Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teens, sex and the dictionary

In the same week we hear about the increase of teen pregnancies, we also learn about parents in California wanting "oral sex" removed from the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. As uncomfortable as some parents are with discussing oral sex, if we don't educate our children, someone else will! And it may not be exactly the way you would like them to learn it.

Recently two articles struck a nerve with many parents that were completely unaware of the teen or even tweens, sex games. Just when you think lipstick is a little spark of beauty and bracelets can be a fun accessory, we learn about the Rainbow and Snap games! You won't find these games in the dictionary - but both offer "oral sex" so you want to be sure YOU are the one talking to your teens about this.

"One of the nation's shining success stories of the past two decades is in danger of unraveling," said Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "Clearly, the nation's collective efforts to convince teens to postpone childbearing must be more creative and more intense, and they must begin today." - Washington Post January 26, 2009

As much as we talk to our kids about sex, offer sex education classes and continue to be there for them, this is a subject we need to continue to talk about. Whether it is a word/term in the dictionary or slang on a school bus, encourage your children to come to you to discuss it. If they are uncomfortable speaking with a parent, try to have a close relative or friend they can turn to. Someone you trust.

Remember, an educated parent is a prepared parent which equals safer and healthier teens.

Watch PSA.

The Price is Your Life.

The term "oral sex" remains in the dictionary. For the parents in the California, Menifee Union School District, students will take permission slips home. They also offer alternative dictionaries.

Read more on Examiner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Sex Games - Be an educated parent - SNAP

A very sticky topic, jelly bracelets. Why would these harmless bracelets be dangerous? What is going on in our society to create such disturbing games being played by our teens and tweens?

Since being an educated parent will help you to have healthier and safer teens, you need to be aware of these types of games that are being played. In a previous article, Rainbow Parties, shocked many. This bracelet game, Snap, is another blow to a parents mind.

Some people have may have heard about the latest fad in colleges, high schools, even middle schools! This social phenomenon involves "snapping" the bracelet off the wearer, enabling the snapper to earn a sexual favor from the snappee based on the color of the snapped off bracelet.

Here are the color associations:

  • Yellow - wearer is willing to HUG
  • Pink - wearer is willing to give a hickey
  • Orange - wearer is willing to KISS
  • Purple - wearer is willing to kiss a partner of either sex
  • Red - wearer is willing to perform a LAP DANCE
  • Green - indicates that ORAL SEX can be performed on a girl
  • Clear - indicates a willingness to do "whatever the snapper wants"
  • Blue - indicates ORAL SEX performed on a guy
  • Black - wearer will have regular "missionary" sex
  • White - wearer will "FLASH" what they have
Sex bracelets are a teen fad with a dangerous sexual twist. The bright colored bracelets are popular with teens, but they're creating controversy and many children, and even adults, wear these decorative bracelets without any sexual connotation or meaning whatsoever.

Teach your children about the dangers of STD's. We can talk about sex to our kids, some schools offer sex education and we can even "believe" we have a very open relationship with our teens - but do you really know about these trends? Peer pressure can be part of this dangerous game. The more you know, the more you can help to educate your teens.

These topics are not to scare you, they are to educate you. Your child may be wearing one of these bracelets and it has no association to this disgusting game. It is only about you knowing that this does exist - as hard as it can be to believe.

Watch video and read more on Examiner.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sue Scheff: Rainbow Party - A game or party you don't want your teens to attend!

This is a sensitive subject and many will be appalled and disgusted, however as a parent, it is about being educated. Knowing what can be happening in your neighborhood, in your schools, or even in your own home - is your responsibility as a parent to stay in touch with your children and their lives.

"Rainbow Party" by Paul Ruditis, is written as fiction, however has a powerful message that many will be shocked to hear about. This rainbow party is not about homosexuals coming out, it is about sex and your teens. It is, in fact, an oral-sex party in which each girl wears a different color lipstick. In theory, after the girls perform oral sex on the boys, they would be left with rainbows around their penises.

Many parents have the sex talk with their kids. Many schools offer sex education. There are also many resources, websites and books that can help educate your teens to be better prepared when they do decide to have sex. But have you talked to your teens about the dangers of games/parties such as "Rainbow Parties?"

