Monday, September 29, 2008

Parents Univeral Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Following the Rules

By Lisa Medoff

Nina posted some questions about her 10-year-old daughter lying about eating and drinking in the bedroom and watching TV with the door closed. Nina wants to how she can tell if her daughter is deliberately lying or simply forgetful, as her daughter was a micro-preemie, and Nina is worried that her premature birth has affected her behavior and memory.

Nina is also wondering about the best way to encourage her daughter to tell the truth about her behavior. Her husband feels that their daughter plays both of her parents against each other, and he punishes her by saying that he is not going to take her anywhere for the summer; she won’t be allowed to go bike riding or have other interesting adventures. Nina wants to know if these are apt punishments for her daughter’s behavior.

Unfortunately for parents, there is no absolute, surefire way to determine if your child is deliberately lying or has simply forgotten the rules. Therefore, instead of spending your time trying to figure out if your daughter is lying, shift your focus to trying to help her remember the rules.

Tell your daughter, “I can see that it has been hard for you to remember our rules about not eating in the bedroom and watching TV with the door closed. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to help you remember.”

Try different ways to help her with her memory, such as having her write sticky notes with the rules and posting them near the TV, or making poster collages with pictures of food that is crossed out.

Any extra practice with memory tricks will be helpful for children who have experienced developmental difficulties.

Tell her that even though it may be hard for her to remember, she will still need to learn the consequences for breaking the rules.

Discuss what those consequences will be and follow through on them every time. She needs to see that the end result is the same, whether she lies or forgets, and you won’t have to waste time or energy trying to figure out if she is lying.

Be on the lookout for times when she does remember the rules. Give lots of positive attention, such as saying, “I noticed that you finished your snack in the kitchen before you went in to watch television. You must feel good about remembering to follow the rules. I’m really proud of you.”

Make a behavior chart to keep track of days where she was able to follow the rules.
Think of rewards that she can earn after a week or a month of good days.

In terms of the consequences, discipline works better if it is specific, immediate, is appropriate for the situation, and allows the child to make up for breaking the rules.
For example, a consequence of eating where she is not supposed to could be having to clean and vacuum the area.

Read entire article here:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sue Scheff: Tips When Your Child Starts Dating

Source: OneToughJob

Your Child's Behavior at 12 -15 years old

As your child moves from childhood into the teenage years, she will encounter many social and cultural challenges. It is an exciting time and yet a scary time for your child. As she moves more toward independence, she will be convinced she knows everything, you know nothing and you were literally born yesterday. In fact, at this time, she needs you more than ever. By knowing what to expect at this stage of your child's life, you are better equipped to interact effectively with her. By communicating clearly with your child and listening to what she has to say and the emotions she is expressing, you can help your child through this stage.

Tips for Dating

1.Talk with your child about what she hopes for from dating and from relationships.
2.Let her know your concerns and hopes for her as she goes out on dates.
3.Know who your child is hanging out with and dating.
4.Talk with the parents of those kids.
5.Set clear rules about who can be with her in your home when there are no adults present.
6.Teach manners and how to be respectful of others.
7.Let your child know she can always call home if she is uncomfortable or feels worried.
8.Tell your child to have fun—dating should be fun.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff: ADHD Awareness Week

This is a great website and informational resource for parents with ADD/ADHD students - being an educated parent helps you to help your child! As a parent with an ADHD child, I have learned so much here.
Happy ADHD Awareness Week!

As you know, this week is all about spreading attention-deficit truth and support. So, to that end, ADDitude has created a new ADHD Information Center that we hope people will use all year to…

Dispel common myths about ADHD
Fight ADHD stigmas
Explain the facts about ADHD
Find support from other ADHD adults and parents
Revel in all the great things about ADHD

We hope you will share our ADHD Information Center with your readers during this ADHD Awareness Week, and also pass along the following personal diary entry from author, ADHD spokesman and ADDitude contributor Jonathan Mooney:

“Cheers, fellow ADDers! Be proud of the gifts ADD affords you: a gusto for life, a capacity to dream large, the ability to set goals — and the energy to meet them. In being comfortable with yourself, you can change how the world perceives ADD and recognizes its strengths.

This September, recount your successes and what makes you stand out from the crowd—like the time you put your mind to it and ran an eight-minute-mile marathon or completed the Sunday crossword puzzle before your second cup of coffee.

