Monday, March 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens, Weapons and School

Source: TeensHealth

Why do kids bring guns, knives, or other weapons to school? Some are just showing off, others feel that they need a weapon to protect themselves, and some are actively looking to threaten or harm others. Whatever the reason, though, no one should be bringing a weapon to school.

If you suspect that someone has a weapon or is threatening someone else's life, the best thing to do is to speak up. But how can you do that? If you find out that someone at school has a weapon, here are some tips for handling the situation.

Seek safety. If you see someone with a weapon, walk the other way. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly and quietly as possible.

Report the situation. Notify an adult you trust immediately. Find someone you can talk to, such as a school counselor, principal, teacher, coach, or parent. These people should know how to handle the situation appropriately, and they can keep your name confidential. Tell them exactly what you saw, what type of weapon it was (a knife, a gun, etc.), where the incident happened, and who was involved. Tell them about the situation — such as whether the weapon was being shown off or used to threaten another student.

If you don't trust an adult or can't find someone you believe will protect your identity, make an anonymous phone call to your school office and report the incident. You can also call 911 and ask them to keep your identity confidential.

Write it down. Keep a written record of everything you can remember about the incident, including the people involved, the type of weapon, the date and time it happened, and where it happened. You should also record whether the incident was reported and, if so, to whom. Writing this information down while it's still fresh in your mind will help you remember details if you're asked about it later.
The Warning Signs of Violence
Violence can happen even when a kid doesn't have a weapon. It's important to remember that violence comes in many different forms. It can be physical, like pushing, punching, or fighting with someone. Violence can also be psychological and may include name-calling, harassment, taunting, and other forms of bullying. People who are more likely to become violent may show some of these warning signs:

cruelty to pets and other animals
talking about weapons and violence
fascination with violent video games, television, and movies
threatening or bullying others
isolation from family and friends

Of course, these signs don't necessarily mean that a person will become violent or bring a weapon to school. Still, you should take all signs and threats seriously, and share your concerns with a responsible adult early on. Speaking up about violence and weapons in school not only protects you, but your friends and classmates, too.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parent Choices for At Risk Teens

Local Therapy:

Local therapy is a good place to start with children that struggling at home and school. To locate a local therapist, it is beneficial to contact your insurance company for a list of adolescent therapists in your area. If you don’t have insurance when calling therapists, ask them if they accept sliding scales according to your income. Check your yellow pages for local Mental Health Services in your area or ask your Pediatrician or Family Doctor for a referral.

Military Schools and Academies:

Military Schools have been around for over a hundred years. Many parents are under the misconception that Military Schools are for at risk children. Military Schools are a privilege and honor to attend and be accepted into. Your child must have some desire to attend a Military School. Many children believe Military Schools are for bad kids, however if they visit a campus they may realize it is an opportunity for them. Many parents start with a Military Summer program to determine if their child is a candidate for Military School.

Military Schools usually do not offer therapy, unless contracted on the outside of the school. They offer structure, positive discipline, self-confidence, small class sizes and excellent academics. Military Schools can build a student’s self-esteem; motivate them to benefit their future both socially and academically.

Traditional Boarding Schools:

Traditional Boarding Schools are like Military Schools, in which your child will have to want to attend and be accepted into the school. There are many excellent Boarding Schools that offer both academics and special needs for students. Many specialize in specific areas such as fine arts, music, and competitive sports. In most cases, therapy is not offered unless contracted on the outside.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS):

Therapeutic Boarding Schools offer therapy and academics to students. Usually the student has not done well in a traditional school and is making bad choices that could have an effect on their future. Although many of the students are exceptionally smart, they are not working to their ability. Sometimes peer pressure can lead your child down a destructive path. Removing them from their environment can be beneficial to them to focus on themselves both emotionally and academically.

Christian Boarding Schools:

Christian Boarding Schools and Programs for struggling teens offer therapy and academics. They have a spiritual foundation that can assist a child to better understand Christianity as well as bring them closer to a Higher Power. Many offer Youth Groups and activities that can create life skills for a better future. A program with a Christian setting may enhance a child’s better understanding of the world today.