Questions that may arise and you will need to answer:

  • Is oral sex real sex?
  • Can you still be a virgin and have oral sex?
  • Why is this game dangerous to your child?
  • If one guy gives oral sex to another, is he gay?
  • How is oral sex fun for girls?
  • Why don't boys ever reciprocate the favor?
  • What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?
  • What is an STD?
  • How do you prevent STD's?
Although many would like to simply discard this article and subject, being an educated parent will make you better prepared and lead to safer and healthier teens.

Parents must watch video and read more about this troubling topic.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sue Scheff: Can Gossip be good for your teens?

What an interesting article this week on Connect with Kids. Gossip can be good in some ways and extremely hurtful in other ways. Where is the balance? Be an educated parent, read this educational article.

Source: Connect with Kids

Gossip Is Good

“It lets people really know each other, and know about what's going on in their lives. And that enables people to feel safe. It makes them feel a sense of belonging.”

– Wendy Simonds, PhD, sociology

The Tiger Woods scandal sparked discussions about personal image and adultery on news stations and at dinner tables across the country. But are these discussions useful or just gossip? Some experts say they can be both.

"Did you see the outfit she had on?" friends Zuri and Meimi laugh.

It's often irresistible and painful. "[It] ruins friendships, ruins lives, messes people's reputations, hurt's people's feelings," seventeen-year-old Zuri says.

"I'm normally the one who starts and spreads the gossip," says seventeen-year-old Kyle, "so, I mean, I've broken up a lot of good friends over gossip."

And sixteen-year-old Caitlin has been the brunt of it as well, "I've had my fair share of broken friendships that I've kind of had to rekindle because of things that were said or spread around because people didn't know all the facts."

Gossip can hurt, psychologists say, but here's the surprise, "It lets people really know each other, and know what's going on in their lives," explains Wendy Simonds, professor of sociology at Georgia State University, "And that enables people to feel safe. It makes them feel a sense of belonging."

And in a teenager's life it can act as a social road map of right and wrong and as a warning signal, not to befriend the wrong person.

Seventeen-year-old Meimi found out through gossip that a guy she was dating was trouble, "You know, I had to listen and a couple of weeks later I had found out he sold drugs and he had been locked up and a lot of stuff, so I was kind of appreciative of gossip at that point."

Still, experts and kids warn, you have to be careful. "I think it's always a good idea to try to personalize the issue that's being talked about, what if it were me and people were talking about me this way," advises Simonds.

"Gossip is fine, as long as it's not making up complete lies," says sixteen-year-old Lee, "And just being flat out mean, that's not cool."

As hard as it is to believe, the words "sibling" and "gossip" originated from the same word: "Godsibb." The word originally translated to mean "a person related to one in God," or a "godparent." In this circumstance, gossip was used to denote a relationship of trust and friendship. However, in the 1800s, the word "gossip" began to stray from its original roots until it became what it is today – nearly the opposite or what is was originally.

Tips for Parents

Gossip can be extremely harmful, but there are some times when it can be helpful. Dr. Offra Gerstein, a clinical psychologist, gives the following suggestions for parents to share with their children for how to handle gossip in a healthy manner:

■Create healthy ways of connecting with others that do not require negative talk about a third party.
■When you are told about another person, ask for verification of the information. Trusting that what is said is true without challenging its veracity makes you a partner in perpetuating gossip.
■If you hear negative talk, refuse to listen and politely attempt to stop the speaker.
■Ask the "gossipper" to tell you what positive things he/she may relate about the individual being criticized.
■When you are entrusted with a secret, feel honored and never repeat it to anyone. Repeating confidences is like stealing one's dignity.
■Feel free to share positive gossip with others, provided that your facts are correct.
■As enjoyable as it may be to bond with someone temporarily through gossip, the damage to all parties is immeasurable. Resist the momentary temptation for gaining a wholesome sense of self-respect.

■Psychology Today
■Santa Cruz Sentinel
■University Press of Kansas

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sue Scheff: Just Turn it OFF - Get Connect with Your Teens Again

Parenting is becoming extinct. Not really, but parents need to go back to parenting and tell their kids to "turn it off!" Turn off the cell phones, turn off the television, turn off the Ipod, turn off the computer and tune into the family!

The latest report from Kaiser Family Foundation has found that kids and teens are spending approximately 7.5 hours a day with "hooked-up" to technology. Whether it is texting, watching TV, listening to music or surfing the net, the emotional connection of a family circle is breaking down.

