Saturday, December 22, 2012

Teen Help: Parents Seeking Help and Not Getting Scammed

With the tragedy of Newtown, CT we are faced with so many unanswered questions.

The grief of the loss of life is unimaginable - when you look at the age of the children and their protectors that died doing what they were trained to do, it is simply unconscionable that anyone could do such a heinous act.

We are hearing issues of gun control combined with mental health.  At the end of the day, like teenagers using illegal drugs (and adults for that matter) if someone is determined to find a gun and shoot people, they will.

The fact is we need to get people the help they need before they get to the point of wanting to seek out guns for killing - or drugs for getting high.

Though that is an extreme example, many parents are seeking help for their struggling teen.  They are at their wit's end.  They feel like they are hostage in their own home.  After exhausting all their local resources they realize that residential treatment is their last resort - but how can they send their child away?

The real question is, how can you not?  How can you not get your teen the help they need?  In many cases your teen does need to be removed from their environment to be able to start recovery.  Being around their negative peer group and sometimes ever around their family (and this is not a personal reflection on you) but the state of mind your child is in, can bring contention that they are not able to move forward.

So what can you do?  You get online and the confusion is overwhelming with websites promising all sorts of things - marketing people scaring you into the urgency of placing asap or else..... Sticker shock of the price of getting help! Don't get scammed - it did happen to me - I created my organization so it wouldn't happen to other parents.

There is help for everyone.  If you don't have insurance for mental help, and even with insurance, there are programs that can help.  You will have to dig harder to find them.

Obviously if you are able to go into a program you can finance there are more options, but in a time in our economy when things are not financially great, not everyone falls into this category.  This doesn't mean you can't find help.

I encourage you to visit my website - for more information on residential therapy.  Never give up - be proactive.  Now, more than ever, is a reality that parents need to get their troubled teens the help they need.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Teens Entrepeneurship: Teaching Teens About Online Businesses

Does your teen want to start their own business?

You hear about it all the time, a teen has started a great online business and it’s making tons of money, getting lots of recognition, and turning into something beyond anyone’s dreams. Now your teen has that great idea, or maybe just the drive and motivation, and he or she wants to launch an online business. You think it might really work, but you’re a little worried about the online aspect of it.

You want your teen to start his business in a smart, effective, and safe way. Don’t worry – it can be done!

Focus in on Your Product and Find a Niche

Some good advice for teens launching an online business is to find that niche and focus in on it. Maybe your teen is a wonderful artist and wants to start selling her art. Instead of just setting up a website and posting general work that people can buy, offer a specialty, like pet portraits or names with personalized colors and lettering (you can even help get the word out). She can post some samples and make it easy for customers to contact her about details.

Whether it’s starting a business selling greeting cards or tutoring math online, there is a place for almost any venture. Any business will do better the more specific it is; work with your teen about finding that part of their talent and narrowing in on it.

Safety is a Big Priority

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to oversee your teen’s online business. If your daughter is babysitting, you wouldn’t let her just go to anyone’s home to babysit–you’d make sure it was safe. You need to do the same online. Go over safety issues with your teen. Reiterate the importance of not giving out too much personal information. Sure, an email address is fine (but your teen may want a “business” email address separate from his personal one). If you need to give out an address, think about opening a PO Box so your home address is not public.

PayPal is a great way to receive payment; it takes care of the need to give out personal information to receive checks or other payment. The bottom line about safety is: Be smart, as a parent and as a teen. A younger teen will need more supervision, while your older teenager can handle more freedoms with his business.


Though safety and privacy is a concern and a consideration when your teen wants an online business, know that at some point, she will have to market the business, and that means herself. Some businesses really take off when a young person creates and runs them; they have their age in their favor. If they want media coverage, their name may have to be made public. So though you should monitor all of this, keep in the back of your mind that if your teen is serious about starting a small business, you both may have to step outside the original safety box and into the adult world of marketing and business at some point.

Kids have great ideas–they are innovative, creative, and unafraid. Guide your teen along on his endeavor, keep an eye on things, stay safe, but don’t stifle this–it could be big! Best of luck to you and your teen!

Special contributor:  Heather Legg is a blogger who writes on Internet safety, small businesses, and parenting.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bullying: Is your child a victim of a bully at school? Warning signs parents should know

According to a May 2011 survey published by the United States Department of Education, approximately 8,166,000 students between the ages of 12 and 18 reported that they were being bullied in school; this number translates to about 31.7% of American students in that age group. The effects of bullying have been emphasized to parents, educators and childcare providers as media coverage of teen suicides resulting from unchecked bullying increases. In today’s world, children require protection from each other, as well as reprehensible adult influence.