Residential Treatment Center (RTC):

Residential Treatment Centers, similar to a TBS, offer therapy and academics. However Residential Treatment Centers are for children that require more clinical support. Their issues are more specific with substance abuse, eating disorders, self-mutilators, and other behavioral issues.

Summer Programs:

Summer programs are a great place to start if your child is beginning to make bad choices or losing their motivation. Finding a good summer program that can build self-confidence can be beneficial to student’s prior starting a new school year.

Visit for more information and a free consultation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: PE4Life - Parenting Teens and Exercise

In today’s generation of technology many kids are found behind their computer screens, cell phones, IPods, etc rather than participating in physical activities. It is important for parents to encourage their children and teens alike to become more active. It can not only stimulate your brain but offers stress relief when the pressures of being a teen can become overwhelming. PE4Life offers some educational and important information for parents - read more and take the time to exercise your mind!
Source: PE4Life


Parents are busy with a full workday, helping their children with homework, engaging their children in after school activities, and so on. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for physical activity in your own lives. 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.
The PE4life Approach to Physical Education:

Be offered to every child every day
Be available for all students, not just the athletically inclined
Provide a wide variety of sports and fitness activities to promote an active and healthy lifestyle
Assess students on their personal progress toward fitness and physical activity goals
Incorporate technology on a regular basis

Extend beyond the walls of the gymnasium to form community and business partnerships

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.

Get Involved—Become a Friend of PE4life, get your community involved, sign up up for the PE4life newsletter and communicate to government leaders.
News & Info—Get the latest information on physical education, childhood obesity, exercise and the brain, youth fitness and legislative news. Also link to other great websites.
Results—Review research findings and measurable outcomes of PE programs.
Grant Info—Find creative sources of funding for the physical education program at your child’s school and a forum where you can ask questions or share your thoughts and successes.
PE4life Program Services—Find information about our Program Service Packages, how to order our services, training dates, academy locations, and testimonials.
Events–Find dates for Academy Training, National PE4life Day, PE4life Workshops, and PE Conferences.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sue Scheff - Internet Safety

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

Keeping tabs on our teens' online habits doesn't just keep them safe from online predators. More and more parents are becoming wary of the excessive hours their teens spend surfing the web, withdrawing from family, friends and activities they used to enjoy. Internet Addiction is a devastating problem facing far too many teens and their families. While medical professionals have done limited research on the topic, more and more are recognizing this destructive behavior and even more, the potential mental effects it can have.

Though the web is a great place for learning and can be safe for keeping in touch, it is important that families understand the potential risks and dangers to find a healthy balance between real and virtual life.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Mom Logic on Sexting

Parenting today offers more challenges than ever - addresses many of the latest concerns that parents are facing today.

The latest issue is “sexting” - and the tragic story of Jessie Logan. This young teen, 18 years old, commited suicide after private photo’s were forwarded through cell phones and she became a victim of sexting.

Read more about this critical topic on

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parents - Learn About Teen Medicine Abuse

Welcome to the Five Moms: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse Campaign
Learn about teen cough medicine abuse.Share information about abuse.
First launched in May 2007, the Five Moms Campaign has reached over 24 million parents with these basic messages to parents about preventing teen cough medicine abuse.
When the campaign launched, teen cough medicine abuse was on the increase. Now, nationwide statistics point to a slight decrease. That’s great news, but more work has to be done to eliminate this type of substance abuse behavior among teens.

CHPA brought together five moms—a pediatric nurse practitioner, an accountant, a D.A.R.E. officer, an educator, and an author—from different backgrounds and from all over the country to encourage parents to get involved in stopping cough medicine abuse. And now Five Moms is part of the effort.

Join the campaign. Membership is free and entitles you to the monthly e-newsletter and occasional e-mail updates. (Read our privacy policy.)

Tell your friends about teen cough medicine abuse. You can use the English or Spanish tell-a-friend feature.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Preventing Hazing!

Dr. Susan Lipkins is a leading expert on preventing hazing and helping people understand the dangers of this type of violence. After watching her on What Would You Do last night, I was shocked at how some people felt this behavior was amusing. I think parents need to learn more about this horrible behavior and learn how it can potentially effect someone you love.

Visit Dr. Susan Lipkins website and learn more.

