Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens helping Teens Fight Against Cyberbullying

Cati Cares - Helping Teens Stay Safe Online

Please Help Me STOP CYBER BULLYING and Help Keep Teens Using the Internet SAFE! Cati Cares is dedicated to serving teens in our community by providing a valuable resource for internet safety tips and cyber bullying prevention.

My name is Cati and I am a 16 year old junior at a local high school in San Diego, CA. I want to help make our world a safer place!

I decided to start this site on my 15th birthday as a way to reach out to other teens about how important INTERNET SAFETY is and how we can join together to STOP CYBER BULLYING. TURNING TEARS INTO ACTION.......

Unfortunately, many teens have been the victims of internet crimes and cyber bullying. Take the pledge to not be a bully and to BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE! If you have a problem and don't know where to turn, please CONTACT ME and I will offer some helpful advice and a safe haven to share your story and seek help.

I continue to strive to be better everyday of my life and I live my life to the fullest. Being a teen isn't easy and each teen should be able to face middle school and high school prepared and ready for some of the tough issues they may face.

I want everyone to be able to feel safe on the internet and be confident that they WILL NOT be cyber bullied. Join ME and use my tips to stay safe and to stop the vicious trend of cyber bullying.

Visit Cati's website at and help her to help others!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: When Parents Don’t Agree Over Discipline

I always find get short and educational articles on Kids Awareness Series website by Author and Therapist, Kara Tamanini.

When Parents Don’t Agree Over Discipline

What do you do as a parent when your child is resistant to discipline and your spouse will not stand behind you and enforce the rules. As a therapist, I see this all the time. One parent is the “good guy” and the other one who disciplines and enforces the rules is the “bad guy”. No two parents agree all the time about discipline/boundaries and will parent the same, however some parents just don’t want to discipline at all and want their children to be their “friend”.
Children and parents are NOT friends, your child needs a parent, their friends are at school. This is a serious problem as it puts one parent against the other and of course the child will play one parent against the other in order to get their way. So what can you do if you are the parent that is the “bad guy” and your spouse will not help you with discipline.

First of all, as the “bad guy” you need to address this with your spouse. Most likely you are saying that you already have and it fell on deaf ears and your spouse did nothing about changing their way of disciplining. If your spouse will not change than from now on they need to be held responsible for the consequences of not enforcing discipline in the home.
For example, if your spouse will not make your child clean up their room, then your spouse should have to clean up the child’s room. You are not to go behind your child and go into their room and clean it up. If your child has been told to take out the trash and they have not, even after you told them, then your spouse is to take out the trash.
Most likely, if the resistance of a spouse to change their behavior and discipline strategies is very severe, this is probably a marital issue and not a parenting issue. Marital counseling may be needed in order to address a “marriage issue.” Individuals understand consequences for behavior, whether it is an adult or a child. Make the parent who does not want to discipline or enforce appropriate boundaries reap the consequences for doing nothing.

Follow Kara Tamanini on Twitter at @KidTherapist

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline

National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline
We at loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline thank you for taking action in your community! You have shown that you understand how important it is to spread awareness of dating abuse. On this page you’ll find different ways you can start making a difference.
Support Your Teen
Parents play a very important role in ending teen dating abuse. Teens in abusive situations truly need the support of their parents. Even in the rockiest parent-teen relationship, the advice of a parent can make a dramatic difference in a teen’s life. For that reason, it’s imperative that you familiarize yourself with the warning signs of dating abuse and what you can do to help.
Follow Love is Respect on Twitter @LoveIsRespect

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Love Our Children USA - StompOutBullying

Source: LoveOurChildrenUSA

The Issue of Bullying

Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students of all races and classes. 1 out of 4 kids is bullied and 42% of kids have been bullied while online. Child and teen Bullying and Cyberbullying are at an all-time high. Some kids are so tormented that suicide has become an alternative for them. It has everyone worried. Not just the kids on its receiving end, but the parents, teachers and others who may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Love Our Children USA is working aggressively to prevent these issues and to help the kids and teens affected by it.

Some feel that bullying is a normal right of passage in growing up. It isn’t!! There will always be conflicts between kids, but bullying is intentional cruelty, harassment, and emotional, physical and sometimes sexual abuse. This behavior can set the tone for a lifetime of intentional cruelty or worse. And the consequences to the victim can seriously affect them for the rest of their lives.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying is when someone hurts or scares another person repeatedly and is never appropriate. The innocent one being bullied feels alone, depressed and scared and feels they have nowhere to turn.

- Spreading bad rumors about someone

- Being mean and teasing someone

- Punching, shoving and hurt someone physically

- Not including someone is a group

- Getting certain kids or teens to "gang up" on others

Bullying also can happen on-line or electronically. Cyberbullying is when kids or teens bully each other using the Internet, mobile phones or other cyber technology. This can include:

- Sending mean text, e-mail, or instant messages;

- Posting nasty pictures or messages about others in blogs or on Web sites;

- Using someone else's user name to spread rumors or lies about someone.

- Stealing someone's password and spreading rumors about someone else making it seem like that person is the Cyberbully.

Learn more here:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: About Binge Eating Disorder

Source: Kids Health

About Binge Eating Disorder

Lots of people find comfort in food. After all, it's often at the heart of our happiest celebrations. Birthdays can mean cake with friends; Thanksgiving often means turkey and stuffing with family. Most people will sometimes eat much more than they normally do on special occasions.
But people with binge eating disorder have a different relationship with food — they feel like they've lost all control over how much they're eating, like they can't stop. They also binge more frequently — at least twice a week for several months.

For people with binge eating disorder, at first food may provide feelings of calm or comfort, but later it can be the focus of strong guilt and distress. A binge usually involves eating unusually large amounts of food quickly and feel completely out of control as they do it. These behaviors become a pattern of eating and can alternate with dieting.

Binge eating disorder is more common in people who are obese, but it affects people with healthy weights as well. However, there's little information on how many kids and teens are affected because the condition has only recently been recognized, and some may be too embarrassed to seek help for it.

And because most binge eating is done alone, even if their kids may be gaining weight, parents might not be aware that it's due to bingeing.

While most people with other eating disorders (like anorexia and bulimia) are female, an estimated third of those with binge eating disorder are male. Adults in treatment (including 2% of adult Americans — roughly 1 million to 2 million people) often say their problems started in childhood or adolescence.

Read entire article here:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: What do you do if your teen is cutting?

If you discover that your teen is cutting, there are several important keys to remember. First and foremost, approach your teen with a level head. Address your teen calmly and supportively. Do not react angrily or upset your teen in any way. Experts warn that overreacting or reacting loudly or angrily can often push your teen further away and increase the cutting or self injuring behaviors. Your teen needs to know you are open to hearing what she has to say and getting her the help she needs. You should also tell your teen that you are not upset with her, love her, and know she is in a lot of pain.

Counseling for a teen that cuts is crucial. It can often take many years of therapy before your teen is willing or able to uncover the reasons she cuts herself. Schools, pediatricians and emergency rooms can be extremely helpful at providing resources for teens that cut. Often there are local support groups for parents who feel guilty or unsure of how to deal with a teen that cuts. A great resource specifically for self injurers and their families is S.A.F.E (Self Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives, an organization dedicated treating victims of self abuse.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Why Kids Steal

“[Teens] shoplift all the time. They do think about the consequences, but they don’t think of it as being too major until they get caught, of course.”

– Ryan, 17 years old

The new shoplifting numbers are out and they are staggering: 35 billion dollars in losses and 92 percent of all retailers were victims, up 8 percent over 2007. An estimated one in four teens has shoplifted. Why they do it and what you can do to prevent your child from stealing.