Have a sense of humor about your ADD: Toast yourself at dinner for not having misplaced your keys in the morning or for having remembered to take your debit card out of the ATM. Let yourself—and others—laugh to take the pressure off of being perfect.

By celebrating your small feats, you will be able to tackle bigger challenges. Even a simple change in language can transform your self-esteem and others’ perception of your accomplishments. Use “and” more than “but.”
For example, I could say, “I finished this article, but it was three weeks late.” That statement discounts my accomplishment, as if the final product were flawed. I prefer, “I finished this article, and it was three weeks late.” The second statement is equally true, and it doesn’t diminish all of the work I put into it. Next time, I can say, “I will be on time!”

Use this month—this year, every year—to share your pride over the gifts you have. The world’s appreciation of ADD depends on your feeling good about yourself, so tell your friends, family—even the bagger at your local grocery store—all about your condition, especially if they know little about it.”
To read the remainder of this article, “Smile - It’s ADHD Awareness Month!” visit

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Teen Runaways

Teen Runaways are on the increase. Many teens think that the grass is greener on the other side.

They are confused and following the crowd of peers making poor choices. Teens want to escape the "rules of a household" and we as parents, become their number one enemy. They feel that they are fearless and can prove they can survive without their parents and our rules. Rules are put in place for a reason; we love our children and want them to grow up with dignity and respect we try to instill in them. Their flight plan, in some ways, is a cry for attention. Many times runaways are back home shortly, however there are other situations that can be more serious. This is not to say any child that runs away is not serious, but when this becomes a habit and is their way of rebelling, a parent needs to intervene.

So many times we hear how "their friend’s parents" allow a much later curfew or are more lenient, and you are the worst parents in the world. This is very common and the parent feels helpless, hopeless and alone. It is all part of the manipulation the teens put us through. With their unappreciative thoughts of us, they will turn to this destructive behavior, which, at times, results in them leaving the home.

Some teens go to a friend's house or relative they believe they can trust and make up stories about their home life. This is very common, a parent has to suffer the pain and humiliation that it causes to compound it with the need to get your child help that they need. If you fear your child is at risk of running, the lines of communication have to be open. We understand this can be difficult, however if possible needs to be approached in a positive manner. Teen help starts with communication.

If you feel this has escalated to where you cannot control them, it may be time for placement and possibly having your child escorted. Please know that the escorts (transports) are all licensed and very well trained in removing children from their home into safe programs. These escorts are also trained counselors that will talk to your child all the way, and your child will end his/her trip with a new friend and a better understanding of why their parents had to resort to this measure.

Helpful Hint if you child has runaway and you are using all your local resources – offer a cash reward to their friends privately, of course promising their anonymity and hopefully someone will know your child’s whereabouts.

Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your wits end. Try to remain positive and hopeful and do all you can to help understand why your child is acting out this way. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents.

Learn more at and

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Movie Smoking Makes Teens Smoke

“That makes a lot of kids think about doing the same thing because these are their role models.”

– Arielle Jacobs, 13 years old

Will kids smoke just because they see an actor or actress in a movie light up? Sixteen-year-old Jay McManeon says, “no way.”

“For me, it doesn’t really matter if I saw someone smoking in the movie,” he says.

But other teens argue that smoking in movies does have an effect on teens.

“If they thought it was cool enough, like you if it was your idol, you might. If he smokes … you might want to do it,” 17-year-old Ryan Moses says.

A new report suggests he’s right.

After a review of more than 1,000 different studies, the National Cancer Institute finds that some kids start smoking because of what they see in the movies.

“Now what that is saying is even if you are doing a lot of things, like not smoking in your house and helping your kids stay away from other influences, the movies can overcome all of that influence,” says Dr. Terry Pechacek of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts say that’s why it’s important for parents to talk to kids about how movies may glamorize smoking and to explain that it’s not reality.

“Kids need resistance skills. They need to be able to interpret the media images,” Dr. Pechacek says.

The CDC produces three-minute video clips, hosted by teen actors, designed to do just that – show kids how actors use smoking in movies as a crutch.

“And there are even people who believe high rates of smoking in movies should be used as a criteria for parents saying, just like sex, just like violence … that I don’t think you should see this movie,” Dr. Pechacek says.

No matter what influences a child to start smoking, few would disagree that stopping is a whole lot harder.

Sixteen-year-old Jay McManeon could not agree more.

“I never think smoking’s an OK thing. It’s bad for your lungs. I just do it ‘cause I’m addicted,” he says.

