Monday, June 30, 2008

Teen Smoking: How Parents Can Prevent It

By Aurelia Williams

Teen smoking statistics are on the rise. It is very important that children are informed of the teen smoking statistics and the harmful effects of smoking.Having involved parents — those who know a lot about their children’s friends, activities and performance in school — can help children overcome peer influence to start teen smoking, according to a study by a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The study also confirmed earlier findings that the more widespread children think smoking is, the more likely they are to start. Moreover, children who are socially competent — who have the ability to exercise self-control and good judgment — and have parents who monitor their behavior tend not to start smoking. The study, which was published in the December 2002 issue of Prevention Science, surveyed students in four middle schools in a suburban Maryland school district.

Why Parental Involvement Is Key

While researchers have known that both peers and parents play an important role in whether young teens and preteens start smoking, they’ve known less about whether the effects of peer influence on starting smoking is affected by other factors, such as parents’ involvement and children’s adjustment to school and degree of social competence.

“Many children start to experiment with smoking in early adolescence,” said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of the NICHD. “Many then go on to develop a life-long addiction that can cause them serious health problems later in life. This study shows that by staying involved in their children’s lives, parents can help them to avoid the smoking habit.”

Bruce Simons-Morton, Ph.D., of NICHD’s Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, surveyed 1,081 students in four middle schools at the beginning and again at the end of sixth grade. The students completed a questionnaire that measured a variety of factors, including their friends’ behavior and expectations; their own ability to resist dares, resolve conflicts and retain self-control; and how well they follow rules, complete school work on time and get along with classmates and teachers. The questionnaire also asked children about their parents’ involvement in their lives, their parents’ expectations for them and whether their parents check to see if the children have done what they’ve been asked to do.

The researchers found that teens with friends engaging in problem behavior — those who smoked, drank, cheated on tests, lied to parents, bullied others or damaged property — were more likely to smoke if their parents were relatively less involved than if their parents were relatively more involved. This finding pertained to all of the children studied — boys, girls, African-Americans, whites, children living with one parent and children with mothers who had not attended college. Parents’ expectations about smoking and whether an adult at home smokes did not significantly influence children’s decision to start smoking.

“Parents’ involvement may be particularly important during early adolescence,” said Dr. Simons-Morton. “It is a time when many young people first begin asserting their independence from their parents, but before peer influences reach their full strength. It’s also a time when young people are still sensitive to their parents’ values and concerns, and may be reluctant to try smoking, because they know their parents would disapprove.”

The study also confirmed two earlier findings. The researchers found that students who provided higher estimates of how many other youth smoke were more likely to smoke than those who provided lower estimates. This finding was true regardless of whether children had relatively more or relatively fewer friends who smoked. In addition, the researchers found that sixth graders who had the ability to exercise self-control and good judgment, and had parents who monitored their behavior, were less likely to start smoking. Dr. Simons-Morton noted that the study was not a nationally representative survey, but was limited to four middle schools in one suburban location. Also, some groups of children may not have been fully represented in the study, because their parents did not give permission for them to participate, or because they were absent from class on survey days.

From a December 2002 National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development news release. Providing teen smoking statistics and other health relate information

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Inhalant Abuse - Learn More

In 2004, the Alliance for Consumer Education launched ITS Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit at a national press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The kit was successfully tested in 6 pilot states across the country. Currently, ACE’s Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit is in all 50 states. Furthermore, the Kit is in its third printing due to high demands.

The Kit is intended for presentations to adult audiences. Specifically parents of elementary and middle school children, so they can talk to their children about the dangers and risks associated with Inhalants. We base the program on data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Statistics show that parents talking to their kids about drugs decrease the risk of the kids trying a drug.

The Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit contains 4 components: the Facilitator’s Guide, a FAQ sheet, an interactive PowerPoint presentation, and a “What Every Parent Needs to Know about Inhalant Abuse” brochure. Additionally, there are 4 printable posters for classroom use, presentations, etc.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sue Scheff: Drugs, Alcohol and Kids

Author: Judith SeixasGeraldine Youcha
Source: NYU Child Study Center

Although the latest government study finds drug use unchanged, kids are still at risk and experimenting at younger ages

Risk factors

Some youngsters are clearly more likely than others to be attracted to and hooked on drugs, nicotine and alcohol. The risk increases with any of these factors and a cluster of these factors can tip the scales:

1. A family history of drug use or alcoholism
2. A family in turmoil
3. Learning difficulties
4. Behavioral problems before adolescence
5. Early school failure
6. Hyperactivity
7. Poor impulse control
8. Rebelliousness
9. Low self-esteem
10. The belief that “it can’t happen to me”
11. Thinking marijuana (or cocaine, or heroin if it is not injected) is not addictive

Warning signs

There are also warning signs that can help parents decide if a problem is brewing or a child is already involved in substance use. Adolescence is a bumpy ride, and some of these warning signs may only be the normal symptoms of growing up, but parents have to be alert to the possibility that, with their particular child, they may indicate trouble. In general, you should suspect some drug use if you observe one or more of these indicators:

A change of friends from those you know and new friends who seem to avoid you. But don’t pin all your youngster’s troubles on “bad friends.” Often the child who is already troubled is the one who is drawn to a group that is taking dangerous risks and is heavily committed to using alcohol and drugs.

Friendship with older teenagers and young adults. Older users need the attention and admiration they get from younger kids and often entice them to be followers and dealers.
A best friend who uses drugs. This is the single best indicator of use.

Daily cigarette smoking. This is an early warning that other substance use may be in the picture.
A deterioration in appearance. The reverse is not necessarily a safety signal. Many drug users look like clean-cut all-American kids instead of stereotypical drug users.

A decline in performance at home. Chores may be neglected or done sloppily; curfew may be ignored.

A change in school performance. The drop in grades may or may not be a dramatic sign by itself, but watch for tardiness, truancy, and disciplinary problems.

Use of street or drug language.

Hypersensitivity, irritability. The teenage user is often hostile, avoids family contact, overreacts to mild criticism, and deflects the topic when pressed for accountability.

Lack of concern about people, ideas, and values that used to be very important.

Wide mood swings. Although mood changes are a normal part of adolescence, extreme emotional swings indicate a problem and be the result of drug or alcohol use.

Secretive phone calls. Callers who hang up when you answer may be your child’s new friends or acquaintances involved in substance use.

The disappearance of money, personal belongings, pills or alcohol.

The sudden appearance of expensive merchandise. Electronic equipment, clothes, or jewelry your child can’t possibly afford may indicate drug dealing. Be mindful that a teenager will often deny any illegal or inappropriate activity with explanations such as, “I borrowed it from a friend.”

Trouble with the law. Kids may be picked up for shoplifting, driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct.
What if?
What if your suspicion about your child’s drug use is accurate? How can you tell use from abuse? One counselor has a simple rule of thumb: three tries is experimentation; more than that is use. Abuse is characterized by the need to have the drug (whether it is marijuana, cocaine, alcohol or tobacco) and preoccupation with getting it.

Once you’ve faced reality and know that your child needs help, the most crucial step is getting the right help. You must determine what kind of intervention is best for your particular child and what is available close to home. The right help at the right time can get your child back on track. You may not know where to turn first. You can begin by using your local phone book. Start with a call to one or more of these:

Your family doctor
Hotline: usually listed under Alcoholism Treatment or Drug Abuse Information and Treatment in the yellow pages
Community Services: often in the white pages
An agency specializing in treating drug/alcohol abuse and related problems: often listed in the yellow pages under Drug Abuse
A local counseling or mental health center: often under the yellow pages
A community-based storefront counseling center
A social worker, psychologist, or drug counselor
The school guidance department or student assistance service
A police youth officer
A clergyman
A relative, particularly one in a helping profession

Children who don’t use drugs

Despite the fact that drugs, alcohol and tobacco are available everywhere, some kids don’t get involved. More than half of all high school seniors have not tried marijuana, and alcohol, our social drug, has not been tried by about twenty percent of twelfth graders. Unfortunately, for those who do drink, binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a row) is a pervasive problem. What helps some youngsters avoid the pitfall of today’s world? Some children just seem to have an inner compass. They say very early, “That’s not me.” In addition, a national study (The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, 1997) found that teenagers who feel “connected”-who feel loved, understood and feel their parents pay attention to them-were less likely to use drugs. Parents can help protect their children by providing:

Trust and support. A study of seven thousand youngsters showed that those who didn’t have the trust and support of their parents were more likely to cave in to peer pressure.
Realistically hight academic standards.

