Sue Scheff – Parenting Teens

Are you at your wit’s end?

 

Are you experiencing any of the following situations or feeling at a complete loss or a failure as a parent?  You are not alone and by being a proactive parent you are taking the first step towards healing and bringing your family back together.

 

  • Is your teen escalating out of control?
  • Is your teen becoming more and more defiant and disrespectful?
  • Is your teen manipulative? Running your household?
  • Are you hostage in your own home by your teen’s negative behavior?
  • Is your teen angry, violent or rage outbursts?
  • Is your teen verbally abusive?
  • Is your teen rebellious, destructive and withdrawn?
  • Is your teen aggressive towards others or animals?
  • Is your teen using drugs and/or alcohol?
  • Does your teen belong to a gang?
  • Do they frequently runaway or leave home for extended periods of time?
  • Has their appearance changed – piercing, tattoo’s, inappropriate clothing?
  • Has your teen stopped participating in sports, clubs, church and family functions?  Have they become withdrawn from society?
  • Is your teen very intelligent yet not working up to their potential? Underachiever?  Capable of doing the work yet not interested in education.
  • Does he/she steal?
  • Is your teen sexually active?
  • Teen pregnancy? 
  • Is your teen a good kid but making bad choices?
  • Undesirable peers? Is your teen a follower or a leader?
  • Low self esteem and low self worth?
  • Lack of motivation?  Low energy?
  • Mood Swings?  Anxiety?
  • Teen depression that leads to negative behavior?
  • Eating Disorders?  Weight loss? Weight gain?
  • Self-Harm or Self Mutilation?
  • High School drop-out?
  • Suspended or Expelled from school?
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts?
  • ADD/ADHD/LD/ODD?
  • Is your teen involved in legal problems? Have they been arrested?
  • Juvenile Delinquent?
  • Conduct Disorder?
  • Bipolar?
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

 

Does your teen refuse to take accountability and always blame others for their mistakes?

 

  • Do you feel hopeless, helpless and powerless over what options you have as a parent?  Are you at your wit’s end?

 

 

Does any of the above sound familiar?  Many parents are at their wit’s end by the time they contact us, but the most important thing many need to know is you are not alone.  There is help but the parent needs to be proactive and educate themselves in getting the right help.

 

 

 

Many try local therapy, which is always recommended, but in most cases, this is a very temporary band-aid to a more serious problem.  One or two hours a week with a therapist is usually not enough to make the major changes that need to be done.   

 

If you feel you are at your wit’s end and are considering outside resources, please contact us. http://www.helpyourteens.com/free_information.shtml   An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child.  It is critical not to place your child out of his/her element.  In many cases placing a teen that is just starting to make bad choices into a hard core environment may cause more problems.  Be prepared – do your homework.

 

Many parents are in denial and keep hoping and praying the situation is going to change.  Unfortunately in many cases, the problems usually escalate without immediate attention.  Don’t be parents in denial; be proactive in getting your teen the appropriate help they may need.  Whether it is local therapy or outside the home assistance, be in command of the situation before it spirals out of control and you are at a place of desperation.  At wit’s end is not a pleasant place to be, but so many of us have been there.

 

Finding the best school or program for your child is one of the most important steps a parent does.  Remember, your child is not for sale – don’t get drawn into high pressure sales people, learn from my mistakes.  Read my story at www.aparentstruestory.com for the mistakes I made that nearly destroyed my daughter. 

 

In searching for schools and programs we look for the following:

·         Helping Teens – not Harming them

·         Building them up – not Breaking them down

·         Positive and Nurturing Environments – not Punitive

·         Family Involvement in Programs – not Isolation from the teen

·         Protect Children – not Punish them

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Career Angst

By Connect with Kids

“I want to be at the top of the pile, and if I’m not there, I feel like I gotta do a lot of things to get there.”

– Michael, 14

There’s growing evidence that kids today are more worried about their future than previous generations. And that anxiety is occurring in younger and younger children. How can this type of anxiety impact your child?

Whether they’re involved in sports, clubs or academics, kids today are quickly learning that competition is a part of life.

“I think there is more competition these days to go to the best college, to make the best SAT scores, and it’s like everybody is trying to be the best,” 14-year-old Connie says.

Even at the tender ages of 12, 13 and 14, adolescents begin to worry about the future – “Where will I go to college?” “What kind of career will I choose?” “How much money will I make?” It’s a new kind of teenage angst.

Thirteen-year-old Trey feels the pressure every day.

“I set my standards very high and when I don’t achieve my goal, I feel very bad,” he says.

Michael, 14, pushes himself, too.

“You want to be better than everybody else. I know I do. I want to be at the top of the pile and if I’m not there, I feel like I gotta do a lot of things to get there.”

The National Association of School Psychologists estimates that career-related anxieties among teens have increased about 20% in the past decade. Experts say striving for success is great, but they also warn that if it becomes an obsession, it can be unhealthy for kids.

“They become anxious [and] jittery. They become worriers,” says Dr. John Lochridge, a psychiatrist. “They turn to drugs or alcohol as external ways to calm themselves down.“

Experts say that parents need to help kids put success into perspective and teach them how to pace themselves.

“[It’s important to] emphasize the moment as opposed to where we are going to be in five years, where we’re going to be in 10 years or what are we achieving,” says Dr. Alexandra Phipps, a psychologist.

But more than anything, parents need to help their children recognize the importance of “just being a kid.”

Says Connie: “Sometimes, I feel like I have so much stress on me. And I feel like at this age, I should be enjoying myself, but sometimes I don’t feel like I’m enjoying life as I should be.”