Fortunately, there are a few warning signs that could indicate that your child is the victim of schoolyard bullies.
  • Unexplained Injuries or Damages to Property – When items go missing or turn up broken, clothing and other property is torn or damaged, or your child shows clear signs of physical injury but lacks a plausible explanation for these occurrences, there’s a very strong chance that he’s being bullied and trying to hide it from you. Because seeking help for bullying is often considered a sign of weakness, some kids will go to great lengths to keep their plight under wraps.
  • Displays an Aversion to School – A child that was once happy and eager to attend classes but suddenly exhibits a strong aversion to school, attempts to fake illnesses as a means of staying home, or puts up a fight every morning may be trying to avoid school because he’s trying to avoid being bullied there. Most kids show at least a mild aversion to school from time to time; however, should your child seem genuinely afraid or angry about going to his classes each morning, there may be more to the story than a typical childhood distaste for school.
  • Difficulty Sleeping or Nightmares – One of the most common signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is not uncommon in children that are severely bullied, is difficulty sleeping. Sleep disruptions and nightmares should be viewed as a cause for concern when they become a regular occurrence; the occasional bad dream is simply par for the childhood course, but recurring nightmares could indicate a serious problem.
  • Lowered Academic Performance – Kids that are the victims of bullying may experience a drop in grades or show other indications of a lowered academic performance, either as a result of being actively distracted from their studies by bullies or because they’re experiencing symptoms of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder that makes it difficult for them to focus. When grades rapidly plummet, parents should always address the situation; however, if there are other indicators of bullying, kids should certainly not be punished if their studies are suffering.
  • Loss of Interest in Hobbies or Activities – When a child that was once eager to join in activities, extra-curricular sports or after school programs abruptly shows a lack of interest or even a distaste for those hobbies, it could indicate that he’s being bullied by other participants and wants to distance himself from the situation as much as possible.
  • Isolation – It’s not unheard of for tweens and teens to barricade themselves in their rooms, eschewing the company of their parents in favor of talking to their friends; it’s so common, in fact, that it’s become something of a societal cliché. That being said, if your child is isolating himself from everyone, and doesn’t seem to have many friends that he’s interacting with, that isolation could be an indicator of bullying or harassment.
  • Self-Harming Behavior – The most drastic, and perhaps the most upsetting, indicator of bullying is self-harming behavior in your child. Cutting, eating disorders and risky behavior, like running away from home, are all classic signs of bullying or abuse; though they may seem extreme and overwhelming, they’re not an indicator that all hope is lost. A child exhibiting these signs is likely to require some treatment, and may need to be removed from their current school as a protective measure.
Fear of retribution, a reluctance to appear helpless, and humiliation at their plight may leave kids reluctant to notify an authority figure, or even to admit to being bullied in many cases. The 2008 to 2009 School Crime Supplement indicates that roughly two-thirds of bullying cases go unreported by the victims or their peers, so uncovering the truth may require a bit of finesse. Aggressive questioning can feel like an interrogation to an already victimized child, so parents should keep their tone open, calm and non-judgmental during conversations about the subject.

Source: Babysitting Jobs

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Teen Peer Pressure: Be An Educated Parent

Frequently we hear how a teen used to be such a nice kid until they started hanging out with so-and-so. Yes, the wrong crowd. Everyone knows about the wrong crowd.

We’re surrounded by peer pressure every day in a variety of different ways, from the unknown forces of the media to our friends and family. Although a parent can’t erase peer pressure from her child’s life, she can give her the tools she needs to stay strong in the face of it and make decisions based on what’s best for her.

Here are a few tools to help you teach your child about peer pressure.

Talk to your child about the influences of the media. Every time you turn on the TV, pick up a magazine, read a billboard, go on Facebook or Twitter, or surf the web there are people trying to get you to take the action they want you to take or think the way they want you to think. Many people don’t recognize these forces as peer pressure because they’ve become such an engrained part of our lives; however, the media greatly influences our ideas and choices. Talking with children about these influences can help kids see things with a critical mind and allow them to make smarter, more objective decisions.

Be a good role model. If your child sees you rush out to buy the latest fashion, stand in line for hours to land the latest gadget, or try the latest fad diet because everyone else on the block is singing its praises, she’s much more likely to fall prey to the same peer influences. Let your child see you making decisions based on what’s best for you and the situation, even when it’s not necessarily the popular choice.

Talk to your child about the people and things that influence him. Conversation is one of the most powerful tools you have in helping your child withstand peer pressure. Talk with your child about what choices his friends are making, the choices he’s facing, the factors that influence him, and how he makes decisions about what to do and what not to do. Giving him a safe place to explore his thoughts and feelings will help him make well thought out decisions. It will also allow him to make up his mind about what to do in a tough situation before he’s actually in the tough situation. Working through his choices ahead of time gives him the confidence to act in accordance with his beliefs and values.

Involve your child in a community that supports your values. Although you can’t insulate your child from peer pressure, you can stack the deck in your favor by surrounding your child with people that can help her make good choices. Your local church, Boys and Girls Club, Boy and Girl Scouts, and community programs are all great places to find like-minded families. Your child will still be pressured to do things that are not in her best interest, but it’s a lot easier to say no when others are saying no alongside you.

Help your child develop a strong sense of self. Children with high self-esteem and a positive self-image have a much easier time resisting peer pressure. Those things don’t develop overnight, so plant the seeds of self-esteem and self-image when your child is young and cultivate them as your child grows.

Help your child avoid troublesome situations. Sometimes peer pressure can be avoided simply by avoiding a certain person or taking control of a situation. If your child’s classmate is known for rallying friends to pick on younger kids, stop meeting him and his mom at the local park. Instead, foster a friendship between your child and a kinder classmate. If your child’s new neighbor friend spends hours watching R rated movies while he’s home alone after-school, insist they play at your house where you can monitor their TV choices. If you’re worried about your daughter being out late with her older boyfriend, impose an early curfew but allow the boyfriend to stay and visit.

Be supportive. Making good choices in the face of peer pressure is tough. It can be a very emotional struggle for many kids. Be the person your child can confide in, can count on, and can ask for advice.

Don’t expect perfection. Your child will make mistakes. She will hang out with the wrong people. She will make bad choices. How you react when those things happen will have a big impact on how she handles similar situations in the future. Your goal is to help her learn from her mistakes, help her learn how to make a better choice next time, and help her correct her course when she realizes that she’s going in the wrong direction.

A parent can’t protect her child from peer pressure, but she can help her make decisions based on what’s best for her and not simply on what everyone else is doing.

Source: Go Nannies

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Specialty Boarding Schools Accused of Abuse

Recently it was brought to my attention from a parent that I helped several years ago, she was reading a series of articles on abuse and neglect that happens in residential programs for teens and kids.

We are in 2012 - a time when you would think that transparency of all schools and programs should be a given.  Unfortunately, like I also learned the hard way, when it comes to the big business of "teen help" and parents are at their wit's end - they can fall prey to most anything that sounds like relief.

This is one of the reasons I created my organization, Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc (P.U.R.E.)  I felt there wasn't any place I could turn that could give me reliable information.

PURE helps educate parents and gives them insights to a very daunting industry.  Though you initially think you are looking for a boot camp type environment (thinking you want to teach your child a lesson) you will soon realize that your teen is crying out for help.  Searching for a program that has an ACE factor (A-academic, C-clinical, E-enrichment) will serve your teen much better.

