Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teen Girls - National Tween Girl Summit 2009

The first ever Tween Girl Summit brought to you by AK Tweens and AllyKatzz.com.

On October 10, 2009, hundreds of tween girls ages 9 to 14 from across the nation, as well as parents, experts, politicians and celebrities, will descend upon the historic Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC for the First Ever National Tween Girl Summit.

At the Summit, girls will talk about their passions, challenges, values, goals, heroes, dreams, fears, tween girl power, community activism and what they are going to do to change their world. We want the President and the First Lady to know that girls have heard their call for community activism and they’re ready to change the world!

Everything is here: Everything you need to know about the Tween Summit is on this site. Please check back often for updates on speakers, sponsors and celebs who will be joining us!

Summit Online: Can’t attend the Summit on October 10th? We’ll be live blogging on Allykatzz.com so everyone can be a part of The First Ever Tween Girl Summit.

The 2009 Summit Research Report: From the Tween Summit observation deck, we will obtain insights from 300 tween girls attending the event, as well as gathering data from thousands of AllyKatzz members streaming the experience online. Learn more.

The Tween Summit Agenda - PDF available.

For more information email tweensummit@allykatzz.com and visit http://www.tweensummit.com/.
Also on Examiner.com

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Is your child overscheduled?

There was a time when concerns about overscheduling kids would have been laughable. That was before scheduled play dates and after-school classes came into the picture. Now, kids race from soccer games to Mandarin class to music practice, while frazzled parents follow along wondering what happened to free time. “If you have to schedule a child’s play dates more than a week or two ahead, that child is probably overscheduled,” says Jacqueline Golding, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

“If kids have to stay up at night past a reasonable bedtime more than once in a great while in order to do their homework after their after-school activities…they’re definitely doing too much.” “Too much over-scheduling limits two very important developmental elements,” says Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D, a child psychologist and Founder of the Better Parenting Institute.

“One is unstructured play time…kids have very little time to interact with peers without it being orchestrated. They don’t have to make any decisions or navigate friendships on their own. The other crucial element is quiet time. Kids do not know how to spend down time and entertain themselves…they need time to create their own stimulation, and not have others be the suppliers.” Sounds reasonable, right? Unfortunately, we live in a competitive society, and many parents worry that their kids will fall behind if they don’t use every spare moment enhancing their resumes. While it’s true that college admissions have become increasingly competitive, it’s also true both that there are enough spots to go around and that more and more freshmen are showing up burned-out and overwhelmed. Free play helps children develop their imaginations and their independence, build friendships, and shake off stress.
These gifts don’t show up on college applications but they benefit kids their whole lives. “As a rule of thumb, children should only be involved in one sport and one other kind of activity at a time,” says Panaccione. Every child is different, though, so one kid’s invigorating schedule is another’s overscheduled nightmare. A lot depends on age and temperament. If your child becomes irritable, complains of frequent stomachaches or headaches, starts having nightmares, or regresses or withdraws emotionally, he or she might be feeling overscheduled. So take it down a notch! It will give both of you a break.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen helping ADHD and Autistic Children

Danielle Herb (also known as The Horse Listener), 15, is a young social entrepreneur on a mission to improve the lives of 1,000,000 ADD/ADHD and Autistic children. The first item on her agenda is to raise $50,000 by Oct 1, 2009 to secure a world class training facility in Ocala, FL where she will be able to provide free horse therapy to kids.

The rapid growth and expansion of Danielle’s company has been inhibited by her current geographic location, which lacks accessibility. Nicknamed “The Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala lends itself to being the perfect location for Danielle to give and receive support, as well as to set up alliances and collaborate with other equine facilities. Danielle is asking for your support via a private donation of any amount at http://www.dropyourreins.com/ or the promotion or purchase of "Awaken the Social Capital in Your Business 10 Week Course", from which 100% of proceeds will be donated to her cause.

Danielle is the author of the forthcoming book, Drop Your Reins: Peaceful Transformation Techniques for ADD/ADHD and Autisic Children Through Natural Horsemanship.

Take 7 minutes of your time to get to know Danielle Herb. Feel her passion, hear her devotion, and experience her dedication to create a better world for millions of children today. WATCH VIDEO NOW.

