Monday, August 30, 2010

Distracted Riding: Texting and Biking Kills

Over and over again we read articles about distracted driving.  Oprah featured the No Phone Zone and accumulated thousands to join in.  It is a fact, texting and driving or talking on your phone can kill.  It is distracted driving that can take your focus off the road and into an oncoming car within seconds.

Newsflash: Distracted driving includes bicycles!

As school has opened in many parts of the country, including Broward County, teens will ride to their bikes to get to school.  After witnessing several teenagers in Sunrise biking and texting in the morning to school, suddenly I realized that there are not enough warnings about the dangers of biking and texting.

Riding a bicycle is part of growing up, however riding a bike responsibly is maturity.  Teenagers need to realize distracted driving extends to distracted riding.

In many situations teens are not allowed to have their cells on in class, so every other waking moment during the day, including their commute to school, they are mingling with their tech gadgets and arranging their social day with their friends.

Parents need to speak with their teens about the dangers of texting and talking with only one hand on the bike handles.  It is dangerous, it is deadly and it can be an accident waiting to happen. No text is worth dying over!

Sadly, the driver that may hit your teen can be held accountable while it was the bikers fault for drifting on to the road while texting or talking.

Stop, talk, repeat, talk again - you can never talk enough about the dangers of distracted biking or driving. Remember parents, be an example to your kids!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

Watch video for potential ban on texting and biking. Read more.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Teen Rule with Texting - New Study Reveals High Cellphone Usage

This week the Nielsen Study was released and revealed some interesting results concerning cellphone usage and textingFlorida ranks fourth highest in the county for cellphone usage and teens rule when it comes to texting.

As you travel through the school zones in Duval County is it hard to miss at least one teenager on a cellphone or texting someone.  If you stop at the new Dunkin Donuts on San Marcos in St. Augustine you will almost always run into one or more people on their cellphones as well as a teen texting as fast as their fingers will go.

Yes, teens to rule in texting, after all they probably taught their parents how to text. 

The question is, in today's struggling economy who pays for all these cellphones and unlimited texting and Internet plans?  Sure, you can get great rates today, but you also have parents out of work, families losing their homes and many without health insurance.

It is true, for safety reasons and more cellphones are definitely a benefit and they are also a privilege.  Whether you are stranded with a flat tire or running late to pick up a friend, you can simply call from your cell.  We have seen texting benefits when there is a crime being committed or you are in a situation where you can't talk, but can type.

What would happen if parents reduced their cellphone plans to the basics.  Like we had years ago when we only used the phone for emergencies or needed.  Today they are more of a toy, and can be an expensive monthly one.  To assume all families are having financial difficulties is wrong, however it is a fair assumption that many are definitely having economic meltdowns.

When you go over your family budget, have you considered putting a limit on your teen's cellphone usage? If they have a job or allowance, is your teen pitching in for their cellphone?

Take the time to see where you can save a bit.  You may even find having a conversation with your teen verbally isn't so bad.

See the complete Nielsen Study here.

Read more.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Bullying is a growing and expanding problem among kids today.  As school opens throughout the country in these next few weeks, take the time to learn more about bullying prevention and bullying awareness.

You can take part in being a voice to STOMP Out Bullying.  Get your schools involved in Blue Shirt Day!

Join Love Our Children USA on Monday, October 4th! Make a statement against bullying and cyberbullying and STOMP Out Bullying! 

Make October 4th the day that bullying and cyberbullying prevention is heard around the world by wearing a BLUE SHIRT in solidarity to STOMP Out Bullying!

To signify the importance of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week from October 3rd - 9th, Love Our Children USA created NATIONAL BLUE SHIRT DAY. Specifically the first Monday of every October -- this year on Monday, October 4th, they are asking kids, teens and adults to participate in NATIONAL BLUE SHIRT DAY by wearing a blue shirt to STOMP Out Bullying.

Whether you order  a Blue Shirt from Love Our Children USA or wear your own blue shirt, you'll be sending a message to everyone to end bullying and cyberbullying. 

Read more.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to School Diasters: Out-of-Control Teens

Defiant Teens are children that have no respect for authority and mainly disrespect their parents. 

Parents' Universal Resource Experts have found that children that have ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) are very confrontational and need to have life their own way. A child does not have to be diagnosed ODD to be defiant. It is a trait that some teens experience through their puberty years. Defiant teens, disrespectful teens, angry teens and rebellious teens can affect the entire family.