Another misconception parents have is that Military Schools are for troubled teens.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  The majority of legitimate Military Schools such as Admiral Faragut in Clearwater, Florida, will only accept students with a certain GPA, in many cases a teen has to write an essay of why they want to attend.

Some parents may find some Military Schools that will accept an unwilling child, but what happens next you won't be so happy with.  If he/she get expelled, chanced are very good you will then forfeit your tuition.  Are you ready for that?  The other emotional component of this is - setting your child up for failure will only serve to do him/her more emotional damage and probably cause more defiance and resentment.

Many parents are dealing with good kids making bad choices.  Many parents are dealing with kids experimenting with substances.  We need to take this all very serious today.  Remember it is not the pot of yesterday.  It is being laced with stronger elements and even addictive ones.  Entitlement issues today are a common thread - kids simply have too much and have no boundaries.

It doesn't matter what your issues are, if you have reached the point where you are convinced you need residential therapy, please contact PURE and talk to us.  We have free consultations.  If you have a list of programs that you are considering, we can go down that list with you.  We have visited a large number of programs in our country.  We also receive feedback from parents, students and even employees frequently.

Talk to us.... don't risk sending your child into harms way.  This is a major financial and emotional decision.  It is a parent's responsibility to get their child help - you don't have to fear it - you just have to be smart about it.

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Read my story here.  My book - Wit's End! Advice and Resources for Saving your Out of Control Teen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Teens and Online Safety: It is as important as driving safely

Safety and kids are sometimes like oil and water. Parents go to the ends of the Earth to protect their children from harm, yet kids believe they are invincible. That naïve childhood thinking is envious and unrealistic, so the adults must step in at times.

In today’s digital age, Internet safety is quite similar to automobile safety. Both require a higher level of responsibility and can be considered rites of passage. As parents, we’d love to surround our little ones in bubble wrap, but we also know that they must learn to fail in order to grow. Imagine if they never made a mistake!

Here is a little roadmap and a few tips to navigate Internet safety.

Car insurance is a must-have for all drivers, but online insurance is just as important. What do we mean by that? Spyware, adware, and other types of online protection keep your computer and its contents secure. There are many companies that offer such online protection, and your kids must know about it. They should never disable any firewalls to gain access to any sites that could compromise the computer or the files. Of course, no one will give you a ticket if you don’t have insurance on your computer. But a hacker or a computer virus doesn’t need much to steal your online identity or destroy the computer contents.

Restraints in any situation can be a life-saver. While they can’t be buckled, parental controls can guide kids in the right direction when they might be veering off course. Hopefully only used in dire situations, these controls can be loosened or tightened depending on the child and the circumstance.

Reliable Vehicle
Nowadays, computers come in every shape, size, and price range. Remember that not every kid needs his or her own laptop or Mac. The tried but true brands of computers still connect to the same Internet as the higher-end ones. It’s the guidance from parents that makes the difference.

Roadside Assistance
We’ve all been there when a car battery refuses to start or we blow a tire. Thank goodness for roadside assistance, even though some of us hate to admit that we can’t change our own tires. Our kids feel the same way. While parents shouldn’t hover or secretly log into their children’s accounts, parents still need to make themselves available. Fostering an environment where kids can ask questions and make mistakes without judgment is paramount to building trust and opening the lines of communication.

Owner’s Manual
In the end, a plan must be determined by adults and be understood by the children. In no uncertain terms, lay out prohibited and accepted sites and online behavior. No child should be secluded in his or her room to surf the Web, and parents should be aware of what their children are using the computer for each night.

Another tip: Limit online and computer usage. There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to clear the mind, and your kids deserve that luxury.

Contributor:  Laura Burkey is a freelancer who writes on various topics including home décor, gardens, and online reputations.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Teens, Financial Literacy and Entitlement Issues

Let's have the talk.... 

Teaching your teen to be financially literate is a priority. 

While encouraging good grades in school, sportsmanship and respectfulness are all a part of parenthood, teaching about money also plays a profound role. Educating your family about financial literacy and creating a healthy monetary environment will equip your children with the skills to make good decisions now and in the future.

Money management, credit card responsibility and valuing the dollar are lessons that will help your teen develop good characteristics and become a good member of society. Before you hand your teen a credit card and wads of cash, keep in the mind how financial illiteracy, money carelessness and even entitlement can have a significant negative effect on your teenager.

The Teenage Brain
If you're thinking about providing your teenager with a credit card, remember to emphasize to your teen how this little plastic purchasing tool comes with high risks and long-term consequences that they're most likely unaware of. According to Health, the teenage brain is actually attracted to risk-taking behaviors. In other words, "teens' senseless choices may result from biological tendencies." explains that research shows teens are very aware of risks and consequences, such as unprotected sex and STDs, rather they're more drawn to the unknown risks. Think excessive, irresponsible credit card use and frivolous purchasing. Agnieszka Tymula, the lead author of a study on adolescent risk taking behavior, stated, "adolescents engage more in unknown risks than they do in known risks." Because of teenage information processing, they also tend to fixate on the rewards.

Rewards vs. Risks
Teens like rewards — rewards like the instant gratification from owning a smartphone or admiration from peers for wearing designer clothes to school. On the other hand, risks like a poor credit score, credit card debt and identity theft, go unacknowledged in the teenage mind. Teenagers want those rewards, and now, regardless of the risks associated with obtaining them. Teens aren't thinking about long-term consequences, such as debt collection, or how Lifelock protection would safeguard their identity.
Purchasing a future home and credit checks, for example, aren't typically going to have a profound effect on the decision to purchase something in the moment. Protect your teens' future and spending habits by emphasizing how and when to charge a purchase. Teach your family to be financially literate with crash courses on how to use credit cards and practice healthy monetary habits that also contribute to good character traits.

