Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Our lives aren’t composed like a headstone with a straight line that marks the date of the first breath we take to the last; the journey we’re on is really a zigzagging series of unexpected detours. Every detour is a destination unto itself, and regardless of our plans, it’s what we don’t see coming that often affects us most…

This excerpt from Zig-Zagging: Loving Madly, Losing Badly…How Ziggy Saved My Life provides a small taste of the emotional feast famed cartoonist Tom Wilson delivers in his deeply personal memoir. Much of his story is centered on the journey he took with his young wife after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. With stunning honesty he details what it’s like on the other side of the hospital bed after a radical double mastectomy:

"The hype is there before you see it, to prepare you for a horrible disfigurement…It’s not that way. You don’t see the woman you love as any less of a woman for lack of breasts…What you see is that she’s hurting and afraid, and the only thing that repulses you is the disease that brought this heart-wrenching agony upon her (and) the excruciating frustration you feel as a man from knowing that there’s very little you can do to help take her pain away. When cancer is quietly going about its malignant mission, hidden beneath soft and familiar skin, you never get to see your enemy. But when breast cancer suddenly declares war, comes out in the open and shows itself in the tracks of sutures left behind, you suddenly realize that the woman you love more than anything in the world has not only come under attack, but has herself become the battleground. This makes you love her all the more and takes your love in a direction and to a height you never could have imagined possible…”

I cannot recommend this inspiring book highly enough—especially during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time to honor the memory of those we’ve lost, celebrate survival, and commit to doing whatever it takes to find a cure..

For more info: Tom Wilson will be presenting at the Miami Book Fair International. Order Zig-Zagging today on Amazon or visit your local bookstores.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Book with Recipes for Better Parenting

The BIG Book of Parenting Solutions is your recipe to parenting kids today. This tremendous book is similar to a cookbook of extra special, proven results for parenting! This book is not only for today's parent, it is a perfect baby shower gift, holiday gift, or simply to give to a parent today raising kids. They will be forever grateful.

Here is just a sample of the hundreds of proven and simple tips from Dr. Borba’s latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. The best news is that these solutions work for all ages, take less than a minute to do, are based on proven research and when consistently used will reap lasting change.

1. Get attention: Lower your voice almost to a whisper and then say your request. Kids aren’t used to a quiet request.

2. Increase positive behavior: Research shows that giving kids the right kind of praise (called “positive reinforcement”) is one of the best ways to shape new behavior. So, catch your kid doing the action you want. Just make sure your praise is specific and tells your child exactly what he did right. (Adding “because” or “that” takes your praise up a notch. “I’m so impressed that you started your homework all by yourself this time.”)

3. Stretch persistence: Praising the child’s effort (“You’re working so hard”) and not inherent intelligence (”You’re so smart”) is proven to enhance perseverance and performance, but the child is also more likely to bounce back from a mistake—all because he feels success is not mixed.
4. Reduce fear: Expose your child to a fear in small manageable doses and help them develop a statement to speak back to the worry (“Go away worry!” or “I can do this!”)

5. Curb a tantrum: The longer you give attention to a tantrum the longer it lasts. Ignore, ignore, ignore!

6. Nurture kindness: Encourage your child to use the Two Praise Rule everyday. “Say or do at least two kind things to someone.” Random acts of kindness really are catchy!

7. Increase assertiveness: Stress: “Look at the color of the talker’s eyes.” Using eye contact helps kids appear confident. Strong body posture also helps a child be less likely to be bullied.

8. Friendship builder: The two most commonly used traits of well-liked kids are “smiling” and “encouraging.” Reinforce those traits in your child to boost his friendship quotient.

9. Develop healthy eating habits. Eating relaxed family meals regularly enhances kids’ psychosocial well- being, boosts grades and deters behaviors like smoking and drinking and eating disorders as well as teaches the child healthy eating habits.
10. Curb nagging. Say "no" the first time and don’t back down. The average kid nags nine times knowing the parent will give in.

Read more about Dr. Michele Borba in our one on one interview earlier this month. Big Book of Parenting Solutions belongs in your kitchen today! Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, daycare provider, coach, therapist or anyone working with today's kids, this is a must have book.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: The Internet is a Information Highway - What is your Road Sign?

Are you a parent of a teen starting their college applications? Are you out of work, sending out your resume? Are you a small business owner and find your business is suffering? Are you a professional that depends on your good reputation?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, my new book is exactly what you need. Maintaining your online image today is as critical as having a good resume, outstanding application and keeping your offline personality similar to your virtual one.

I nearly lost my organization (Parents Universal Resource Experts), my reputation online was smeared, as well as the invasion on my private life was going viral while I slept. No, not literally slept, however I was not aware of what was slowing turning into what is considered a Google bomb.

One unhappy client, one disgruntled customer or a person that didn’t get the information they wanted, can take a few vicious keystrokes with a click of the mouse and turn your flourishing life into ruins. Your BFF today can turn into your foe tomorrow, or the soul mate you married is now your adversary. The latest source of revenge, is e-venge.

In my recent book Google Bomb, co-authored by prominent Internet attorney, John W. Dozier Jr., you will not only read about my unfortunate experiences, you will receive practical guidance to help you be proactive in protecting your cyber image. You will learn from my experiences and gain knowledge to build yourself an online profile you can be proud of.