The chance to succeed.
The chance to fail and still be accepted.
Praise, love and physical touching. The “Did you hug your kid today?” bumper stickers apply to kids of all ages - teens as well as toddlers. Adolescents sometimes cringe, but don’t let that inhibit you or make you think they need it any less than a younger child.

Whatever the reasons, and they are many-parental concern and involvement, a changing social climate that makes drug use, drunk driving, and smoking in public less “cool” than it once was-the rise in substance use seen in the early nineties seems to have been stemmed and may even be reversing. But this is no reason for complacency. It means only that the fever that had been 104 is now 102, and needs continuing attention.

About the Authors
Judith S. Seixas, a credentialed alcoholism counselor, who has written many books for young readers, including Alcohol: What It Is, What It Does; Drugs: What They Are, What They Do; and Living with a Parent Who Drinks Too Much.

Geraldine Youcha, author of Minding the Children: Child Care in American from Colonial Times to the Present and Alcohol: A Dangerous Pleasure. She has also written frequently about drug use and its side effects on the family for major magazines.

Judith S. Seixas and Geraldine Youcha are the co-authors of Children of Alcoholism: A Survivor’s Manual.

References and Related Books

Drugs, Alcohol and Your Children: What Every Parent Needs to Know J.S. Seixas & G. YouchaPenguin Books 1999
Tips for Teens
AboutOurKids Related Articles
Adolescent Substance Abuse and School Policy
Choosing a Mental Health Professional
Current Trends in the Understanding and Treaqtment of Social Phobia
Zero Tolerance Policies: Are They Too Tough or Not Tough Enough?
About the NYU Child Study Center
The New York University Child Study Center is dedicated to increasing the awareness of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders and improving the research necessary to advance the prevention, identification, and treatment of these disorders on a national scale. The Center offers expert psychiatric services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families with emphasis on early diagnosis and intervention. The Center’s mission is to bridge the gap between science and practice, integrating the finest research with patient care and state-of-the-art training utilizing the resources of the New York University School of Medicine. The Child Study Center was founded in 1997 and established as the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry within the NYU School of Medicine in 2006. For more information, please call us at (212) 263-6622 or visit us at

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Eating Disorders: What You Need To Know

By Hannah Boyd

In a society where waifs rule and magazines herald a different fad diet every week, some kids view eating disorders as a small price to pay for fitting in. They’re wrong. Anorexia kills more than 10% of its victims, and bulimia 1%. Eating disorders also lead to depression and place enormous stress on families. Concerned that your child may be at risk? Here’s what you need to know.

“People with anorexia starve themselves to dangerously thin levels, at least 15% below their appropriate weight,” says Edward J. Cumella, Ph.D, CEDS, Executive Director of Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders in Wickenburg, Arizona. “People with bulimia binge uncontrollably on large amounts of food – sometimes thousands of calories at a time – and then purge the calories out of their bodies through vomiting, starving, excessive exercise, laxatives, or other methods. They are of normal weight or overweight.” Some anorexics also purge, but they are still underweight.

Not surprisingly, eating disorders disproportionately affect females. Only 10% of people with eating disorders are male. According to Cumella, the typical age of onset is between 14 and 18 – prime time for peer pressure, hazing, and low self-worth. Other red flags? Your child seems obsessed with weight and dieting, binges or follows a cycle of dieting and then overeating, heads to the bathroom after meals, is secretive about her eating or exercise habits, uses laxatives, or seems to feel depressed and out of control.

If any of the above sounds familiar, don’t expect your child to admit the problem or appreciate your help. “Your child may feel extremely threatened by the thought of giving up the dysfunctional eating behavior,” warns Cumella. “Don’t believe your child’s claim that s/he does not need professional help.” Seek out a doctor specializing in eating disorders, and be ready to participate in family counseling if requested. “Be patient,” adds Cumella. “Treatment takes time; recovery may take months or years and involve relapses.”

