Sue Scheff: Benefits of Abstinence Among Teens

By Connect with Kids

“If you don’t feel that they should be having sex at this age, tell them that. Explain your values. Listen to them as well, give them a chance to express their opinions as well, and you can have a discussion about it.  It’s very important that adolescents have a chance to express their own opinions and to hear your reactions to those opinions.”

– Dr. Mark Schuster, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician

Regret can be a great teacher and, according to a new survey of high school students, that’s especially true when it comes to teenagers and sex.

Trey was 14 when he first had sex. 

“Just the pressure — upper classmen — they were just ragging me on to do it, and I just fell into that trap. I fell into that peer pressure,” says Trey, 17.

Afterwards, Trey says he regretted it.

“Just the feeling, the emotions that were going through my mind…and my thoughts were, ‘What am I doing? I feel like I’m soliciting myself, I don’t know even know this girl’s name by heart,’” recalls Trey.

In a survey of high school students by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, sexually-experienced teens were twice as likely to value abstinence as teens who were virgins. It seems that it is after having sex that some kids learn the value of being abstinent.

“It’s unfortunate that they had to learn it the hard way, but one of the things that they’re realizing is that there is an alternative way: there’s a way for me to court [someone], or to get a guy that I like to court me and respect me and for me not to have sex,” says Alduan Tartt, psychologist.

Experts say another way kids can learn about the risks and complications of sex are from their parents — not from “atalk” but with a conversation.

“If you don’t feel that they should be having sex at this age, tell them that. Explain your values. Listen to them as well, give them a chance to express their opinions as well, and you can have a discussion about it.  It’s very important that adolescents have a chance to express their own opinions and to hear your reactions to those opinions,” says Dr. Mark Schuster, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician.

Trey says he’s choosing abstinence now and it feels right.

“You don’t have anything to worry about. You don’t have to worry about if you have an STD. You’re just focused on your goals,” says Trey.

Tips for Parents

  • Abstinence is defined as not having sex. A person who decides to practice abstinence has decided not to have sex. (Nemours Foundation)
  • Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. Although many birth control methods can have high rates of success if used properly, they can fail occasionally. Practicing abstinence ensures that a girl will not become pregnant because there is no opportunity for sperm to fertilize an egg. (Nemours Foundation)
  • Only complete and consistent abstinence can totally protect against STDs. Because a person does not have any type of intimate sexual contact when he or she practices complete abstinence, there is no risk of passing on a sexually transmitted infection. (Nemours Foundation)
  • Don’t let teasing or pressure from friends, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, or even the media push you into something that’s not right for you. Research shows that the majority of teens are not having sex. (www.connectwithkids.com/everybodysnotdoingit)
  • A couple can still have a relationship without having sex. If you’ve made a decision not to have sex, it’s an important personal choice and the people who care about you should respect that. (Nemours Foundation)
  • You may have questions about making this choice or about other methods of birth control. Your doctor or nurse — or an adult you trust, such as a parent, teacher or counselor — can help provide accurate answers. (Nemours Foundation)

References

Parents Universal Resource Experts Founder Sue Scheff: Carolina Springs Academy (WWASPS) Learn from my Mistakes

Admitting Mistakes as a Parent – and Moving on from the Past

By Sue Scheff

Several years ago my beautiful teenage daughter and I endured a very stressful and painful time. My daughter, like many teens today, was going through a difficult time and I began searching for outside help. In my desperation I stumbled on several misleading websites that changed our lives in so many ways. Our story has been long posted at “A Parent’s True Story.”

Since then it has been nothing short of an emotional ride of mental abuse and legal battles. For the past five years I have been involved in litigation, once as a defendant when I was sued by the people who harmed my daughter and defrauded me, and once as a plaintiff in an Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy lawsuit.

When I posted my story (above website) I was immediately under attack by the very people that I believed harmed my daughter and defrauded me, the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP aka WWASPS). They sued me in an attempt to silence me and eliminate my website from the internet. After 2+ years of litigation and approximately $1 million in legal fees (which I was fortunate to have my insurance cover most of it) I defeated WWASPS in a jury trial in their home state of Utah. They appealed and I went on to defeat them again in the Supreme Court of Appeals in June 2006.

The campaign to destroy and discredit me on the Internet exploded. At one point it was so out of control that I had to take legal action to protect the privacy of my family and children. Carey Bock, a woman who I believe was retained by WWASPS, continued posting excerpts from confidential and sealed depositions about my family. Though I had nothing to hide, it was a matter of our privacy which I am sure most people can relate to.