Here are some quick tips to start. Remember, the Internet is today’s information highway and your name has a road sign.

1. Sign up for free services and post your resume or other information that pertains to your services, business, profession etc. Some of these services are,,,

2. For teenagers that will be applying for colleges, keep in mind, what you post today can haunt you tomorrow. More and more college admissions are using search engines to research their potential candidates. Take the time to secure your social networking sites and other places you surf. What does this mean? Keep it clean. Don't post anything you wouldn't want to show your parents or your grandparents!

3. Be sure to own your own name. Sign up for free services on Blogs with your name as the URL. and are two that are most frequently used. Try to keep them updated as time permits, however owning them is most important.

4. Set up your Google Alerts. You want to know when your name it being used online. This is another free service that will take you minutes to set up and keep you informed when your name is posted on the Internet. is used for Twitter Alerts. This is another free service to be alerted if people are using your name on Twitter.

5. Buy your domain name. This can be minimum in costs and the return will be priceless. Purchasing your name through GoDaddy or another source, can cost you about $9.99 a year (ie: Building a small website can also be cost effective. GoDaddy offers services to assist you. You may even know someone that can build this for you. Most kids today are very proficient with their technology skills.

Do you feel you don’t have time to sit in front of your computer and build your online image? You may want to consider hiring a reputation management online service. My personal experience is with ReputationDefender. Today there is a large number of them to choose from as the Internet has become our lifeline to information.

Whether you hire a service or do it yourself, the last thing you want to do is ignore your cyber image!

Back to where we started, you do want to get into your college of choice, you want to land your dream job and you want to keep your online profile up to date. Take the steps to make that happen.

For more fantastic and educational information to protect you and your family online, read Google Bomb today. It is priceless!

For more information: Dr. Michele Borba Review, Defamation Law Blog, Foreword by CEO and founder of ReputationDefender, Michael Fertik, Google Bomb book Press Room.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Miami Book Fair International 2010

Books, books and more books! Authors, authors and more authors! Every year in November South Florida is host to Miami Book Fair International.

Here is a list of the headliners for the Evening with... for the week of November 8, 2009 thru November 15, 2009.

Sunday, Nov. 8 --Elizabeth Alexander (Poet), Margaret Atwood (best known for The Handmaid's Tale)

Monday, Nov. 9 -- Barbara Kingsolver (best known for The Poisonwood Bible) and Ruth Reichl (Gourmet Magazine)

Tuesday, Nov. 10 -- Jeannette Walls (MSNBC contributor and author of The Glass Castle)
Wednesday, Nov. 11 -- Richard Powers (National Book Award Winner)

Thursday, Nov. 12 -- actress Isabella Rossellini

Friday, Nov. 13 -- Orahan Pamuk (Nobel Laureate)

Special guest, Al Gore will be speaking on Saturday, November 14th at 9:30am. The complete list of authors will be posted in October. Ziggy Cartoonist and author, Tom Wilson will be among the presenting authors.

For more info: Visit
Also visit

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Second Chance, learn about what your kids are eating today

Second Chance, by Kip Moore
Contact: Kip Moore

A Book of Faith, Love, and Survival

A father sits in the waiting room of the pediatric intensive care unit of The Children’s Hospital of
Denver, hopeless and frantic. He holds his wife close while she cries. They are exhausted from four sleepless nights of keeping vigil at their son’s bedside as they cling to hope. What happens next is an inspiring true story of a child’s will to live.

A Deadly Scare

Eighteen-month-old Chance survived a near-death situation brought on by the ingestion of tainted beef while on a family vacation. Chance’s critical illness pushed his parents, Kip and Marti, to the edge of despair. But the hope of this Colorado family, nurtured by intense love, prayer, and perseverance, paid off in a joyful way—he received his second chance on life.

How Safe is our Food?

Who could have predicted that a relaxing family vacation would turn the Moore family upside down?

How safe is the food you serve your children?

• Would you recognize flu-like symptoms as potentially fatal?
• How would you and your family cope if tested in a time of crisis?
• Will it be too late for you or a loved one?

A Unique Message

The author delivers his message with a unique combination of raw emotion mixed with humor. As he states in the book, “I’m just an average guy, to whom extraordinary events occurred.” He gives valuable information about the threat of E. coli O157:H7 in easily understood terms, while never loosing site of the emotional impact such a deadly infection can cause parents of sick children. No parent should have to ask, “Is my child going to die?” Second Chance
answers this question in a way that is both heartwarming and inspirational.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I encourage parents, teachers, schools and everyone to take part in BLUE SHIRT DAY on October 5th. Together we can STOMP OUT BULLYING!
Press Release from August:
NEW YORK, August 24, 2009 Love Our Children USA announced today that bullying and teasing is at the top of kids’ issues at schools, and with school set to open in soon, parents, teachers and school administrators must take caution and sensitivity in handling these issues.

Childhood should be a time filled with wonder and joy, but the reality for many kids and teens is often much different. They're the victims of bullying and cyber-bullying at school or on neighborhood playgrounds.

October 4 – 10th is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week. To observe the week, Love Our Children USA will speak at various schools about bullying, cyberbullying and preventing it.