The good news? When eating disorders are caught early, the prognosis is good, and while there’s no vaccine against them, there are steps you can take to protect your children. Model healthy, moderate eating for your children, and trust their hunger signals – don’t force them to eat “one more bite” or tell them to stop eating when they’re still hungry. Don’t critique people’s weight or talk about dieting. Be the reality check; point out that thin celebrities often lead sad lives, that most diets fail, and that people of all shapes and sizes tend to be healthiest and happiest when leading lives of balance and moderation. Most importantly, make it clear that you value your children for who they are, not for what they weigh.

Friday, June 20, 2008

New England Inhalant Abuse Prevention Coalition

Inhalant Information

Click on the links below for more information about inhalant abuse, prevention, and treatment.

Inhalant Web Sites
Our Prevention Approach Inhalants, more than any other drug, are readily available to children, and can be deadly on first use. Therefore, to do no harm, inhalant prevention messages for children should not teach them what products can be abused, how to abuse inhalants, or what their euphoric effects are. We do not want to engage their curiosity.

Today’s prevailing expert consensus about best practices recommends disconnecting inhalant abuse prevention from substance abuse prevention for children who do not already know about inhalants. Instead, education about inhalants should stress their poisonous, toxic, polluting, combustible and explosive nature and should emphasize product safety. When targeting young children who have had little or no exposure to the nature of inhalants, there is no reason to make the association for them, thereby giving them an easily accessible way to get high. When children already know about inhalants as a drug, we still teach about it as we would for a na├»ve child, but may add a substance abuse component. The materials in this section follow this approach.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

(Sue Scheff) Parent Coaching - Parental Power - Dr. Paul Jenkins

Dr. Paul Jenkins offers a fantastic Podcast Radio Show on a wide variety of topics relating to parenting and family concerns.

Visit and listen and learn how you can broaden your parenting skills!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sue Scheff: Gateway Drugs and Teens

A gateway drug is a drug that opens the metaphorical gateway to more potent, dangerous drugs. Substances like alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana are considered gateway drugs. While many parents are tempted to say "it's only beer" or "its just pot", the danger in gateway drugs is their ability to convince the user that they can handle larger quantities or in many cases, stronger, more potent substances.

Learn more about Teen Drug Prevention.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: The Dangers of Inhalant Abuse

Inhaled chemicals are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream
and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within minutes, the user
experiences intoxication, with symptoms similar to those produced by drinking
alcohol. With Inhalants, however, intoxication lasts only a few minutes, so some
users prolong the “high” by continuing to inhale repeatedly.

Short-term effects include:

headaches, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, severe
mood swings and violent behavior, belligerence, slurred speech, numbness and
tingling of the hands and feet, nausea, hearing loss, visual disturbances, limb
spasms, fatigue, lack of coordination, apathy, impaired judgment, dizziness,
lethargy, depressed reflexes, stupor, and loss of consciousness.
The Inhalant user will initially feel slightly stimulated and, after successive
inhalations, will feel less inhibited and less in control. Hallucinations may
occur and the user can lose consciousness. Worse, he or she, may even die.
Please see Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome below.

Long-term Inhalant users generally suffer from:

weight loss, muscle weakness,
disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability and depression.
Different Inhalants produce different harmful effects, and regular abuse of these
substances can result in serious harm to vital organs. Serious, but potentially
reversible, effects include liver and kidney damage. Harmful irreversible effects
include: hearing loss, limb spasms, bone marrow and central nervous system
(including brain) damage.

Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome:

Children can die the first time, or any time, they try an Inhalant. This is
known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. While it can occur with many
types of Inhalants, it is particularly associated with the abuse of air conditioning
coolant, butane, propane, and the chemicals in some aerosol products. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome is usually associated with cardiac arrest. The Inhalant causes the heart to beat rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest.

Learn more:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sue Scheff: You Don't Have to Learn Everything The Hard Way by Aunt Laya

Easy to understand. Helpful. No Bull. No Bluff. No Hype. Just straight talk and the knowledge you need to help you succeed in growing!