Tips for Parents

A study published in The Lancet further illustrates how watching television or movies with actors who smoke negatively impacts youth behavior. Researchers from Dartmouth Medical School analyzed the viewing habits of 2,603 nonsmoking children aged 10 to 14, keeping track of how many incidents of smoking occurred in each movie they watched from a list of 50. After two years, they found that 10% of the children took up smoking or had at least tried it. Consider these additional findings from the study:

Of those children exposed to movies with the least amount of on-screen smoking, 22 began smoking.
Of those children exposed to movies with the highest occurrence of on-screen smoking, 107 became smokers.
Approximately 52% of the startup in smoking could be attributed to the movies.
Children of nonsmokers who watched movies with the highest number of smoking scenes were four times more likely to begin smoking than those who viewed movies featuring few smoking actors.
More than 6,000 children under the age of 18 try their first cigarette each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that more than 3,000 become daily smokers every day. It’s estimated that 4.5 million adolescents in the United States are cigarette smokers. 90 percent of cigarette smokers start before they turn 21.

The statistics show that little progress has been made in the past decade in reducing teen smoking. The American Lung Association calls smoking a “tobacco-disease epidemic” and points to the high rates of cigarette use among high school seniors, particularly girls, as evidence of this lack of progress.

Health and medical experts agree that parents must discourage children from starting to smoke and becoming addicted. Parents should also talk to their children about the health risks of tobacco and set a good example for their children by not smoking themselves. School-based tobacco education programs have also been shown to be effective in reducing the onset of teen smoking.

According to research from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), the key to keeping kids from smoking and using drugs is dependent on the extent to which parents take a “hands-on” approach to raising their kids. The more they establish appropriate rules and standards of behavior and monitor their teens, the lower the teen’s risk of substance abuse.

A “hands-on” approach to preventing your teen from smoking, drinking or trying drugs, according to CASA, includes consistently taking 10 or more of these 12 actions:

Monitor what your teen watches on television.
Monitor what your teen does on the Internet.
Put restrictions on the music (CDs) your teen buys.
Know where your teen spends time after school and on weekends.
Expect to be told the truth by your teen about where he or she is going.
Be “very aware” of your teen’s academic performance.
Impose a curfew.
Make clear you would be “extremely upset” if your teen smoked.
Eat dinner with your teens six or seven times a week.
Turn off the television during dinner.
Assign your teen regular chores.
Have an adult present when your teen returns from school.
National Cancer Institute
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
The Lancet

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mom's Advice May Curb Binge Drinking

Source: Connect with Kids
“My mom is very level-headed, and she knows (I drink). She is very realistic.”

– Erik, college sophomore

College parties involving alcohol are common nationwide, and about one-quarter of all college students are binge drinkers. Twenty-year-old Erik says he is not a binge drinker, and one big reason is a conversation his mother had with him in the summer before his freshman year. “She told me, ‘I’m not na├»ve. I know you are going to drink. Just drink in moderation, don’t be stupid,’” Erik says.

That kind of warning, and particularly its timeliness, can be very effective, according to a study from Boise State University in Idaho. If mothers talk to their teens about alcohol during the period between high school and college, kids listen, the study found.

After one or more conversations with mom, the odds that a college student will binge drink fell from an estimated one-in-four, to as low as one-in-ten, according to the Idaho study.

A lot of what moms tell us as we grow up tends to stick with us for years, says Gary Santavicca, a family psychologist. “Whether we agree with or want to hear something that she has to say, typically since mother occupies such an important role in our lives, we are going to recall things that she communicates strongly and clearly to us,” Santavicca says.

The Idaho study also tested the effectiveness of specific warnings some mothers gave their kids. Most effective, moms should explain that drinking only makes problems worse, not better. Also, they should put into plain words how drinking could get teens in trouble with police, and how being caught drinking might lead to the publication of their arrest in the newspaper.

Erik says every time he drinks, he remembers what his mother told him about alcohol. “What bounces around in my head when I go to parties, use your head, and have a DD. All the time. Designated Driver all the time, that’s the most important thing,” Erik says.

Tips for Parents
Numerous studies conducted in recent years have noted the prevalence and dangers associated with binge drinking among college students. For example, some studies have revealed that the highest proportion of drinkers, heavy drinkers, and individuals with multiple substance dependencies have tended to be concentrated within the usual age range for college students.