A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth. Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time 'media multitasking' (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours. - Kaiser Family Foundation

What can you do as a parent? Be an example! Some parents are guilty of the techno obsession today too. Our kids have to see parents "turning it off" and being part of the family circle. Start with dinner time - get absolutely "unplugged" from it all and spend an hour discussing with each other about the day's events. We all know that finding that time for family has become more difficult, so if dinner is out, plan a 15-130 family time out later in the evening and get un-wired!

Learn about recycling your electronic gadgets, do it as a family.

Be an educated and involved parent, you will have happier, safer, and healthier children.

Watch report from MSNBC and read more about this topic.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen stress to keep up with their peers

The pressure today to have the right cell phone, perfect hair, name brand clothes and purses, not to mention the fancy cars, for teenagers is overwhelming!  We have always heard about keeping up with the Jones', but this is now keeping up with the Jones' teenagers

Generation "Me"

By Connect with Kids

They are looking at materialism in an effort to demonstrate and to illustrate self-worth. And, when you are not able to buy enough, when you are not able to have the iPod, the iPod phone and the BMW... when you're not able to have all those things at one time, there tends to be a diminished sense of self-worth.”

– David Wall Rice, Ph.D., Personality Psychologist

A new study from San Diego State University finds that five times more teens suffer from depression and anxiety than teens who grew up during the Great Depression. Experts say the reasons are many, including school stress, intense competition, instability at home and the need for more.

Instead of "peace, love and happiness," teens today say they want designer labels, fancy cars and the latest technology.

"I kinda felt left out when I didn't have a camera phone," explains 17-year-old Ebonee.

"Like, I'll save up all my money and buy purses," adds 14-year-old Marisa.

"I have a couple jeans that are more than $200, maybe $300," admits 18-year-old Joey.

And that need for the newest and latest, experts say, is one of the reasons behind much of today's anxiety and depression. In fact, according to a new study by San Diego State University, five times more teens suffer from depression now than they did in 1938.

Experts say it's sad, but often teens confuse what they have, with who they are.

"They are looking at materialism in an effort to demonstrate and to illustrate self-worth," says Dr. David Wall Rice, a personality psychologist with Morehouse College. "And, when you are not able to buy enough, when you are not able to have the iPod, the iPod phone and the BMW... when you're not able to have all those things at one time, there tends to be a diminished sense of self-worth."

Experts call the obsession "Affluenza" – and even during the recession, many teens still suffer from it.

We gave a group of high school cheerleaders a test to see whether or not they have it.

They were asked: "Have you ever lied to a family member about the amount you spent for a product?" "Do you ever use shopping as a therapy?" "Has one of your credit cards ever been rejected by a sales person because you were over the limit?"

Several kids in the group answered 'yes' to all three questions.

Experts say one of the easiest ways for parents to counteract "Affluenza" is by setting limits. If kids ask for items they don't need, parents should refuse without feeling guilty.

"There are some boundaries that you need to set," he says, "and you need to be able to say 'no'. 'No, you can't have those.' Or, 'no, you can work towards that. Maybe in about four to six weeks you might be able to get them on your own, if it's that important to you.'"

Numerous studies show that kids who regularly eat dinner with their families are better students, happier, healthier people and less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs. For example, a University of Michigan study of children between the ages of 3 and 12 found that more meal time with the family was the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems. In fact, time spent eating with one's family proved even more beneficial than time spent studying or in church.

■In 2003, 61 percent of youths 12 to 17 said they ate dinner with their families at least five nights a week, an increase from 47 percent in 1998.
■In general, children who eat with their families have better nutrition, abuse fewer substances, are less suicidal and have less sex.
■Researchers found that the more frequently kids ate with their parents, the less likely they were to smoke, drink, use marijuana or show signs of depression.
■On September 27, 2004, 400 communities and 42 states proclaimed the date a day to eat dinner with your children. Companies from General Mills to Bristol-Myers Squibb offered employees incentives – in some cases leaving work early – to do so.

Tips for Parents

For many, family dinners are often far from the ideal bonding experience. Considering the time necessary to prepare a meal, the logistical challenges of getting everyone to the table and the potential for squabbles between siblings and spouses, many parents secretly dread the family dinner. Some parents place kids at opposite ends of the table in an attempt to avoid bickering.