What is Hazing? Source: Inside Hazing

What: The Basics


Hazing is a process, based on a tradition that is used by groups to discipline and to maintain a hierarchy (i.e., a pecking order). Regardless of consent, the rituals require individuals to engage in activities that are physically and psychologically stressful.

These activities can be humiliating, demeaning, intimidating, and exhausting, all of which results in physical and/or emotional discomfort. Hazing is about group dynamics and proving one's worthiness to become a member of the specific group.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting, Teens and Cyberspace

Vanessa Van Petten is always keeping parents up to date through her valuable website called OnTeensToday. I love getting her latest articles, they always educate us as to what our kids may be going through in today’s generation of life as they live it.

Here is this week’s blast of news for you - and the topic is one that every parent needs to take the time to learn about. Digital Kids!

5 Code Cracking Perspectives on Digital Kids

I post a lot about kids online and Growing Up Online Series. Recently, after going on my media tour with Symantec on their new Parental Control Software, my mind was opened to a bunch of new issues and their solutions…please read on:

1) Curiosity vs. Obsession

Many parents have found their kids on a porn website and pro-anorexia site and has freaked out. Before breaking out the handcuffs and throwing the computer out the window, I think there needs to be a distinction between what is simple adolescent curiosity and what is a real problem. I am just going to say it, I do not think a teenager checking out a porn site once or twice is that big of a deal. We have all wondered…there becomes an issue when it becomes a habit. No matter if it is once or 100 times, either way parents should talk to their kids about what they have seen. Your kid might be more disturbed by what they saw than you know, and you need to be there for them.
Top 10 Tips For Helping Your Kids Avoid Online Porn

2) Intention

One of the members of the Norton Online Family Advisory Council made a wonderful point about the intention of what your kids are searching for or how they got to a bad site. Often times children and kids will often mistype or click accidentally on a website that happens to take them to somewhere inappropriate. Then, if the parent checks the web history or has a spyware product (Review of Parental Control Software), they freak out and punish the child. I ask that you try to find out what your child’s intention was going to that site or carrying out their behavior online. This holds true for Cyberbullying, posting on social networks and cursing on IM chats…why, this can greatly affect the punishment, consequence or outcome.

3) Forensic Parents

Marian Merritt, of Symantec, told a great story about when she saw that her daughter had accidentally visited a voyeur porn site. Like a detective, she used her the Norton parental control software to work backwards to figure out what had happened before freaking out. Her daughter, 14, had searched “Bride Wars” into Google. This had taken her to Youtube. There she watched a number of videos and trailers for the movie. Then, in one of the comments, someone had posted a link that said “if you like these clips, check out this one!” This link took her to a porn site. After this, Marian went to talk to her and her daughter was relieved (but never would have come to her on her own) and was upset about what she saw. She actually asked Marian to turn on the blockers for those sites in the future. Often times, kids do not want to go on those forbidden sites as much as you do not want them to.

4) Facebook is the new Playground

I am often asked by freaked out parents if they could just ‘unplug’ the internet and not allow their kids online to avoid all the dangers. This is not realistic. 20 years ago, parents could prevent their children from going on the playground to avoid a bully, but this would have taught their kids resilience, or how to handle it if and when they were bullied. Teaching kids to measure that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of their stomach, ask for help when they need it and where to ask needs to be learned by letting them live a little online. Resilience is key.

5) Protect Them and Tell Them

I had a teen client go to college recently and get a new computer. Within a few weeks it was totally unusable because of a virus that had been downloaded. When we asked the teen why they had clicked on some of these unreliable downloads, he said that in the past he had done it and nothing had happened. This is because his parents, being awesome parents, had always either blocked dangerous popups with parental control software and/or had really great virus protection on their computer, but they never told him! It has always been done for him and so when he was on his own, he learned the hard way. If you are protecting your kids or your computer, let them know hat you are doing and how you are doing it so they do not take it for granted!

The majority of kids do not want to do bad things online. They want to play games, share pictures and watch silly Youtube videos. Know the intention if something goes wrong, try to work backwards and always work on teaching resilience and self-reliance in the online world. Parenting and going online are no longer separate, they are one in the same.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Girls and Sex

"It might be hard the first couple of times, but after you keep that standard for yourself all the time, then others will learn to accept it."
-Tasleem Jadabji, a teen-

At parties, in school parking lots or when they’re just hanging out, girls are often pressured by boys to “fool around” and have sex. But now more than ever, girls are gaining the confidence to answer their male counterparts with a resounding “no.”