Visit to learn more about Aunt Laya.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Gambling Addiction

“I think if someone had asked me if I had wanted to go out with a beautiful girl or sit at home and play poker, I probably would have said I’d play poker.”

– Daniel Gushue, 22 years old

Daniel was a compulsive gambler.

Over the course of two years he racked up 18 thousand dollars of credit card debt.

“So on a typical night, my gambling at its worst, say here Oct. 25th,” Daniel says looking at his bank statement, “I deposited $50, I deposited another 50, another 50, a 100, another 100, 50, and then 200. So all-in-all that’s 6- $600.”

A survey by the University of Buffalo found that over two percent of teens admit to having a gambling problem. That’s a small number, but that represents 750 thousand teens.

And some are stealing or selling possessions to continue gambling.

Experts blame accessibility.

“So whereas 15-20 years ago you have to get into a car, drive to a casino, might take you an hour or two hours or three hours to get there, now you can just pick up your cell phone and be gambling while you are waiting in the doctor’s office, or while you’re waiting at the bus stop,” explains Dr. Timothy Fong, Addiction Psychiatrist.

That’s why, experts say, parents need to be proactive.

According to psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen that means, “Familiarize yourself with what potential problems your kids might come up against, and sit them down and talk to them.”

Daniel doesn’t play online poker anymore, but he does gamble on sports.

That makes his girlfriend, Carlee Schaper, nervous. “When it comes to watching him online, sports betting and things like that, I don’t like to see him doing that, because I feel like it’s a slippery slope, and, um, it’s possible for him to go back to his old ways.”

“Should I be gambling?” says Daniel, “Probably not. But for the time being I’m in a good place.”

Tips for Parents

The numbers from a University of Buffalo study are staggering. Three-quarters of a million teens have a serious gambling problem. That includes stealing money to gamble, gambling more money then initially planned, or selling possessions to gamble more. Another 11 percent of teens admit to gambling at least twice a week. Evidence shows that individuals who begin gambling at an early age run a much higher lifetime risk of developing a gambling problem.

Some individuals and organizations support teaching poker to adolescents as a real-life means of instructing on critical reasoning, mathematics and probability. They say teaching the probability of winning is the most important aspect of the game and that the mathematics behind the reasoning that will show kids they won’t win in the long run.

The legal gambling age in the United States is 21. Poker sites enable minors to play by clicking a box to verify that they are the legal age and entering a credit card number. Age is verified further only if suspicions are raised.

Some researchers call gambling the fastest-growing teenage addiction. Teens are especially vulnerable to gambling because of the excitement, the risk and their belief that skill is involved. The Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling and the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling lists the following warning signs that a teen may be struggling with a gambling problem:

Unexplained need for money: Valuables missing from the home and frequently borrowing money
Withdrawal from the family: Changes in personality, impatience, criticism, sarcasm, increased hostility, irritability, making late-night calls, fewer outside activities, a drop in grades and unaccountable time away from home
Interest in sports teams with no prior allegiance: Watching televised sports excessively, exhibiting an unusual interest in sports reports, viewing multiple games at one time, running up charges to 900 sports phone numbers and showing hostility over the outcome of a game
Gambling paraphernalia: Betting slips, IOUs, lottery tickets, frequent card and dice games at home and the overuse of gambling language, such as “bet,” in conversation
Coming to parents to pay gambling debts
Using lunch or bus money to gamble
Ask yourself the following questions if you suspect your child has a gambling addiction:

Is your child out of the house or confined to a room with a computer for long, unexplained periods of time?
Does your child miss work, school or extra-curricular activities?
Can your child be trusted with money?
Does your child borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?
Does your child hide his or her money?
Have you noticed a personality change in your child?
Does your child consistently lie to cover up or deny his or her gambling activities?
Compulsive gambling is an illness, progressive in nature. There is no cure, but with help the addiction can be suppressed. Many who gamble live in a dream world to satisfy emotional needs. The gambler dreams of a life filled with friends, new cars, furs, penthouses, yachts, etc. However, a gambler usually will return to win more, so no amount of winning is sufficient to reach these dreams.