An effective way to work with defiant teens is through anger and stress management classes. If you have a local therapist*, ask them if they offer these classes. Most will have them along with support groups and other beneficial classes. In today's teens we are seeing that defiant teens have taken it to a new level. Especially if your child is also ADD/ADHD, the ODD combination can literally pull a family apart.

You will find yourself wondering what you ever did to deserve the way your child is treating you. It is very sad, yet very real. Please know that many families are experiencing this feeling of destruction within their home. Many wonder "why" and unfortunately each child is different with a variety of issues they are dealing with. Once a child is placed into proper treatment, the healing process can begin.

If you feel your teen is in need of further Boarding School, Residential Therapy or Program Options, please complete our Information Request Form.

Learn more at

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Emergency Numbers and Hotlines: Update your List Today

Raising children today or taking care of elderly parents, keeping emergency numbers and hotlines available at all time is imperative.  Whether your teen or child comes home from school by themselves, or you live on your own, keeping these numbers up-to-date is critical to saving lives.  Every minute counts if a child swallows a poisonous household product, every second counts if your child is a runaway or been abducted.

Here is a great list to start with and take the time to add more that may refer to you personally such as your emergency contacts:

Above is a start and be sure to add your local sheriff's office as well as your emergency contacts.

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

Please add more emergency numbers and hotlines in comments - you may save a life!

Read more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Teaching Diversity: Connect Your Family to the World

As a parent, it is important to educate your children about diversity, teaching them to respect and understand other countries and their cultures and customs. Well how would you like to get involved with an organization that builds bonds of friendship and trust with the power to change the world too?

Welcoming a high school foreign exchange student into your home is a great way to increase global awareness for your family, your schools and even across your community.

This month, EF Foundation for Foreign Study is looking for host families for the 2010-2011 school year.  South Florida is a melting pot with many families from all over the world.  It’s wonderful to think that by being a host family, you’d not only be learning about another culture in which you may not be too familiar with, but you’d also be creating a positive view of the United States that crosses oceans and lasts a lifetime.

EF Foundation has:
  • Connected over 100,000 talented, enthusiastic students from 30 countries with caring host families across America
  • Been facilitating foreign exchange for more than 30 years.
  • Connected more students with American host families than any other program of its kind!
Want to hear firsthand how this program has changed lives?

Watch video and read more.

Learn more, contact EF Foundation here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Getting Dads Involved - All Pro Dad

School is opening soon and parents are scrambling to get school supplies, uniforms books and other things needed to start off the school year. There is one item you can’t forget, that is yourself!
Did you know by just showing up can make a world of difference to a child?

Parent involvement has a positive impact on their child’s academic and social life in school. It can be difficult with many single parent households or parents that are working more than one job to make ends meet, but your child’s school should be high on your priority list. Even if you can only volunteer an hour a month, it makes a difference.

Traditionally mothers are the ones getting involved with their child’s school and community; this needs to change. Fathers are needed and wanted! More and more dads are getting involved and finding the time to make a difference their child’s life.

All Pro Dad’s is a simple idea with a profound impact. It’s a one-hour monthly breakfast held before school where fathers and their children meet with other dads and kids in the school cafeteria or a local restaurant. During this time, they discuss a wide range of family topics, spend time together, create fun memories, and are equipped with resources to strengthen their relationship. For more about All Pro Dad’s, please watch the short video here.

Is your community or school participating in All Pro Dad’s? Find a chapter near you, click here. Remember, family first!

Meet your team captain here.

Read more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

iMOM - From Preschool to Prom, Get Involved

Inspiration, ideas, insights, information and more are all part of being an iMOM. From preschool to prom,  you will find valuable articles and tips for helping you be a better parent.