To signify the importance of the week, Love Our Children USA created National Blue Shirt Day. Specifically on Monday, October 5th, the organization is asking kids, teens and adults to participate in national BLUE SHIRT DAY by wearing a blue shirt to STOMP Out Bullying.

They chose blue because in many diverse cultures blue brings peace. The color conveys importance and confidence.

On Monday, October 5th, Americans across the country will wear blue shirts as they make their way to school or to the office as a grassroots national campaign to STOMP Out Bullying.

Participation is expected from major cities and proclamations from leading politicians and civic leaders. This day will be supported with a national media campaign. Last October, the organization created STOMP Out Bullying. To date over 48,000 people have committed to STOMP Out Bullying.

Kids who are intimidated, threatened, or harmed by bullies often experience low self-esteem and depression, whereas those doing the bullying may go on to engage in more serious antisocial behaviors. Some kids are so traumatized by being bullied, that they contemplate suicide. Bullies often have been the victims of bullying or other mistreatment themselves.

Ross Ellis, Love Our Children USA Founder and Chief Executive Officer remembers only too
well what it is like to be bullied. Today it’s a regular occurrence in schools starting as early as kindergarten. It’s not a right of passage as some may think. It’s a crisis. And many kids have committed suicide because the taunting was so torturous.

Bullying can be so painful and clearly has played a role in recent school shootings across the country. While boys are more physical, girls use weapons, exclusion, slander, rumors and gossip.
And beware of cyberbullying which is on the rise. This social online cruelty is used in the forms of e-mail, cell phone; pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior, and is used by an individual or group -- intended to harm others – especially amongst our youth.
While most kids use the Internet for friendly interactions, more and more kids are using these communication tools to antagonize, terrorize and intimidate others.

Ellis said “parents must keep open communication with their children. Look for signs. And school administrators can no longer sweep the issue under the rug. Students should be educated about the harmful effects of bullying. Many schools are sweeping the issue under the rug. Every school should declare No Bullying Policy and enforce it.”

Ross Ellis suggests that schools set up a web site where kids can anonymously report the person who is bullying them. That way victims can feel safe in making the report and the school can deal with the bully.

Recent Statistics Show:
• 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied.
• 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some "Bullying."
• 8% of students miss 1 day of class per month for fear of Bullies.
• 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
• 100,000 students carry a gun to school.
• 28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home.
• A poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools.
• 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.
• 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight.
• 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.
• 1 out of 5 teens knows someone who brings a gun to school.
• 2 out of 3 say they know how to make a bomb, or know where to get the information to do it.
• Almost half of all students say they know another student who's capable of murder.
• Playground statistics - Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention -4% Peer intervention - 11%. No intervention - 85%.

Ellis said “helping your children cope with either being a bully or being a victim often requires outside assistance, such as from your child's school or the community. School is the most likely place for bullying to occur, so discuss your concerns with your child's teachers and counselor and ask what they can do to help. School personnel can be influential in helping a child modify his behavior. Take advantage of any psychological counseling services that may be offered at your child's school or in your community.”

Bullying is a form of child abuse and bullies are very likely to grow up as an adult who abuses children.
More information about bullying and how to help your children and students can be found at

About Love Our Children USA

Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has paved the way as the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Love Our Children USA has become ‘the go-to’ prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. It works to eliminate behaviors that keep children from reaching their potential. It redefines parenting and creates kid success by promoting prevention strategies and positive changes in parenting and family attitudes and behaviors through public education. It works to empower and support children, teens, parents and families through information, resources, advocacy, and online youth mentoring. Its goal is to keep children safe and strengthen families -- Its message is positive ... one of prevention and hope.


Contact: Media Relations
Love Our Children USA
1.888.347.KIDS (5437) / 212.629.2099
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Feingold Program Updated

Newly updated information from The Feingold Program and how it may help your child through diet.
What is the Feingold Program?

It is a new way of shopping and eating that combines old-fashioned nutrition with modern convenience. We guide you through the process, step by step.

First, we teach you how to determine if certain food additives or foods are triggering undesirable symptoms.

Next, we show you how to find the food you enjoy, but in a more natural version. We also guide you to finding healthier non-food products.

Then we show you how to comfortably make these changes a part of your life.
Finally, we provide continual updates as products change. We share the tips we have learned so that you can streamline your shopping and have more free time to enjoy feeling good.
Who Uses the Feingold Program?

Although foods / additives can induce many different symptoms in different people, the majority of families who use the Feingold Program do so to help a family member with behavior and/or learning problems. See the list of symptoms which are often helped by the Program.
Visit for more fantastic information.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Communicating with your teenager

Source: Shoulder to Shoulder

When talking with teens, keep the following in mind:


•Don't blast teens with "20 questions" when they first walk in the door. Catch them when they are genuinely ready to talk. However, you may have to create that moment by going out for ice cream, taking a bike ride or working on a project together.

•If you're upset with your teen, you can't solve a problem effectively. Give yourself some time to cool down before addressing the issue.
•Keep the situation in perspective. It's normal for teens to push the boundaries. Let them experience how to question what they see, and to develop skills in reasoning with you. That way, they will learn to think for themselves to deal with peer pressure and other teen issues.


