Sue Scheff: Is Your Child In Troubled?

Is Your Child in Trouble?

This article from the American Chronicle by Genae-Valecia Hinesman lists and details several signs that parents should watch out for, as they may indicate problems in your child’s life. Many of these signals are also applicable for inhalant abuse, but this is a great article to read for any parent.

1. Erratic Behavior

“As young people carve out their own individuality separate from that of their parents´, and seek an answer to the proverbial question, “Who AM I?” they could clash more frequently with those around them. They may be happy one minute and sullen the next. Even this is normal. However, if your child starts reacting violently, either at home or at school, clearly something is seriously wrong.”

2. Loss of Coordination, Glazed Eyes, Slurred Speech

“Without question, only two things can explain these symptoms. The first is that the person in question has suffered a stroke or a seizure. The second is that this person is inebriated. Both situations require immediate action. If your child is intoxicated, your first duty is to keep them from leaving the house until sober, for their own safety and the safety of others.

Once they are coherent, find out what they were taking and where they obtained it. If they were found unconscious, and taken to a hospital, medical testing will be able to provide a toxicology report. Encourage them to seek help, if addicted, and at least undergo counseling to learn how to avoid future dependency. Help in any way you can, but let them know that they must want to help themselves, in order to successfully change for the better.”

3. Persistant Sadness and Withdrawel from Others

“Any child showing these signs for more than two weeks without interruption is clearly depressed. A change in eating habits and/or grooming has probably also been noticed. If so, something, or a combination of things, has triggered these changes. Your job is to find out what.”

4. Honor Student to Dropout

“If your consistently top-notch student suddenly loses interest in school with grades in two or more classes plummeting, take heed! Straight A´s simply don´t turn into D´s overnight. Sit down with him or her and find out what´s happening in your child´s life.

Whatever it happens to be, let him or her know that you´re willing not only to help, but to listen as well. Refuse to accept “Leave me alone!” or “Nothing!” as acceptable answers. If they won´t talk to you, find another trusted adult with whom they will talk. Seek professional help if they need it.”

5. Drastic Social Changes

“Friends and companions can and sometimes should, change a bit by the time your child leaves high school. Nevertheless, if your child´s associates suddenly are vastly different in negative ways from those they used to spend time with, this is usually a very bad sign. It´s even more telling if they now avoid or shun their old friends for no readily apparent reason.”

6. Finding Unusual Possessions

“Discovering drugs, whether prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal narcotics that you had no idea that your child was using calls for immediate address. The same can be said for condoms, birth control devices, cigarettes, alcohol, and drug paraphernalia of any kind.

Recently, even glue, industrial products, and cleaning supplies have been used as inhalants (known among teens as “huffing”) by kids seeking to get “high”– often with fatal results. Finding these in your child´s room, pockets, or belongings is just as serious as finding a weapon. More than a red flag, this is a screaming siren!”

7. Legal Troubles

“Finally, if your child has been arrested at least once, this is clear indication that the situation is rapidly careening beyond the scope of your reach. By the time law enforcement becomes involved two or more times, your child has become society´s problem and the courts will soon decide his or her future.

Repeated run-ins with legal authorities can never be overlooked as “just a phase”. There may still be hope, but only if drastic measures are taken and your child still cares enough to save himself or herself. Only so many chances are given to legal offenders. Don´t let time run out. Intervene while you still can.”

These are all excellent points and can be of help to parents who ask, “is my kid abusing inhalants?” The warning signs are often subtle, but they are there.


Sue Scheff: The Emotional Lives of Adolescents



Building a Bridge Between Dependence and Autonomy



Author: Alexandra DeGeorge, Psy.D.
Source: NYU Child Study Center



Although adolescence was once believed to be a time of rebellion and tumult, we now know that this developmental stage is calmer than previously assumed. The “rebellion” often seen in teens is likely due to the increased physical, cognitive and social changes that occur in development. During this period, parents may feel as if their teen has turned into another person. Teenagers are often described as “moody,” “irritable,” “argumentative,” “indecisive” and “consumed with oneself.” The once docile school-aged child is now snapping back to her parents when she isn’t able to wear a particular outfit to school.



The child who listened and agreed with his father’s reasoning for the way things work in the world is suddenly questioning his father’s explanations and values. Still at other times, your adolescent appears understanding and accepting of your advice. Typical experiences include both of these extremes, vacillating between occasions where your teen reaches out and requests your support with occasions where your opinions are rejected. Family conflict that ensues commonly centers on everyday issues.


For example, you may be likely to argue with your teen over the clothing he chooses, amount of time she spends on the computer, or setting a curfew.Why the observable differences in your child? Throughout this phase of development, a bridge is forming between childhood and adulthood. The teen begins to develop independence and autonomy while also remaining reliant on the family. The period of adolescence is fraught with many changes, and as we look at them in context, we begin to understand the responses that typify teenage behavior.




Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) A Parents Guide to Surviving The Teen Years

You’ve lived through 2 AM feedings, toddler temper tantrums, and the but-I-don’t-want-to-go-to-school-today blues. So why is the word “teenager” causing you so much anxiety?

When you consider that the teen years are a period of intense growth, not only physically but morally and intellectually, it’s understandable that it’s a time of confusion and upheaval for many families.

