Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Sleep - How much do they need?

It seems teenagers can function on less sleep than most adults.  Is it really true?

According to 9+ hours per night for preteens (10-12 year-old) and teens (13-19 years-old) need 8.5-9.5 hours.  How does your teen measure up?

It is difficult getting your teens to get the right amount of sleep, but it is imperative you do your best to help them understand the importance of a good nights sleep.

Sleep deprivation not only can make your kids grumpier, it also impacts their school performance as it decreases their attentiveness and short-term memory.

Especially for teens, sleepiness can lead to delayed response time and inconsistent performance, making driving and playing high-impact sport potentially dangerous.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to enforce consistent bedtimes and wake-ups, your child's health and success may depend on it.

When your teen says they will catch up on sleep on the weekends, note that all that sleep on the weekend won't add energy to the rest of the week.  Why? Our bodies can't store extra sleep!

Sources:, St. John's Public Library

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sue Scheff: Good Parents with Bad Kids - Who's to Blame?

The recent New York Times article, Accepting That Good Parents May Plant Bad Seeds by Dr. Richard A. Friedman,  has started a lot of great conversations. (Watch video).

Fact is there are many great parents and they are doing a great job at raising their kids, but every so often you will hit that pothole in the road.  Parenting today is extremely challenging.  It is not only discussing the birds and bees that is critical, talking to your kids about the dangers of online scams, predators not to mention the prevalence of stranger danger today.

Yes, this generation is completely different.  We have gone from Mad Men to Middle to Modern Family and somehow all these shows can mirror one time of our life or another.

Good kids do make bad choices.  That is called life experiences, but if these experiences escalate to a point that is endangering the teen or the family, it may be time for outside help.  Many times the parent can be in such denial that they continue to make excuses for the negative behavior.  That can only prolong getting your child the right help.

Bad behavior by your child doesn't necessarily mean you are a bad parent.  Maybe your teen/child has been bullied, maybe they are being pressured by their peers, maybe they have feelings of sadness - there are many emotions, especially in adolescence, they could be going through that is causing the negative behavior.  It isn't always the parents fault.

It is, however, the parents responsibility to get their child help.  Don't sit around in the blame game circle, be proactive!  By trying to determine if it because dad doesn't spend enough time at home, or mom isn't home to cook dinner every night - stop all that thinking and just be concerned about helping your teen - not finding the blame.

If you are struggling with an at-risk teen visit

Make parenting your priority!

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

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Maternity Clothes - Does it Send the Wrong Message?

The controversy has started.  Forever 21, a trendy clothing store for teens has just added a new department.  Introducing Love 21 Maternity clothing line.  Is this promoting or influencing teen pregnancy?

There isn't any doubt, when you are pregnant, you do need clothing that are comfortable and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be in style at the same time.  However the debate over a teen maternity clothing line is interesting.

Parenting teens today is challenging.  Not only are parents worried about teens getting pregnant, the fear of STD's is very serious.

With the latest clothing trend keeping up with today's teenagers, and reality shows such as Teen Moms, what is this saying to our teen culture?  Is it a green light and acceptable?

When you speak with many teen moms, such as on 16 and Pregnant, you will find the majority, although they love their child, would not recommend getting pregnant as a teenager.

With this, let's hope the latest new teen trendy maternity line of clothing isn't a big seller.  This is being said as being proactive in using contraceptives.  The clothing line is very nice, but let's be real, babies having babies is not easy and we don't want it to be  a trend.

In Florida, Teen Time can help you and your teen learn more about STD's and contraceptives.

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

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sue Scheff: Helping Teens Through Horses - Haven Horse Ranch

During the month of July it is National Make a Difference to Children Month.  A time to recognize those that hare making a difference in the lives of children today.

Haven Horse Ranch is located in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida and offers several programs helping children learn Christian values and basic life skills to enhance their future.

About Haven Horse Ranch:

"Haven Horse Ranch believes that today’s youth lack opportunities to develop character and learn the consequences of responsible behavior. Haven Horse Ranch exists to present and model Christian principles to our youth, teaching the values of relationships, teamwork and individual character by building confidence and leadership."