•Avoid telling teens "this is how it's going to be." Be respectful by asking for their perspective of the situation - and really listen to them. Try to find a solution together.

•Pose your questions as open-ended questions instead of yes-no questions.
•Don't accept "I don't know" as a response. Instead try, "Tell me how you see it."
•Tell a joke or humorous story to relieve a tense situation, but don't make fun of teens. Their self-esteem can be fragile.
•Don't solve problems for them. Our teens will not be living with us forever. To let them grow, we should look for opportunities for them to make their own decisions.
•Get right to the point and be clear about your concerns. Explain why you feel the way you do, and then describe what you want or need in the future. Be ready to listen to what your teen needs, too.
•If you already know the answer, don't ask the question. For example, if you clearly disapprove of your teen's outfit, don't ask, "What are you wearing?!" Instead, you might try, "I'm concerned about that outfit. It's revealing and I don't want others to get the wrong idea about you. Please choose something else."
•Teens know they can wear down most adults with sheer repetition and persistence. When a discussion has reached the "wheel spinning" point, end it. To continue is to ask for trouble, as frustration may cause things to be said that we'll regret.
•Listen up. If teens see us as adults that will not listen to them, they will stop talking to us. Force yourself to listen. If necessary, count to 100 before responding and avoid giving unwanted advice or lecturing.
•Tell them often how much you love them.

Source: "Positive Parenting of Teens" University of Minnesota Extension Service & University of Wisconsin - Extension, 1999.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Homework Wars

“You come home from school – you do homework first, then you have free time.”

– Darlene Duvall, a mother

For years, parent surveys showed that lots of moms and dads worried that their children were overloaded with too much homework. But that may be changing. A new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reports that most parents believe the amount of homework these days is just about right. Of course, that doesn’t mean their kids see it that way.

When 16-year-old Christian and 10-year-old Christopher arrive home from school, the rule is homework comes first. “We tried it other ways, and they ended up not getting their homework done,” explains the boys’ mother, Darlene Duvall.

Homework is first, but there’s no yelling and no pestering from mom or dad.

“They let me do what I have to do to finish my homework. They won’t beat down on me, be like, ‘you gotta do your homework, you gotta do your homework,’” Christian says.

It’s a kind of freedom that teaches responsibility. But what if your child abuses the freedom?

“Then the parent says OK, you said I could trust you to do this on your own, to leave you alone, and you’ve messed up. Now, it’s not going to be that way anymore,” says Bob Macris, a high school curriculum director.

Macris says parents should start by telling their children they can’t play until the homework is done. Then, check their work and ask questions. “Do they really understand? You know Johnny, you wrote this down. What exactly does this mean?” Macris says.

The problem is, sometimes that just starts a fight.

“The time to take a second look at homework is when a child and a parent get to a level when they really are just yelling and screaming at each other and not communicating,” Macris advises.

If that happens, the key is to find someone else to whom your child will listen: the other parent, an older sibling or maybe a tutor.

“And the kids will feel a lot better about it, and so will the parent. But the parents should still follow up and make sure that the kid is doing what he or she is supposed to be doing,” Macris says.

Tips for Parents
What should you do if your child hates homework and doesn’t complete assignments on time or at all? The U.S. Department of Education has some advice. The department’s National Parent Information Network (NPIN) suggests that parents call someone at school when homework problems arise. Everyone needs to work together – the school, teachers, parents and the student – to solve the problems. If your child refuses to do assignments, call his or her teacher. If you and your child can’t understand the homework instructions, call the teacher. The teacher may also be able to help you get your child organized to do the homework. The NPIN says different homework problems require different solutions:

■Does your child have a hard time finishing assignments on time? Maybe he or she has poor study skills and needs help getting organized.
■Is the homework too difficult? Maybe your child has fallen behind and needs special help from a teacher or tutor.
■Is your child bored with the homework? Maybe it’s too easy and your child needs extra assignments that give more challenge.
The NPIN suggests asking your child these questions to combat any problems about homework that may arise:

■What’s your assignment today?
■Is the assignment clear? (If not, suggest calling the school’s homework hotline or a classmate.)
■Do you need special resources (a trip to the library or access to a computer)?
■Do you need special supplies (graph paper, poster board, etc.)?
■Have you started today’s assignment? Have you completed it?
■Is it a long-term assignment (a term paper or science project)?
■For a major project, would it be helpful to write out the steps or make a schedule?
■Would a practice test be useful?
What kind of “homework help” should parents give their children? The Chicago Public Schools offers this advice:

■Encouragement: Give your child praise for efforts and for completing assignments.
■Availability: Encourage your child to do the work independently, but be available for assistance.
■Scheduling: Establish a set time to do homework each day. You may want to use a calendar to keep track of assignments and due dates.
■Space: Provide a space for homework, stocked with the necessary supplies, such as pencils, pens, paper, dictionaries, a computer and other reference materials.
■Discipline: Help your child focus on homework by removing distractions, such as television, radio, telephone and interruptions from siblings and friends.
■Modeling: Consider doing some of your work, such as paying bills or writing letters, during your child’s homework time.
■Support: Talk to your child about difficulties with homework. Be willing to talk to your child’s teacher to resolve problems in a positive manner.
■Involvement: Familiarize yourself with the teacher’s homework policy. Make sure that you and your child understand the teacher’s expectations. At the beginning of the year, you may want to ask your child’s teacher these questions – What kinds of assignments will you give? How often do you give homework? How much time are the students expected to spend on them? What type of involvement do you expect from parents?