Financial Literacy & Teen Entitlement
Teens feel invincible — invincible from consequences and free of responsibilities. You lecture them on the risks of drinking and having unprotected sex and then cross your fingers that when your teenager walks outside your line of vision, he or she will make good decisions. While trying to prevent car accidents, teen pregnancy or failing grades, teaching your teen about the value of a dollar may be a battle you choose to lose. Perhaps you enforced an allowance for walking the dog or washing the car, but eventually as life got busier and more complicated, you gave in.
What's at stake with a financially illiterate teenager? A respect for work ethic, responsibility and gratitude. What's to gain? Entitlement. Teenagers with a sense of monetary entitlement can start to develop character flaws such as disrespect and a lack of appreciation for money, working and earning the privileges that you're awarded. Financial literacy is the idea of teaching our children at a young age about the exchange of money and what it takes to have that iPhone or wear those Nike Air Jordans.

Keep in mind teens don't necessarily need to know about the family's financial details, such as mortgage payments or 401(k) plans. Financial literacy starts with instilling good values so that they're not only developing good character attributes, but preventing poor monetary habits that can lead to serious financial troubles in the future.

Money Management

Teach your teen to be financially literate by starting with basic money management and personal financial skills — tailored to the teenage life. From a new car and gadgets to social expenses and extracurricular activities, teenagers face decisions about money and challenges on how to pay for what they desire. Margaret Magnarelli, senior editor of Money magazine and author of Per$onal Finance, tells that "the first step to [a teen's] financial understanding should be taught by parents."

Teach your teen money-management skills with the following:
  • Communicate: Make time for creating dialogue around desires and purchases. If your teenager asks for money for new clothes or video game, Magnarelli suggests asking, "what it would take for you to save up to buy that?" or "How many hours of your part-time job would it take to achieve that?" Once you've started the conversation, find a fair solution. As a team, establish a savings plan. For example, agree to match your teen's $20 weekly savings for costly items such as an iPod. Make a bargain. For example, offer to pay for weekend activities with friends as long as your teen takes care of weekend chores.
  • Say No: Listen to your teen's request and digest the reasons for why he or she wants something. According to's MoneyWatch, a quick no marks parents as "intransigent, uninformed, and simply out to make [your teenager] miserable." Start a conversation, acknowledge your teenager's point of view and explain why you decided to say no.
  • Practice What You Preach: Instill healthy money habits by setting an example. Show your family the value of budgeting and saving by vocalizing smart financial decision making. For example, explain how paying for piano lessons or going on a family trip are more meaningful to your family than bringing the latest gadgets into the home.
  • Set Priorities & Limits: Ensure that your teenager knows how to distinguish between a want and a need. New shoes for cheerleading could actually be a need that takes precedent over a designer pair of jeans. Although there's nothing wrong with "wants," establish limits and be consistent when you do buy something for your teenager. For example, while school shopping, provide a price range for a new pair of shoes or set a budget for how much you're going to spend on clothes. Decide ahead of time what you're shopping for to avoid impulse spending. Also teach your teen about delayed gratification to prepare them for responsible financial habits as an adult.
Contributor: Kevin Parker

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Risky Behavior Teens Will Do: Parents Be Alert!

Many teenagers think they are invincible, and are always looking for the next thrill.  While the stunts that were tried 10 to 20 years ago may have seemed daring and dangerous at the time, teens today are pushing the envelope in even more dangerous new ways.  Parents truly need to be aware of the risky things that some teens are doing.

  1. Planking- Kids have taken what started out being a move done for strengthening the core to a trend that was kind of cute to something downright dangerous.  Planking is where you lay face down on any surface and have your picture taken.  The picture is then uploaded to Facebook or some other social media site.  Teens turned this fun trend into a dangerous stunt when they started planking on things like escalators, moving cars, trains and rooftops.
  2. Car surfing- Instead of surfing in the water standing on a surfboard, teens are standing on moving cars.  Some start by standing on the trunk with the car moving very slowly, and in an effort to continually raise the stakes they have moved to more even more dangerous locations on the car, and now teens have been killed doing this.
  3. Smoking Smarties- According to tutorials online, the candy is crushed to a fine powder and the end of the tube is opened and the powder is puffed and inhaled like smoke.  On the surface the activity is not illegal or all that harmful, but it could lead to infections and chronic coughing.  The bigger concern is that this behavior could lead to more dangerous experimentation with drugs in the future.
  4. Vodka eyeballing- To avoid getting caught with alcohol on their breath, teens have started pouring vodka directly in their eyes.  The alcohol is absorbed through the mucus membrane and goes directly into the blood stream.  This trend has been shown to cause blindness in a worst case scenario, but at a minimum it can burn the cornea and cause scarring.
  5. Chatroulette- is a site that connects users through their web cams with people from all over the world for live chat sessions.  They do have filters which allow the user to speak to only English speakers or only females.  While the policy on chatroulette is against nudity and other inappropriate activities, risky behavior still happens.  Sexual predators could use this medium as a way to interact and ultimately harm kids.
  6. Purple drank- Drinking this mix of jolly ranchers, cough syrup with codeine and Sprite can lead to hallucinations and is extremely toxic. Kids love to copy the next celebrity trend, and for some celebrities, this purple drink it is.
  7. Rainbow parties- A group of girls at a party will wear various shades of lipstick and perform oral sex on the same guys.  At the end of the evening the genitals of the guys have many colors of lipstick, thus mimicking a rainbow. 
  8. Choking game- The choking game is where kids choke each other or themselves with various things like belts or scarves, to cut off the flow of blood to their brain in order to get a high.  When the choking stops the blood goes back to the brain quickly and they get a natural high.  Many teens who have tried this have passed out doing it and could, and have, died of asphyxiation. 
  9. Distilling hand sanitizer- By combining salt with liquid hand sanitizer the alcohol can be distilled out of it.  The alcohol is very strong and some teens who have drank it have ended up in the ER with alcohol poisoning. 
  10. Rummy bears- Kids and adults alike are soaking gummy bears in various alcohols, like rum or vodka.  The gummy soaks up the alcohol and kids are said to be eating them at school and getting buzzed. 
Knowledge is power. If adults are aware that these trends are going on in other areas of the country they will be better able to spot them in their own kids or their friends.