The compulsion to gamble can easily lead to self-destructive behavior, especially for teens. If you are concerned that a young person you care about has a gambling problem, encourage him or her to contact a gambling help line in your area or to seek professional help at a gambling treatment facility.

American Family Association
Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling
Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling
National Gambling Impact Study Commission
Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
University of Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sue Scheff: ADHD Meds in High School

By ADDitude Magazine

Three ways ADHD teens can master the challenges of meds at school.

No one likes being "different," particularly as teens, when fitting in is important. That’s why many students with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) decide to discontinue the ADD medication they took as a child.

But contrary to popular belief, ADHD doesn’t usually go away with age. Stopping medication could make your differences stand out more and lead to social disaster.

Here are better ways to deal with the challenges posed by your ADHD.

“I’m embarrassed that everyone knows I have ADHD and take medication. If don’t take medication, no one has to know I have it.”
As a teen, having ADHD is your business, and whom you choose to share this information with is your decision. Talk to your parents about an action plan to minimize your feelings of embarrassment. There are now once-a-day medications that mean you don’t have to go to the school nurse for a midday dose.

If you have an insensitive teacher, talk to him or her about respecting your medical privacy. If you visit a friend, take responsibility for your own medication so others won’t have to know you take it.

“When I take my medication I’m never hungry, so I’m a lot smaller than everyone else my age.”
To put on weight and muscle, create “windows of opportunity.” Try to eat a huge breakfast before your first dose in the morning. Make it a hamburger or pizza if you want; there’s no law that breakfast has to be cereal and toast.

Accept that you may not be hungry at lunch. Try eating small amounts of high calorie foods such as cheese, peanut butter or ice cream.

Time your medication so that it wears off between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. Your appetite should return and you can enjoy a hearty dinner, even though you may not be able to do your homework at this time. Take your final dose after dinner if you need it to concentrate. If this timing isn’t practical, ask your parents to excuse you from eating and save your plate for later, when your medication wears off.

Some kids make smoothies using high calorie food supplements such as Ensure. Add your own ingredients — ice cream, milk, fruit and flavorings.

If you still cannot gain weight, discuss with your doctor the possibility of switching to another medication that does not affect appetite. In any event, don’t worry. While medication may slow your growth somewhat, studies show it has little or no effect on your ultimate height.

“Some of my friends drink beer and smoke pot. I don’t want them to think I’m uncool. Is just a little okay?”
Sorry, but it’s not okay. Besides being illegal, drugs and alcohol don’t mix well with ADHD medications. Even if you don’t take medication, drugs and alcohol can worsen your ADHD symptoms, which can make you a social outcast. If you’ve already got problems controlling your impulses and your social interactions, what’s going to happen when drugs and alcohol take away whatever restraint you have?

That said, let’s get real. If you find yourself in a social situation where you think you may be drinking, make sure your medication is not in effect. If it is, be forewarned that you may experience a greater “high” or “buzz” than expected. Use less. Regular use of alcohol and drugs with ADHD medications can lead to serious problems. As a teenager, only you can decide whether to step into adult shoes and do the mature and responsible thing. Take it slow or better still, don’t drink and don’t use illegal drugs.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sue Scheff: When Your Teen is Caught Shoplifting

By Patricia Smith

You answer the phone and cringe. Your 14 year-old son walked out of Martin’s Market with a six-pack of Pepsi under his jacket without paying, so says Officer Jones on the other end of the line. Driving to the market to retrieve your son and face Mr. Martin, you wonder, is shoplifting just kid stuff? Or is my son diving headlong into a life of crime?

Take a deep breath. Most likely, this first shoplifting incident doesn’t signal trouble ahead. Even though your son had plenty of change in his pocket and Pepsi in the fridge, doesn’t mean he’s leaving your family to join the Sopranos.

Shoplifting is sometimes viewed as an adolescent rite of passage, albeit an illegal one. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) reports that 24% of apprehended shoplifters are teens, aged 13-17 years old. Teens steal on an impulse or for a thrill. Peer pressure is often cited as the reason. While you might feel motivated to send your son to the doghouse, even McGruff the Crime Dog, icon of the NCPC, recommends that you don’t overreact to the first offense. That said, do take the following steps to convey your concern to your child:

Decide on the consequences beforehand. One in four shoplifters caught is a teen. Think about how you’d handle things if your child was caught shoplifting. Be sure to share your thoughts with your spouse. It’s important to present a united front if an incident does occur.

