, these accounts of sexual predation are all too true and have caused some families a great deal of strain and fear. Even pre-adolescents have been known to join chat rooms. The reality is that there is no real way of knowing who might be in one at any given time. An even scarier thought is that these forums are often sexual predators’ main source of contact with young children. In fact, the popular TV show, [To Catch a Predator (], employs someone to pose as a teen and entice these sex offenders. The show profiles the interactions between them all the way up until the actual meeting. Some of the situations portrayed are horrifying. If you’re the parent of a teen or pre-teen, make sure to monitor Internet activity with regards to chat rooms and educate your child on the potential dangers they present.

Sensitive Subject Matter

Human curiosity is perhaps at its peak during one’s teenage years. That curiosity is what aids teens in the growth and development process. It’s necessary for survival as an adolescent and can provide for some great discoveries and maturation. However, teen curiosity can also potentially lead a person into some questionable situations, and the Internet is a prime medium through which to quell one’s inquisitiveness. Let’s face it- teenagers are anxious to be knowledgeable about topics such as sex, drugs, and other dangerous subject matter.

Talking to your teen about these sensitive subjects before he or she has a chance to search online can be a great way to allay his or her need to surf the web for more information. The Internet might be an excellent tool for presenting interesting data, but it can also grossly misrepresent certain issues. If a teenager wants to learn about sex or drugs via the web, he or she might decide to do a search containing the words “sex” or, perhaps “marijuana.” The results your child might find may not necessarily be the type of educational, instructive material you’d hope they would receive. The Internet may be savvy, but one thing it’s not capable of doing is knowing who is using it at any given time and how to customize its settings. Talk to your children about subjects you feel are important before they have the chance to find out themselves. You never know what they might come across.

Limited Social Growth

There is no better time to experience new things and meet new people than during one’s teenage years. Getting outside, going to social gatherings, and just having a good time with friends are among some of the most productive and satisfying activities in which teenagers can engage. While the Internet can provide a degree of social interaction, online networks and connections cannot replace the benefits of in-person contact. Teen Internet Addiction is dangerous because it limits a person’s options when it comes to communication. Much of learning and growing as a teen comes from the lessons one learns through friendships, fights, disagreements, trends, popularity, etc.

The Internet has made it all too easy for teens to recoil from the pressures of adolescence and remain indoors. The lure of the web can often make it seem as though social networks and online gaming are acceptable substitutes for real life. Teens can find acceptance in chat rooms and message boards, while at school they might be complete outcasts. It’s easy for teenagers to rebuff the idea of interacting with their peers and risking rejection when the Internet can provide for a seemingly relaxed environment. Children need to know that Internet addiction and reliance on online forums will only stunt social growth and make life much more difficult in the future.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Internet dependency also inherently promotes a lifestyle that is not conducive to exercise and physical activity. Many teens tend to become so enthralled in games or chats that peeling them away from the computer can prove to be an ominous task. The entertainment the Internet can provide often trumps the option to leave the house and get exercise. Parents should encourage their teens to use the Internet for school projects and some degree of entertainment, but they should also limit the time that they are allowed to spend on the computer. Begin supporting your child’s involvement in sports teams at an early age and make outside activities fun and interesting. The earlier a child is introduced to the mental and physical benefits of outside activity, the more likely he or she is to avoid inside amusements such as the Internet, TV, and video games.

Nowadays it seems our whole lives can be conducted via the Internet. We can order, purchase, and have groceries delivered all with the click of a few buttons. We can play games, talk to people, find dates, and even attend AA meetings online. The Internet may have made our lives and their day-to-day processes exponentially easier to accomplish, but by the same token it has also increased our dependence on the advantages it can provide. The convenience it creates has been known to cause some people to recoil from outside situations, opting to conduct as much business as possible from home. We must be careful of this trend, especially with teenagers, for whom positive (and negative) social interaction help to form valuable personality and wisdom.
Learn more

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: Too Sexy, Too Soon: How to Counter the X-Rated World So Our Daughters Grow Strong From the Inside Out

Get ready, on September 3rd, Dr. Michele Borba's releases her BIG Book of Parenting Solutions! Here is a sneak peak!

REALITY CHECK: Sure, the world these days is more X-rated, but parents have always been an excellent counterbalance to sleaze and raunchiness. Stay involved so you can help your daughter read her world with more critical eyes. Remember you really do influence your daughter’s attitudes, values, and self-esteem. Be mindful of your influence so she grows to be strong from the inside out.

These days it’s almost impossible to not hear about what Brittney, Lindsay, and Paris are up to with their pictures blasted on just about every news channel and magazine cover. But have you wondered if those sexy young celebrities are influencing our kids’ values? And what about the steady onslaught of images portraying girls as sex objects in just about every medium these days? Could those images actually effect how our kids turn out?

The American Psychological Association’s study confirms what many parents feared: All those raunchy, sexy girl messages do indeed have an negative impact on our daughters and are correlated eating disorders, lower self-esteem, and depression. The Today Show asked me to address what parents can do to counter those negative messages. Here are a few solutions from my latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, I offered to help us raise strong, healthy, emotionally secure young girls who can buck those raunchy images.