Horses are amazing because they are sentient animals that mirror our personalities as well as our fears. -Danielle Herb

For more info: Contact Marianne St. Claire. You can follow Danielle Herb on Twitter and join her Facebook Fan Page.
Also on Examiner.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teenage Girls and their Friendships and Relationships

One of my favorite resources and websites is A Way Through which offers valuable and educational information about raising your girls today. Recently they posted an excellent article on teenagers and their relationships with their friends. Is it love?

She Broke up with Me

With a sad face and a stream of tears, the student entered my office and said, “She broke up with me.” There was a pause and a heavy sigh followed by, “She was my heart.” I inwardly gasped at the magnitude of emotional intelligence these words carried. Most kids don’t talk like this! Was it teenage angst? Experience with first love lost? No, these were the words of a six-year-old girl. She and her friend had just had a fight.

About 10 years ago, I noticed young elementary school girls used the words “breaking up” when a female friendship was on the rocks. I don’t hear the same words from older girls, so this language is curious to me. I often hear the frustration from groups of girls who want to know what to do, because “we keep breaking up and making up.” They come to my office together with high hopes that their group will stop the cycle of breaking up and making up. The girls are entirely sincere about their worry of estrangement.

I’m encouraged when girls seek help for these breakups, because they really want to get along. They want to remain friends, and wanting that is a very good start toward healing friendships. We talk about behavior patterns, the helpful and hurtful. They tell me all the patterns, and I write them down. The group then identifies their hurtful and helpful patterns. I let them know that patterns can be broken with practice. Who wants to practice positive friendship skills? They all do.

It can take six weeks to break a pattern, but with total effort it can happen in two. When girls are motivated to save friendships, it can happen. Give your daughter or female student(s) the two-week challenge. With their lists of friendship patterns, they can take responsibility for changing their friendship behaviors – the ones that aren’t working for them. There can be fewer breakups, because we all know breaking up is hard to do.

© 2009 A Way Through, LLC

Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Help STOMP Out Bullying

STOMP Out Bullying™ is an initiative of Love Our Children USA™ the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Since 1999, it has paved the way in prevention and has become the 'Go-To' prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S.

Love Our Children USA launched the STOMP Out Bullying™ campaign in October, 2008. STOMP Out Bullying focuses its efforts to reduce Bullying and Cyberbullying, decrease school absenteeism and truancy, educate against homophobia and racism and deter violence in schools, playgrounds and communities across the country. It includes public service announcements by noted celebrities, in-school education, online and social media campaigns, posters, brochures and wristbands.

Both the STOMP Out Bullying Campaign™ and our Annual BLUE SHIRT DAY™ initiative bring awareness and educates kids, parents and schools about the issue. It offers hope for every kid who experiences the harmful effects of bullying and teaches parents to keep open communication with their children and to look for signs. It also educates school administrators across the country, who have swept this issue under the rug for far too long. Funds raised for the campaign go towards a dedicated web site and towards brochures and materials to assist bullying prevention education and peer mentoring in schools for those who adopt the STOMP Out Bullying™ campaign.

For those who think that kids need to toughen up and become thick-skinned, years ago we would have agreed with them. But today's kids are at risk, and that risk grows more and more everyday as the popularity of the Internet increases. Kids today are exposed to so much more than we were years ago. And years ago, when kids threatened to kill someone they didn't mean it. Today our kids have access to guns and the threat to kill someone is no longer idle.

The issues of bullying and cyberbullying have increased to epidemic proportions. As a form of violence against children, these issues have caused a crisis. Some kids are so tormented that suicide has become an alternative for them. It has everyone worried. Not just the kids on its receiving end, but the parents, teachers and others who may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Love Our Children USA is working aggressively to prevent these issues and to help the kids and teens affected by it.

Love Our Children created STOMP Out Bullying™ to put an end to this crisis, to keep our children safe and to create bullying prevention education and peer mentoring in schools.

Please join us in our efforts to educate and advocate and most of all to STOMP Out Bullying™!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting tips, who are your kids hanging out with?