About iMOM:

iMOM is the newest program of Family First and the complement to the organization’s popular All Pro Dad fatherhood program. iMOM’s unique focus is to equip mothers with information, ideas and encouragement to positively impact their children in the following areas:
  • Wisdom: Wisdom enables us to make good decisions in life. Without wisdom, a child is likely to make bad choices and suffer the consequences for those choices with potentially increasing regularity.
  • Health: A healthy lifestyle is an important factor in a child’s life. How a child treats his or her body has a direct impact on how he or she grows physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Purpose: Without parental direction about life’s purpose, children will seek out answers for themselves. Often these answers will come from other youth and may not reflect a healthy, productive lifestyle.
  • Relationships: Good relationship skills are essential. This skill development begins at birth through a child’s attachment to his or her mother. Without the ability to form and sustain lasting relationships, whether personal or professional, a child will struggle to find lasting joy and productivity in life.
The iMOM program is run by a team of moms, who have children ranging in ages from 3 to 21 and we understand everything you have to do as a mom. Their desire is to help meet your needs by providing you access to everything we have learned and are learning. iMOM is working for you, so you can do everything a mom does – only better.

Learn more at

As Broward, Dade and Palm Beach County get ready for schools to open, take the time to learn how you can help your child get a better start to a great school year.  Remember, put family first!

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

Watch video and read more.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

TIME TO ACT! Prevent Teen Drug Abuse, Teens Fitting In

Many teens feel like an outsider and long to feel included and liked by their teenage peers. This need can be so strong that they engage in teenage drinking or drug use to help them make friends, fit in or be accepted. 

Teenage drinking and drug use may give kids an in with a desired clique
If the kids your teen wants to hang out with are drinking or doing drugs, they may feel like they need to do them as well, or risk being left out. This may be true — but you can talk to your teen about why it's so important to fit in with this particular group if they're asking him to do something he doesn't want to do. (The kid could also feel pressure even if no one specifically asked him/her to take drugs).

Kids may use drugs or drink to change their image
Some teens use drugs or engage in teenage drinking as way to alter their image at school or work to one they perceive as more "dangerous" or "edgy."

Teens may use alcohol or drugs to fit in when moving to a new school or town
Keep a special eye on your teenager if you've just made a move to a new town or if she's just started at a new school. Some kids perceive drugs or teenage drinking as a way to easily fit in and make friends in an unfamiliar environment.

Read more.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Truth - Questions Parent's Need to Ask Their Teens

Did you know:

  • More teens are using alcohol to get drunk
  • More teens are smoking pot regularly
  • Even more teens are having sex, and many without protection
  • Most teens know more about technology than you do
The Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) in partnership with WAHI Media has created, an interactive, web-based initiative promoting positive lifestyle choices among Florida youth. The website is designed to educate teens, parents, and citizens about a wide range of issues that teens deal with on a daily basis.

DOH’s Office of Positive Youth Development has been able to use WAHI’s highly effective technology to reach and hold the attention of teens, engaging them in conversation and presenting them with valuable facts.

Teen Truth tells real stories and how you as a parent can improve your communication skills with your teenagers. Times have changed with teens today!  Teen life is a mind field, they have access to all sorts of things that generations prior weren't aware of.

As school opens shortly, it is not only time to get school supplies and uniforms/clothing ready, it is critical you talk to your kids about peer pressure, sex, drugs, technology etc. 
Teen Truth tells you like it is, even if you don't want to hear it, you will and you will also see why it is imperative you learn this.

Before your teen hooks-up (gets together with a total stranger for sex), be proactive, talk to your teens, ask  them about it and let them know the dangers of hooking up.

Teens can guard their private lives very well, it is up to parents to learn all they can about them.  This is not invasion of privacy - it is when safety trumps privacy!

Do yourself a favor, watch the short videos on Answer the questions honestly, don't be a parent in denial, you are not helping your teen that way.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

If your teen is going down a negative road, visit for more information.

Read more.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sue Scheff: BullyBust Your School

Florida was in the news a too much last school year for bullying.  From Duval County to Broward County, we heard about horrific events that involved school bullying.

We are weeks away from schools opening and bullying awareness is growing, take time to encourage your school and community to get involved in education for bullying prevention with BullyBust.

About BullyBust:

BullyBust is an awareness campaign designed to reduce bullying in schools by teaching students and adults how to stand up to bullying and promote upstander behavior. An upstander is someone who witnesses bully behavior and does something about it. Use the resources on to transform your school or community from one of passive bystanders to a community of positive upstanders. Together we can put an end to bullying! 

Did you know that bullying can be reduced 50% when there is school wide commitment? Pass this information on to your school, encourage them to join the Partner School Program through BullyBust and receive the free starter kit.

Pass this on, don't delay, school is almost here and let's be sure the media isn't talking about bullying in Florida this school year.

Follow BullyBust on Twitter and join their Facebook group today.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.