It was discovered WWASPS paid Bock $12,500.00 for her computer hard-drive in an attempt to incriminate me – which it did not do. Because of her insistence and continued crusade to destroy me and my family I filed a lawsuit against her for Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy. After two years of litigation, on September 20, 2006, I won again when the jury awarded me $11.3 million – $5 million of this was in the form of punitive damages which is meant to punish the defendant for her actions. Further, the jury wanted to send a strong message to people: Freedom of Speech does not give a person the right to destroy, discredit, defame, and ruin others with false statements.

Though I experienced these two amazing legal victories – where the truth prevailed – there has unfortunately been an up-rise in continued Internet attacks by people who want to silence me and by people who believe programs for children and teens should not exist. Many of these people were institutionalized in the 70’s and 80’s and were harmed in the programs they attended. They have every right to feel hostility towards programs, considering what they went through. However, not all programs are bad and there are good programs for teens in crisis.

Desperate parents need to know there are safe options and that it is critical they do their research so they do not fall into the same trap I did. I have also been criticized by parents who, too, placed their children into abusive programs. Many parents have a difficult time admitting that we, as parents, made mistakes when we placed our children into bad and abusive programs. Some have come away with the belief that all programs must be bad and shame on me for thinking differently! As a parent I did make a mistake. I am not condoning my daughter’s behavior prior to placement. She was out of control and needed help but I made the mistake of not listening to my gut feelings and not doing better research. I believe parents need help in making such a major decision which is why I have spent the past seven years providing resources and assistance to parents.

Yes, as a parent I made a drastic mistake – one that cost my daughter years of emotional distress. Quite honestly she still suffers today with back flashes of what happened to her at the program she was in (Carolina Springs Academy). My daughter will still lash out at me in times of anger due to the abuse she endured, because for some time I did not believe her, and because I admitted openly that I did not do the research I should have done. This is why my organization, Parent’s Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.) is so important to me. It is a way in which I can help educate parents on how to research programs for their teens. The best parent is an informed parent.

My website HelpYourTeens.com brings awareness to parents when they begin their search for schools or programs and feel that anxiousness to make a rash decision. Many parents are learning from my experiences and are able to investigate potential programs with a better understanding of the teen help industry.

With this awareness parents are becoming wise and are not falling for the slick marketing tactics, fancy websites, tearful DVD’s, and glossy brochures provided to them. One of the marketing strategies of WWASPS is to have parents “sell” the program to other parents in exchange for free tuition. Initially I believed in the program and was one of their supporters. That quickly stopped when I learned what they had done to my daughter. All of this has made WWASPS and those who work for them extremely uncomfortable. Lisa Irvin is a Teen Help Sales Representative who sells WWASPS programs and who may be affected by my story being made available to parents on the Internet. I was recently informed by a former WWASPS employee that she is posting old e-mails from me when I was involved in the WWASPS system. This is a blatant act of attempting to discredit me again; however, I am going to address this head on.

While I was under the enchantment of WWASPS I was completely (in my opinion) brainwashed as one of their followers. Those of you who were once involved with WWASPS will understand this. I would venture to say I was one of their top referral parents. I actually sent out Newsletters in an attempt to help other parents. I truly believed in what they told me and what they sold me. I wanted to help other parents who were having trouble with their teens. I remember how relieved I felt when I believed my daughter was getting the help she needed (it wasn’t until much later that I learned the truth) and I wanted to share this information with as many people as possible.

When I first became involved with WWASPS Randall Hinton was my Sales Representative. Over the months he helped me with my parent referrals. Some time after I discovered what happened to my daughter Hinton left WWASPS/Teen Help. He kept in touch with me every so often via e-mail. Eventually he ended up in Puerto Rico where he agreed to interview for Zadig Productions and expose what went on at Teen Help and WWASPS facilities. Shortly after his interview, Hinton went back to work for WWASPS (Robert Lichfield). I never had contact with him again. Today, Hinton is charged with various felony charges in Colorado pertaining to children.

In a continued effort to destroy P.U.R.E. and me, old e-mails between Hinton and me are being posted on the Internet. My association with him was many years ago and has no relevance to what is going on today. Admittedly I did associate with Hinton, Lisa Irvin, and other Teen Help employees. However, that in no way means I condone what they did or what they do.

I was a victim who made bad choices in the interest of my child. I have learned from these experiences and though I wish my daughter and I did not have to go through this, I know PURE has helped thousands of families over the years because of our experiences. My book, which will be published shortly, “Wit’s End!” is about learning from my mistakes and gaining from my knowledge.