A man sees a compact disc he likes, so he hides it in his pants. A girl stuffs something she wants in her purse, and still another pretends to try on a shirt, but behind dressing room doors, she steals it.

All of these cases are re-enactments played out for television news cameras. But teens say that in real life, shoplifting happens all of the time.

“Yeah, a lot,” 17-year-old Nicole smiles coyly.

Ryan, 17, says teens are more likely to steal, ”clothes, necklaces or stuff that’s easily fittable.”

So why do some teens shoplift?

“Because they don’t want to pay for it,” explains Keke, 14.

Often, the reasons vary. Some children steal because of peer pressure, to get attention, to be rebellious or simply because it’s exciting.

“Part of what makes something thrilling is knowing that it’s forbidden, knowing that you are not supposed to do it, knowing that you could get in trouble if you get caught,” explains psychologist Dr. Gary Santavicca.

But in some ways, he says, the reasons don’t matter.

“The last thing we want to do is communicate to the youngsters that having reasons, having motives, having excuses, having a charming manner is going to get them out of the obligation to respect other people’s property; to be concerned about what is harmful to others, what is illegal and what is wrong,” Dr. Santavicca says.

He says parents must act as a moral compass for very young children, but older kids need to rely on their own conscience.

“We want that voice to come from within,” Dr. Santavicca says.

Short of that, experts say that parents should monitor their children’s activities and take a mental inventory of the items they possess. New, unexplained merchandise may signal that a child is shoplifting. If stealing becomes habit, professional help may be needed.

Tips for Parents

Who shoplifts? According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), teens do. Experts say that many teens want to see if they can “get away with it.” They often rationalize their criminal behavior, using excuses like, “This is a big store, they can afford it,” “Taking this item won’t really hurt anyone” or “Stores just write it off as a business expense.” But the truth is a storekeeper loses money each time something is stolen and must raise prices to make up the loss. Shoplifting is a major economic problem in the United States. Consider these facts from the NCPC:

■Shoplifters steal an estimated $25 million in merchandise from stores each day.
■One-fourth of apprehended shoplifters are teens between the ages of 13 and 17 years old.
■Most shoplifters are “amateurs,” not professional thieves.
■Most shoplifters are customers who steal frequently from places where they regularly shop.
■Some shoplifters are professional thieves who make their living by stealing and selling goods.
■Drug addicts shoplift to support their habit.
■Desperate people steal because they need food, but they make up only a very small number of shoplifters.
■Kleptomaniacs (who have a mental disorder that makes it difficult to overcome their urge to steal) make up a tiny minority of shoplifters.
The NCPC says that many teens shoplift on a dare, thinking their friends will call them “chicken” if they don’t accept the challenge. Others steal for a thrill. The Nemours Foundation says that 70% of the time, nonprofessional shoplifters don’t go into a store with the intention of stealing – they simply see the opportunity to take something and do so.

Is your child shoplifting? You should be suspicious if you notice the following signs:

■Your child suddenly comes into possession of extra money but has no job to account for the added wealth.
■Your child possesses luxuries like an expensive new CD player or a new watch and can’t explain how he or she obtained the merchandise.
■Your child becomes secretive about what he or she does during certain times of the day (like after school.)
■You child buys expensive gifts for family and friends and can’t explain how he or she can afford them.

The Center for Effective Parenting (CEP) suggests the following methods to prevent the onset of stealing behavior in your child:

■Discuss and explain why stealing is wrong: Make sure that your child knows why stealing is wrong. Point out that stealing means taking something that rightfully belongs to someone else.
■Teach ownership: It is a good idea for parents to begin teaching their children early on what ownership means. Explain that people have a right to their own property and that it is wrong to take something that belongs to someone else.
■Teach appropriate ways of getting what one wants: Teach your child how to get what he or she wants without stealing. For example, suggest that your child ask for items he or she wants, save up money to buy the items he or she wants, etc.
■Model appropriate behavior: Set a good example for your child by asking before borrowing items, by not taking items that don’t belong to you and by being open and honest.
■Develop a close, open relationship with your child: Make every effort to communicate effectively with your child. Children who are close to their parents are much more likely to take on their parents’ beliefs and values than children who don’t have a close relationship with their parents.
■Praise and reward honest behavior: Make every attempt to praise your child for being honest. The more you praise your child’s honesty, the more likely he or she will continue to be honest in the future.
The CEP offers this advice to parents who are dealing with a child who has already committed an act of theft:

■Remain calm: If you discover that your child has stolen something, it is very important not to overreact. Keep in mind that all children take items that don’t belong to them at one time or another.
■Confront quickly: Just as it’s important not to overreact, it is also important not to under-react. Confront your child and deal with the stealing immediately. The longer stealing is allowed to continue uncorrected, the more difficult it is to correct later.
■Apply consequences: Decide what the specific consequences are for stealing, and apply them every time stealing occurs. Inform your child of these consequences before they are implemented.

■Center for Effective Parenting
■National Crime Prevention Council
■Nemours Foundation
■Shoplifters Alternative

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Spoiled Teens! Entitlement Issues

Does your teen have Entitlement Issues?

Does your teen expect more from you than they have earned or deserve?

Many parents only want the best for their children (usually more than they had growing up), but has this actually backfired on families?

In today’s society many teens have major entitlement issues. Many parents feel that giving their teen’s material items will somehow earn them respect. Quite frankly, the opposite occurs in most families. The more we give, the more our children expect and the less they respect us. We literally lose ourselves in buying our children’s love. At the end of the day, no one wins and life is a constant battle of anger, hopelessness, and debt.

While interviewing a young teen, she was given a new car – brand new – felt she deserved it since her parents gave her two used ones previously. She is only 17 years old and already controlling her household and believes she was entitled to this car. She shows no appreciation or respect to her parents. Simply, she deserved it. Can you imagine owning 3 cars by the age of 17, yet never buying one? This is an extreme example, but I am sure many parents can relate.

Entitlement issues can lead to serious problems. Teaching your child respect and responsibility should be priority. Although the issues may have started to escalate, as a parent, it is never too late to take control of the situation and say “no” when your teen feels they are entitled to a frivolous item or anything that is considered a privilege.

Life is about responsibility, as parents we need to teach our children responsibility – helping our children comes natural to us, however when it becomes excessive and the child doesn’t appreciate it, it is time to step back and evaluate your situation.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Changing Schools? Ease the Transition

Ease the Transition to a New School

Tips to help make this big adjustment easier for your child—and for you.

by Patti Ghezzi

Your child’s first day at a new school is fast approaching, and she’s stressed out. Changing schools can be a tough adjustment for any kid, especially for an older child leaving behind lifelong friends. Here are some ways you can make the transition easier for your child.

Start Early

Visit the new school with your child as soon as know where he will be enrolling. If your child is old enough, include him in the process of choosing a new school.

Start looking for ways for your child to meet kids at her new school. Network through the parent organization, your real estate agent, your spouse’s or your new employer, and any other connection you can find.

Once you have a few leads, a social networking site like Facebook can help you connect with even more parents.

Don’t overwhelm or push your child into meeting new friends. Just let her know you’re there to help if she wants you to.

Look for activities in your new community similar to ones your child currently pursues. If your son enjoys martial arts, try to find a comparable program. If your daughter is on the swim team, try to get her onto a new team as soon as possible.

If your child wants a fresh start, suggest new activities he might enjoy.

Work With the School

If your child has any special needs, such as a learning disability, work with the new school as far in advance as possible to determine placement and to line up services.