1.Start early. Our children begin to learn values and self-esteem when they are still in diapers. Your goal is to help your daughter from the youngest age know she is a person of worth just for who she is, and not for how she looks. Be mindful of that goal, and don’t deviate from it. After all, raising children to be strong and healthy is a 24/7 proposition and in today’s sexually-explicit culture that aim becomes even more challenging.

2.Get savvy about our new culture. Remove those blinders and take a realistic look at the new X-Rated world. Sexy, raunchy images of girls are everywhere. TV shows push the limits, magazines flaunt photos young party-going girl celebrities, the Internet has no rules, and CD lyrics are darn-right scandalous. But watch out: these days marketers are targeting even our youngest girls. The new “Hooker Look” (I can’t think of a better term) is the hot new fashion. Last year seven-to twelve year- old girls spent $1.3 million on thong undies. Toy makers are designing new long-legged, doey-eyed looking female dolls in slinky outfits ready for the hot-tub for our preschoolers. You do control the purse strings and that remote! Use your power.

3.Find healthier outlooks. Discover your daughter’s natural passion and talent whether it be surfing, basketball, art, yoga, soccer, and then support her involvement. Those positive activities will help you focus more on her talents and interests, and show her that you value her for her strengths, not appearance. It will also help her develop a stronger identify based on her passions instead of ones borrowed from young, rich celebrities on magazine covers.

4.Tune into your daughter’s world. From television shows, video games, movies, music and Internet sites, stay involved in your daughter’s lifestyle choices. Monitor what she watches and listens to, and who she seems to admire. Doing so will help you understand her values at that moment, as well as help guide your next discussions about your family values,

5.Explain why. If you don’t like a TV show, movie, CD, video or an outfit explain “Why” instead of just saying, “No.” Your daughter needs to learn how to make wise choices and needs someone (that’s you!) to be her sounding board.

6.Befriend the moms of your daughter’s friends. Find other like-minded moms with similar values as yours, and band together! Figure out what your standards are (curfew, makeup, movie ratings), and then support each other. Besides, as kids get older they generally choose friends with similar interests and values.

7.Downplay popularity and appearance. Girls need to hear messages that convey: “Who you are is far more important than how you look.” So zip your tongue and halt those comments likes: “She’s lost so-o-o-o much weight!”, “I love her hair!”, “I wonder what cream she uses?” “Did you get invited to the birthday party?” Also, watch your gossip and how you talk about other women–especially in front of your daughter. Your kids are scrutinizing your behavior, and they do copy what they see and hear. So always be the example you want your daughter to copy.
8.Stay involved. Expect your daughter to challenge you or even tune you out. That’s normal and part of growing up. Those tween years in particular are the times our daughters need us to help them make sense of a sometimes perplexing world. In fact, a study by the Girl Scouts of America found that preteens emphasized how important it was to know someone was them for them to listen and help. So stay involved.

9.Find common connectors. Is there anything (and I do mean anything) you and your daughter can enjoy doing together? Here are a few possibilities: yoga, reading, knitting, running, charity work, biking, taking a cooking class or cooking, joining an exercise club, watching a weekly television sitcom. It makes do difference what the activity is, but doing something together on an ongoing basis helps gel your relationship, and keep you talking.

10.Don’t forget your sons. Boys, as well, are bombarded by those sexy images and cause unhealthy images of women to develop. What’s more, our boys may think girls even like to be treated as sex objects. Don’t leave your son out of the mix. Talk to him. Counter those messages by giving him the right view of how women do like to be treated.
This article is excerpted from Michele Borba’s book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries (Jossey-Bass) available for order now:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Pregnancy - The Importanct of Communication

The Importance of Communication

While communication between your daughter and yourself can be a large key to preventing pregnancy, it is an even more important part of working through a pregnancy. Discovering your daughter is pregnant may feel like the worst possible thing that could happen. Your emotions may be paralyzing - you may be unsure of how to accept the situation or how to address it.

The first thing you must remember that all of the feelings you have are multiplied by ten for your daughter. She is angry and afraid and unable to solve her problems on her own.

While you may be angry and disappointed in her choices, be sure that she knows she is not alone. What is done is done - there is no use in resenting what has happened. Together, accept that the situation must be dealt with quickly.

Discuss the situation. Does she know how long she has been pregnant? If not, when was her last period? Has she taken a pregnancy test? With these initial answers, make a doctors appointment as soon as possible. These questions may be hard for her to answer, and may upset her further. Make sure that you don't push her to answer you. Making her comfortable will make her more inclined to share.

You will need to also address the situation regarding the baby's father. Has he been told? His parents? Do what you can to get a honest answer about her relationship with him. His role is important as well, considering he is the baby's father.

The initial conversations between you and your daughter will set the tone for the rest of her pregnancy. Regardless of her decisions, she will need you ever step of the way. Opening the communication lines right away and keeping them strong will give your daughter the support she needs to make it through her pregnancy.

Visit for more information on teenage pregnancy.