“It might be hard the first couple of times, but after you keep that standard for yourself all the time, then others will learn to accept it,” says Tasleem Jadabji, a teen. “Just standing up for yourself over time will help give you that confidence,” adds her friend, Shoba Reddy-Holdcraft. According to an analysis of survey data published in Context, a journal of the American Sociological Association, more girls are prolonging sexual abstinence and influencing boys to do the same.

“Guys are becoming more … tolerant, patient and aware of the fact that there are girls who don’t want to have sex and that the pressure is not going to change their minds,” Kristen Baker says. “By doing that, they learn that you’re serious, so they take you more serious and you gain their respect, and you respect them for respecting you,” adds Courtney McIntosh. The study’s findings reveal that girls are even becoming more outspoken about who they are and what they want. “Girls are starting to watch programs that empower them, that say, ‘Hey, it’s OK to be free to respect your body, to respect yourself,’ and I think they’re also becoming more aware that not everyone is having sex,” says Sharina Prince, a health educator. And sex isn’t the only area where girls are drawing the line.

“We don’t just go along with whatever, and we speak our minds more instead of just letting someone else tell us what to do about everything, what to wear, what we should do, who we should hang out with,” Courtney says.

Experts say that parents can play a key role in helping their teens make positive health decisions by giving them two powerful weapons: self confidence and knowledge. “In developing or establishing a really positive relationship so that the teen feels empowered and feels like they understand, have an understanding about sexuality education,” Prince advises.

Setting Sexual Boundaries

By Kim Ogletree CWK Network, Inc.

Teenage girls who set the sexual boundaries in a relationship may be a growing trend, according to new research based on national surveys of the sexual habits of teens. The study, published in the American Sociological Association’s journal Context, reveals that girls are convincing more boys to prolong sexual abstinence until they are in a serious relationship. Study co-author Barbara Risman, a sociologist at North Carolina State University, says that more boys are staying virgins longer and “starting their sex lives with their girlfriends.” “Girls have been able to create a sexual culture in high schools where the boys will be stigmatized if they’re ‘players,’” adds study co-author Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist at the University of Washington. The study’s findings, based on survey results compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, included the following statistics:

The percentage of sexually active black teens fell from 81.5% to 72.7% from 1991-1997.
Among whites, the number declined from 50.1% to 43.7%; among Latinos, the drop was 53.1% to 52.2%.

The number of high school boys under 18 who engaged in sexual activity dropped 5.7% from 1991 to 1997.

Teen pregnancy rates dropped 17% from 1990 to 1996.
Teen abortion rates dropped 16% from 1990 to 1995.

So why are more teens waiting longer to have sex? Some experts believe that girls are becoming increasingly aware of the risks involved in sexual activity – including pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – due to abstinent campaigns and a surge in positive messages about self-esteem. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cites these additional statistics and facts that may help curb teenage sexual activity:

More than 1 million teens become pregnant each year.
Young girls have more problems during pregnancy.
Babies of young, teen mothers are more likely to be born with serious health problems.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are at epidemic levels.
Some STDs are incurable. They may cause pain, sterility or sometimes even death.

What Parents Need to Know

While it is important to talk with children about sex and sexuality, parents are often unsure of how to begin such open communication. Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation offer these tips for having a positive conversation with your child about sexual relationships:

Explore your own attitudes: Studies show that children who feel they can talk with their parents about sex are less likely to engage in high-risk behavior as teens than children who do not feel they can talk with their parents about the subject. Explore your own feelings about sex. If you are very uncomfortable with the subject, read some books and discuss your feelings with a trusted friend, relative, physician or clergy member. The more you examine the subject, the more confident you’ll feel discussing it.

Start early: Teaching your child about sex demands a gentle, continuous flow of information that should begin as early as possible. As your child grows, you can continue his or her education by adding more materials gradually until he or she understands the subject well.

Take the initiative: If your child hasn’t started asking questions about sex, look for a good opportunity to bring up subject.