If your child is in a gifted program, find out the process for getting him into the gifted program at his new school. Different states have different policies, and you might need to have your child tested or retested.

If your child has a history of struggling in school, work with the principal ahead of time to line up support, even if your child does not currently have an individualized education program.
Check out the curriculum at your new school. If your child has not learned some of the material she is expected to know, make arrangements to fill in the gaps. This is especially important if you are moving to a different state.

Talk to your child about differences at the new school, such as a tougher homework policy or a different grading scale.

Be Positive

Talk about all the things the new school has to offer. Maybe it has an outdoor classroom, an indoor pool, or a well-stocked art room.

Remind your child often that new friends don’t replace old ones. Make arrangements for her to visit her old friends if possible. If your child is old enough, help her connect with her friends online, under your supervision.

If your child is reluctant about making new friends, consider counseling.

Give your child time to adjust to the new school.

Get Involved

Make friends with other parents, but don’t expect your child to automatically become friends with their children.

Look for other ways to get involved in the community, such as a religious congregation, the YMCA, or a neighborhood club.

Talk to your child about how you miss your friends and former community, too, and about ways you both can adjust.

Give yourself time. It can be hard, especially if the principal has a different leadership style than at your child’s former school or if your child is struggling academically or socially. Even if your child adjusts beautifully, you may still miss the old school.

Making the leap from one school to another is tough, even for an effervescent child who has always done well in school. If you have multiple kids or older children, or your kids have never switched schools before, the move can be downright hard. But it’s important to focus on the good that is coming from the move. Let your family know that the change has the potential to be great for everybody.
Follow School Family on Twitter @SchoolFamily

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: No Quick Fix for Anxiety Suffers

By Kara Tamanini - Author and Therapist

No Quick Fix for Anxiety Sufferers

This is something we hear as therapists all the time, “can you fix me really quick.” Or, “do you have a magic wand to just fix me.” Whether the sufferer of anxiety is a child, an adolescent, or an adult, there is NO “quick fix” for anxiety. The problem that we as therapists often run into, is that patients want to be “fixed”, however they are not patient in the amount of time it takes to start to improve and the other “biggie” is that patients do very little of the prescribed treatment in order to get better.

For parents that have children that suffer with anxiety, a large part of anxiety is fear based as well as personal concerns that the child has. There is really no one “right treatment” that works for every child and as a parent or caregiver you need to be patient with your child. Most parents if they have a child that suffers with anxiety symptoms are often very fearful themselves as well as reacting to their child’s anxiety with anger, fear, frustration, etc…

The best way to help your child to get through their anxiety for the long-term is to first let them work through some of their anxiety themselves. Do not “fix” everything for them. A child first has to recognize their anxiety and try to problem-solve for themselves. If they are unable to do this, then be patient and help them through their anxiety.

A thoughtful; well thought out approach with the assistance of a therapist is a really good place to start. Help your child work through their fears and anxieties, but do not take over out of your own fear and do things for them. There are a few treatments out there that are a “quick fix” such as an anti-anxiety medication, however medications “mask” the symptoms of anxiety and do help, but they will not “fix” the problem.

Learn more about Kids Awareness Series at and Follow Kara Tamanini on Twitter at @KidTherapist

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Physcial Education and Teens

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.
Learn more at

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Alternatives to a Traditional College

By Laura Davy

Your teen's about to graduate from high school and you think the next step should be college, but she has other plans. Some students want time to think about different college majors or jobs before taking the big step. Other teens never enjoyed school in the first place and don't want to continue on. Either way, there are options that can help your child find a great career. Leah Dockter, a career development counselor at three North Dakota high schools, reassures, “Some students are hands on people and they shouldn't go to a four-year school with a lot of writing and reading, that's not what works best. They have to find what they like.”

Whether your teen wants to stay out of the traditional college arena permanently, or for just a year or two, here are some options that can lead to a great career:

Trade School or Apprenticeship – For a teen who doesn't like book-learning, a hands-on apprenticeship or trade school may be just the ticket. You study what applies to your field, so if your teen's working with engines he won't be reading Shakespeare in class. A spokeswoman from the US Department of Labor says, “Our apprenticeship program has a very high rate of retention, people staying in the field and making a career.”
Find out more about trade schools and apprenticeships:

Stay at Current Job – Another reason teens don't want to go to college may be because they want to work full-time at their current job. Dockter suggests parents help their children look at the benefits, potential raises, and promotion opportunities. Jobs that can lead to careers:
Restaurants Got a cook in your family? You don't need a college degree to get into the culinary field. Some of the greatest chefs started out as busboys until their job paid for culinary school, such as critically-acclaimed chef Bobby Flay.

Beauty Salon Although it may start with sweeping hair, many salons offer on-the-job training, or tuition to attend trade school to become a stylist.
An Entrepreneur If your teen has a mind for business and not college, remember that Michael Dell dropped out of The University of Texas at Austin because the Dell company he created was doing well.

Volunteering – This is a great way for teens to discover fields they're interested in. Check out these great volunteering opportunities:

Traveling – Traveling may be one of the biggest incentives for teens not to go to college straight out of high school. Traveling exposes teens to new experiences and cultures that can make them into a more rounded person. Traveling costs a pretty penny, but it doesn't have to if you combine traveling with work. Just remember you'll have to apply far in advance. Find the job abroad that's perfect for your teen:

So, if formal education isn't in the cards for your child right now, focus instead on helping her discover her interests and capitalize on her talents with these rich programs. A little research can go a long way.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Helping Your Teen Reach Their Dreams - Teen Entrepreneurs

Getting your teens involved, helping them realize and reach their dreams and goals – in my opinion, that is part of parenting. Today teens have so much more to deal with, such as peer pressure as well as the competitiveness to get into their first choice colleges. If your teen has that special interest, dream, or goal in life, encourage them to reach for their passion. It can happen!

YES Seminar is about helping your teen reach their success.

Inspire & Connect

Two of the four reasons for this event are to INSPIRE and CONNECT young entrepreneurs, their parents and mentors, not only with other like-minded kids and mentors, but with Inspiring people that have been where you are and the Connectors that have “made it happen” for so many. This is not a Motivational Seminar – it’s purpose is to Inspire you on your journey!

Empower & Educate

The third and fourth reasons are to provide you with the tools you need to Empower and Educate Yourself! We would like to Open your eyes to the amazing Possibilities that are waiting for you, not only here, but right outside the front door of your home, in your town, today!

2009 Young Entrepreneurs Success Seminar, Orlando Fla.

When: September 25-27, 2009
Where: The Caribe Royale, Orlando Florida
Who: Young entrepreneurs aged 9 and up and their parents/guardians/mentors

The purpose of this event is to inspire, empower and educate young entrepreneurs and their parents to embrace their natural creativity, learn to find and leverage their resources, and grow their businesses and ventures. Most importantly, this event will CONNECT young entrepreneurs and their parents with other like-minded people! This alone will provide powerful inspiration and empowerment that will live on long beyond the event! These connections will continue to grow within the community that will be created here.

This will be a “conference” unlike any other! Speakers will include best-selling authors such as Bob Burg, author of “The Go-Giver” and “Endless Referrals”, as well as teen entrepreneurs, and experts in fields related to publishing, marketing, social media and more. Breakout sessions will provide parents and teens to receive information specific to them, and will include fun, interactive and highly educational and powerful workshops and activities designed to inspire creativity and innovation, teach team building skills, marketing techniques, public speaking, networking and more!

There will also be panel discussions and the opportunity for attendees to talk to speakers and experts one-on-one. Entertainment and time to meet and interact with one another will be an integral part as well.