Haven Horse Ranch is a 20-horse, nonprofit, working horse ranch. They use horses to teach children basic life's principles and Christian values. Haven Horse Ranch believe that better kids make for a better community. They exist to provide a safe, enjoyable environment where kids have fun learning about responsibility while growing in self-confidence.

Since 1990, Haven Horse Ranch have taught these principles to over 3700 youth through horse riding camps and clinics. These kids, ages 6-18, have seen their confidence and self-esteem grow and their character develop as they learned to be in control of and responsible for an 1100-pound horse.
Haven Horse Ranch also offers retreats for families.  Find out more about their parent weekends.  What a fantastic way to bond with your child or help with others.

During the month of July and always, try to find ways you can make a difference in a child's life.  You will be surprised, it is not only beneficial for the child, but you will feel good about it too.  Remember, children are our future.

Learn more by visiting

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Sue Scheff: Loving Your Teens - Hating Their Behavior

When it comes to parenting teens, many parents have said, "I love my teen, however I don't like them or their actions."  Does this make you a bad parent?

New York Magazine writer, Jennifer Senior, wrote a very compelling and thought provoking article.  "I Love My Children - I Hate My Life."

Although the article chronicles from baby age up through toddlers, many can relate to these families when dealing with their teenagers, as the feelings of disdain can become even stronger.  You have nurtured your child, you have given all you believe he/she needed - including the best you could with your time, and your teen is still treating you with disrespect and defiance?  What gives?

With today's fast-paced world, difficult economic times, as well as the society of peer pressure among teens that leads to dangerous behaviors, parenting is more challenging than generations earlier.

How do you find the balance?  The cliché teens will be teens, is common, but how do parents survive these sometimes difficult times?

Knowing that there is light the end of the tunnel can help, talking to friends and family that have gone through it all, can also help you get through these bumpy times.  Remember, the teens years can be tough, but hopefully they do grow out of it and you will see your child leading the prosperous life you had planned for them.

In the meantime - don't forget it is important for parents to have "me-time" and there is nothing wrong with it.  It can help you be a better parent.  In the same respect, remember to be a parent first, then their friend.  Many parents miss this step and it can lead to difficulties in parenting with boundaries.

Be an educated parent, you will be a better one on the way.....

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Sue Scheff: Love Our Children USA - Making a Difference in the Lives of Children

July is National Make a Difference to Children Month.

As families are enjoying their summer vacations, time at the beach, time with friends, and simply having fun in the sun, there are children that are suffering. Children that are hungry. Children that are being harmed and children that need you to help them make a change.

During National Make a Difference to Children Month, find it in your heart to dig into your wallet and make a difference to a child today. Every dollar counts, every donation can help bring a smile to a child somewhere.

Nationally, Love our Children USA has brought an awareness to violence among children. Since 1999 they have been the leader in violence prevention and continue to expand through Bullying and cyberbullying is a growing concern today, and again Love Our Children USA is taking a stand to educate and inform people about bullying prevention.

Learn how you can donate today. Is there someone that is special to you? People that are hard to buy for or have everything they need? Make a personal gift, a gift in honor of someone or in memory of someone. Giving a little can mean a lot, don't delay, send what you can today! Click here.

Remember, children are our future.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sue Scheff: Another Teen Trend - Audio Drugs

My teen is smoking cigarettes.  My teen is smoking pot.  My teen is snorting coke. My teen is huffing. My teen is shooting heroin. My teen is drinking alcohol. My teen is high on audio!

For years parents have had concerns and worries about their kids using drugs and drinking alcohol.  Quite simply, fear of our teens becoming addicted to substance abuse.  This is not only a very serious concern, it is a deadly oneParents in denial can only prolong getting their child the help they may need.

Here we are in 2010 and now we have a new concern, 'audio drugs', as reported by the Sun-Sentinel, are a concern for both parents and schools.

Sound waves that, some say, affect the brain like a drug -- and cost only 99 cents on iTunes and

Many scientific experts say they're unfamiliar with "digital drugs" -- sometimes sold under the brand name I-Dosers -- and doubt whether sound patterns could have the same effect as chemical drugs. But some parents -- and at least one Oklahoma school system -- worry that downloading these sounds could be a teen's first step toward physical drugs.