■Chicago Public Schools
■National Parent Information Network

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Truancy (Skipping School)

Truancy is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. Children in America today lose over five million days of their education each year through truancy. Often times they do this without the knowledge of their parents or school officials. In common usage the term typically refers to absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate “excused” absences, such as ones related to a medical condition.

It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes. Because of this confusion many schools have their own definitions, and as such the exact meaning of the term itself will differ from school to school and district to district. In order to avoid or diminish confusion, many schools explicitly define the term and their particular usage thereof in the school’s handbook of policies and procedures. In many instances truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.

Many educators view truancy as something much more far reaching than the immediate consequence that missed schooling has on a student’s education. Truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education they are receiving, or both. Because of its traditional association with juvenile delinquency, truancy in some schools may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school. This can be especially troubling for a child, as failing school can lead to social impairment if the child is held back, economic impact if the child drops out or cannot continue his or her education, and emotional impact as the cycle of failure diminishes the adolescent’s self-esteem.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Reduction in School Psychologists?

With today’s economic struggles, more people are losing jobs and that includes teachers and others that work in the education system. During the recent cut in funds for schools, we are seeing a reduction in school psychologists. In reality, this may be the time our kids need the most help. Many are not familiar with recession, why their families are cutting back, maybe not taking that family vacation, or can’t have those name brand trendy clothes.
Source: Connect with Kids
Few School Psychologists

“They’re spread thin, and they usually serve a handful of schools each. So they might be in one school one day and another school the next day.”
– Frank Smith, state director of psychological services

Cuts in state and local funding due to the recession are taking a toll on our schools. Here’s just one more example: school psychologists. They’re trained to help kids deal with all kinds of personal and academic problems, but today we have too many students and not enough psychologists.

Last year, 16-year-old Kristen was sometimes depressed and angry, and she kept it all inside, at least until she joined a group discussion at school. “When you don’t talk to people, you get bottled up, and then you end up exploding, and then end up doing something you wouldn’t have done otherwise,” she says.

School psychologists, like Anne Ferris who serves Kristen’s school, are trained to spot potentially explosive students. She helps kids like Kristen open up and talk.

“What’s going on in your personal life — so much affects how well you can learn, your studying, your habits, your ability to concentrate and listen to the teacher,” says Ms. Ferris.
“It’d be great if all kids came to school absolutely motivated and ready to learn, the reality is many don’t,” says Frank Smith, director of psychological services for the Georgia Department of Education. “They bring in a lot of baggage with them — some of them with very serious problems — and it does take specially trained people to ferret out those problems and design a plan to neutralize those problems, so the child can have success.”

The National Association of School Psychologists recommends a minimum of one psychologist per 1,000 students. That’s the minimum. By that measure, right now in America, we are short 20,000 school psychologists.

“They’re spread thin,” says Smith, “and they usually serve a handful of schools each. So they might be in one school one day and another school the next day.”
Experts say if your child’s school is short-handed, be proactive. Encourage your child to talk and watch for signs of trouble — whether academic, social or emotional — and finally, if you have to, askfor help.

“Parents need to trust their gut instincts,” says Smith. “If they’re feeling like something’s wrong and they need to be doing something, they are probably right.”

Tips for Parents

School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school. The National Association of School Psychologists says there is a serious shortage of school psychologists nationwide, especially in rural areas. As a result, experts say the shortage of school psychologists in rural areas is making it tougher for districts to meet federal academic standards. School psychologists help students with learning disabilities and those who respond to different teaching styles or techniques. School psychologists also can detect and prevent situations involving potentially “explosive“ students.

School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education. They must complete a minimum of a post-Master’s degree program that includes a one-year internship.
School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work.
School psychologists may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB).

School psychologists work with students individually and in groups.

They also develop programs to train teachers and parents regarding effective teaching and learning strategies, effective techniques to manage behavior at home and in the classroom, working with students with disabilities or with special talents, abuse of drugs and other substances and preventing and managing crises.

All children and adolescents face problems from time to time. They may be afraid to go to school, have difficulty organizing their time efficiently, lack effective study skills, fall behind in their school work, lack self-discipline, worry about problems occurring at home, be depressed or anxious, experiment with drugs and alcohol and even think about suicide.
To intervene effectively, parents need to know some common characteristics of adolescents at risk for school failure. These characteristics include:

Attention problems. The student has a history of attention issues at school.

Poor grades. The student consistently performs at barely average or below average levels.

Retentions. The student has been retained in one or more grade levels.

Absenteeism. The student is absent five or more days per term.

Lack of connection with school and community activities. The student is not involved with sports, music, scouting, or other extracurricular activities.

Behavior problems. The student may be disciplined frequently in school or may show a sudden change in school behavior, such as withdrawing from classroom discussions.

Lack of confidence. The student believes that success is linked to natural intelligence rather than to hard work and that his or her own ability is insufficient and cannot be changed or improved.
Limited goals for the future. The student seems unaware of what career options are available or how to attain those goals.