How Can You Participate?

Attend! We have gone to great lengths to make this event affordable AND incredibly valuable! Ticket prices are $199 for parent AND teen, or $299 for 2 parents and teens. See our website for early bird special at $177. Register online at .

Sponsor: Your support can make this event even better, and accessible to even more people.

Sponsor a teen: We would love to offer sponsorships to the many amazing young people who would like to attend, but will be unable to due to finances. Feel free to sponsor an entire family, or simply provide a fixed donation to be applied toward their attendance costs.

Sponsor a portion of the event: We will also gladly promote anyone who would like to sponsor a specific portion of the event (ie. AV equipment provided by______), or a specific activity such as a cookout or workshop.

Sponsor a Speaker: We have young speakers who would be great for our event! Feel free to help them to attend by donating to their travel costs.

Sponsor with your Product: We would love to have products as prizes for our contests and activities! Donations can be gift cards, mp3 players, computers or anything you’d like! If you are a t-shirt designer, or promotional products provider and would like to donate products for our attendees, please contact us.

PROMOTE! Please support us by helping us promote this event! Please share our information, web address, etc with anyone that might be interested in attending, sponsoring, or who may know someone else who would!

Please feel free to contact us at or call us by phone at 919-427-7770

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Grandparents Raising Kids

I am actually hearing more and more of this weekly. Whether it is grandparents or other family members, this is becoming common.

“Many times this decision is not made totally voluntarily. The grandparents take it on because they love and care for the child.”

– Nick Hume, Ph.D., Psychologist

The government reports that nearly 2.5 million grandparents in the U.S. are soley responsible for the care of their grandchildren. And being a parent the second time around can be rewarding and full of challenges.

Jean Rhodes is no longer just grandma. For the past five years she has become “mommy” once again.

Rhodes began raising her son’s daughter, Anasha, at age two after the little girl’s mom died and dad couldn’t care for her.

“I knew she depended on me…needed me, ” Rhodes says.

Six months ago another granddaughter needed her too…6-year-old Sasha. Giving up her freedom and independence was difficult at first for Rhodes, and she admits she was a bit resentful in the beginning.

“It was like, why me? Why do I have to do this again?” Rhodes says. “But that passed.”

Today, more than two million grandparents are now raising their grandkids. That number has been rising for nearly two decades.

And experts say that shifting of roles from grandparent to parent, from grandchild to child, can create a mix of emotions.

“There’s going to be natural hurt, anger, resentment, resistance and rebellion,” says Dr. Nick Hume, a psychologist.

There are also sacrifices, both emotional and financial.

“I didn’t have a lot of money to do a lot of things, but I tried to give Anasha love,” Rhodes says.

Experts say it’s important for grandparents to get support. “Find other people where you can share and talk; people who may be further along than you or in the same situation who will give you permission to say what you’re feeling is normal and okay,” says Dr. Hume.

Rhodes has found comfort in a grandparents’ support group, and in her role as mother…. the second time around.

“I wouldn’t hesitate,” she says, “to do this again.”

Tips for Parents

In any multigenerational family, grandparents are an important resource. But for increasing numbers of children, grandparents are their only resource. According to recently released US Census figures, 5.6 million grandparents live with their grandchildren. Of these grandparents, 42% (2.35 million) are responsible for the care of the children. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) provides the following breakdown of the figures:

■The number of grandparent-headed households has increased 76% since 1970, and 19% since 1990.
■Six percent of all U.S. children under age 18 are growing up in grandparent-headed households.
■One-point-three million of these grandparents are married couples, 1.1 million are single grandmothers, and 157,000 are grandfathers.
■The majority of grandparents are between ages 55 and 64. Almost one-quarter are over 65.
■While grandparent-headed families cross all socio-economic levels, these grandparents are more likely to live in poverty than other grandparents.
■There are eight times more children in grandparent-headed homes than in the foster care system.
Though motivated by love for their grandchildren, taking on the job of parenting can provide frustrating challenges to grandparents. Many grandparents are preparing to slow down. The transition to full-time parenting can cause feelings of resentment, anger, loss and grief. In addition to the emotional adjustment, grandparents face legal and financial challenges.

Often times, grandparents step in to fill the parenting role without gaining legal guardianship of the child. Obtaining custody and legal guardianship can involve a lengthy and costly court battle. In some states, grandparents who do not have legal guardianship cannot enroll a child in school, have access to school records or secure medical care.

The AARP provides this list of additional challenges facing grandparents who are raising grandchildren:

■Making financial decisions that may involve a grandparent’s employment or applying for benefits like Medicaid or Social Security.
■Choosing appropriate childcare, including daycare, after-school programs, and respite care.
■Providing adequate medical care, including getting insurance coverage through private insurance or public programs.
■Educating their grandchildren.
■Providing emotional support to their grandchildren and finding support for themselves.
The American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry says it is very important for grandparents to receive support and assistance. Seeking out other family members, clergy, support groups and social agencies can be helpful.

■American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
■American Association of Retired Persons
■United States Census Bureau

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: National Runaway Switchboard

Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away in a year. Our mission at the National Runaway Switchboard is to help keep America’s runaway and at-risk youth safe and off the streets. Our services are provided in part through funding from Family and Youth Services Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Call 1-800-RUNAWAY if you are a teenager who is thinking of running from home, if you have a friend who has run and is looking for help, or if you are a runaway ready to go home through our Home Free program. Call if you are a teacher looking for information to pass along to your students about alternatives to running from home.

Call if you care about a youth and want information on how you can help someone who may be at risk of running from home.
Our 24-hour crisis line has an experienced front-line team member ready to help you now. It’s anonymous, confidential and free. 1-800-RUNAWAY.

Sue Scheff: Teen Runaway? Missing? or Sneaking out?

Knowing the Difference: Runaway, Missing or Sneaking?

When a teen turns up "missing," parents must initially decide whether the child is missing, has run away, or simply sneaked out.

There are differences, and those differences are very important. A missing child could have been abducted by someone against his/her will and is being held, possibly threatened. A missing child can also be a child who is simply missing; the child did not return home when expected and may be lost or injured.

Runaway teens and sneaking teens are often confused, as both leave a supervised environment of their own free will. Sneaking teens leave home for a short period of time, with intent to return, most likely during the night or while a parent can be fooled. A runaway teen leaves home or a supervised environment for good, with intent to live separate from his/her parents. Runaway teens will likely have shown symptoms prior to running away.

In most cases, a teen runs away after a frustrating and heated argument with one or both parents. Often times, the runaway will stay with a friend or relative close by to cool off. In more serious cases, a teen may run away often and leave with no notion of where they are going.

Warning Signs your Teen May Become a Runaway
•Attempts to communicate with your teen have only resulted in ongoing arguments, yelling, interruptions, hurtful name- calling, bruised feelings and failure to come to an agreement or compromise.
•Your teen has become involved in a network of friends or peers who seem often unsupervised, rebellious, defiant, involved with drugs or alcohol or who practice other alarming social behavior.
•A noticeable pattern of irrational, impulsive and emotionally abusive behavior by either parent or teen.

The Grass Looks Greener on the Other Side
Often, we hear our teens use "My friend's parents let her do it!" or, "Everything is better at my friend's house!" The parents of your teen's friends may be more lenient, choose later curfew times, allow co-ed events or give higher allowances. While you as parent know all parents work differently, it can be very difficult for your teen to understand.