Source: Shoulder to Shoulder
Who are your teens hanging out with? Fantastic information for parents today!
(a.k.a. Who is Johnny hanging out with…)

Friends are so important to our teens. As the parents, it's our job to get to know each other. That way, we can agree on expectations about what our teens do and how they behave. Plus, it's nice to know there is strength in numbers - we're not the only ones raising teens.


•Make a point to invite parents in for coffee and a chance to chat when they bring their teen to visit our homes. If you're the driver, stick your head in the door and introduce yourself to the parents of your teens' friends.

•Know the address and phone numbers of your teens' friends. Keep this information in a handy place to make quick phone calls to check teens' plans.


•Introduce yourself to your teen's friends - let them know your name and learn theirs as well.

•Take interest in them. We're not going to get juicy information, but know the basics: Where do you go to school? Do you have brothers and sisters? Do you play sports? What do you enjoy doing outside of school?
•Help teens' friends know the rules in your house. Whether it's leaving shoes at the door or clearing the dishes from the table after you eat, find a way to clearly and politely communicate your expectations.
•Concerned about a particular friend? Sometimes teens like to "try out" new friends who are very different from them. If you're concerned there isn't enough supervision or that the home of a friend is unsafe, invite the friend to your home.


•Will there be an adult at home? Will the adult be nearby the teens?

•What does the parent know about their teens' plans?
•Will they be going anywhere? If so, how will they get there? (Do you want an adult to drive or are you ok with the 16-year-old sister driving?)
•What time should I pick up my teen?
•How many teens are coming over? (Is this a raging party or just a few friends?)
•Will they be having a meal with you?
•What are your rules about media ratings and what kids are allowed to watch?
•Do you have alcohol in the house? What are your rules about use?
•Does anyone smoke in the house? What are your rules about smoking?
•Do you have guns in the home? Are they locked away with trigger locks?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Are you struggling with your child about their bedtime?

Another great article from Kara Tamanini. Learn more about her fantastic children's books and more of her educational articles at http://www.kidsawarenessseries.com/

How to stop arguing with your kids about bedtime
By: Kara Tamamini

A frequent complaint from parents is how to get their kids to bed at night without arguing and complaining. Does this sound familiar to you? You put your child/children to bed at the designated time and five minutes later your daughter or son is out of their room complaining about something. They tell you that they have to go to the bathroom, they need a drink of water, they are not tired, they are scared, the television is too loud and they can not go to sleep, or they are still hungry! Most kids have said this or something similar to their parents at least a million times. So how exactly do we get our children to go to sleep at night and stay in their room asleep. Here are a few simple tips that may be helpful:

1.) Make sure you are not putting your child to bed too early. A 3-year-old child most likely has a bedtime that is much earlier than say a 9-year-old child. Most children require alot of sleep, however if you are putting your eight or nine-year-old to bed at 8 p.m. and they don’t get up until 7 a.m. then you want to consider letting them stay up a little later. Yes, it is true that children require more sleep than adults, however some children do not require as much sleep as others. Try letting the older child stay up a little later.

2.) Sitting around playing video games or watching television after dinner will most likely not tire most children. Try letting them play outside or go for a walk or some type of physical exertion. Physical exertion wears children out not T.V. or sitting in their room.

3.) Turn off most of the lights in the house and if you are watching television then turn the T.V. down. Most kids, no matter what the age will not go to bed if they think that you are doing something interesting. Kids have the attitude, “but I don’t want to miss anything” and if they see or hear you laughing or doing something interesting they will struggle to go to bed.

4.) Do not feed your child sugar or caffeine at night. If children are struggling to go to bed, the last thing they need is a soda or chocolate bar after dinner. These types of snacks, if given should be given after lunch or earlier in the daytime.

5.) Keep a routine time to go to bed and stick to it. If you have a schedule of what your child does before they go to bed, then don’t deviate from the routine. For example, if your routine is to eat dinner, let your child play outside, then take a bath, then go to bed, then stick to it. Changing routines, no matter how old the child is disconcerting and most kids and adults do better when they know what to expect.