While these topics are items to watch for in your child, it is always best to trust your instincts. If you feel there is a problem with your child, talk to them. Open lines of communication are proven to be the best defense in keeping your child healthy. If you feel a serious, life-threatening situation exists, seek professional help immediately.

The Dayton Daily News
National Association of School Psychologists
Talk With Your Kids

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Child Seat Safety Week

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Launches Child Passenger Safety Week
Urges Parents to Learn How to Correctly Install Safety Seats

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today kicked off Child Passenger Safety Week as new research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that while there is a high use of child safety seats nationwide, a majority of children are not properly secured.

“Every year hundreds of young lives are lost to automobile crashes,” Secretary LaHood said. “Parents and caregivers need to make sure they learn how to properly install child safety seats so their kids will be safe whenever they’re on the road.”

During Child Passenger Safety Week (September 12-18) parents and caregivers can get their child safety seats checked at one of the thousands of free safety seat inspection stations set up across the country. Beginning with National Seat Check Saturday, September 12, English- and Spanish-speaking child passenger safety technicians will be on hand to answer questions and for help with proper installation of child safety seats. To find an inspection site near you visit

NHTSA’s research shows child safety seat use is at an all-time high for children under the age of one. Last year, 99 percent of children ages 0-12 months old were secured as were 92 percent of children ages 1-3 years old and 89 percent of 4-7 years-olds. To view new research click here.

Unfortunately, research also indicated that three out of every four seats are used incorrectly. This figure includes errors in securing the child in the child seat and errors in attaching the child seat to the car. Some specific examples include using the wrong child restraint based on age and weight; incorrect installation of restraint to the vehicle seat; harness straps buckled too loosely; incorrect attachment of the vehicle safety belt to the child restraint and loose fit of seat belts across children in belt-positioning booster seats.

All 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and our territories, have laws requiring the use of safety seats for young children traveling in automobiles. In addition, 47 States have laws requiring booster seat use.

Thursday, September 10, 2009
Contact: Karen Aldana
Tel: 202-366-9550
OST 139-0

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Stop the Silence - Stop Child Sexual Abuse

Take the time to be an educated parent, which leads to a prepared parent and a safer child.
Source: Stop the Silence

What is child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse (CSA) constitutes a broad range of behaviors occurring along a continuum from voyeurism to rape, and usually happens over an extended period of time. CSA is possible due to differences in power and control between the offender and the victim

How common is it?

CSA is occurring in pandemic proportions and causes grave physical and psychological trauma, along with social havoc. In the U.S., CSA affects one-third of girls and one-sixth of boys by the time they are 18 years old.* Many countries have not yet conducted the research to identify the extent of CSA, but, from the research available, we know that it is a worldwide pandemic and that prevalence rates have been identified as high as 60 percent in some places, and as low as 2 percent in others.

It is difficult to know the true extent of CSA; most CSA is never reported (due to shame, fear, stigma, and other factors). The information that does get reported can look quite different depending on who is reporting it—for example, whether recounted by a child to various authorities as opposed to by an adult who has found out as a result of trauma or pregnancy. Also, authorities often minimize or dismiss the abuse reported, blame the victim, and/or protect the abuser. Only one in 10 children in the U.S. actually let someone know that it has occurred. We also know that more than two-fifths of women and more than one-third of men who have been sexually abused never disclose the experience to anyone.

What are the consequences?

We all privately or publicly know survivors who have not only survived, but thrived; it has taken work for them to get there. CSA often has extremely severe consequences. They include:

Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other psychological problems
Anti-social behaviors
Decreased school performance and delinquency
Substance abuse
Teen pregnancy
Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
Homicide and suicide

Decades of research documents that adults who were sexually victimized as children have a higher likelihood of being negatively impacted in their adulthood by numerous types of psychological and physiological ailments and sociological pathologies, including post traumatic stress disorder, self-destructive and violent behaviors, and even chronic disease. CSA has been definitively implicated as a precursor to, and a part of, the commercial sexual exploitation of children. CSA costs the nation billions of dollars each year between medical and psychiatric treatment, social services, special education, and legal and judicial and incarceration costs.

Learn more at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Tips on Cell Phone Safety and their Teens

Like Internet safety, as parents today, we need to be eduated on cell phone safety and our kids. Here are some great tips from Connect Safely. Take the time to be an educated parent.

Though teens make little distinction between fixed and mobile socializing, we adults still do. So here are some basic ideas for safe socializing on phones as well as the Web that we hope will work for both generations.

Smart socializing. Use the same good sense about what you post from your phone as from a computer. Once they’re posted, text, photos, and video are tough to take back, can be copied and pasted elsewhere, and are up there pretty much forever. Think about the people in them (including you!). Reputations are at stake, and even more if nudity or sex is involved.

Bullying by phone. Because people socialize on cellphones as much as online, cyberbullying can be mobile too. Treat people on phones and the Web the way you would in person, and the risk of being bullied goes down.

Sexting: It’s the same on phones as on the Web – do not take, send, post or even store on your phone nude photos of anyone under 18. You could be charged with production, distribution, or possession of child pornography, a serious crime. You could also be subjected to jokes, bullying, blackmail, expulsion from school, loss of a job, etc. and the images can circulate forever.
The value of “presence.” If you do a lot of texting, consider the impact that being “elsewhere” might be having on the people around you. Your presence during meals, at parties, in the car, etc. is not only polite, it’s a sign of respect and appreciated.