It is sad that people like Lisa Irvin and others feel a need to find and post old information at my expense. It is sad that anyone would stoop to this level. If a person feels they are honest and make an honest living then why do they feel the need to attempt to destroy others?

People have e-mailed or called me asking about these e-mails that are showing up on Internet forums, and I have answered them what I have stated here. I wrote this statement so people can understand that evil generates more evil. I am not haunted by my mistakes. Instead I look at my mistakes as stepping stones and not stumbling blocks. I am not bitter from my experiences but rather I am better for them!

I am moving on from the past and looking forward to a tremendous future helping to educate parents from my personal experiences. P.U.R.E. is based on reality, not textbook and definitely not from perfection. Learn from my mistakes; make a smart decision for your family.

If you have read any statements on the Internet or forums about me or P.U.R.E. that you have questions about, please feel free to contact me directly via email at sue.s@helpyourteens.com or call me 954-349-7260 EST. Although the rumors and gossip may never end, rest assured the truth always prevails as both my legal trials have proven.

Sue Scheff: Teen Cults – are dangerous for troubled teens

List of Dangerous Cults that Target Troubled Teens, with information provided by Sue Scheff™

There are a myriad of different cults threatening teenage livelihoods today. Below is a list of some of the most dangerous and well known cults, but this is by no means meant to be exhaustive, it is simply a sample of some popular groups to watch out for and educate teens about. Sue Scheff™ and other parent activists realize that providing a source of knowledge and information on teen and parent issues is the best way to help curb the dangers of teen cults.

The Twelve Tribes

The Twelve Tribes is group of religious organizations founded in the 1970s by Elbert Eugene Spriggs. While living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Spriggs created a teenage ministry called the Light Brigade, which operated a coffee shop. Spriggs transitioned the group and its teen members into a communal living situation and into its own religious splinter group after his Church postponed a sermon because of the Super Bowl.

Armed with his new community and belief system, Spriggs opened a chain of restaurants called Yellow Deli to raise money for his cult. The group continued to grow and spread around the country with their restaurants, while gathering significant criticism. The Twelve Tribes attempt to live in the primitive way of the early Church, following the path of Jesus, and believe they must get rid of all their possessions and individuality to call Jesus their true lord. Twelve Tribe members live communally and share all income and possessions.

Twelve Tribes was accused of child abuse and child labor violations in their various businesses. The group has also been accused of racist and anti-Semitic nature in their rhetoric and some of the loudest speakers against the group are former members, who warn of many dangers within the authoritarian organization.

Children of God/The Family International

The Children of God, now known as Family International, is a global cult masking as a religious movement. The organization started in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California, as a splinter of the Jesus movement of the 60s. The group’s influence spawned the first organized anti cult organization, known as [FREECOG (http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/FREECOG)%5D

The Family International uses its unassuming name and religious overtones to mask its bizarre cult nature. In its early stages, Family International used sex to win followers and show God’s love. This type of religious prostitution was called flirty fishing, and the cult used this perverted evangelism to win over many disillusioned converts.

The Family International is far from family oriented, in the common sense of the word family at least. The cult uses sexuality is its main theme and has distributed photographs, videos, and writing that promote and show adult and child sexual interaction within the group. Family International has since reconciled these problems, but for over 20 years, they clearly abused children in their ranks. Now, the Family International demotes individuals who report abuse to law enforcement agencies or pursue legal action against an abuser to a lower status in the group, and sometimes makes them leave the cult all together.

The group was founded by David Berg, who teaches a theology based on Christian fundamentalism. Berg is regarded in the group as a profit who passed on the direct words of God before his death. The group follows the Law of Love, which permits any actions that are motivated by sacrificial, unselfish love and are not intentionally hurtful. However, cult members believe homosexuality in males is a sin, but female bisexuality is perfectly fine. Adult members of The Family International are encouraged to have sex with other adult members, regardless of their marital status. Family International also encourages members to imagine they are having sex with Jesus during masturbation and intercourse, and male members are supposed to envision themselves as women, so as not have homosexual relationships with Jesus.

The Unification Church (Moonies)

The Unification Church was created by Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1954, based on Moon’s belief that Jesus spoke to him in 1935, instructing Moon to establish God’s kingdom on earth and finish what Jesus was unable to complete. Moon was arrested for preaching his beliefs in Korea but was freed from prison in 1950 by American troops. Moon’s religious system grew in popularity after his release and he sent out numerous missionaries to Japan and America, eventually moving to the United Sates in 1971.

Moon asserts he is the messiah of the Second Coming and that his wife is the embodiment of the Holy Spirit. The couple labels themselves as the True Parents.