Above all, be firm and consistent. If you give in over and over, then your child will try to manipulate you and test your patience. You can expect your child to cry, plead, and whine about going to bed. Expect the argument that will ensue, but remember to be consistent.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Drug Use

This is only one excellent article from a website and organization that has a vast amount of information for parents and teens regarding drug abuse. Take the time to be an educated parent, which equals a prepared parent and leads to safer teens!
Although teens are turning away from street drugs, now there's a new threat and it's from the family medicine cabinet: The abuse of prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense in addressing this troubling trend.
What's the problem?

Teens are abusing some prescription and over-the-counter drugs to get high. This includes painkillers, such as those drugs prescribed after surgery; depressants, such as sleeping pills or anti-anxiety drugs; and stimulants, such as those drugs prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Teens are also abusing over-the-counter drugs, such as cough and cold remedies.

Every day 2,500 youth age 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the very first time. More teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. In 2006, more than 2.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs.1 Among 12- and 13-year-olds, prescription drugs are the drug of choice.2

Because these drugs are so readily available, and many teens believe they are a safe way to get high, teens who wouldn't otherwise touch illicit drugs might abuse prescription drugs. And not many parents are talking to them about it, even though teens report that parental disapproval is a powerful way to keep them away from drugs.3

What are the dangers?

There are serious health risks related to abuse of prescription drugs. A single large dose of prescription or over-the-counter painkillers or depressants can cause breathing difficulty that can lead to death. Stimulant abuse can lead to hostility or paranoia, or the potential for heart system failure or fatal seizures. Even in small doses, depressants and painkillers have subtle effects on motor skills, judgment, and ability to learn.

The abuse of OTC cough and cold remedies can cause blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, coma, and even death. Many teens report mixing prescription drugs, OTC drugs, and alcohol. Using these drugs in combination can cause respiratory failure and death.

Prescription and OTC drug abuse is addictive. Between 1995 and 2005, treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent.4

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Does Cyber Classes work for all students?

Are cyber classes right for your child? I know each teen is different in their learning abilities, and some do very well with virtual classes. Here is an informational article with parenting tips on Cyber Classes from Connect with Kids.

Source: Connect with Kids

Cyber Classes

“There’s much more personal interaction and intervention, because the learning in very individualized.”

– Wendy Metcalf, Online Campus Administrator

Over one million students were enrolled in online courses last year, that according to the Sloan Consortium, a non-profit research group. Each year, the number of kids studying in the virtual world grows, which creates challenges for them and their parents.

18-year-old Andrew is one of the trailblazers of this new dimension of learning. He’s taking a language arts class on his home computer, for high school credit.

“It’s getting me ahead,’ says Andy. “I plan on graduating in December, first semester.”

This is the future of education. In the last three years, the number of students taking online high school courses has grown by almost 50 percent.

Some, like Andy, want to graduate early. “And then we have the other type of student,” says Online Campus Administrator Wendy Metcalf, “who possibly failed a course, and wants to get back on track for graduation.”

But if students think they’ll breeze through a cyber class, they’re in for a surprise. “It takes a lot of discipline,” says Andy. There is no classroom, no bell at the beginning of class, and that means, “You’ve got to get on the computer, and you’ve got to get your stuff turned in.”

But what if your child’s attention strays? That’s where parents play an important role. “Parental involvement is really important,” says Ms. Metcalf, “because they really act as the adult that’s supervising the learning, because the students are at home.”

So with attentive parents and disciplined children, there are definite advantages to cyber classes. Ms. Metcalf stresses, “There’s much more personal interaction, because the learning is very individualized.”

Andy agrees, “It’s a great opportunity for me. I learn a lot.”

Tips for Parents

In 1999, Congress established the Web-based Education Commission. The 16-member body was charged with exploring and maximizing educational opportunities of the Internet for all students, from pre-K to post-secondary. Their findings structured the foundation that allows public school systems to use federal monies to fund online learning programs.