Motivations of a Runaway
•To avoid an emotional experience or consequence that they are expecting as a result of a parental, sibling, friend or romantic relationship/situation.
•To escape a recurring or ongoing painful or difficult experience in their home, school or work life.
•To keep from losing privileges to activities, relationships, friendships or any other things considered important or worthwhile.
•To be with other people such as friends or relatives who are supportive, encouraging and active in ways they feel are missing from their lives.
•To find companionship or activity in places that distract them from other problems they are dealing with.
•To change or stop what they are doing or about to do.
As parents or guardians we strive to create positive, loving households in order to raise respectful, successful and happy adults. In order to achieve this, rules must be put in place. Teens who run away from home are often crying for attention. Some teens will attempt to run away just once, after an unusually heated argument or situation in the household, and return shortly after. More serious cases, however, happen with teens in extreme emotional turmoil.

Parents also need to be extremely aware of the symptoms, warning signs and dangers of teenage depression. Far too many teens are suffering from this disease and going untreated. Often, runaways feel they have no other choice but to leave their home, and this is in many cases related to their feelings of sadness, anger and frustration due to depression.

Teenage Depression
There are many causes of depression, and every child, regardless of social status, race, age or gender is at risk. Be aware and be understanding. To an adult juggling family and career, it may seem that a young teenager has nothing to be "depressed" about! Work for a mutual communication between the two of you. The more your teenager can confide his/her daily problems and concerns, the more you can have a positive and helpful interaction before the problems overwhelm them.

Preventing Runaways
Communication is Key to Preventing Runaways
Teens who become runaways will have shown symptoms and warning signs prior to running away. Knowing these signs is the first step to prevention; the second is learning how to prevent symptoms all together. Communication is KEY!

Communication: Suggestions for Preventative Conversation

•Never use threats or dare your teen to run away, even if you think they wouldn't do it.
•Refrain from using sarcasm or negativity that may come off as disrespect for your teen.
•Anger is difficult to subside. However, it is important to never raise your voice or yell/scream at your teen, especially when they are already doing so. A battle of strength doesn't get anyone anywhere.
•Keep a calm demeanor and insist that your teen does as well. Do not respond to their anger, but instead, wait until they are calm.
•Always use direct eye contact when speaking.
•NEVER interrupt your teenager when they are speaking or trying to explain their feelings or thoughts. Even if you completely disagree, it is important to wait until they have finished. Keep in mind that just listening and using the words "I understand" does not mean that you agree or will do what they want.
•Under no circumstances should you use derogatory names, labels or titles such as liar, childish, immature, untrustworthy, cruel, stupid, ignorant, punk, thief or brat. Continue to be respectful of your teen, even if they have been disrespectful to you.
•Talk less, slower, and use fewer words than your teen.
•Make sure that you comprehend what your teen is saying, and when you do, let them know. Simply stating "I understand" can go a long way to making your teen feel as though you are respecting their feelings and thoughts, as well as taking them in to consideration.
•Let's say you are sure you understand your teen's point of view and they understand you understand. If you still don't agree with their statement, tell your teen "I think I understand, but I do not agree. I want to think we can understand each other, but we don't have to agree."
•Keep in mind that it is possible to agree with your teen, without doing whatever they want you to. For example, you might agree that there are little differences between 17 year-olds and 21 year-olds, but that doesn't mean you agree with having a party serving alcohol at your house.
•When your teen has finished speaking, ask politely if they have anything else they'd like to talk about or share with you.
•Take a break if you get too overwhelmed or upset to continue the conversation with a calm attitude.
•If your teen is demanding or threatening you, be sure to get professional advice or help from a qualified mental health professional.
•If both parents are involved in the conversation, it is very important to take turns, rather than gang up on your teen together. Make sure each parent allows time for your teen to speak in between.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Michele Borba: Teen Cold & Cough Syrup Addiction Risky Teen Behavior Series 2.

By Michele Borba

This is the second in a series of Risky Teen Behaviors from a segment I did for the NBC Today Show. This next risky teen behavior is right in your medicine cabinet. Taking cough and cold medications continues to be a hot craze for kids. The trend IS increasing and younger kids are joining ranks. It is also the cause of addictions as well as deaths.

YOUR REALITY CHECK: When is the last time you checked your medicine cabinet for cold and cough syrup medications (especially those bearing the letter DXM)? What about your prescription drugs? One of the riskiest teen behaviors is right there in your own medicine cabinet. Are you noticing that any are disappearing? Pharmacies and drug stores are now locking these medicines up to fight off kid theft.

The ingredient found in most popular nonprescription cold and cough medicines — called Dextromethorphan or DXM– can be safely taken in the recommended dosage. However, when taken in high doses it can produce euphoric highs and hallucinations and can become a dangerous, ever deadly mind-altering drug. Many kids are taking as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose to get high. You do the math.

Get Savvy About the Stats on Cold and Cough Medication

•One out of every fourteen kids aged 12 to 17 (more than 2.4 million) admit using cold or cough medicine “fairly recently” to get high
•The highest incidents of abuse are amongst teens 15 to 16-year-olds
•One in ten teens says they have used Vicodin, a potentially habit-forming painkiller. OxyContin, stimulants like Ritalin, inhalers (all prescription medications) are also widely used among teens. Beware of your own prescription medications
•Only 45 percent of teens believe that abusing cough medicine to get high it risky. Talk seriously and firmly to your child about this issue.

What Parents Can Do

* Listen for code words: 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.

* Keep track of how much medicine is in your house.Keep medicines that could potentially be abused in less accessible places.

* Read the labels. Look for medicines that contain dextromethorphan or DXM in the active ingredient section of the over-the-counter Drug Facts label.

* Don’t stockpile on over-the-counter medicines. It might tempt your teen or his friends.

* Monitor your teen’s Internet use.Many website and online communities promote the abuse of DMT or other drugs. Social networking sites such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook provided detailed instructions for getting high as well as videos of kids abusing cough medicine.

* Join the Five Moms Campaign. Read how five moms decided to tell other parents about teen cough syrup abuse and how they are succeeding in spreading their message. I love these moms! They’re on a mission to spread the word and are succeeding. (the URL is

* Talk about the dangers. Kids perceive that because cough and cold medications are available in drug stores, they are safe.

* Stay on top of this!!! Kids are taking this stuff 25 to 50 times the recommended dosage and also taking it WITH alcohol. Doing so can be lethal. Teens also crunch up those little time capsules and take them in one lump dose.

* Check for empty bottles. Look in pockets, garbage cans, cars, under beds, etc. for empty wrappers.

* Smell your child for a medicinal odor.The cough syrup will have an odor. Pills will not.

* Check your child’s eyes. Check for slurry speech. Sleepiness. Wobbly walking. Check the alochol content on the cough syrup bottle. It may shock you.

* Listen and watch. Notice if your child complains of a cold or cough (but doesn’t have the symptoms).
Drug stores are keeping these medicines under lock and key (there are over 120 medicines with DXM in them). You should do so as well.

* Keep track of your own prescription drugs. Kids are abusing not only their parents’ painkillers but also their friends’ Ritalin supply. Get savvy!!

Get on board with other parents. Please pass this blog onto other moms and dads. And do what you always do: Talk, Talk, Talk to your child about cold and cough medication abuse. And then talk some more.

For daily parenting solutions follow Michele on twitter @micheleborba

Dr. Michele Borba is the author of over 22 books including the upcoming Big Book of Parenting Solutions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Learn More About Your Teen

By Sarah Newton at FINK (Family Interaction Nurtures Kids)

As Parents we so often dismiss our children’s musical tastes. We listen to the din and just want them to turn it down! But how much do we really listen to their music?