Multiple agencies and research institutes contacted said they were unfamiliar with I-Dosers. That includes the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the South Florida D.A.R.E. program and the Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesman John Schuster said school counselors haven't seen I-Dosers as an issue but are keeping it on their radar. The same was true for Broward County Public Schools, where Nadine Drew said the schools' investigative unit is looking more into it.

Sources: Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald

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

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Girls Coping with Stress by Drinking

This is another fantastic and educational guest Blog by Parenting Expert, Michele Borba. As this first summer holiday weekend approaches, be an educated parent when it comes to raising your teenager.+

Teen girls-more than boys-get high to cope with home stress. Nine research-based tips to curb a troubling trend

By Michele Borba

Think drinking is only a “boy” problem? Just-released data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America may make you think again. The survey results on 3287 teens in grades nine through twelve reveal a troubling trend—especially for girls. And why kids are getting high is particularly disturbing. Study highlights include:
  • More than two-thirds of teen girls admit using drugs to help them cope with stress at home
  • Half of the girls said that drugs help them forget their troubles
  • Teens state a key reason for drug and alcohol use is as a way to “escape for a short period of time”
  • Research found alcohol and marijuana use increasing in boys and girls alike

Key Findings from the 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Survey (Get Smart About Drugs)

Teen Alcohol Use
53% of girls: in 2008
59% of girls: in 2009
50% of boys: in 2008
52% of boys: in 2009

Teen Marijuana Use
28% of girls: in 2008
39% of girls: in 2009
34% of boys: in 2008
39% of boys: in 2009

Make no mistake: Teen substance abuse is a serious health problem with devastating consequences. If there is a ray of hope it’s this: Research also shows that the reason most frequently quoted by kids for not drinking is their desire not to harm the relationship they have with their parents. Hint: A parent’s caring, involved relationship with their child is the best solution to underage drinking.

Here are research-based tips from the chapter on Drinking in my book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries. Please use them so you can use your influence and turn this troubling trend around.

9 Parenting Solutions to Turn A Troubling Youth Trend Around

1. Get savvy. Please don’t use a “Not my kid” kind of attitude. Forget the “He’s too young” or  “Not my daughter!” attitude as well. Teen drinking and substance abuse is a growing problem that we simply can’t ignore. Kids are taking their first drink at younger ages. Drinking amongst the girl scene is also increasing. We all need to take a reality check.

2. Be a good model of restraint. Teens get their views about alcohol from watching your behavior and listening to your comments. This research also is a warning that we not glamorize alcohol or say we’re using pills or alcohol as a way to unwind, “I sure could use a drink!”  The research shows that teen girls in particular are getting high as a way to cope. Beware!

3. Set clear rules against drinking and drugs. Feel free to be puritanical and strict. Consistently enforcing those rules and monitor your kid’s behavior all help reduce the likelihood of underage drinking. A study of over 1000 teens found that kids with “hands on” parents who establish clear behavior expectations, monitor their comings and goings, and aren’t afraid to says no are four times less likely to engage in risky behaviors like drinking. Be a parent, not a pal.
4. Start those talks earlier and talk often. You must talk to your child about drinking and the earlier the better. Before age nine, kids usually perceive alcohol negatively and see drinking as “bad” with negative consequences. By around the age of thirteen kids views of alcohol, change and become more positive and harder to change. Some kids are experimenting with drinking as young as ten or eleven. It’s never too early to start this talk, so don’t put it off.

5. Watch out for TV advertising. Long-term studies show that kids who see, hear and read more alcohol ads are more likely to drink and drink heavier than their peers. A study with third, sixth and ninth graders found those who alcohol ads desirable are also more likely to view drinking more positively. Use those frequently-aired beer and vodka commercials during those ballgames you’re watching together as opportunities to discuss your values, concerns, and rules about drinking and pill popping.

6. Dispel the “quick fix” myth. The increase use of prescription drugs as well as cold medications amongst teens is also a growing and serious problem. Those TV commercials can give kids a very wrong impression: “The quick fix to any problem is a pill.” Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation points out, “We’ve become a society that basically says, “If things aren’t perfect in your life, take a pill. This cause our young people to see drugs as an answer.” Instead, we must help our kids grow strong from the inside-out. Boost authentic self-esteem. Get her involved in healthy activities. Turn him on to positive peers. Keep a strong relationship.