Need help with your teen?  Visit

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Friday, October 5, 2012

5 Rules Most Teens Will Break!

Parenting teens is challenging!

The teenage years are some of the most exciting times for a teen and the most stressful and terrifying for a parent. Teens are in between the stage of no longer being a child but not quite old enough to be an adult.

New things are presented and for your child’s mental, physical and emotional health are sensitive and you have placed rules to keep them safe. As much as you hope your teen doesn’t break the rules, chances are they will, here are 5 they are most likely to break:

Curfew: Missing curfew is probably the least life altering rule to break but the most common rule teens break. Whether they miss curfew by 5 minutes or 2 hours, it will happen. Missing curfew usually happens because teens tend to just lose track of time and not pay attention. The reason why parents enforce curfew is for their safety late at night.
Lying: Even if your teen is a horrible liar, lying is easy. Teens lie for the same reasons adults lie, to prevent getting in trouble, hurting someone or facing unfavorable consequences. Lying can get tricky because teens tend to think a ‘little white lie’ won’t hurt anything or anyone. False; lying is a bad habit to pick up. Teach them that there are always consequences and the best thing to do is to just face the facts like an adult and suffer the repercussions.
Cheating: But Mom, everyone else did it! Cheating in school is common for teens, especially those who are nearing the end of their high school career and lack the motivation to complete course work. Cheating is also another trait that can be hazardous to their adult life. Cheating is not acceptable as a teen or an adult.
Going too far: Teens are full of hormones and discovering themselves and others on physical levels. That first boyfriend or first girlfriend is both exciting and scary for the parent and teen. Have a sit down conversation that is honest but firm about sexuality and the mental, emotional and physical consequences that come with it. The more you talk and educate your child, the less you have to worry about possible situations arising. It’s an uncomfortable topic for everyone involved, so make it easy for your teen to talk to you about it.
Drinking: Drinking, smoking and drugs are more common in high schools than you a parent wants to believe. Just as you do with the sex talk, talk to your teens about these other vices. They need to know what happens legally, personally, mentally and physically if your teen chooses to abuse these vices before the legal age limit. Drinking and driving is a problem among teens, teach them that no matter what, they can ALWAYS call you for a safe ride home. The more your child knows the better off they are on making the right decision.

Source: Jack Meyer is a regular contributor for Nanny Background Check.

It is important to remember, you are a parent first -- you can become their friend later. They need a parent to guide them to a bright and healthy future.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Therapeutic Boarding Schools and Residential Treatment Centers

You have finally reached your wit's end.  It has come to a point where you have exhausted all your local resources.  The one on one therapy is no longer working, if it ever did.  The fact is, it is a fight to even get your teen to attend a session.  If you do get them to attend - how many times to they actually manipulate the therapist to actually believe there isn't an issue at all...... in some instances the blame can come right back to the parent!

Yes, manipulation of a teen is priceless.  They are the best at what they do.  However now is the time for the parent to be the best at what they are - a parent.

You decided it is time for residential therapy and you jump on the Internet and you start with Google by typing in key words.  Teen help, struggling teens, defiant teens, teen help programs, military schools, reform schools, troubled teens, rebellious teens, etc.

What you will find is a list of marketing arms that are very quick to "sell you a group of programs" rather than discuss what is best for your individual teenager.  I always caution parents to beware of these toll free numbers and marketing arms that you have no clue where you are calling and who is connected to what.

I once was at my wit's end - my story is what prompted me to created an organization to help educate parents about the big business of "teen help".  Take a few minutes to read - "A Parent's True Story" and you will realize that although you absolutely need to get your son or daughter help, you also need to take the time to do your research.

I have listed some "Do's and Don'ts" when searching -  these are some great helpful hints for parents.  This is such a major emotional and financial decision that I encourage to read through my website and learn as much as you can before making a decision.  I firmly believe in residential programs - I just also believe you need to select the right one for your child's needs.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bullying: Shielding kids from bullying without turning them into a bully

While it’s something that has gained a lot of press in recent years, bullying is not a new thing. In past generations, it was considered a rite of passage, and was something that was simply expected.
Today, however, we have a much better understanding of bullying and the lifelong effects of it on both the bully and the victim.

Bullying takes on many different forms. Verbal bullying includes intimidation and threats, name calling, insults about gender, race, sexual orientation, special needs, disabilities, or other personal characteristics, public humiliation, and spreading rumors. Physical bullying includes tripping, pinching, hitting, pushing, and destroying or stealing personal property.

Cyberbullying includes harassing emails, texts, and instant messages, and intimidating, harassing, or humiliating posts and pictures on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other websites. Cyberbullying can be especially damaging because it continues outside of school hours and off of school grounds, and has the ability to reach a large audience. These attacks can continue to circulate online long after the initial event.
If you think your child is being bullied, you’re not alone. Up to half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Some of the possible warning signs that your child might be a victim of bullying are if your child:
  • Comes home with torn clothes.
  • Is missing sweaters, jackets, school supplies, or other things repeatedly.
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches.
  • Is afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, or riding the school bus.
  • Suddenly begins to do poorly in school.
  • Is sad, upset, angry, or depressed when she comes home.
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, being tired, or other physical ailments that would prevent her from going to school.
  • Has few friends.
If you think your child might be being bullied, you’re not helpless. There are things you can do to stop the bullying, help your child deal with the after effects, and stop future attacks.