The Unification Church is dangerous because of its financial and political power. Over 300 financial institutions and businesses provide a front for the group, ranging from clothing stores, to publishers and jewelers. Moon has also been invited to the white house and has spoken in front of Congress.

Despite his claim to be the messiah, Moon has spent time in American prisons for tax evasion. Moon also presides over mass weddings, one of which married 30,000 couples in Korea.

Moon’s book, Divine Principles, is considered to be inspired the by the word of God and is considered to be scripture among members of the cult. Moon uses his extensive and legitimate business system, as well as various philanthropic endeavors to mask his cultist tendencies.

For more information: Teen Cults

Sue Scheff: Youth Gang Statistics

teengangs21.jpgYouth gang activity is a significant problem in the United States. The following are statistics related to youth violence and gang activities:

  • 14 percent of teens are gang members (according to a survey in Denver)
  • 89 percent of serious violent crimes committed by teens were committed by gang members
  • Gang members are 60 percent more likely to be killed
  • The average age of a gang member is 17 to 18 years old
  • 25 percent of gang members are between the age of 15 and 17
  • Police reports indicate that 6 percent of gang members are female and that 39 percent of gangs have female members
  • Of female gang members:
    • 78 percent have been in a gang fight
    • 65 percent carry a weapon for protection
    • 39 percent have attacked someone with a weapon
  • Youth gang activity by area type:
    • 72 percent of large cities
    • 33 percent of small cities
    • 56 percent of suburban counties
    • 24 percent of rural counties
    • 51 percent overall
  • Youth gang activity by region:
    • 74 percent in the West
    • 52 percent in the Midwest
    • 49 percent in the South
    • 31 percent in the Northeast
    • 51 percent overall

For more information on Teen Gangs.

By Sue Scheff, Parents Universal Resource Experts

Sue Scheff (Parents Universal Resource Experts): Teen Cults – Preventing them from Ruining your Family

teencult.jpgTeen cults claim many victims each year

Every year thousands of teens across the country become ensnared in the dangerous and misunderstood world of cults. These hazardous entities prey on the uncertainty and alienation that many teens feel and use those feelings to attract unsuspecting teens into their cult traps. As a figurehead in the world of parent teen relations, Sue Scheff™ knows the danger of cults and teenagers’ susceptibility to their temptations. Sue Scheff™ believes that like many other teen\ ailments, the best defense against the world of cults is through education.

No teen actually joins a cult, they join a religious movement or a political organization that reaches out to the feelings of angst or isolation that many troubled teen’s experience. Over time, this group gradually reveals its true cultish nature, and before teens know it, they are trapped in a web they can’t untangle.

With the strong rise in teen internet usage, cults have many ways to contact children and brainwash them. Sue Scheff™ knows the dark side of the internet from her experience with teenage internet addiction, and she understands it is also an avenue for cults to infiltrate teenage brains.

Cults have long been represented in the mass media. The supporters of Reverend Jim Jones People’s Temple may be some of the most famous cult members, making global headlines when they died in the hundreds after drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide. Almost 300 of the dead Jones supporters were teens and young children. Heavens Gate is another well known cult, which believed ritual suicide would ensure their journey behind the Hale-Bopp comet with Jesus. Heavens Gate lived in a strict communal environment, funding their cult endeavors through web site development. Some male members of the cult even castrated themselves before all 36 committed suicide, wearing matching sweat suits and Nike tennis shoes.

It is clear that despite the ridiculous and bizarre nature of many cults, parents can’t ignore the power and resourcefulness of these groups. Cult ideas may seem to loony to take seriously, but they can have real power when used against troubled teenagers, the exact type of teens that Sue Scheff™ and other parent advocates have been working to keep safe.

Cult influence should not be taken lightly, especially when living with a troubled teen. Parents may not think of cults as a problem because they don’t hear about them a lot, but that’s the key to cult success. The livelihood of teen cults relies on staying out of the public eye and in the shadows. The Heaven’s Gate and People’s Temple cults didn’t truly gain public notice until after their suicides, and by then it was too late to save their followers.

The danger of teen cults is real, but parents can help ensure their teenagers’ safety by staying informed and communicating with their children. Sue Scheff™ presents a site with important information about different types of cults that target teens, warning signs of cult attendance, and ways to help prevent your teen from becoming involved in a cult. Knowledge and communication is always the first line of defense when helping a troubled teen.

For more information on Teen Cults.

Sue Scheff: Admitting Mistakes – Learn from my Mistakes, Gain from my Knowledge

sue-scheff-mike-and-juliet-2.jpgIt is not easy to admit you have made mistakes, especially as a parent when our kids are involved.