7. Reduce stress and teach coping strategies. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) found that stress is the main reason teen girls are using drugs. Girls also related that they are using drugs as a way to cope with problems at home. (This confirms research from varying sources showing teen stress is mounting as well as teen depression). Keep a lid on the stress at home. Find ways to cope as a family (walking, exercising, eating healthier, sticking to a sleep routine). Teach coping strategies and stress reducers to your teen (yoga, deep breathing, stress management techniques).

8. Get on board with other parents. Forty-one percent of boys in the report responded: “parties are more fun with drugs” (an increase from 34% in 2008). More than half also reported that drugs help them relax in social settings. Know your kid’s friends and their parents. Call any parent hosting a party to ensure they are really supervising those sleepovers or parties.

A word to the wise: 99 percent of parents say they would not be willing to serve alcohol at their kid’s party, though 28 percent of teens say they have been at supervised parties where alcohol is available. Ninety-eight percent of parents say they are present at teen parties at their home, but 33 percent of teens say parents are rarely or never at teen parties. Though the teen party scene maybe several years away, get to know those parents now. They will be hosting those parties your child may be attending in just a few short years.

9. Watch the home scene. More kids take their first drink at your home or at the home of their friends. In fact, 60 percent of eighth graders say it is fairly or very easy to obtain alcohol-and the easiest place is in their own home. Count those bottles in your liquor cabinets. Lock up your liquor supply (and don’t tell your kids where the key is). Check your credit card: the hottest new place kids buy alcohol is on the Internet. Watch your medicine cabinet (abuse of prescription drugs, cold and cough syrup medication is on the rise). Stay alert!

Get educated. Stay involved! And know you do make a difference!

Now go talk to your kids.


Michele Borba is the author of over 25 books, her latest and one of her best is The Big Book of Parenting Solutions! There isn’t a parenting topic she doesn’t discuss.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sue Scheff: Underage Drinking - On the Rise

Hospital emergency department visits involving underage drinking nearly double during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to a new study by SAMHSA. The study reveals that daily underage drinking-related visits to hospital emergency departments are 87 percent higher during the Fourth of July weekend than they are on an average day in July.

The report estimates that on an average day in July, there are 502 hospital emergency department visits involving underage alcohol use. For the 3-day Fourth of July weekend, however, the number of daily hospital emergency department visits jumps to 938.

Talk to your kids today about the dangers of drinking.

Real kids are curious about alcohol. 40% have tried it by the time they reach eighth grade. Talking with your children early and often can make a difference. Get the facts, the tools, and the advice you need to start talking real. Click here for more information.

Family, peers, school, and the community all play a role in your child's decision to drink. In fact, most children who use alcohol get it from a friend or family member. To ensure these people become positive role models for your child, let them know how you feel about underage drinking. Over 70% of eighth graders said alcohol is easy to get. 30% of children age 12-14 get alcohol from a family member.

Source: SAMHSA

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

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teens Sneaking into R-Rated Movies

Who hasn't sneaked into an "R" rated movie when they weren't of age or not accompanied by an adult? 

Researchers at Dartmouth School of Medicine found that more than 2.5 million kids ages 10 to 14 have seen movies restricted to older teens and adults. Some are watching them on the Internet, others at home and still others are sneaking into the theaters.

Experts are concerned, saying movies are uniquely engaging. For two hours, kids are held captive in the reality of that movie. That means the R-rated sex and violence have more power than television or video games to change how they think or even act.

New research suggests that keeping kids from R-rated movies can help them from drinking, smoking and doing a lot of other things that parents don't want them to do.

Connect with Kids offers some great advice to parents. Before allowing your teen to head off to the movies for a night out, it is important you find out as much information as you can about the movie first. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests:

  • Read reviews. Look in the newspaper for a review on the movie
  • Check the Internet. You can often find sites dedicated to the movie. This will provide you with a little more information on the movie content.
  • Talk to friends who have seen it. Often the best way to determine if the movie is appropriate is to ask someone who has seen it.
  • Choose carefully when considering movies with PG-13, PG, or even G ratings. Remember a PG movie that contains some violence or nudity will have a much different effect on a five-year-old child than it would a 12-year-old.
  • If you are still not sure. See the movie yourself first. You are the best judge as to whether this is appropriate for your child.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

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