Sue Scheff: ICE is critical for your cell phones

It’s cold out, does your cell phone have ICE in it?

For your own safety and the safety of your children, be sure to place ICE on all your cell phones.

In case of emergency (ICE) has proven to help paramedics and others contact loved ones when a crisis happens.

A British paramedic came up with the idea of asking cell phone users to input an entry into their cellular phonebook called ICE for “in case of emergency.” Accompanying that acronym would be the name and phone numbers of the person who should be called if something has happened to the owner of the phone.

This idea soon spread to the United States.  In 2006 WebMD Health News recommended that people take a moment right now to put “ICE” by the names of the people you’d want called in case of emergency.

Are you a parent with a child that has a cell phone?  Does your parents have cell phones?  The elderly as well as your teens, especially those with new driving licenses, should immediately have ICE programmed into their phones.  As a responsible parent and adult, don’t forget to add your own ICE!

ICE is a few years old now, but there are still some people that are not aware of it.  A quick reminder or refresher can potentially save a lot of time in the mist of a crisis.  Remember to update your ICE number if someone has moved or changed numbers.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens as well as family and friends.

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Sue Scheff: Time Goes Fast – Your Teens will be Adults Before you Know it. Are you ready?

Parenting, parenting and more parenting. As much as we rush through our days to get to all the activities, school, homework and more, it seems like it was only yesterday we were changing diapers or teaching our child to ride a bike. Today’s generation has new issues and trying times as well as keeping up with parenting, we have to keep up with technology and so much more.

How to Cope When Your Kids Grow Up So Fast:

It’s a tough job being a parent – there are no rules or policies and you have to follow your heart at times and your head at others. And with today’s kids, it’s very difficult to do the right thing because they don’t seem like children at all, even though they’ve barely lived 10 years. They’re growing up faster than they should – not their bodies, but their brains, mentality, and emotional psyche. They know much more than they should, and they’re quick to learn and absorb; and even though this is a good thing when it comes to positive aspects like knowledge, technology and learning, when it comes to areas that are shaded in gray like sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, pregnancy and abortion, parents have no clue as to how to deal with the amount of information (some of it that’s not right too) that their children know.

We grew up in a different world, one where television and movies were toned down and where there was no Internet. Getting information today is as easy as pie – the Internet tells you just about anything you want to know. Children as young as 10 and 11 want to wear makeup, drink and be sexually active, just because their friends are doing it and they don’t want to be left out. And coping with them without alienating them is a tough task, one that parents would find easier if they:

  • Stay in tune with their children’s lives: As a parent, you must know what your child is up to, who their friends are, and what’s going on in their minds. That’s not to say that you must snoop around their stuff or do things behind their back, but it’s a good idea to watch their behavior as they grow and check for signs of change as they cross the age of 10. That’s when they are likely to be influenced by their peers and tempted to try forbidden things. You certainly don’t want your preteen experimenting with sex or drugs just because they think it’s cool, with you being left in the dark about it.
  • Can talk to their children openly: Parent-children relationships work better when there’s a layer of friendship in between the two. When your child seems on the verge of becoming an adult, both mentally and physically, it’s important that they’re able to come to you with all their problems and secrets. This is possible only if you keep an open mind and are not quick to judge and condemn. A close friend had sex when she was 13, and later, because she was scared that she was pregnant, she confided in her dad the whole story. He was very understanding and helped her cope with the issue, without once berating or shouting at her. This attitude changed her completely – she became more responsible because of her father’s open and understanding behavior, and today, she’s a balanced and happy adult.
  • Learn to draw the line somewhere: Kids today live in an entirely different world from the one you grew up in, so they tend to wear trendier clothes and wear makeup long before you were allowed to do so. Rather than denying them all that they ask for and risk them going behind your back, give in a little regarding issues that are relatively trivial. At the same time, it’s best not to encourage or turn a blind eye to drinking, sexual activity or anything else that could have long-lasting and serious repercussions just because you don’t want conflict with your child.
  • Realize that each child is different: You know your child better than anyone else, so use your judgment to deal with sensitive issues according to their temperament and attitude. Don’t follow what your friends or siblings are doing with their children; there’s no guarantee that what works for one child will work for another. The better you’re able to read your child, the more you’ll be able to help them as they grapple with issues that are beyond their understanding.

Children respond better to love and understanding rather than discipline and punishment, so assess each situation and act accordingly instead of blindly following rules.

This guest post is contributed by Nancy Simmons, who writes on the topic of online science degree. She welcomes your comments at her email address:

Thank you to Nancy Simmons for allowing me to share this important and educational information.

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

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Sue Scheff: Women Who Molest Children – A Special Report by Oprah

On Monday, February 15th, Oprah Winfrey stepped up her show with a sensitive and difficult subject of child molesters.  Last week she spoke directly with men who sexually abused children and gave us an insight that was not only disturbing, but gave us information on how to further protect our children. 

This week, going to places few, if any have, Oprah talks to women who sexually molested children.  A Special Report: Raped by His Mother – A Victim Comes Forward.  It’s the side of child molestation that’s rarely talked about. For years, he was raped by his own mother. What happens when women are the molesters?

Q and A with Sex Offender Therapist,  Dawn Horwitz-Person works with victims of sexual abuse, as well as the men and woman who abuse. What has she learned from child molesters? Find out. The warning signs you should look out for and misconceptions about molesters. Plus, how potential abusers can get help.

Again, kudos to Oprah for going places that many are afraid to discuss to help benefit and educate people all over the world.

Being an educated parent can lead to having safer children.