If we were for a moment just to ignore the noise and listen to what the music is saying, how much could we learn about our teens?

So I challenge you to go and listen, really listen to their music and the lyrics. What is the music saying and what feeling is it portraying? What could this tell you about your teen? What could your teen be trying to say to the world? What feelings and emotions may they be releasing by listening to this music. If the music they listen to had certain qualities about it what would they be? Is it about freedom to express, or choice, or perceptions? Are these the qualities that your teen has, or wants to have? You can learn so much about your teen by just taking that extra step and really listening to the music. What is your teen trying to say to you by the music they are listening to?
Follow Sarah Newton on Twitter @sarahnewton and visit for more great tips, Blogs and articles!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Mommy Perks

People that know me, know I always share parenting ideas, articles, books, websites and more. Today, well, it is more! It is Mommy Perks! I am sure there are many mom’s and dad’s out there that would enjoy being part of a parenting network – check this out! As a Parent Advocate, I loved all these ideas to help reach out to more families.
What is Mommy Perks?

About Mommy Perks

Click here to see what others are saying about Mommy Perks.
Meet Shara Lawrence-Weiss, owner of Mommy Perks:

Prior to purchasing Mommy Perks, I was a Mommy Perk Rep. I then become co-owner and later, sole owner. Over the last few years I have researched, read, studied, watched and compared a variety of marketing and networking trends. I have modified the way that Mommy Perks runs based on those changes and the needs of small business owners.

Many mom-owned sites are now selling advertising space. In my experience, these ad spots almost never turn sales. From time to time they do but not often. What does turn sales for a small business? Especially a niche business? Well, word of mouth is a big part of the equation. As a Mommy Perks client, I will personally buy your product (if possible) and test it, use it, blog about it and more. I will do this in order to truly understand what you do and how you do it. I can then refer to you others honestly and without reservation. Research shows that 3rd party endorsements are far more effective than self-plugging. Of course you’ll say your own product is terrific, right? That will quickly go over many heads. If someone else is promoting you, though, the chances that your product or service will gain more attention are far higher.

I know this to be the case based on numerous factors. One of those factors is my other business: Personal Child Stories. When I first signed up with Mommy Perks as an advertiser (back in 2007), my graphic ad was placed on the website. Nothing came. Nothing happened. I got visits to my website but no sales. Since that time, I have built relationships with people – through the Mommy Perks site. Lots of book sales have occurred based on those relationships; the networking, marketing, word of mouth, having others refer me out and so on. By working together as a team far more has been accomplished. Newsletter sign ups, book sales, new friends made.

That is my ultimate goal with each business that I serve and help. To help them plant seeds and to teach them to water those seeds. It all takes time. Nothing grows over night (other than bacteria but let’s not go there).

Patience and perseverance, I always say. Slow and steady wins the race. Why spend money on flat ads being placed on a website with no PR to back your money? Other sites charge even more than Mommy Perks just to place your graphic on their site. Why not spend the money more wisely?

Welcome to the Mommy Perks way of thinking

Click here to visit our Ad and PR Packages page.

Why join the Mommy Perks Community?We have been turning the heads of some big names lately and continue to gain more media attention across the country for our small business philosophies. Mommy Perks is the BIG place for SMALL business!
We are a COMMUNITY of moms, small businesses, friends and family. We offer:
A one-stop shopping experience

Free Membership to shop the discounts
Free ads for mom’s groups and non-profits

Our popular VIP Blog: free business reviews, giveaways, freebies and more
Enter to Win contests each month for members
Informative eNewsletters sent 1-2 times per month
Newsletter giveaways exclusive to members

Periodic email specials/discounts sent on behalf of our partners (advertisers)

Kid’s Corner with tips, crafts, articles and more
GreenScene: simple green living tips
Affordable advertising for any family friendly business or service

Join our growing community today and let others know they too can get PERKED!
Once we receive your information you will get a membership card in a Welcome email. You can use your membership card and code to save on purchases online and in stores locally and nationally.

Check back often to find new partners and perks at

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Solutions to Help Kids Really Say No To Peer Pressure

By Michele Borba

What were you thinking?” “But didn’t you tell the kids it wasn’t right?” “You did what?!!@!”

Are you concerned that your kid always seems to go along with the crowd? Does she have a tough time speaking up and letting her opinions be known? Have you noticed that your child can be easily swayed to do what the other kids want? Some kids may call him a Wimp or a Scaredy Cat, your terms may be more along the lines of submissive, follower or even push over. This may not seem such a big deal now, but peer pressure gets nothing but tougher as kids get older. After all, if he has a tough time saying “no” to the tamer dilemmas of younger kids, fast forward your concerns to the kinds of wilder, scarier issues he may face later. And there is cause for some concern. A Time/Nickelodeon survey of 991 kids ages nine to fourteen revealed 36 percent feel pressure from peers to smoke marijuana, 40 percent feel pressure to have sex, 36 percent feel pressure to shoplift, and four out of ten feel pressure to drink.

Here’s the good news though: assertive skills can be taught to kids. Though it is never too late, the sooner parents start boosting this friendship skill builder, the greater your child’s confidence will be in social settings, and the easier you’ll sleep. Here are a few strategies from my book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, you can use to help your child buck the negative peer pressure and stand up to peers.

•Bring the issue into the open. If your kid is suffering from a lack of assertive skills, it may be very hard for him to talk about this problem so take the lead. “I noticed during play group today Johnny told you to throw sand in the sink, and you did it. You know better. So let’s talk about why you went along.” “You know Rene’s house is off limits, but you went along with the group anyway. You have to learn to stand up to your friends and do what you know is right.”

•Share your beliefs. Parents who raise assertive kids who can stand up for their beliefs don’t do so by accident. They make sure their children know what they stand for. “In our family we don’t watch violent movies. Plain and simple. So tell your friends you can’t go.” “I don’t care if all your friends use four-letter words, for you that’s forbidden.” “The next time a friend dares you to smoke a cigarette, just stand up and walk out. You need to stick up for what you know is right. I know how much you hate smoking.”

•Stop rescuing. If your role has been apologizing, explaining, or basically “doing” for your child, then stop. You child will never learn how to stand up for himself. Instead, he’ll forever by relying on you.

•Model assertiveness. If you want your child to be confident, assertive, and stand up for his beliefs, make sure you display those behaviors. Kids mimic what they see.

•Teach how to say no. Ask your child to choose phrases he is most comfortable using. “No” can be said alone: “NO!” It can also be followed by a reason: “No, it’s just not my style.” “No thanks. My parents would kill me.” “No, I don’t feel like doing that.” “No, I don’t want to.” “No. I have to get home and I’m already late.” The child could suggest an alternative: “No. Let’s think of something else.” “Nope. How bout we go to the skate park instead?” Tell your child it’s not his job to change your friend’s mind, but to stay true to his beliefs.

•Teach confident body language. Push-over kids usually stand with heads down, shoulders slumped, arms and knees quivering, and eyes downcast. So even if he says “no” to his friends, his body sends a far different message and his words will have little credibility. So it’s crucial to teach your child assertive body posture: hold your head high, shoulders slightly back, look your friend in the eye and use a confident, firm tone of voice. It will help your child see what the confident body posture looks like so she can use it herself. So role play with your child the “confident look” and the “hesitant look.” Then encourage your child to be on the look-out for “confident” or “hesitant” posture in other people. Look everywhere: at the mall, on the playground, even television and movie actors. Soon your child will instantly be able to spot confident posture and copy and use it himself.