Remain calm at the scene of the crime. Confronting your child will only add to the humiliation and embarrassment he is probably feeling. Get all the facts. Listen to the authorities and agree to take an active role in the solution.

Allow a cooling off period. Best not to unload on your son the minute you reach your driveway.
Take time, at least a day, to let everyone cool off before discussing the incident. Present corrective action in a timely manner. Lay out the consequences to your son as soon as possible.
If too much time passes, the consequences won’t connect to the action. Be firm, but caring.

Follow through. Important life lessons will be lost if you don’t follow through on your disciplinary actions. Keep your word.

Shoplifting is a serious offense, but most teens are experimenting when they try it—never believing they’ll get caught. When they are, they feel remorse and seldom repeat the offense. So take those sticky fingers seriously, but know that you probably don’t have a future mobster on your hands—just a child who needs help learning from his mistakes.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) ADHD Meds in School

Three ways ADHD teens can master the challenges of meds at school.

No one likes being "different," particularly as teens, when fitting in is important. That’s why many students with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) decide to discontinue the ADD medication they took as a child.

But contrary to popular belief, ADHD doesn’t usually go away with age. Stopping medication could make your differences stand out more and lead to social disaster.
Here are better ways to deal with the challenges posed by your ADHD.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

(Sue Scheff) “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain”. This new site is designed to help parents decode teen behavior and connect with their kids.


The Partnership for a Drug Free America to Hold a Virtual Press Conference Announcing Launch of “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain”

- New Site to Help Parents Decode Teen Behavior and Connect with their Kids
- Release of the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study

WHAT: The Partnership for a Drug Free America will debut their newest online parenting tool: “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain.” The site launch also coincides with the release of the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), a survey of parents’ attitudes about drugs and alcohol.

WHY: For every parent of a teenager who has ever wondered “who is this kid?” the website aims to make answering that question easier. Designed to help parents navigate the confusing, often frustrating teen years, “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain” translates recent scientific findings that shed light on how brain development shapes teens’ behavior and personalities into easy-to-understand tips and tools for parents.

The site explains that the human brain takes 25 years to fully develop, with areas responsible for complex judgment and decision-making maturing last. Through video, humorous interactive segments, role-playing and advice from experts, parents learn how adolescent brain development explains the “normal” teen behaviors that often confound parents—impulsiveness, rebellion, high emotions and risk-taking, especially with drugs and alcohol—and how to use this new information to connect with their teens.

The 2007 PATS study shows that as kids become teenagers, their parents need for information and help talking about drugs and alcohol peaks, and parents’ confidence in their ability to keep kids from using drugs and alcohol begins to wane.

WHO: A distinguished panel of experts will participate in a discussion about “A Parent’s
Guide to the Teen Brain including:
• Steve Pasierb: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership for a Drug Free America
• Ken Winters, Ph.D.: director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, and a Senior Scientist with the Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia, PA.
• Tara Paterson: certified parenting coach, mother of three, founder of the Mom’s Choice Awards (which honor excellence in family friendly media, products and services), author of the upcoming book Raising Intuitive Children and contributor to

Highlights of the Virtual Press Conference will include:
• Detailed explanation/run through of “A Parents Guide to the Teen Brain”
• Explanation about the links between teen behavior and the physiological changes happening in the teen brain
• Explanation of findings from the 2007 PATS study
• Discussion of how to apply the scientific findings about the teen brain to real life
• Valuable insight from a parent and parenting coach


WHEN: June 11, 2008 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am

To download video of the webcast in broadcast quality format (available June 11th from 10am – 11am ET) please visit the coordinates below:

Galaxy 26 Transponder 1 C BAND Analog
Downlink frequency is 3720 Vertica

Beta copies can be requested after the event, but will require additional time for delivery.

Media Contacts: Judy Klein, o: 212-251-1204, m: 917-282-9352, e:
Paul Costiglio, o: 212-973-3530, m: 917-686-8697, e:

For more information about the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, visit
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Monday, June 2, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff): Can Parent Coaching Help You with your Teen?