Talk about more than the “birds and the bees”: While children need to know the biological facts about sex, they also need to understand that sexual relationships involve caring, concern and responsibility. By discussing the emotional aspect of a sexual relationship with your child, he or she will be better informed to make decisions later on and to resist peer pressure.
Give accurate, age-appropriate information: Talk about sex in a way that fits the age and stage of your child.

Communicate your values: It’s your responsibility to let your child know your values about sex. Although he or she may not adopt these values as he or she matures, at least your child will be aware of them as he or she struggles to figure out how he or she feels and wants to behave.
Relax: Don’t worry about knowing all of the answers to your child’s questions. What you know is a lot less important than how you respond. If you can convey the message that no subject, including sex, is forbidden in your home, you’ll be doing just fine.

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), teens who have high self-esteem and self-respect make more responsible health choices. As a parent, you can help your teen develop respect in the following ways:

Allow your teen to voice opinions.
Allow your teen to be involved in family decisions.
Listen to your teen’s opinions and feelings.
Help your teen set realistic goals.
Show faith in your teen’s ability to reach those goals.
Give unconditional love.

Whether your child is thinking about having sex or engaging in other risky behaviors, you can take steps to help him or her make an informed decision. By following these tips from the AMA, your child will realize that you want to help:

Allow your teen to describe the problem or situation. Ask how he or she feels about the problem. Ask questions that avoid “yes” or “no” responses. These usually begin with “how,” “why” or “what.” Really listen to what your teen is saying, instead of thinking about your response. Try to put yourself in your teen’s shoes to understand his or her thoughts.

Talk with your teen about choices. Teens sometimes believe they don’t have choices. Help your teen to see alternatives.

Help your teen to identify and compare the possible consequences of all of the choices. Ask your teen to consider how the results of the decision will affect his or her goals. Explain (without lecturing) the consequences of different choices.

American Medical Association

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: Slimed Online - Just in Time for Google Bomb!

“GOOGLE BOMB” Take Cover! by John Dozier and Sue Scheff

Do you know what Google is saying about you?

Oh yes, it is almost here, my second book! This time around, I am honored to have co-author and Internet Specialist Attorney, John Dozier .

As my story of my landmark case of $11.3M jury verdict for damages unravels - many questions answers, John Dozier will bring us the legal landscape of today’s Cyber World - how to protect your online image and maintain a profile you are proud of! Have you thought about Internet Gossip vs Internet Fact? How do you know the difference? Don’t get caught in the web - read Google Bomb!

To compound our dynamic and explosive upcoming best seller - Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender will be writing the foreword! ReputationDefender is one of the pioneers in managing online reputations and helping keep your kids privacy safe online.
This timely book will offer you tools and remedies as well as a very compelling story that will keep you turning those pages! Remember, a 20 year reputation today can be destroyed within 20 minutes of vicious keystrokes.

Monkeys Don’t Fly? Do they? Ahhhh, just wait and you will see - the Internet has become its’ own animal. The Internet can be an educational tool - but - it can also be a lethal weapon!

Published by Health Communications Inc. (HCI) - Google Bomb will be released in Fall 2009.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Camps - it is almost that time again!

Camp Finders® is a free service which matches children ages 6-18 with appropriate overnight summer camps and teen programs.

Since 1994, Camp Finders® has personally visited approximately 175 sleepaway camps and various teen programs. During this time period, Camp Finders™ has been placing children in overnight camps and in the following teen programs: teen tours; wilderness camps & outdoor adventure; college enrichment; community service; sailing, SCUBA, & marine biology programs; foreign language programs and more…

Overnight camps (all visited by Camp Finders) - these are generally on the East Coast of the USA, in states such as Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Florida.
Camp Finders® has also visited sleepaway camps in other areas - N. Wisconsin & Colorado.

Teen programs - these are located all over the USA, as well as in Canada, Europe, Australia, Central America, the Caribbean & Virgin Islands, Israel & more…

For years CampFinders helped me find the most exciting, fun and educational camps for my son. Summer is just around the corner - find the camp that best fits your child’s interests! It can be a great learning experience - meeting kids from all over the country!

Like my organization, Rick Maddes, owner and founder of CampFinders, takes the time to visit camps and give parents firsthand information. Call today at 561-865-000031.