Families should view dinnertime as an opportunity to reconnect, share daily events and strengthen relationships. Thirty-eight percent of family cooks say their children influence food purchases and preparation, so involve your kids in shopping and cooking processes. Some ideas to reap the most benefit from table-time include:

■Stimulate conversation and reduce arguments by making dinnertime special. Distinguish between routine and ritual. Transforming your household with lit candles, music, a tablecloth and one simple, cooked meal for everyone can work wonders.
■Ask yourself, "What am I doing that aggravates dinnertime?" Often, the answer is unnecessary reprimanding. Dinner should not be a control struggle. If kids don't eat their vegetables, let it go.
■Don't allow conversation to be an interrogation regarding school or activities. Ask kids conversation starters like: If you could meet someone from history, who would it be?
■Be creative, especially when kids are young. Try a one-color meal or an alphabet dinner, with every dish beginning with the same letter. Picnic in the living room or even try dining under the table.
■If dinner is too much to handle, try breakfast, or start with just Sunday night.

■American Dietetic Association
■U.S. News & World Report
■University of Rochester
■The Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Pregnancy Pact

Parenting years ago and having a teen get pregnant was, in many families, humiliating and shameful to the family. Today teens are having babies and some are not considering the consequences, or maybe are considering them however don't realize the "real life" situation rather than what they read.

January 23rd, Saturday night, Lifetime Network will premier, "The Pregnancy Pact" at 9:00pm ET. Inspired by a true story, this movie depicts a fictional pregnancy pact between a group of teenagers. The film explores the costs of teen pregnancy and was prompted by the news reports from June 2008. Time Magazine ran a story about this pregnancy pact in a school where the teen pregnancies rose to 18 girls.

The discussion of birth control is started by the school nurse who tries to convince the school to provide contraception to students to address the pregnancy epidemic but is met with great opposition from the school and community.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy:

  • Three in 10 girls in the U.S. get pregnant at least once by the age of 20.
  • Six in 10 teens who have had sex say that they wish they had waited.
  • Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned - about 3 million each year.
  • One out of 10 children in the United States is born to a teen mother.
Lifetime Networks is proud to partner with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults.

Additional information and resources are available at .

Parenting teens is challenging today, between the technology and peer pressure, it almost seems impossible to keep up. Teen pregnancy was an issue many years ago, and still is today. The difference is we have much more awareness, education and information to help our teens understand the consequences as well as the dangers of unprotected sex.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Watch video and read more Examiner.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sue Scheff: What girls are learning online

Jane Balvanz an educator and a Female Friend Expert, she recently wrote an extremely timely and important article about raising our girls today. Parenting today's teens and tweens can be challenging and with the added stress of the Internet and cyberbullying, it can be downright impossible to keep up with.

Do mean girls grow up to be mean women? Jane Balvanz asked this question and has some great insights. Life is about change, as parents we need to guide our daughters and help them to understand that being mean is not cool.

Relational Aggression in Women: What Are We Teaching Our Girls Online?

By Jane Balvanz

A two-year-old child died recently. He drowned in a swimming pool, a parent's true nightmare. Controversy immediately arose online, because the child's mother tweeted the accident and eventually announced his death. Her Twitter timeline showed she had been tweeting most of the day.

In reaction, online moms tweeted support and made suggestions about fundraising for the bereaved family. Others questioned the validity of the death before it was confirmed and cautioned about sending money in case it might be a hoax. Once the death was verified, two clear factions formed. One supported the grieving mother and her choice of tweeting shortly before and after her son's death. The other questioned the mother's parenting abilities, suggesting her attention to Twitter led to her son's death. It devolved from there and went viral. Words became weapons.

Passion and Drama in 140 Characters or Less

The Internet is a wonderful tool that offers ways to give and receive information in a heartbeat. It can also be used to extend help or inflict hurt. In this case, relational aggression (emotional bullying) started within seconds of a mom announcing her child fell into a pool. Twitter is fast. Information flies as rapidly as you can type 140 characters and press send. Even though many heads of reason and compassion were part of this situation, passion and drama took over. Incivility prevailed.

There were tweeted threats (some serious), name-calling, campaigns, taunting, and cyber defaming. National news took notice and various blogs called the participants "mean girls." These weren't girls, though. They were grown women.