Encourage your child to share her feelings. It’s important that your child has a safe place to talk about what’s happening and how she feels about it. When your child opens up, listen without dismissing her feelings (e.g. “Oh, you shouldn’t get so upset about what she says.”), without downplaying the incident (e.g. “Don’t listen to what that boy says. You’re beautiful just how you are!”) or without assuring her things will immediately change (e.g. “I’ll talk to your teacher and it will be OK.”) Offer empathy and support, let her know you’re on her side, remind her that she’s not to blame for what happened, and work with her to find a solution.
Contact school administrators. You should report all bullying to your child’s school. Many schools have bullying policies already in place so you’ll have a good idea what to expect. Present as many details as you have and ask what actions will be taken. Make sure you follow up and stay up-to-date on how your complaint is being handled. Unfortunately not all principals and teachers take bullying seriously and you may have to be the squeaky wheel to get them to take meaningful action. If your child was physically attacked, talk to the school principal immediately to decide if the police should be involved.
Model an honest yet appropriate response. Of course you’re going to be angry if your child is being bullied. Be honest with your child about how you’re feeling while letting her know that acting on anger, hurt, humiliation or other negative emotions doesn’t solve the problem. Put your energy into working with the school to stop the bullying behavior to ensure the bully is dealt with appropriately and to help your child deal with the emotional toll of bullying.
Boost your child’s self-esteem. There’s no such thing as a bully-proof child, but kids that have high self-esteem, are part of supportive friendships, and are involved in activities they enjoy and are good at are much less susceptible to bullying. In today’s world there’s a group, team, or club for pretty much any activity your child is interested in. Sports, volunteering, music, performing arts, chess, gaming, or outdoor adventure can all help your child avoid or successfully deal with bullying. If her school doesn’t offer anything your child is interested in, look in your local community.
Bullying is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. Public awareness, prevention programs, and progressive school policies are making it easier to identify and deal with bullies, but occurrences of bullying aren’t declining. In fact, cyberbullying is increasing at an alarming rate as smart phones become standard equipment for students. As a parent, you have the power to help your child to deal with bullying wherever and whenever she might encounter it.


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Keep Your Teenager Healthy in the New School Year

Guest Post:
When I was a little girl, I ate whatever I wanted. When you're a young child running around at all hours of the day, having a cookie doesn't seem to do a bit of harm. The older you get, however, your body starts changing and caloric intake actually starts to mean something. After I entered my teenager years, my body started changing drastically. I, like many other teenagers, was going through a period of change, and my body was trying to adjust to all those changes. Yet nothing could have prepared me for the 30-pound weight gain that I experienced in the 7th grade.

Looking back, I wish my mother and father would have taken more of an active interest during my hectic body transformation. It took me two years to get my weight back under control, and now that I'm a mother of two teenagers, I watch their health very closely. The beginning of a new school year can provide difficult challenges for those parents who are trying to keep an eye on their teenager's health. With everything from lack of exercise and unhealthy school lunches, your teenager has a number of obstacles to face when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are three tips in helping your teenagers keep their health as their number one priority.

Prepare breakfast and lunch
Though things have improved in the last few years, school lunches still aren't what they should be. I was shocked to go to my son's high-school orientation the other day to find that fried mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets were the main menu staples. Sadly, schools have a tendency of overlooking the importance of health and nutrition; therefore, it's our jobs as parents to make sure our children are fed healthy, nutritious food. One way to keep an eye on your teenager's health is to prepare their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every morning, make it a priority to prepare healthy breakfast dishes, such as steel-cut oatmeal, fruit salads, high-fiber cereal, egg-white omelettes, and other nutritious breakfast options. Making your child's lunch is also a good idea also, seeing as they'll be choosing between different fried dishes if you don't. In fact, there are a number of great websites and blogs out there that provide delicious, affordable lunch ideas for students. Family dinners are a great way to keep an eye on what everybody is eating as well.

Make health a family priority
When I was growing up, health was something my family hardly ever talked about. I didn't know much about diabetes, nutrition, exercise, and dieting because discussing such matters wasn't a priority in our household. If you want your kid to care about their health, you need to teach them that they should. One of the best ways to educate your child about health and nutrition is to lead by example. If a parent isn't taking care of themselves, it's unlikely their child will either. Start doing little things like working out as a family, eating healthy dinners as a family, and talking about health/body-image issues as a family in order to keep your family's health on track. Just by making a health a family priority, you'll be better able to help your teenager keep their health as a priority.

Encourage your child embrace a regular form of exercise
Let's face it: many of us don't get the necessary exercise we should each day. As a working mother, I hardly have any time to move around. One thing I'm quite adamant about, however, is that each of my family members gets at least one hour of exercise each day. This can be as simple as walking outside for an hour or going to soccer practice for an hour. Though many parents choose to overlook exercise, it's absolutely unacceptable if your child sits on his or her butt in school all day. One way to get them up and moving is to sign them up for school sports or exercise classes. As long as you require that your teenager embrace some form of daily exercise, they should be on their way to being healthier.

I know how hard it can be to raise your teenager to care about health and nutrition. As a child, I could have cared less about what I ate, and I gained an unnecessary about of weight because of that apathetic nature. If you're trying to raise a healthy teenager in the new school year, utilize these three helpful healthy tips.

Special Guest Contributor:
Leslie Johnson is an avid health and nutrition blogger or As the mother of two teenagers, she is particularly passionate about teaching children about nutrition, health, body image, and exercise. If you have any questions for Leslie, feel free to leave them here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Internet Safety and Teens

Teens will explore the Internet.
The ready availability of virtually anything and the generally unrestricted access the Internet provides is an irresistible draw to any teenager looking to explore. As a parent, you need to do what you can to keep them safe. Clever teens will get around nearly any form of parental control placed on the computer. It’s better in the long run, and much easier in the short term, to teach your teens to use the Internet safely.