•Use a firm voice. Emphasize the tone of your child’s voice is often more important than what he says. So tell your child to speak in a strong tone of voice. No yelling or whispering. Be friendly but determined. Just tell the friend where you stand. A simple “No” or “No, I don’t want to” is fine.

•Reinforce assertiveness. If you want to raise a child who can stand up for his beliefs, then reinforce any and all efforts your child makes to be assertive and stand up for his beliefs. “I know that was tough telling your friends you had to leave early to make your curfew. I’m proud you were able to stand up to them and not just go along.”

•Hold family debates. The best way for kids to learn to express themselves is right at home, so why not start “Family Debates” or if you prefer the more gentler-sounding approach: “Family Meetings”?

Start by setting these five rules:

1. Everyone is listened to.

2. No putdowns are allowed.

3. You may disagree, but do so respectfully.

4. Talk calmly.

5. Everyone gets a turn.

Topics can be the hot button issues in the world, in school or right in your home. Here are just a few discussion possibilities: house rules, sibling conflicts, allowances, chores, curfews, parent-set movie restrictions. “Real world” issues could include: reparations, the Iraq War, the draft, lowering the voting age, legalizing drugs. Whatever the topic, encourage your hesitant child’s to speak up and be heard.

•Don’t tolerate excuses. You’ve been working on these skills, but your child is still agreeing to do things she knows are wrong to go along with the group such as going to sneaking into a R-rated movie or using bad words. If this happens, be sure to take clear action to reestablish your rules and your child’s need to stand up to peer pressure

It’s not always easy to buck the crowd. Everyone wants to be liked. But for your child’s own self-confidence, independence and future success in life, it’s important he learn to stand up to a friend. So continue to encourage each and effort he makes, and help him practice the skills of assertiveness until he can confidently use them alone. And above all, remember simple changes can reap big results. So don’t give up.

For daily parenting solutions follow Michele on twitter @micheleborba

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Children, Tweens and Teens - Recovering from Divorce

Recovering from Divorce

“You can give that child a sense of, ‘we may not be doing this perfect, obviously things didn’t work well, but we’re always looking for a better way and you’re still our child. We care about you, we care about each other and we want you to be happy and healthy’.”

– Winny Rush, M.Ed., Intervention Specialist

A new university study following thousands of kids for 20 years reports that children of divorced parents are more likely to become school drop-outs than kids whose parents stick together. The study confirms the hardship of divorce on kids, but how kids cope depends a lot on the parents.

Devon’s parents divorced when he was 13.

“You really lose your grip so easily when things aren’t alright at home,” says Devon.
He says the constant fighting between his parents took its toll. “I found that most of the time, like I was acting out in school, I’d be kind of the violent angry kid.”

Today -- six years later -- Devon says he’s worked through the anger and the pain. And looking back, he says the divorce provided a new beginning for him.

“It’s more positive,” he says. “You can be with somebody you love -- I love my mom and she loves me -- I can be with my dad another time -- I love him, he loves me, you know. But when it all comes together, it just doesn’t get along.”

Experts say the paradox of divorce is that it’s hard on children, especially young kids, and often leaves them feeling angry and alienated. But it is also a way to end the war between parents.

“It’s like there’s no more fighting, there’s no more fear … it’s a completion,” says Intervention Specialist Winny Rush, M.Ed. “And then you can go on to a sense of understanding and acceptance.”

Experts say these research results challenge a common assumption: that divorce leaves children emotionally scarred for life.

“They’re resilient and we do learn to adapt, especially children who are given no choice,” says Rush.

She adds that how well a child adapts depends in part on the parents. “If the children see their parents healthy and happy after the divorce, I think it’s probably not as bad as they thought it was,” says Rush.

For children whose parents are going through a divorce, Devon says it may be painful now, but he adds, “Know that you can deal with it. It’s not the end. It’s just a different path to take.”

Tips for Parents
The debate continues as to how divorce affects children, but one thing remains certain – they are affected. Children will typically experience certain feelings and emotions; the magnitude of those feelings largely depends on the child’s relationship with the parents before the divorce, the intensity and duration of any disagreements, and whether or not the parents put the child’s feelings above their own throughout the divorce. The most common emotions children feel are listed below, organized by Kathleen O’Connell Corcoran, of e-Mediation Information and Resource Center.

■Denial – This occurs particularly in young children and often surfaces as story-telling. For instance, a child may say, “Mommy and Daddy and me are going to Disneyland,” or “We're moving into a duplex and Daddy will live next door.” Children in denial will also have reconciliation fantasies.
■Abandonment – When parents separate, children worry about who will take care of them. They are afraid that they, too, are “divorceable” and will be abandoned by one or both of their parents. This problem is made worse if parents take the children into their confidence and/or talk negatively about the other parent in front of the children. Parents need to avoid using language such as, "Daddy is divorcing us." Parents should also avoid being late for school or carpool pick-up, or abducting the children, as these actions increase children’s insecurities. Children who are feeling insecure say things that are intended to evoke a “mama bear/papa bear” response (a demonstration of protectiveness). If children do not have "permission" to have a good relationship with the other parent, or if they think they need to "take care of" one of their parents in the divorce, they are likely to have feelings of divided loyalties between their parents. In extreme cases, they may become triangulated with one parent against the other.
■Preoccupation with information – Children will want details of what is happening and how it affects them. Communication from the parents needs to be unified and age-appropriate.
■Anger and hostility – Children may express anger and hostility with peers, siblings or parents. School performance may be impaired. A child’s hostility is often directed at the parent that he/she perceives is at fault. Hostility turned inward looks like depression in children.
■Depression – Symptoms can include lethargy, sleep and eating disturbances, acting out, social withdrawal and/or physical injury (more common in adolescents).
■Immaturity/hyper-maturity – Children may regress to an earlier developmental stage when they felt assured of both parents' love. They may "baby-talk" or wet their beds. Or, children may become "parentified" by what they perceive to be the emotional and physical needs of their parents.
■Preoccupation with reconciliation – The more conflict there is between the parents, the longer children hold onto the notion of their parents' reconciliation. To the child, conflict shows that the parents are not "getting on" with their lives. Children will often act out in ways that force their parents to interact (negatively or positively). Children whose parents were very confrontational during the marriage often mistake the strong emotions of conflict with intimacy. They see the parents as engaged in an intimate relationship.
■Blame and guilt – Because so much marital conflict may be related to the stress of parenting, children often feel responsible for their parents' divorce; they feel that somehow their behavior contributed to it. This is especially true when parents fight during exchanges about the children or in negotiating schedules – children see this as their parents “fighting over them.” Children may try to bargain their parents back together by promises of good behavior; they may have difficulty with transitions or refuse to go with the other parent.
■Acting out – Children will often act out their own anger and their parents' anger. In an attempt to survive in a hostile environment, children will often take the side of the parent they are presently with. This may manifest in refusals to talk to the other parent on the phone or reluctance to share time with the other parent. Adolescents will typically act out in ways similar to how the parents are acting out.
For parents going through divorce, it is easy to become overwhelmed if your child is exhibiting the behaviors listed above.

According to Dr. Rex Forehand, from the Institute of Behavioral Research at the University of Georgia, “many parents of divorce believe they have done irreversible damage to their children because of the parents’ permanent separation. However, many of the problems children experience following parental divorce are not due merely to the separation from one parent. Recent research indicates that children’s adjustment following parental divorce is dependent, to a large extent, on the situation existing after the divorce.”