Websites are no longer static; today’s technology enables an interactive environment when online. Streaming media technology provides real time and in-demand distribution of learning materials. Streaming sites also receive feedback from students, thus creating an optimum learning cycle. Some benefits of online learning include the following:

•Online learning gives cost-effective resources to rural educators and others with limited means.
•Students with special needs often find greater educational advancement through online learning.
•Online courses avoid many scheduling conflicts by providing convenience and flexibility.
Class.com lists schools worldwide that offer online educational opportunities. As a parent, there are many elements to look for when considering your child’s enrollment in an online course. Among the questions you should ask are:

•Does an established, traditional school run the online course?
•Does the teaching staff have sufficient knowledge about the subject?
•How is the teaching staff held accountable for their work?
•What is the student-to-teacher ratio? The Distance Learning Resource Center recommends this ratio be between 25:1 and 8:1.
•Does the course provide student-to-teacher interaction?
•Does the course provide student-to-student interaction?
•Is the class structured with a specific start and end date or is the completion time flexible?
•Does your child have time available each week to devote to this class?
•What portion of the tuition is refunded if the course is dropped?
•How are assignments made? The Distance Learning Resource Center recommends essays and projects over multiple-choice formats.
•Are assignments submitted electronically or by hard copy?
•Is the class taught using textbooks or software?
•Will your child’s current school accept an online course as a substitute for a traditional class?
•Will the college(s) your child plans to attend accept the online class as a legitimate high school course for college admission?

•CBS MarketWatch
•Distance Learning Resource Network
•Web-based Education Commission
•Virtual High Schoo

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teenage Suicide

As you have probably heard before, talking to your teen about suicide is one of the most important things you can do in helping to prevent a suicide attempt. Many times parents are unsure of what to say and instead say nothing. Here are some suggestions of how you can open the channels of communication and help your teen open up.

First, tell your teen you care; no matter the state of your relationship, just hearing this can go a long way. Tell your teen you are there if needed, and are willing to listen without judging. NAMI estimates that around 80% of all teens who attempt suicide give some sort of verbal or nonverbal warning beforehand, so be sure to take whatever your teen says completely seriously.

A common mistake parents make when dealing with a suicidal teen is thinking that if they mention suicide they will be planting the idea in their teen’s brain. This is simply not accurate. In fact, by mentioning your fears, you are showing your teen that you take their actions and their life seriously. Remember, most people who are suicidal do not really want to die- they want to put an end to the suffering they are experiencing. When given an opportunity to be helped through that suffering, or when some of that suffering is alleviated by knowing they aren’t alone, this can help reduce the desire to end the pain by more drastic means.

Worldwide over 1,000,000 people die each year by suicide.

The CDC's most recent report shows the largest One-Year Increase in Youth Suicide Rate in 15 Years

Suicide takes the lives of over 2,400 Floridians and over 33,300 Americans in 2007.
Suicide is the 11th cause of death in the Americans.
In 2004, there were 2,382 reported suicide deaths in Florida.

In Broward County Florida the youngest documented child to complete suicide was 9 years of age.

Florida has the 2nd highest number of suicides in the Nation and ranks #13 highest rate of all the states [2001].

Florida has more than two times the number of suicides than homicides or deaths by HIV/AIDS.
Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. attempts suicide; Every 17 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.

For every single completed suicide there are at least 25 attempts!

Each person who dies by suicide leaves behind an average of eight loved ones or survivors, not to mention friends, co-workers, schoolmates and religious affiliates
Also on Examiner.com

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Freshman Blues - Teen going to college for the first time

Did you just send your child/teen off to college for the first time? Be prepared as a parent for how your child is feeling, experiencing how they are coping. Here are some great parenting tips during this transitional time.

“College is stressful. You’re trying to look what you’re going to be in the future, and you don’t really think about that in high school. When you’re in college you’re trying to be someone, get somewhere, and I think it’s a little bit stressful trying to get to where you want to be.”

– Jennifer, 18 years old

Throughout the summer, many high school graduates were eagerly counting the days until college, when they would begin a new life away from their eyes of their parents. But now that they’re in college many are discovering a dark cloud.

High school senior Sarah has been busy narrowing down college choices and writing applications. She’s excited but also a little worried. “I think it’s going to be difficult to, you know, make all those new friends and adjust to it so quickly,” she says. And it may be more difficult than she knows.

According to a new Associated Press Poll, 85 percent of college students feel stressed, 42 percent say they have felt depressed or hopeless in the past two weeks, and another 13 percent showed the signs of being at risk for depression.

“They just get there and they’re surprised by how much homesickness they may have, how much loneliness they may have amongst all these people,” says psychiatrist Dr. John Lochridge.