1: Virus Protection.
The Internet is full of threats. Viruses show up all over the place, from e-mail attachments to embedded in downloads to fake programs. It’s essential that any computer your teen uses have adequate virus protection installed and kept up to date. It won’t stop a virus from being willfully — if accidentally — installed, but it will help eliminate most threats.
2: Safety Add-Ons. 
There are a number of utilities that can help make browsing technically safer. Spybot: Search & Destroy has an excellent immunization feature that blocks known danger pages from ever loading. Adblock+ is an add-on for most browsers that removes advertisements, including those embedded with malicious code. A good firewall can also help keep threats out.
3: Safe Browsing Habits.
Even the most sophisticated protection in the world won’t stop dedicated human error. It’s best to educate your teens on some safe browsing habits. Some good lessons include “if the virus scanner stops the download, don’t download it again,” “don’t download e-mail attachments from anyone you don’t know,” “learn to recognize advertisements pretending to be legitimate content,” and more.
4: Withholding Information.
The most dangerous thing a teen can do online is give out sensitive information to someone willing to misuse it. Teach them never to give out sensitive information. This information includes passwords, full real names, social security numbers, phone numbers, credit card numbers, usernames and other identity information. Anyone who has a legitimate reason to need some of that information can get it in other ways. No one will ever ask for it through e-mail unless they’re trying to steal it.
5: Complex Passwords.
Bad passwords are easy to guess, easy to brute force break and easy to steal. Good passwords are harder to remember, and people tend to write them down or set them to input automatically, which can be just as dangerous. Teach your teens to use good passwords and remember them. It doesn’t have to be a messy combination of letters, numbers and symbols. A good password might simply be a long phrase with capitalized words, a number and some punctuation. Such a password is easy to remember and hard to guess.
Accidents will happen. Everyone steps outside their boundaries at some point in their life. With some education and some safe browsing habits, your teen will learn firsthand after a major virus, and not identity theft or something more dangerous.

Special contributor: Paul Taylor

Author Bio:
Paul and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare. They take care of all the necessary information related to “”. He personally thinks his blog will help finding information on all things related to a babysitter.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

7 Common Ways Students Cheat

It’s no secret that students cheat. 

On exams, on papers, on projects: no matter the assignment, someone out there has figured out a way to cheat on it. And the statistics are alarming: two out of three college students admit they have cheated on homework, and 19% have cheated on exams, according to a recent study.

Whether it’s because of shifting morals or access to technology, it’s clear that cheating is as prevalent as ever. If you’re a teacher who wants to crack down on cheaters or a student who wants to take the easy way through school (shame on you!), these are the most common ways students around you are cheating.

1. Looking at someone else’s answers during an exam happens, but it’s much more common for students to copy a peer’s homework routinely. Many students don’t even see it as cheating. Not only is it unfair to the student who is actually doing the assignments and being taken advantage of, it hurts the person doing the copying as well. By copying homework, students don’t practice what they’ve learned and perform worse on exams. One study found that copying homework can cause a student to score two letter grades below those who completed their homework on an exam testing the material. Remember, practice makes perfect, and practicing cheating won’t help you in the long run.
2. Some cheaters are learning one thing: you get what you pay for. There is a world out there that honest students can’t even comprehend — the term paper market. Academic papers (and grades) are bought and sold like any other good. There are many different options for finding a term paper to turn in (besides the obvious, do-it-yourself option), some free, some a little pricey. Free term paper sites, like and, have a small selection and lower quality. Sites with papers for purchase, like and, sell term papers with a per-page price and actually earn students B’s frequently. And some wealthier students even hire someone to custom-write their essays. If you fall into any of these camps, you better cross your fingers that your professor doesn’t ask you any follow-up questions about what you’ve "written."
3. Smuggling a cheat sheet into a test is so common that you’d think teachers would’ve figured out how to spot it by now, but students keep getting more and more creative. If they would put as much time into studying as they do into imagining ways to cheat, they’d probably do just fine. Students have come up with ways to hide cheat sheets in their pen caps, wallets, ID badges, gum wrappers, Band-Aids, and basically anything you can think of. But if you’re trying this, you better be sly. It’s hard not to look suspicious when continuously checking that piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe.
4.Cellphones have made it much easier for students to cheat; instead of passing obvious paper notes during an exam, they can discreetly text a friend for answers. More than a third of teens with cellphones in 2009 admitted they had used them to either store information for a test or to text a friend during an exam. In the same 2009 study, researchers found that almost 25% of students didn’t even think that was cheating. Maybe if a teacher sent them a text message defining cheating it would get through to them.
5. The camera technology in cellphones has also presented a challenge to teachers and education officials. Even if a student isn’t using his cellphone to text the answers to a friend, he could easily snap a photo of the test questions and send it to a friend taking the test later or post it on the Internet. Earlier this year, California encountered this problem on a major scale regarding its high school exit exam. Hundreds of photos of the standardized test popped up on social networking sites; some were innocent, like students posing proudly with the exam booklet, while others were clearly taken for the purpose of cheating.
6. Writing papers isn’t everyone’s strong suit, but that’s not a good reason to copy and paste your writing from someone else's work. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever to find brilliant words that fit your assignment, and you can just use the handy copy-paste function to transfer paragraphs in seconds. But the Web also makes it easier for teachers to catch cheaters. A quick Google search of suspicious phrases can quickly locate sources you do not cite, and has become a favorite for discovering how much of an assignment was plagiarized.
7. Some studies find that sorority and fraternity members cheat more than other American students. This could be a result of the easily accessible test banks many fraternities and sororities maintain. The organizations keep tests from certain classes and professors on file, and current members just add to the collection as they take updated tests, different courses, or new professors. This isn’t necessarily cheating if the professor knows that his test is being distributed and changes it every term, but many courses use the same test questions for years without knowing the answers are stored in a Greek system’s test bank.

Source: Online Degree Programs

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Over-the-Counter Medicine Abuse

Drugstore medications can be dangerous!

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like painkillers and cold medicines are generally safe when used as intended. But if your teen takes them in large doses to get high, they can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Many young people abuse cough medicines containing dextromethorphan, among other drugs. Get the facts on this disturbing trend.

1. The statistics are frightening:
Government surveys show that 3.1 million people age 12 and older have misused OTC medications in their lifetime—with nearly 4 percent of misuse among those younger than 18. Nearly 6 percent of 10th graders and roughly 5 percent of high school seniors report abusing cough or cold medicines, particularly those containing dextromethorphan.