According to research, some of the risks of binge drinking episodes include:

unplanned sexual activity
alcohol-related driving injuries and fatalities
sexual and physical assaults
date rape
physical injury
criminal mischief
property damage
trouble with campus and local police
Researchers have also found evidence for a relationship between parental characteristics and teen drinking tendencies. Some of the parental characteristics and beliefs associated with less teen drinking tendencies include:

parents' attitudes and beliefs about teens not drinking
limited parental alcohol consumption
parental disapproval approval of teen alcohol consumption
parental modeling of appropriate behavior
parental monitoring of the teenager
the quality of the parent—teen relationship
family management practices
parent—friend compatibility
A study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, shows evidence that discussions of the risks of binge drinking between mothers and teens in the summer immediately preceding the adolescent’s first year of college can help to reduce or prevent binge drinking episodes for those teens. The researchers found that student beliefs about the positive or negative effects of drinking predicted binge-drinking activities. Specifically, if students believe that drinking improved their social behavior or lifestyle, they were more likely to use alcohol and have a tendency to binge drink. According to the authors of the study, however, if mothers talked with students about the negative effects of alcohol and the consequences of drinking, the teens were less likely to do so. In fact, additional preliminary studies indicate that one or more mother-teen discussions before attending college can reduce the statistical risk of those students participating in binge drinking activities from 20% to 10%.

The influence of parents on their teenage children’s use and abuse of alcohol can be very strong. The following suggestions, excerpted from a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publication, provide ideas for ways that parents can positively influence their teens’ alcohol related behaviors.

Monitor alcohol use in the home
Connect with other parents to discuss potential alcohol problems among peer groups
Keep track of your teen’s activities, particularly after-school and on weekends.
Develop family rules about teen drinking. Incorporate family values and beliefs about appropriate behavior into the family rules for drinking.
Set a good example. Modeling appropriate behavior in the use of alcohol (i.e. don’t drink and drive) can be an important teaching tool to help your teen with drinking related decisions.
Don’t support teen drinking.
Help your child build healthy relationships.
Encourage healthy alternatives to alcohol.
Boise State University
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sue Scheff presents: Becoming a part of your government and getting your teen involved

America may be the world’s most powerful democracy, but even the strongest democratic government only succeeds because of the participation of its citizens. However, the voting participation percentages of Americans are some of the worst in the world for major modern democracies. Due to this alarming fact, one of the most pressing responsibilities of good citizens is participation in the democratic process.

If you wish to become a productive citizen, Democratic participation does not end with simply voting, one must influence others to participate as well. There are many ways to get fellow community members out to the polls to vote. Luckily, the act of voting is one of the best ways to get others to vote. Leading by action is an important tool for good citizens, because we all know actions speak much louder than words.

You can also put an “I voted” sticker on your car or even offer to drive someone to a polling place to promote community voting participation. Simply sharing your knowledge about candidates, as well as times or places to vote will influence greater participation in those around you. Use this poll locator to find polling places around your area and be sure to share that knowledge.

An extremely important part of the democratic system is manning the polling places themselves. The importance of this job is extremely underrated and overlooked, but its Democratic necessity is undeniable. The poll workers help maintain the ability for everyone to have an honest and fair place to vote, which is the basic foundation of our political process. Anyone can volunteer to work at a polling place and be a part of the American political system. Working at a polling place puts you on the front lines of the government system, allowing you to become the gate keeper to American Democracy. Working at a local polling area is a classic example of productive citizenship.

Another classic and positive good citizen practice is writing letters to your regional congressional representative when you feel import issues require their attention. Often people have problems in their community but do nothing, when even one letter sent to a state or regional representative can solve the problem or at least bring attention to your community needs. A good citizen becomes a spokesperson for their community, and when problems arise they can lead the charge to solve them. Writing these letters shows other people that you are taking an active role in the government process, and this action is what good citizens stand for.
City council meetings are another great way to become involved in your community. Any member of the community can attend these meetings and have their voice heard by the local government. You can go and say whatever you want and the local government must to listen to your words.

One very simple and small key to good democratic citizenship may at first seem insignificant, but actually provides the foundation for all future political processes. When at dinner, bring up political issues and facilitate family discussions on important political matters. This will get your kids thinking about politics, so they may be more likely to talk about it a school, which will spread this idea of civic thought to other kids. Putting your family in an active and citizenship oriented mindset creates important building blocks to good citizenship because you are ensuring the growth of healthy democratic thought and deliberation to younger generations. Passing political knowledge and good citizen habits down to your children ensures that your legacy as a good citizen continues well into the future.

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