Do Mean Girls Grow Up to Be Mean Women?

Continue to part 2

Visit  for more information on female friendships.  Also on Examiner.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teens, Kids and Physical Education

Let's face it, more and more kids today are engrossed with their computers and cell phones. Less are participating in physical activity. Years ago a game of kick-ball in the neighborhood was a weekly or even daily event afterschool. Today with the fear of our kids being kidnapped or the kids simply more interested in their technology, teens and kids are not getting enough exercise.

Parents it is time to speak up. PE 4 Life is an organization that can help you bring more psychical education into your school district and your community.

Do you realize that schools have devalued and cut physical education to the point that the majority of children get one day of PE per week? Children today have a shorter life expectancy than their parents for the first time in one hundred years because of the epidemic of obesity, according to Dr. William Klish, Professor of Pediatrics and Head of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine. Lack of PE at school is a disservice to your child's health. Speak up. Demand that your school offers daily quality physical education.

Use PE4life as a resource partner to enhance your school's PE program. A recent study revealed that 81% of teachers and 85% of parents favor requiring students to take physical education every day at every grade level. As parents, you can rally people in your community to get involved by ordering a PE4life Community Action kit video and show it to the PTA, the school board and other community groups. The next step is to invite PE4life to make a presentation to your school leaders, bring a team of people to train at a PE4life Academy, or invite PE4life to do an in-service for your school staff. As your resource partner, PE4life can provide these and many other services to your school as you work to get children more active and healthy.

PE4life Core Principles

We believe PE should:

  • Be directed to all students, not just the athletically inclined
  • Offer a variety of fitness, sport, leisure and adventure activities
  • Provide a safe and encouraging learning environment
  • Utilize individual assessments
  • Incorporate current technology
  • Extend beyond the walls of the gymnasium
  • Ideally, be offered to every child every day
Today’s “New P.E.,” as exemplified by PE4life, is a health-and-wellness-based approach to physical education that caters to all students, not just the athletically inclined. Students are encouraged to pursue a variety of sports and physical activities (team and individual) – for a lifetime.

Source: PE4LIFE - visit today and learn more!

Watch video and read on Examiner.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sue Scheff: Dangers of Steroids and Your Teens

With the recent admission in the news about Mark McGwire using steroids throughout his career has shocked some people. How do we explain this to our children and our teens, especially our athletic ones that looked up to this sports hero?

Ad Council started a campaign a few years ago, Don't Be An Asterisk. Whether it is a potential college scholarship or just helping the team win, some teens feel pressure to do whatever it takes to get an "edge", even if it means taking steroids or other illegal substances.

Use this opportunity to explain to your teens about the dangers of steroid use.

  • Steroids affect your heart. Steroid abuse has been associated with cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. These heart problems can even happen to athletes under the age of 30.
  • Steroids affect your appearance. In both sexes, steroids can cause male-pattern baldness, cysts, acne, and oily hair and skin.
  • Steroids affect your mood. Steroids can make you angry and hostile for no reason. There are recorded cases of murder attributed to intense anger from steroid use.
  • Steroids increase your risk of infection. Sharing needles or using dirty needles to inject steroids puts you at risk for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
Help them to be aware of more risks:

  • Know the law. Steroids are illegal to possess without a prescription from a licensed physician. It is illegal for individuals to sell steroids.
  • Get the facts. Doctors prescribe steroids for specific medical conditions. They are only safe for use when a doctor monitors the person.
  • Know the risks. Illegal steroids are made overseas and smuggled into the United States or made in underground labs in this country. They pose greater health risks because they are not regulated by the government and may not be pure or labeled correctly.
  • Look around you. The majority of teens aren't using steroids. Among teenage males, who are most likely to use steroids, only 1.8 percent of 8th graders, 2.3 percent of 10th graders, and 3.2 percent of 12th graders reported steroid use in the past year.
Reference: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Be an educated parent, have safer and healthier teens!

Watch video and read Examiner.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sue Scheff: Should Parents Read Their Teen's Emails and Text Messages?

Recently we read about whether parents should read their child's diary or journal. With the advances of technology, we need to take this a step further: Should you read their emails or text messages?

Again we can go back to "when safety trumps privacy."

Our teens deserve to be trusted unless they give us reason to suspect something is wrong. Is their behavior changing? Here is a review of some warning signs (many are the same to determine if you should read their diaries).