Why Family Coaching Works by Dr. Paul Jenkins, PhD

The CreationTree Coaching Model:

Life coaching is a service that has been designed to assist individuals, couples, families, and organizations to achieve their highest potential.

Coaching is a deliberate process of focused conversations to create an environment for individual, family, and corporate prosperity, living on purpose, and sustained improvement in all aspects of life.

Genius Was Once Described ...

… as the ability to take the complex and describe it in simple terms without oversimplifying. Dr. Paul's keen insights into marriage and family has allowed him to distill these seemingly complicated topics down to practical core concepts. This is a gift absent in the motivational industry.

This is accomplished through the four P’s which are:

Principle: Add power to your life through principle. Principles are always true in every context. Natural laws are examples of principles - like gravity. Gravity will act on you whether you believe in it or not - and whether you like it or not. Identify the correct principles that will create freedom in your life, and get busy applying them. Principles govern.

Paradigm: Add power to your life through paradigm. The most powerful concept I have discovered in psychology is that there are two paradigms (victim vs. hero). You can choose which paradigm you embrace, and the outcome of each is sure. If you adopt a victim paradigm, you will experience misery and captivity. If you adopt a hero paradigm, you will experience happiness and liberty.

Purpose: Add power to your life through purpose. Your life is going somewhere for sure. Where it goes depends a lot on where you aim it. Develop a personal mission statement, and also one for your marriage, family, business, or other ventures. Start living on purpose. The phrase, “Live On Purpose” has a nice double meaning – that you have a clear purpose or mission for your life, and that you do it intentionally.

Passion: Add power to your life through passion. Passion is the driving force that motivates you. After you have successfully learned principles, the challenge is to apply those principles in your life in meaningful ways. This requires change, and to change you must find ways to get leverage on yourself. Passion for life increases dramatically as you begin to spend more of your time doing the things that you love for the people who love what you do.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sue Scheff: Getting Your Teen To Talk


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Depending upon your relationship, getting your teen to talk to you could be an agonizing or enjoyable exchange. If your teen is not communicative or willing to discuss issues, then it is up to you to find ways to get your teen to open up. How? Here are some suggestions.Oftentimes, teens are afraid to discuss a problem head on. Therefore, living in a home that is filled with love and understanding is crucial. While one teen may find it easier to talk to Mom and another feels more comfortable talking with Dad, the conditions in the home are critical to the teen being able to talk about anything at anytime. This process begins at birth. Having conversations with each other is one way to instill a sense of openness in the home. Moms and dads who constantly talk to each other and their children, whether at the dinner table or during bedtime, allow the child to feel good about discussing any topic with one or both parents. Consequently, your child will grow up in an atmosphere where freedom of expression is not only expected but encouraged.

Teenagers come with their own set of problems and issues. It’s the natural course of events for teens. This does not mean, however, they must sit in their rooms contemplating situations which they are neither ready for, nor can handle. Keeping the lines of communication open may be difficult at times, especially if all you get out of your teenager is a grunt of acknowledgement. Don’t give up, no matter how difficult the situation becomes. Whether your teen will admit it or not, having you there allows them to feel safe and secure, even though they don’t show it.

You can be assured, however, when the time is right and when the teen feels there are no other options available, he or she will open up. This is the point at which you should listen carefully to what is being offered. While your teen may not be asking your advice, the ability to be able to say what is on his or her mind may be enough to get out of the funk he or she is in.

However, if you feel your teen has become so distant that nothing seems to work, it may be time to seek help. In the meantime, without being invasive, keep an eye on your teen, ensure he or she is eating and sleeping, and communicating with friends. Every teen is different in how they approach life’s ups and downs. Think back to when you were a teen. Were you as open with your parents as you’d like your teen to be? If not, perhaps the inability to talk openly amongst family members began then.

As parents, we have a lot to deal with in our own lives. Sometimes even we shut down due to the pressure. Getting your teen to talk to you may be just as hard as getting your spouse to talk to you. It is in talking that we let out our innermost thoughts and feelings. Perhaps by learning how to talk to each other, you will instill confidence in your teen to follow your lead.