It is important for parents to keep in mind that it’s not too late – they still can play a huge role in their child’s positive development and attitude. Dr. Forehand suggests the following tips to help minimize the negative effects of divorce:

■Both parents should work to maintain a positive relationship with their child. This serves as a buffer against the stresses of divorce, and assures the child of the parents’ continued love.
■Parents should subject the child to as few environmental and structural changes as possible (e.g. have the child attend the same school, continue to live in the same home, etc.). It is particularly important to maintain consistency regarding the child’s standard of living. For this reason, regular child support payments are often critical.
■Ex-spouses should not argue or fight in the child’s presence. This is perhaps the most important issue related to a child’s adjustment following parental divorce. The amount of parental conflict that the child sees (e.g. regarding visitation, custody, child support, etc.) is directly related to their level of adjustment.
■Consistent discipline is very important. Both parents should use similar age-appropriate discipline techniques with their children. Limits on what is and is not acceptable behavior for their children should also be consistent between the two homes.
■The child should not be used as a messenger in parental communications. He/she should never be asked to communicate messages such as “tell your dad that he is late with the child support payment.”
■Likewise, the child should never be used as a spy. Parents should not ask their child questions about the other parent’s life (e.g. questions about whom the parent is dating).
■Parents should not use the child as an ally in parental battles, and in fact, should avoid bringing the child into battles. Trying to get the child to take sides usually results in damaging the child’s relationship with both parents.
■The parents should never put down the other spouse in front of their child. It is important to remember the ex-spouse is still the child’s parent (no matter how much anger or resentment there is).
■The child should not be burdened with the parents’ personal fears and concerns. Unfortunately, many divorced parents turn to their children for support. This almost always has a negative impact on children and adolescents because they are rarely capable of handling such stress. Children have enough difficulty with their own adjustment without the added burden of their parents’ problems.
■It is usually in the child’s best interest to have a consistent pattern of frequent visits with the non-custodial parent. Frequent cancellations, long periods of no contact, and sporadic visitation schedules often have a detrimental effect on the child.
■Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
■The Mediation Information and Resource Center
■The University of Georgia – Institute for Behavioral Research

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADD/ADHD Summer Program in N. Florida

Don't miss this exciting event! Check out the YouTube experience of Drop Your Reins!

A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of seeing a young lady by the name of Danielle Herb perform horsemanship of very impressive caliber. SearchAmelia was invited to come and film a clinic that 15 year old Danielle gives to primarily ADHD and Autistic children: The central focus being mastering your fears and anxieties through body movements.

Prior to the start of the clinic we interviewed Danielle and her mother Maryanne and learned that Danielle was diagnosed as severe ADHD at age 5 and went on the long and hard road since then to master her fears and illness in a natural way, in her case through interaction with beautiful horses. She proudly called herself the Horse Listener, as she explained how a horse reflects and mirrors human action, gives and takes and ultimately how communication and clarity claim victory.

After years of preparation Danielle started holding clinics for children with similar problems several months ago and soon found that the results were remarkable. The Drop Your Reins Experience was born.

Drop Your Reins Experience in Yulee on July 11
By Editor on July 8, 2009

Successful Closing of Clinic 5
A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of seeing a young lady by the name of Danielle Herb perform horsemanship of very impressive caliber. SearchAmelia was invited to come and film a clinic that 15 year old Danielle gives to primarily ADHD and Autistic children: The central focus being mastering your fears and anxieties through body movements.

Prior to the start of the clinic we interviewed Danielle and her mother Maryanne and learned that Danielle was diagnosed as severe ADHD at age 5 and went on the long and hard road since then to master her fears and illness in a natural way, in her case through interaction with beautiful horses. She proudly called herself the Horse Listener, as she explained how a horse reflects and mirrors human action, gives and takes and ultimately how communication and clarity claim victory.

After years of preparation Danielle started holding clinics for children with similar problems several months ago and soon found that the results were remarkable. The Drop Your Reins Experience was born.

This Saturday SearchAmelia.TV will have another film crew at the scene of the Cheers Ranch in Yulee for the second installment of The Drop Your Reins Experience which will soon be shown as a full hour documentary on Comcast Channel 29 or Digital Cable #264

Parents and Children/Teens Facing Fears and Challenges should pay attention at how The Cheers Ranch of Yulee is offering a special experiential hands on learning “Experience” utilizing Natural Horsemanship. Through fun experiential equine activities, children build upon their natural strengths to enhance communication, problem-solving and social skills and increase self-confidence in a safe, educational and recreational atmosphere.

Parents and children are faced with many challenges today including peer pressure, bullying, poor grades, lack of self esteem, bouncing off the walls and lack of focus to name a few. The clinic will be held this Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm at the beautiful 24-acre campus of Cheers Ranch on 96841 Blackrock Rd., Yulee, FL. Space is limited and offered on a first come basis, the press release states.

Danielle Herb and her mother Marianne St. Clair of Drop Your Reins invite children and parents to gain a new perspective on life and their beliefs about what is possible when confronted with ADHD and Autism.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Inhalant Abuse - Huffing and Sniffing



Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of common products found in homes and communities with the purpose of "getting high." Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products.
When used as intended, these products have a useful purpose in our lives and enhance the quality of life, but when intentionally misused, they can be deadly. Inhalant Abuse is a lesser recognized form of substance abuse, but it is no less dangerous.
Inhalants are addictive and are considered to be "gateway" drugs because children often progress from inhalants to illegal drug and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.

Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and BaggingInhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual's head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.

What Products Can be Abused?
There are more than a 1,400 products which are potentially dangerous when inhaled, such as typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue. Most are common products that can be found in the home, garage, office, school or as close as the local convenience store. The best advice for consumers is to read the labels before using a product to ensure the proper method is observed.
It is also recommended that parents discuss the product labels with their children at age-appropriate times. The following list represents categories of products that are commonly abused.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sue Scheff: Psychotherapies For Children/Teenagers

Psychotherapies For Children/Teenagers

When parents or caregivers bring their children in for psychological counseling, there are a number of different psychotherapies that counselors can use in treatment. Therapy with children involves either play or having a conversation between the therapist and the child and his/her family. Psychotherapy with children involves different strategies and approaches and the therapist will use the strategy that best fits your child as well as a therapy that can best treat the particular problem/s. When choosing a therapist for your child, you may want to ask which approach they typically use in treatment as well as which particular model of psychotherapy they were trained in and are the most familiar with.

A summary of the different psychotherapies for children/adolescents are as follows:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)- This type of therapy targets teaching children that their thoughts and feelings can and do influence their behaviors. CBT teaches the child to identify negative thought patterns and the therapist teaches them how to replace these thoughts with more positive ones. This treatment is usually used in treating children with anxiety disorders and mood disorders (ie.. depression).

Family Therapy-focuses on helping the entire family function in a more positive way. The target in treatment is usually on teaching the family members a better way of communicating and psychoeducation is usually involved.

Play Therapy-this type of therapy is usually used with smaller children and the therapist will incorporate using toys, games, puzzles, drawings, etc… The goal is to observe how the child plays in order to identify how to child copes and deals with everyday problems. The goal is to help the child lean how to recognize and eventually verbalize their feelings.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy-this therapy emphasizes helping a child/teen be able to understand the issues that causing them distress and how it affects their feelings, thoughts, behaviors. This type of therapy is usually used with older children and teenagers and is used with children that have a good deal of insight into their problems as it involves being able to identify behavioral patterns, how they cope with stressors, as well as how they respond to inner conflicts.

While this list of psychotherapies is by no means conclusive, these are some common psychotherapies used when treating children or adolescents in a mental health setting. When bringing your child/teen in for mental health treatment, be prepared with questions that you would like to ask your child’s therapist about how psychotherapy works and which treatment he or she will use.