He says it starts as stress: making new friends, the demands of college work, being on their own for the first time in their lives. “It’s a little stressful, but I’m trying to hold it together,” says college student Kasim Hasan, 19.

What’s more, according to a study by the University of Michigan, college students who are depressed are twice as likely to drop-out of school.

Many high school seniors don’t anticipate that part of the college experience and that’s why parents should prepare them. “You open up that conversation. You say, ‘You know, I think it’s going to be harder than you think. It’s a different kind of stress from anything you’re used to,’” says Dr. Lochridge.

His advice: let them know it’s OK to feel down at times and that you’ll be there to listen. Also encourage them to share their struggles with a roommate or new friend because they’re probably struggling, too.

Sarah realizes that struggle is part of becoming an adult. “It’s all going to fall on me,” says Sarah. “I have to get everything done, and hopefully I can become independent and rely on myself.”

Tips for Parents

Depression is a medical condition. It can cause one to find the simplest tasks difficult to complete and can affect school attendance. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression strikes about 17 million American over the age of 17 each year. That’s more than cancer, AIDS or coronary heart disease. An estimated one out of 10 children experiences difficulty escaping the symptoms of depression for long periods of time.

Some common reasons for depression, especially among college students, are: the loss of a significant relationship, leaving home, academic difficulties, parental conflict or concerns regarding one’s future. Environmental and biochemical factors may also play a role in causing depression. In some cases of depression, the affected individual can become so overwhelmed that thoughts of hurting him or herself or even suicide may occur. An estimated 15 percent of chronic depression cases end in suicide. Symptoms of depression include:

■The inability to experience pleasure, even from activities that once felt good.
■Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
■Isolation from friends, family and peers.
■Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.
■Poor concentration.
Everyone has or will experience feeling depressed at some point in their lives. Notable historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ludwig von Beethoven, Georgia O’Keefe and Mark Twain all suffered from the disease.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, between 80 and 90 percent of all cases of depression can be treated effectively. However according to the National Institute of Mental Health, two-thirds of those suffering from depression don’t get the help they need. Many fail to identify their symptoms or attribute them to lack of sleep or a poor diet. Others are just too fatigued or ashamed to seek help.

What should you do if you suspect that someone close to you is suffering from depression?

■The most important thing is to remain supportive.
■Do not blame the person for his or her depression.
■Do not be confrontational or try to get the individual to “snap out of it.”
■Voice your concerns for the person’s wellbeing.
■State that you want to and are willing to help.
■Open lines of communication. This can range from just listening to the person to seeking out help from a mental health professional.

■National Institute of Mental Health
■Oregon Counseling
■Pfizer Inc.
■U.S. Food and Drug Administration
■University of Texas

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Tip Sheet for Today's Teen Girl

Source: Dove Self Esteem Fund

Every Parent’s Back-to-School Tip Sheet for Today’s Teen Girl
How to Avoid a Back-to-School Breakdown

1. Body Image Breakdown: When girls feel bad about their looks, more than 70%, ages 15-17,avoid normal daily activities such as attending school.

o TIP: Your daughter’s body image starts with you! Show her each and every day how great you feel about your body and your looks. That will begin to set the tone in teaching your daughter about appearance and what it means to be proud of who she is – inside and out. By not insisting your daughter looks a certain way — whether it is what she wears, how her hair looks or how she has to behave in what she is wearing — you will build the foundation for how she sees her body and the importance of how she looks.

2. Super Girl Syndrome: Girls may respond to the pressure around them from school, media, parents and peers by trying to do it ALL (look perfect, get good grades and have a busy social life), and do it all perfectly! Their quest for “Super Girl Status” can stress them out and cause their self-esteem to plummet.

o TIP: Encourage your daughter to find her favorite one or two activities and focus on doing them well rather than being the very best at everything. By honing in on activities/skills she can excel at, she will be able to better set realistic goals for herself and more easily recognize her accomplishments. Set an example for her by doing the same thing in your life.