2. Dextromethorphan goes by many names:
Pharmacists may call this medication DXM. On the street, it's also known as dex, poor man's PCP, CCC, rojo, skittles, triple C, velvet, or robo. Abusing it is often called robotripping, skittling, or dexing. You can find DXM in more than 125 over-the-counter products, including Robitussin, Vicks, and Coricidin HBP.

3. The dose makes the difference:
Fifteen or 30 milligrams of DXM three to four times daily quells adults' coughs with few side effects. Teens who abuse it sometimes take 250 to 1,500 milligrams at a time. Too much DXM and mixing it with other drugs can cause medical emergencies, such as overdose or even death.

4. Abuse leads to highs—and lows:
Depending on the dose, the effects of DXM include feeling either overexcited or lethargic. Low doses may be mildly stimulating. The more teens take, the more likely they are to experience hallucinations, euphoria, and a feeling of being outside of their own bodies.

5. The health dangers are real:

In the short term, abusing DXM can cause nausea, vomiting, numbness, abdominal pain, slurred speech, dizziness, paranoia, and increased heart rate. Long-term risks include dependence, high blood pressure, and problems breathing because of nervous system effects. Teens who abuse DXM suffer from impaired senses, which may lead to life-threatening accidents.

6. Some teens create deadly combos:
Over-the-counter products with DXM often contain other ingredients, including acetaminophen and the drug guaifenesin, which relieves congestion. These drugs have their own dangers at high doses, including liver damage and rapid heartbeat. Mixing DXM with other drugs intensifies the risks—for example, DXM can be fatal when taken with antidepressants.

7. Many teens have easy access:
Liquids, capsules, and tablets containing DXM are readily available at drugstores, supermarkets, or convenience stores—as well as in parents' medicine cabinets. Some teens order high-dose DXM powders online or visit websites that have "recipes" for more potent drug combinations.

8. DXM isn't the only drugstore danger:
Young people also misuse laxatives, emetics, and diet pills. They may begin by trying to lose weight but gradually become dependent on ingredients such as ephedrine, caffeine, and phenylpropanolamine. Like speed, these substances stimulate the central nervous system and can be fatal.

9. Abusers often leave telltale signs:
Talk with your teen regularly about the dangers of abusing OTC drugs, and watch for red flags. Be concerned if he or she takes large amounts of cold medicine. Keep an eye out for missing medicine from your own cabinet, as well as drug packaging in your child's backpack or bedroom.

10. With help, teens can stop misusing drugs:
A support team can help your family face—and overcome—OTC drug abuse. If you suspect your child has a problem, talk with a school nurse, doctor, or other health professional. Other sources of information and support include school counselors, faith leaders, other parents, and community anti-drug organizations.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Teen Drug Use: 10 Warning Signs

Parent denial is very common. Not one parent wants to admit that their own child may be drifting off in a negative direction. However if you ignore the obvious signs, you are no better than condoning this substance abuse.

Tips to help prevent substance abuse:
1. Communication is the key to prevention. Whenever an opportunity arises about the risks of drinking and driving or the dangers of using drugs, take it to start a conversation.
2. Have a conversation not a confrontation. If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk to them. Don’t judge them, talk to them about the facts of the dangers of substance abuse. If your teen isn’t opening up to you, be sure you find an adolescent therapist that can help.
3. Addict in the family? Do you have an addict in your family? Sadly many families have been effected by someone that has allowed drugs to take over their lives. With this, it is a reminder to your teen that you want them to have bright future filled with happiness. The last thing you want for them is to end up like ____.
4. Don’t be a parent in denial. There is no teenager that is immune to drug abuse. No matter how smart your teen is, or athletic they are, they are at risk if they start using. I firmly believe that keeping your teen constructively busy, whether it is with sports, music or other hobbies they have, you will be less at risk for them to want to experiment. However don’t be in the dark thinking that your teen is pulling a 4.0 GPA and on the varsity football that they couldn’t be dragged down by peer pressure. Go back to number one – talk, talk, talk – remind your teen how proud you are of them, and let them know that you are always available if they feel they are being pressured to do or try something they don’t want to.
5. Do you know what your teen is saying? Listen or watch on texts or emails for code words for certain drug lingo. Skittling, Tussing, Skittles, Robo-tripping, Red Devils, Velvet, Triple C, C-C-C-, Robotard are some of the names kids use for cough and cold medication abuse. Weed, Pot, Ganja, Mary Jane, Grass, Chronic, Buds, Blunt, Hootch, Jive stick, Ace, Spliff, Skunk, Smoke, Dubie, Flower, Zig Zag are all slang for marijuana.
6. Leftovers. Are there empty medicine wrappers or bottles, burn marks on their clothes or rug, ashes, stench, etc in their room or if they own a car, in their car? Teens (and tweens) either take several pills or smash them so all of it is released at once. Be sure to check all pockets, garbage cans, cars, closets, under beds, etc. for empty wrappers and other evidence of drug use. Where are your prescription drugs? Have you counted them lately?
7. Body language. Tune into changes in your teen’s behavior. Changing peer groups, altering their physical appearance and/or lack of hygiene, eating or sleeping patterns changing, hostile and uncooperative attitude (defiance), missing money or other valuables from the home, sneaking out of the house, etc.
8. Access to alcohol. Look around your home, is there liquor that is easily accessible? Teens admit getting alcohol is easy-and the easiest place to get it is in their home. Know what you have in the house and if you suspect your teen is drinking, lock it up! Talk to them about the risks of drinking, especially if they are driving.
9. Seal the deal. Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.
10. Set the example, be the example. What many parents don’t realize is that you are the leading role model for your teen. If your teen sees you smoking or drinking frequently, what is the message you are sending? Many parents will have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, however the teen needs to understand you are the adult, and there is a reason that the legal drinking age is 21.

Do you have a teen that you suspect is using drugs? Have you exhausted all your local resources? Take the time to learn about residential therapy, visit Each teen and family are unique, there are many teen help programs, knowing how to locate the one best for you can be a challenge, however Parents’ Universal Resource Experts in can help, starting with a free consultation.

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