Down time is good. Constant texting and talking can affect sleep, concentration, school, and other things that deserve your thought and focus. Real friends understand there are times you just need to turn off the phone – harassment can happen between midnight and morning too.
Social mapping. Most cellphones now have GPS technology and there are a growing number of services that allow friends to pinpoint each other’s physical location. If you use such a service, do so only with friends you know in person, and get to know the service’s privacy features!
Reprinted with permission from Connect Safely.

Learn more at the newly updated

For more info: Connect Safely, Safe Teens.

Also on

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Dangerous Driving (Teens and Cell Phones)

Just last week I wrote an article for the Examiner about Teen drivers with some valuable resources, including a teen driving contract. This week Connect with Kids offers some parent tips you need to take the time to read. An educated parent is a prepared parent that equals a safer teen!

Source: Connect with Kids

Driving and Talking is Dangerous

“The task of driving and the task of communicating on the cell phone kind of play off the same area of the brain. So it’s got similar brain function for both tasks. [It is] the worst of multi-tasking. And the brain is just not set up to do that effectively. It’s sort of like giving 50 percent to each. And driving takes a lot more than fifty percent concentration.”
– Dr. Cathy Blusiewicz, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

How well do teens drive while using a cell phone?

“I got into a car accident when I was 16,” answers 18-year-old Katie, “and I made a left turn without a light and I wasn’t paying attention and I was on my cell phone.”

“I usually text message a lot and find myself like swerving off the road,” admits 16-year-old Andrew.

“Mostly when cars stop in front of me,” says 16-year-old Chris, “a lot of times you are looking down texting or whatever and you look up and they are stopped, and you just barely missed them. Or, sometimes, in my case, I did hit one person.”

According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, talking, texting, dialing or answering a cell phone takes drivers’ eyes off the road long enough to travel the length of a football field.
“You might as well be driving with a bag over your head that you take off occasionally,” says psychologist Dr. Cathy Blusiewicz, “It’s a recipe for disaster.”

She says if you’re talking or texting on the phone, your brain cannot fully pay attention to the road ahead.

“The task of driving, and the task of communicating on the cell phone kind of play off the same area of the brain,” says Dr. Blusiewicz, “so it’s got similar brain function for both tasks. [It is] the worst of multi-tasking. And the brain is just not set up to do that effectively. It’s sort of like giving 50 percent to each. And driving takes a lot more than fifty percent concentration.”
Experts say parents must intervene. “Set down some rules and talk to them about, ‘If you have to make a call, you have to pull over,’” says Blusiewicz. “’You have to find a place where you are not driving.’”

Tips for Parents

It is very likely that your teenager will pick up the majority of his/her driving habits from watching you. According to a survey by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), nearly two-thirds of teenagers polled say their parents talk on the cell phone while driving, almost half say their parents speed, and just under one-third say their parents don’t wear seatbelts.

The following statistics, therefore, shouldn’t be very surprising:
Sixty-two percent of high school drivers say they talk on a cell phone while driving, and approximately half of high school teens who do not yet drive (52 percent) and middle school students (47 percent) expect they will engage in this behavior when they begin driving.
Sixty-seven percent of high school drivers say they speed.

Thirty-three percent of high school drivers say they do not wear their seatbelt while driving.
Cell phones have been transformed from status symbols into everyday accessories. In fact, cell phones are so prevalent among teenagers that a recent study found that they viewed talking on the phone nearly the same as talking to someone face-to-face.

If you believe your teen should have a cell phone, it is important to lay down a few ground rules. The National Institute on Media and the Family suggests the following guidelines for setting limits on your teen’s cell phone use:

Choose a plan that puts some reasonable limits on your teen’s phone time. Make sure he or she knows what the limits are so he or she can do some budgeting.

Let your teen know that the two of you will be reviewing the bill together so you will have some idea of how the phone is being used.

If use exceeds the plan limits, the charges can mount very quickly. Make sure your teen has some consequences, financial or otherwise, if limits are exceeded.
Teach your child about the dangers of using the cell phone while driving and the distractions it can cause.

Find out what the school’s policies are regarding cell phone use and let your teen know that you will completely support the school’s standards.
Agree on some cell phone etiquette. For example, no phone calling during meals or when it is bothersome or rude to other people.

Conversely, let your teen know that any “phone bullying” or cheating via text messaging will not be tolerated.

Let your teen know that his or her use of the cell phone is contingent on following the ground rules. No compliance, no phone.

Washington Post
Liberty Mutual
Students Against Destructive Decisions
Road and Travel
Wired News
National Institute on Media and the Family

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting resources and Mommy websites

Where do moms (and dads too) surf to find new ideas for their toddlers and children today? Although I usually write about teenagers, I have found a tremendous wealth of information on various sites that target fantastic ideas, articles, tips, Blogs and more about raising kids today. After all, your teen was once a toddler! It only seems like yesterday we were changing diapers. Many people today are having more children later in life, so this article will give you some exciting new concepts for raising kids today.