3. Frenemies: Frenemies are defined as relationships in which girls behave as half friends and half enemies. This could mean your daughter is bullying or spreading rumors/secrets about her friends or having the same done to her. Self-esteem plays a crucial role in determining a girls’ tendency to engage in this type of behavior. In fact, 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities, such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking, or drinking, when feeling badly about themselves.

o TIP: Talk to your daughter regularly and let her know you are aware of things that go on in school. If you suspect your daughter is bullying, tell her this is not acceptable behavior.
Help her learn other ways to deal with anger and frustration and help her understand how her actions have affected the person she has been picking on. If your daughter is the victim of a frenemy, make sure she understands it is not her fault. Talk about ways of responding to this – role play with her, acting out different scenarios she might encounter. Encourage her to walk away from a friendship that harms her and make other friends.

4. Clashing with Cliques: The teen years are an age when everyone is trying to define themselves and their independence. From jocks and geeks, to drama queens and cheerleaders, cliques are rampant in middle school and high school. Trying to fit in can be exhausting.

o TIP: Help your daughter recognize that being authentic is better than any label out there. Encourage her to embrace all different types of people and not to limit her friendships to just one group of peers. Expressing her own diversity in what she likes to do and who she likes to hang out with helps her remain well-balanced and true to herself.

5. Cyberbullying: The Internet has become an additional platform for the teasing and taunting of vulnerable girls. More than one in ten girls ages 8-17 have been bullied online.

o TIP: If you find your daughter is participating in cyberbullying (by bullying or being bullied) do not ignore it, thinking it is harmless. Talk to your daughter about how it feels to be on the receiving end and ask her what is making her do this. Bring the implications of this action to life. If you find your daughter is being victimized, let her know you understand it hurts.
Remind her that while she cannot always control what is said in school, she can control her reactions to it. Also, try not to overreact – your daughter may be afraid of involving you because she fears you will make things even worse.

6. Crush Crisis: Does he like me? Will he ask me to the dance? How can I get him to notice me? Having a crush can be so exciting, but also confusing and potentially heart-breaking.
o TIP: Remember how you felt when you had your first crush? Try not to minimize your daughter’s feelings. Instead, speak to her with compassion about her questions or uncertainties. Teach her about healthy romantic relationships, how to tell when someone is really into you and what to expect from them. When she tastes rejection for the first time, make sure you have extra hugs ready!

7. Sexual Pressure: One in ten teen girls were unable to say no when a boy asked them to do something that made them uncomfortable. In fact, girls with low self-esteem are four times morelikely to engage in activities with boys that they have ended up regretting later.
o TIP: Do not avoid “The Talk!” Have open and consistent conversations about sexual boundaries with your teenager. Use everyday media examples (her favorite TV show, a pop song on the radio) to discuss the pressure girls face to be sexually active. Let her know you will not judge her for the things she shares, but you are there to help her navigate through this tricky time.

8. Creative Communications: The top wish among all girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, which includes more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in their own lives.

o TIP: We all know getting your teen girl to open up to you can be like talking to a brick wall. Find ways to engage with your daughter such as doing an activity together (run a 5K or learnto knit). By participating in things you have in common, you may find that the conversations begin to flow more frequently.

9. Dating Violence: A shove, an angry text or a rude comment – young love may not always be innocent. Most violent relationships begin during the teen years. Verbal bullying, violent actions or emotional abuse are not ‘normal teen behaviors’ and should not be excused because the perpetrators or the victims are young and immature.

o TIP: First, make sure you understand the warning signs of dating violence. Then, use highprofile couples, like Rihanna and Chris Brown, to talk about what is going on in their relationship. Talk to your daughter about how she deserves to be treated in relationships.
Intervene upon the first sign of violence – do not wait. It is most important to model a healthy dynamic with your spouse/partner if you have one. If you have violence in your home, get help, talk about it and make sure you are doing what you can to break the cycle for your daughter.

10. Sexting: What used to be harmless flirting in the hallway now has a new edge. Teens are taking isks in their communication with the opposite sex by exploring their sexuality through ’sexting.’ Both boys and girls are pushing sexual boundaries and hiding behind the two dimensional nature of a text message. While your daughter may think it is harmless fun, the consequences could stay with her forever, as pictures posted through texts have wound up on Web sites around the world.

o TIP: Talk to your daughter about the dangers of overstepping her own comfortable boundaries in a text message. Help her understand that while it may seem exciting, the consequences of her actions could be dangerous to her self-image, reputation and safety.