Despite some adults’ negative perceptions about teens, they are often energetic, thoughtful, and idealistic, with a deep interest in what’s fair and right. So, although it can be a period of conflict between parent and child, the teen years are also a time to help children grow into the distinct individuals they will become.

Understanding the Teen Years

So when, exactly, does adolescence start? The message to send your kid is: Everybody’s different. There are early bloomers, late arrivals, speedy developers, and slow-but-steady growers. In other words, there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal.

But it’s important to make a (somewhat artificial) distinction between puberty and adolescence. Most of us think of puberty as the development of adult sexual characteristics: breasts, menstrual periods, pubic hair, and facial hair. These are certainly the most visible signs of impending adulthood, but children between the ages of 10 and 14 (or even younger) can also be going through a bunch of changes that aren’t readily seen from the outside. These are the changes of adolescence.

Many kids announce the onset of adolescence with a dramatic change in behavior around their parents. They’re starting to separate from Mom and Dad and to become more independent. At the same time, kids this age are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them and they’re desperately trying to fit in.

Kids often start “trying on” different looks and identities, and they become acutely aware of how they differ from their peers, which can result in episodes of distress and conflict with parents.

Butting Heads

One of the common stereotypes of adolescence is the rebellious, wild teen continually at odds with Mom and Dad. Although that extreme may be the case for some kids and this is a time of emotional ups and downs, that stereotype certainly is not representative of most teens.

But the primary goal of the teen years is to achieve independence. For this to occur, teens will start pulling away from their parents – especially the parent whom they’re the closest to. This can come across as teens always seeming to have different opinions than their parents or not wanting to be around their parents in the same way they used to.

Read more here:



Sue Scheff: Should your Teen Get a Summer Job?


Last summer your teenager lazed around the pool complaining he was bored. This summer, though, he’s old enough to get a job. So should you send him to the nearest fast-food place to make him earn his keep? Before uttering an unequivocal and enthusiastic “yes!” take a little time to sit down with your teen and discuss the long-term effects of how he chooses to spend his summer.

There are certainly benefits to your teen getting a summer job. When she’s bringing home some money, she can start paying some of her own expenses. She’ll be occupied, less likely to get into trouble and won’t be complaining that she’s bored. But did you know that getting a job, even as early as the summer after her freshman year, can make her more attractive to colleges, too?

“Colleges want students to use their free time wisely and well,” states Lisa Sohmer, a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s Board of Directors. “Students can have summer jobs to earn money, but they can earn –and learn – other things as well, such as maturity and responsibility.”  That sense of responsibility may catch a college’s attention, but the type of work a student does will keep it.  According to Elizabeth Wissner-Gross, author of What High Schools Don’t Tell You: 300+ Secrets to Make Your Kid Irresistible to Colleges by Senior Year, it’s not enough to get a job at the local pizza place.”Ideally,” she says, “the student’s work experience should help further the student’s interests and academic passions.” In other words, the teen who aspires to be a doctor should be working in a hospital or research facility this summer instead of flipping burgers.

Click here for entire article:


Sue Scheff: Safeguarding Teenage Drivers with ADD

Young motorists with ADD need to be extra careful on the road. Here’s how they can drive safely.
Motorists with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) – especially teens – need to be extra careful on the road.
Here’s how to help them minimize distractions and stay safe.
Pick a safe car. Larger cars offer greater protection in the event of an accident.
Help your teen with ADD learn to drive. Practice sessions should cover a variety of situations.
Ask that he drive with an adult for at least his first 500 miles behind the wheel.
Don’t let your teen drive at night. Most fatal crashes involving young drivers occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Don’t let your teenager chauffeur other teens.
Remind your teen that he must wear a seat belt at all times …and that he must never drive after drinking or using drugs.
For more on keeping teenagers safe behind the wheel, see AD/HD & Driving: A Guide for Parents of Teens with AD/HD, by J. Marlene Snyder, Ph.D. (Whitefish Consultants, 2001).

Sue Scheff (P.U.R.E.) Why Kids and Teens Steal

By KidsHealth

Kids of all ages – from preschoolers to teens – can be tempted to steal for different reasons:

Very young children sometimes take things they want without understanding that things cost money and that it’s wrong to take something without paying for it.

Elementary school children usually know they’re not supposed to take something without paying, but they may take it anyway because they lack enough self-control.

Preteens and teens know they’re not supposed to steal, but they may steal for the thrill of it or because their friends are doing it. Some might believe they can get away with it. As they’re given more control over their lives, some teens may steal as a way of rebelling.

Read entire article here:


Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Children Who Bully

Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Typically, it is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms such as hitting or punching (physical bullying); teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying); intimidation through gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and sending insulting messages by e-mail (cyberbullying).

There is no one single cause of bullying among children. Rather, individual, family, peer, school, and community factors can place a child or youth at risk for bullying his or her peers.

Characteristics of children who bully

Children who bully their peers regularly (i.e., those who admit to bullying more than occasionally) tend to:

  • Be impulsive, hot-headed, dominant;
  • Be easily frustrated;
  • Lack empathy;
  • Have difficulty following rules; and
  • View violence in a positive way.

Boys who bully tend to be physically stronger than other children.

Click here for entire article.