  • Is your teen becoming very secretive? Sure, teens do like their privacy, however if you have a "gut feeling" something is deeper than a secret, you may have to cross that line.
  • Is your teen becoming withdrawn? Again, teens will develop some attitudes of not wanting to be with adults, however when it becomes extreme, it may be time to cross that line.
  • Is your teen changing peer groups? And this is not into a better one, however to one that is less than desirable? You will again attempt to talk to your teen and find out why and what happened to the other friends.
  • Is your teens eating habits changing?
  • Is your teen sleeping a lot? Bloodshot eyes? Do you suspect drug use?
  • Is your teen sneaking out? Becoming extremely defiant? Not respecting your boundaries?
  • Are they overly protective of their cell phones or computer?
  • Do they hide their cell phones?
  • Are they anxious when at their computer, seem fearful, attempt to hide their incoming emails?
  • Overall, is your teen slowly becoming a child you don't recognize?
Like with determining if you should invade their privacy with their journals or diary, unless your teen or tween gives you good reason to read their private text and emails, as parents, we should respect their privacy.

When it comes to younger children, under 10 years old, parents should always be allowed to see what they are doing. Most younger children are usually not as protective as teens or tweens. As a responsible parent, you will know when there are red flags or warning signs and you need to step in.

Keeping an open dialog with your tweens and teens is critical. Letting them know you are there for them as well as talking to them about the issues of sexting, cyberbullying, predators and other areas of concern.

Should you read your child's emails or text messages? Only you can answer that.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer children.

Also on Examiner.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sue Scheff: Social Networking - Should Teachers Befriend Students?

As today's generation is definitely the surf the waves of cyberspace, where do we draw the line? Should teachers befriend their students? Should student befriend their teachers?

With the growth of Facebook while MySpace is still alive more and more people are signing up for social networking. Whether you Twitter or Facebook, chances are you will run into your kids and your kids may run into their teachers - virtually speaking.

As parents should be the monitor for their child's online safety; Should the teacher be part of their off-line - off-campus life?

Although there may be some teachers that are comfortable with befriending their students, many would prefer to keep their private lives just that - private.

Teachers, as well as many others that either own a business or are employed, like to keep their business lives separate. However there are many that prefer the mix. Depending on your personal comfort level, you will know where you fit in. Learning to respect each others space needs to be taught to our children too.

Parents should not encourage their children to befriend a teacher, explain that adults need their personal time and space. We want the child to understand this is not about them personally, it is about allowing people to have their own time and space off work - off-line.

If a teacher has started an online club or organization in respect to a school project, that is completely different, and at that point kids should be encouraged to join into educational conversations and activities.

As always, parents need to remember that their child's safety comes first. Teaching your child Internet Safety starts at home, parents need to take the steps to get in tune technically!

Be an educated parent - you will have safer kids!

Being ONE CLICK AWAY - will it be into a safety room, or a dark hallway?

Also on Examiner.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sue Scheff: Just Say NO to Boot Camps for Struggling Teens

As my series continues for the New Year in helping educate parents about the daunting "business" of teen help programs and schools, one thing is for sure in my experiences, just say no to boot camps.

This is a strong opinion I have had for years, for many reasons. Many parents believe a good wake up call will shake up their teen, what they are not considering is the anger and resentment most boot camps can instill in your teen.

Let's face it, in many cases your teen is already filled with anger and rage, even hate - do you honestly believe that placing them in a rigid and "punitive" environment will help them? I am not saying your child deserves a trip to Atlantis, however they need a program or school that will work on their emotional growth and find out "why" they are acting out negatively - where are these negative impulsivities coming from?

From there you can move forward and work towards recovery. A program or school should be structured with positive discipline as well offer the nurturing environment that can stimulate your teen in a positive direction. The end goal is to bring your family back together.

In Florida, many if not all, boot camps have been closed down. The death of Martin Lee Anderson in a Florida Boot Camp shocked our country with the realities of what Boot Camps can be like for teens. Although he wasn't a saint, he didn't deserve the treatment that eventually ended in his death.

If you are a parent and thinking about sending your troubled or struggling teenager to a boot camp, think twice. Also use caution since many programs advertise as boot camps to lure you in, be an educated parent, do your homework. You want to help your teen, not destroy them.