However, it is so important to take your mistakes and learn from them then move forward.

Having an at risk teen can truly put any parent at risk in making rash and wrong decisions.Learn from my mistakes – slow down, think it through – gain from my knowledge.

I am constantly battling the attacks of people I defeated in both my victorious jury trials as well as the Supreme Court of Appeal. Their obsession with me has become, at times, frightening – not of them, but for them. It seems like a true sickness.

At the end of the day – yes, I made a lot of mistakes. I have fought a solid fight and won against one of the largest corporations in the Teen Help Industry – World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP or WWASPS).

I further held my ground when a former WWASPS parent received $12,500.00 (which I believe was money to help destroy me) – to go on an Internet Smear Campaign of my family, my organization and myself.

Winning an unprecedented $11.3M jury verdict for damages for Internet Defamation has become a turning point for people that believe that free speech condones defamation.

My mistakes? Trusting. I trusted Teen Help/WWASPS/Carolina Springs Academy – I was desperate and they preyed on that. My story – www.aparentstruestory.com will give you a more detailed outline of my mistakes.

My second mistake – which at the time I was was minor – but it seems my enemies want to blow it up; was not proof-reading my bio that was on the P.U.R.E. website in the beginning. I was busy helping parents and had little to do with the website. The erroneous statement that I had graduated college – as well as a Certification of Educational Planner – was not written by me. In my defense, it was corrected the moment I became aware of the mistake.

Now we are in 2008 and through all my trials and tribulations I have become a voice for not only parents struggling with today’s teens, but a voice to help create a safer Cyberspace. I have recently meet with my Congresswoman as well as a Florida Senator a few times – and we will continue to fight to provide safety for people in Cyberspace and children.

My first book, Wit’s End!, will be out in July 2008. This will be full of inspiration, hope as well as vast resources for people working with today’s kids. The second book is in progress, and will be a continuation of hope. With today’s generation of kids – hope and inspiration is something you can never have too much of.

I am fortunate that my books are being published by the same people that brought you the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. I feel honored to be part of their family.

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Struggling Teens, Troubled Teens, At Risk Teens, Difficult Teens

teenchoices1.jpgDo any of these labels sound familiar? 

•Truancy (Excessive Absences) 
•Multiple Suspension/Detentions
•Expulsion 
•Academic Failure/Grades Dropping – Underachiever
•Social Withdrawal – Isolating themselves
•Poor Decision Making 
•Peer Relationship Problems; Fights; Arguments 
•Choosing the Wrong Peer Group 
•Defiant/Anger/Violent/Rage/Rebellious – Conduct Disorder
•Confrontational Behavior/Acting Out 
•Refusal to accept Accountability for their Actions 
•Depression/Bipolar/Oppositional Defiance Disorder 
•Involvement in Cult Activities – Gang Activity

Does any of the above sound familiar? If so it may be time to start searching for healthy and safe alternative schools or programs. Whether they are local or out of the area, after conferring with a school guidance counselor or therapist, you may determine that a different academic setting may benefit your child. Absences and Suspension Rates (or Incident reports) are useful indicators of student academic or behavioral problems. Most truancy and incident rates increase with grade levels. Another words, this will most likely escalate rather than go away if not addressed. We always recommend parents to seek local adolescent therapy* prior to residential placement. 

Incidents rates are on the rise and school expulsion have increased, nearly doubled in the High Schools within the past three years. The zero tolerance rates may be attributed to this rise in numbers, however it is a clear indication that some teens are truly struggling and need outside help. This is has to do with many factors: 

• Population Increase, which leads to overcrowding in the schools
• Lack of ACCEPTANCE of our Cultural Diversity
• Family Conflicts – Marital Issues (Divorce, Separation, etc.)
• Stress and Anger Management Problems
• Lack of Communication and the skills to communicate with Today’s Teens.
• Ineffective or Inconsistence Parenting/Discipline Strategies
• Substance Abuse (Drugs and/or Alcohol)
• Undiagnosed Learning Disabilities – ADD/ADHD/LD
• Zero Tolerance Level at Schools
• LACK OF AFFORDABLE COMMUNITY RESOURCES & SERVICES

Do you have a struggling teen? At risk teens? Defiant Teen? Teen Depression? Problem Teen? Difficult Teen? Teen Rage? Teen Anger? Teen Drug Use? Teen Gangs? Teen Runaways? Bipolar? ADD/ADHD? Disrespectful Teen? Out of Control Teen? Peer Pressure?