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Sue Scheff: Winter Games 2010 – Gearing Up for Youth Sports this Spring

As many parents in the Northeast are shoveling their way through heavy drifts of snow, the Southern states, although chilly, are gearing up for their spring sport season with their children.

As the Winter Games opened this week, the entire family can join and watch the athletes compete against countries worldwide.  Does your child have an athletic dream?

VolunteerSpot’s free and easy online coordination tool saves time and simplifies parent participation in youth sports. They have a new eBook with sample online sign up sheets to give parents ideas of all the ways they can ask for (and get) help with their team activities.

Whether it’s Little League, soccer, swimming, softball, lacrosse, or all of the above, spring is an exciting time for children participating in youth sports. For parents, though, their busy schedules are about to get a whole lot busier! Beyond spending joyful hours cheering on the sidelines, parents provide the backbone for any successful youth sports program by participating as coaches, referees, groundskeepers, timers, bringing snacks, driving carpools, and much more.

Parent leaders that use VolunteerSpot reduce their planning and coordinating time by several hours a week and eliminate late-night reply-all emails, last-minute phone tag and hard-to-read clipboard sign up sheets. Team parents appreciate how easy it is to sign up and pick their days to help, with a few clicks from an email or through a link on the team website. VolunteerSpot then sends automated email reminders to help everyone remember and keep their commitments.

Here are a few ways parents are using VolunteerSpot to save time and power team and league activities:

  • Snack schedule sign up sheets
  • Concessions stand volunteer scheduling
  •  Tournament scheduling (officials, linesmen, score keepers, awards, setup/cleanup)
  • Assistant coaches, practice helpers, and field maintenance
  • Swim meet volunteer scheduling
  • Fundraisers like carwashes, carnivals, fun runs, and picnics

The time is now to start planning your spring and summer activities, let VolunteerSpot help you be ready to spring into your children’s sports!  Think warm!

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Sue Scheff: Does your teen smoke cigarettes? Learn about new study

Everyone knows that smoking is not good for you and many also know that second hand smoke has been said to be just as damaging to your health.  Today’s new study about third hand smoke is shocking and yet makes sense.

Now, some scientists say, there’s evidence that “third-hand” smoke — the residue that clings to furniture, carpets, walls and other surfaces — puts toxins in the air as well.  The Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences released a study on the subject with findings that “raise concerns about exposures.” – NPR.

If you are a smoker, or know someone that is, there are more reasons to consider quitting.  First and foremost would be your health, and as important is your family.  Remember, young children are at risk.

Florida’s Quitline: A helping hand when you need it the most.

Each year, thousands of Floridians quit using tobacco. Many more try, but fail. The Florida Quitline was established to help those with a desire to free themselves from cigarettes, smokeless and all other forms of tobacco to successfully reach their goal, and offers all of its services free of charge in both English and Spanish. Here’s how it works:

  1. With a single, toll-free call to 1-877-U-CAN-NOW, you can schedule an appointment with one of the Quitline’s trained counselors.
  2.  At an approximate time of your choosing, one of these skilled professionals will call you back to work with you one on one. Together, you’ll develop a plan to finally rid yourself of tobacco for good.
  3. Our tobacco specialists will be there for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support you, offer tips and provide any information you may need.

If you’re ready to Be Free, call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW today and join other Floridians in living a happier, healthier life. If you know others who need help, click the link below to send them an email message encouraging them to call the Quitline today.

Be an educated parent, you will have a healthier family.

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Sue Scheff: Bullying – Is your child a buster or a bystander?

As the news continues about the rising rates of bullying, parents need to take a stand.  Determine if your child is being bullied or possibly a bully.  Has your child witnessed another child being teased?  Is he/she a bully bystander or will they be the one that busts them (tells the teacher or person in authority)?

The U.S. Department of Education cites the following ways in which bystanders and peers of victims can be negatively affected by acts of bullying:

  • They may become afraid to associate with the victim for fear of lowering their own status or of retribution from the bully and becoming victims themselves.
  • They may fear reporting bullying incidents because they do not want to be called a “snitch,” a “tattler” or an “informer.”
  • Some experience feelings of guilt or helplessness for not standing up to the bully on behalf of their classmate.
  • Many may be drawn into bullying behavior by group pressure.
  • They may feel unsafe, unable to take action or a loss of control.

Bullying has become a vicious trend that although is not new, it is escalating as it spreads into cyberbullying.  We are hearing about more children suffering with depression and committing suicide that may have links to them being bullied or teased in school or outside of school.

To find out more parent tips visit Connect with Kids Bullying Bystanders.

Be an educated parent, learn all you can about bullying.  Talk to your children and encourage them to do the right thing.

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Sue Scheff: Teens and Community Service – Teen LINK

Encouraging your teens to get involved in their community by volunteering can help your child build their self confidence as well as bring sunshine to those in need.

Many high school students may need community service hours, which can help motivate your teen.  Once they start giving back they will soon feel the rewards of paying it forward.

Volunteering is so much more than helping others, it is helping yourself.  It can feel so good to put a smile on another face, or simply have a dog look forward to their walk.  The little things in life are major to those that are need.

In South Florida, there is TeenLink which offers a listing of places that are looking for teen volunteers.  From working with the elderly to giving museum tours, there is something for everyone.

Select a category that interests you. Just click on the link to view all volunteer options for that category. Some organizations require you to register or contact an event coordinator prior to volunteering. Use the contact information provided. For the most recent updated volunteer opportunites, click on “Do it Now” located on the right. Happy volunteering!

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