Learn more about finding safe and qualified schools and programs. Visit . Parents' Universal Resource Experts is about educating and guiding parents. Learn from my mistakes, gain from my knowledge.

Are you at your wit's end and need help? Learn how to find the best placement for your teen.

Footnote: Boot Camps and Military Schools are completely different.

Also on Examiner.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sue Scheff: Troubled Teens - Are you considering residential therapy?

As the school begins back in session in many areas of the country, some parents experienced some difficult times with their teenagers during the holiday break. Many of this behavior only escalated with the extended "free" time, as other parents were hoping and praying things would get better as their teen spends more time with their family.

Some families planned out of town vacations, removing the teen from the environment that they believe is causing the negative behavior. Some parents believed that simply being home and with the festive holidays their teens will slowly come back to their childhood selves.

For those that have reached a point of seeking outside help, this can be one of the most difficult decisions a parent can make. It will come after seeking all local resources, even trying to have your teen live with another family member, however unfortunately, you can change environments, but it usually won't change whatever issue is causing the negative behavior.

Let's assume you have attempted local therapy, support groups, even out-patient therapy (some have even tried 24-72 hour in-patient) determined there is something wrong that possibly a little pill can help. However it has been my experience that in many cases, until you address the internal issues, these short-stop and/or pit-stops are usually band-aids. This is not saying medication won't help if your teen is appropriately diagnosed.

Now we are convinced that residential therapy is our last resort. After getting over the sticker shock, you soon realize the confusion of the Internet. The keen marketing, beautiful websites, and programs so far away! You are at your wit's end, desperate, confused and just want to get your teen help - stop, think, and do your homework!

Here are some helpful tips in searching for the right program for your teenager: Click here.

Watch video and slideshow - click here.

Don't be a parent in denial - you could risk your teen not getting the help they need. If you are thinking about threatening Military School to your teen, think twice. Many parents are under the misconception Military Schools are for at-risk or troubled teens. If your teen is extremely defiant, using drugs (even just experimenting), or simply doesn't want to attend Military School, chances are, he won't be. If your teen gets expelled from a Military School, you will risk forfeiting your $20,000 to $40,000 tuition. Remember, Military Schools are not set-up as a therapeutic setting. They are structured, however usually do not offer the therapy or emotional growth many troubled teens may need. Learn more from our story.

Part 2 - click here. Helpful tips for finding programs to fit your needs.

Also on Examiner.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teens that make a difference, even after life.... Start a trend in 2010, learn to give back!

Although many teens are still on school break, prom season is around the corner! What that means is the teenage girls will be in search for that perfect dress, shoes, accessories, and of course those nails and hair design to meet the times.

What about those that are less fortunate? Especially with a difficult economic season, many parents may not be able to give their teenage girls the little extras that can help a teen feel good about themselves, or even allow them to attend a prom.

On August 20th, 2003 our community suffered a loss of a beautiful, inspirational, young 16 year-old, Rebecca Kirtman, in a tragic car accident. Her family and friends continue Becca's love, generosity and passion to give back to her community. Becca's Closet lives on.

It's just a dress...but it's so much more!

In the Spring of her Freshman year at Nova High School in Davie, Florida, Rebecca launched a dress drive to provide prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who could not afford to purchase them. Rebecca was a passionate, bright, fun-loving young woman who loved being with her friends and felt that no one should miss a high school event because they couldn't afford to be there. She saw the inequity in the situation and sought to change things. During the Spring of her sophomore year, Becca single-handedly collected and donated over 250 formal dresses and helped hundreds of girls across South Florida attend their High School proms in style.

To keep Becca's dream alive, countless dedicated people throughout the world have joined with her family and friends to provide opportunities for those who seek them. Our volunteers work toward a common goal initiated by Becca.

Since the inception of this wonderful mission, Becca's Closet has expanded into educational scholarships to recognize the exemplary efforts of young men and women who demonstrate Becca's spirit of generosity in their own communities.

Start a trend in 2010 - learn how you can give back to your community. Do you have a dress you can donate? Or do you know someone in need? Click here. Even if you are not in Florida, there may be a local chapter near you. Becca's Closet is a member of Donate My Dress Network.

Help put a smile on a less fortunate teen girl that may not be able to attend their prom.....

Also on Examiner and watch video.