Encourage her to express herself verbally with her friends so she is not relying solely on a touchpad for communication. If you have concerns that she has been sexting already, it might be necessary to monitor her cell phone usage or take away the device all together.

To learn more visit http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/ where you can download free self-esteem building tools for moms, mentors and daughters.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: 7 Biggest Discipline Mistakes — Simple Solutions to Change Behavior

As Michele Borba's new book releases TODAY, here is her recent Blog and sound advice with educational tips for parents today!

7 Biggest Discipline Mistakes — Simple Solutions to Change Behavior

By Michele Borba

You may be surprised to discover what you’re doing wrong to turn that behavior around

Note to my readers: over the past years I’ve been on a mission to find the best solutions in child development — tips that really do enhance our children’s character, behavior, emotional, social and cognitive development. I combed literally hundreds of studies and the absolute best solutions I’ve put together in a compete reference guide of everything parents really need to know about raising good, caring, responsible and fulfilled kids in today’s world. That book is finally in print (yes!) and for sale. It’s called, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries. I’ll feature a few solutions from that reference guide in my blogs. Just know that the book is over 750 pages and features dozens of solutions for the 101 top parent concerns for kids 3 to 13 that help you reap the positive changes you seek in your child.

Today’s blog: The most important parenting solutions to reap real and lasting behavior change.

A Behavior 101 Primer for Puzzled Parents

So you’re trying to make your child quit being so darn flippant—or lying or cheating or defying you, and you’re having little success. You’ve tried threatening, scolding and even begging, but nothing seems to work. Frankly, you’re at your wit’s end. How can you ensure that your child stops his bad attitude for good? The first thing you may want to do is re-think your approach to discipline.

Attitudes and behavior are learned, so they can be unlearned. The real secret to change is to make sure you have a specific makeover plan designed to halt the behavior you want to stop. But even before you can implement such a plan, you must first understand what you’re doing wrong—and why it’s wrong.” Here are a few of the most common discipline mistakes parents make so they don’t reap those long-term permanent results.

1. Thinking “It’s just a phase.” Bad attitudes don’t go away. They almost always need parental intervention. The longer parents wait, the more likely the attitude will become a habit. So don’t call it a phase: stop the bad attitude as soon as it starts.

2. Being a poor model. Our behavior has an enormous influence on our kids’ attitude. After all, what they see is what they copy. So before parents start planning to change their kid’s attitude, they need to take a serious look at their own.

3. Not targeting the bad attitude. It’s best to work on improving only one—and never more than two—attitudes at a time. And the more specific the plan the better. Don’t say, “He has an attitude.” Instead, narrow the focus to target the specific behavior you want to eliminate: “He’s talking back.” And your attitude makeover will be more successful.

4. No plan to stop the bad attitude. Once parents have identified the bad attitude, they need a solid makeover plan to stop it. The plan must (1) address the kid’s bad attitude, (2) state exactly how to correct it, (3) identify the new virtue to replace it, and (4) set a consequence if the attitude continues.

5. Not teaching a new virtue to replace it. No attitude will change permanently unless the child is taught a new one to replace it. Think about it: if you tell a kid to stop doing one attitude, what will he do instead? Without a substitute virtue, chances are the child will revert to using the old bad attitude.

6. Going alone. Big mistake! After all if your kid is using the bad attitude on other caregivers—be it spouse, grandparents, teachers, day care providers, coaches, scout leaders, babysitters—then use the same makeover plan together. The more you work together, the quicker you’ll be in stopping the bad attitude.

7. Not sticking to the plan long enough. Learning new attitude habits generally takes a minimum of 21 days of repetition. Parents need to commit to changing the bad attitude and then continue using the plan for at least three weeks. Only then will they see change.

Using proven solutions and implementing what I call “Results-Driven Parenting” (research-based responses that help parent for real and lasting for change) can make real differences on your children’s lives—especially when you choose ones that matter most in raising good kids. No more guesswork. These solutions are based on proven research. So roll of up your sleeves, and go parent!