Mommy Perks – Have you been perked yet? Whether you are looking for new products for children, or simply want to explore this phenomenal website, Mommy Perks offers something for everyone. The articles and Blogs are about today’s headlines regarding children and teens. They offer advice on how to find the best books for your child, as well as many great giveaways! With today’s economy finding giveaways is rare. Join Mommy Perks today and follow them on Twitter @MommyPerks. Don’t forget to read their Personal Children's Stories page too!

Imagination Soup – Creative ideas and classes for children. Looking for outside fun? Art? Writing? What about some Imagination time? Imagination Soup has many fun ideas for parenting today kids. They offer contests, Blogs and much more. Drop by today and visit their store! Follow them on Twitter @ImaginationSoup and join their Facebook page.

Bingnote – Building self-esteem one child at a time. Yes, that is Bingzy, their mascot and I have reviewed their products and totally impressed with the combination of educational products with encouragement for kids. Check out their children’s Blog and so much more on this engaging and stimulating website. Follow them on Twitter @Bingnote and on Facebook.

Good Soup – Is full of nothing but good news! This website empowers you to be all you can be, and that includes being a better parent. Good Soup will lift you up and offer you good food thoughts. They are also a sponsor for YES Seminar, which inspires teens to reach their dreams! Follow them on Twitter @HeatherO and join her on Facebook.

Twins Talk – Parent to Parent advice for raising multiples. Forget the national headlines; take notice of Susan Heim is an author and editor, specializing in parenting, multiples, and women’s issues. Her website is chock full of valuable, educational and first-rate advice from firsthand experiences. She offers twins tips, resources and much more including enlightening Blogs! Follow her on Twitter @ParentingAuthor.

For more info: Take the time to visit these websites and learn more! An educated parent is a prepared parent and equals safer kids (and more fun ideas)!

Also on

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Obstacles for parents in teaching boundaries

Kara Tamanini, offers a great new article this week on teaching boundaries. Follow her on Twitter @KidTherapist

Obstacles for parents in teaching boundaries

By Kara Tamanini, Author and Therapist

One of the biggest difficulties for parents in teaching children boundaries is putting up with your child’s whining about the boundaries. The child will push you and push you in order to test the limits in order to get their way! That is their job, of course they want what they want and when they want it. Your job as a parent is to put up with this testing of the limits, the whining, anger, temper tantrums, and pouting until the boundary lines between you as a parent and your child are clear and defined. Teaching a child appropriate boundaries with you as a parent as well as at school and with their friends is a very difficult job, however if you teach these boundaries, your child will be much more successful at relating to others as well as being more successful in all of their relationships in life. The obstacles to developing boundaries in your child are as follows:

1.) When a parent depends on their child to meet their own needs. You want your child to develop their own friendships and relationships . When you as the parent need your child to be close to you and require their constant affection to meet your own needs, this interferes with your child’s ability to establish their own boundaries with you and with others. This causes problems for children later in life because they are too dependent upon you and you have now made your child your “friend” in order to have everything between you flow smoothly in order to not lose their “friendship.” Children are our children and the appropriate boundary is for them to be our kids and not our “friends.” Their friends are at school and not at home.

2.) Another common obstacle to establishing appropriate boundaries with our kids is when we overidentify with our child’s feelings. This usually occurs as a result of a parent’s own unresolved issues from their childhood. We as parents often are unable to delay our child’s gratification as result of trying to avoid having our child experience any pain, guilt, anger, or fear. This is impossible!! We as parents need to empathize with our children when they are scared or feel pain, however we as parents can not avoid having our children feel these feelings. Children need to learn how to experience and handle their emotions.

3.) Children require consequences in order to learn boundaries. A common mistake made by parents is when they believe that their children will not love them if they give them consequences for their behavior. Children need structure and many parents fear that if they confront their child or or disagree with their child that they will lose their relationship with their child. The reality is that when you set clear boundaries for your child, they will feel more secure, not less.

4.) A common obstacle also seen is when parents ignore their children when they are misbehaving and then later start ranting and raving at them. For example, your child is in a store and complains and carries on about having you as the parent buy them something and you ignore their behavior while you are in the store. You are really hoping that they will stop their temper tantrum in the store and they will simply stop. Then, when you get in the car you let them have it! Of course, your child starts crying or is very angry at you and you as the parent feel guilty. This is an obstacle that will clearly not help you establish boundaries with your child. That behavior your child was displaying in the store should have been addressed immediately, even if you had to leave the store. Nobody and I mean nobody gets their way all the time, don’t set your child up for a reality shock later on in their life.

5.) Lastly, and the most popular obstacle to setting clear boundaries for our kids is when we let our children wear us down and we simply give in to whatever they are asking us. We have all done this as parents. They go on and on and on and finally we say, “alright go ahead, just stop your whining.” Kids do not give up easily and they will work you to death until you give in and they get their way, even if you don’t agree as a parent to what you gave in to. Don’t simply say boundaries to your child, you have to enforce the boundaries and this needs to be done consistently.

Children without boundaries are usually children that are out of control and have little to no ability to delay gratification. As a parent, have supportive relationships of your own, this will help you stay focused and allows you to have an outlet. In addition, parents that have their own life are teaching their kids that they are truly not the center of the universe. This teaches children that they must interact and relate to those around them and everyone is important and has their own wants and needs.