Tips for Parents

The recent barrage of layoffs and economic turmoil of the past year is not only taking it’s toll on the working class but it is also affecting children – even those in middle school – as they begin to worry about their financial future. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, career-related anxiety among children has increased approximately 15-20% in the past decade. Even affluent, academic achievers are finding themselves buckling under enormous amounts of pressure as they witness the world of work become a place of fierce competition.

This trend of children’s early anxiety over financial well-being is further evidenced by a 2007 Charles Schwab “Teens & Money” survey. The survey of 1,000 U.S. teens in aged 13-18 revealed the following statistics:

  • Despite their optimistic longer-term earnings expectations, 62% say they’re concerned about being able to support themselves after high school.
  • 49% say they’re concerned their parents/guardians will not be able to support them financially if they attend college.
  • One in four (25%) say they sometimes feel guilty for being a financial burden to their parents (among teens 16-18, 31% say this).
  • More than half (56%) are concerned about their parents’/guardians’ financial well-being.

Is it harmful for children and adolescents to be worried about competition and financial success at such an early age? Competition is generally good for children, according to the National Network for Child Care. Whether children are competing for a spot on the volleyball team or a chance to win an academic scholarship, the experience helps them gain insights about their physical and intellectual skills and limitations. Competitions also enable children to learn teamwork, identify personal goals, develop criteria for success and motivate them to increase their efforts to attain the goals they desire. But if your child begins to develop a “winning-is-everything” attitude, parental intervention may be necessary.

If your adolescent seems preoccupied by future financial insecurity, you can take several steps to ease their angst. The experts at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism suggest you start by using these tips to guide your child when dealing with the issue of careers:

  • Encourage your child to explore his or her options. Be supportive by asking your child, “Can I help you get connected?” or “Can I help you with researching a career?”
  • You need to remember this is not your career decision. Have trust in your child and be supportive, yet informative.
  • The world of work has changed since many parents made their first career choice. So some parents need to realize some of their information might be outdated.
  • Direct your child to resources where he or she can research his or her desired career.

If your child comes to you with career and financial concerns, the best action you can take is to listen, according to the National PTA. Engaging in open communication with your child and sharing your own experiences and frustrations will help to ease your child’s anxiety. If your adolescent appears highly stressed about the future, you need to take the necessary steps to reduce that amount of stress before it can damage your child’s physical health. The American Academy of Family Physicians cites these signs and symptoms that indicate your child may be experiencing too much stress and anxiety:

  • Feeling depressed, edgy, guilty or tired
  • Having headaches, stomachaches or trouble sleeping
  • Laughing or crying for no reason
  • Blaming other people for bad things that happen
  • Only seeing the down side of a situation
  • Resenting other people or personal responsibilities

The National PTA says that you can help your adolescent learn to keep his or her anxiety at a minimal level by teaching him or her the following skills:

  • Limit or expand the number of your activities and responsibilities based on your capabilities. Preteens and teens should have challenges without becoming overwhelmed.
  • Avoid unnecessary worry. Thinking about a problem in order to arrive at a solution can be positive, but constant and unconstructive worry doesn’t accomplish anything. It usually just makes situations more stressful.
  • Become better organized. Plan activities and goals a step at a time so that parts are accomplished. This gives you more self-esteem and more reasonable deadlines.
  • Practice ways to reduce stress, such as aerobic exercise, proper nutrition, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, relaxation exercises, sleep, massage, taking a whirlpool or sauna bath and by having FUN.

References

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • National Network for Child Care
  • National PTA
  • Northwestern University

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Texting While Driving

By Connect with Kids www.connectwithkids.com

“I don’t even remember hitting the truck because I was looking down at my phone when I hit it.”

– Richard Tatum, 18

Three seconds. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that’s all the time it takes for a driver to take their eyes off the road and get into a car accident.  And now, with more kids than ever texting on their cell phones while they’re driving… how many more crashes will there be? How many more kids will get hurt? 

Richard Tatum was sending his girlfriend a text message, just like he does throughout the day. The problem was, this time he was driving while he was texting.

He crossed the median and collided head-on with a cement truck.

“I don’t even remember hitting the truck because I was looking down at my phone when I hit it,” says Richard, 18.

Richard’s car was totaled: he barely survived.

“It crushed my pelvis and hip and my knee.  I tore two ligaments and chipped a piece of my knee cap off.”

According to a recent AAA Auto Club survey, 46 percent of teens admit to text messaging while driving. That’s up from 13 percent just two years ago.

“You just look down to text, look up to drive, look down to text. It’s not hard to do so everybody does it,” says Richard.

Two states, Washington and New Jersey, have made driving while texting illegal.  Sixteen more are trying to pass similar legislation.  

And it’s not just texting that’s dangerous; simply talking on the phone while driving greatly impairs your ability. Research from the University of Utah shows that driving while talking on the cell phone is equivalent to a .08 blood alcohol level. In most states, if your blood alcohol level is greater than .08 you are considered intoxicated.

Experts say that parents should make it clear: teens can use their cell phone or the car, but not both at the same time.

 “With teens, you have to send the message that you cannot do this while you are driving, and if I find out you are doing it, then you are not going to be driving,says Ted Waldbart, general manager, Safe America Foundation.

As for Richard, he’s now walking and even driving again, but he will never be the same.

“He now has the hip of a 47-year-old because of the cartilage damage and everything.  And he is going to have arthritis, and he’s just not going to be able to do the things that he could do before,” says Richard’s mother, Linda Tatum.

“I don’t text when I drive anymore; it’s not worth breaking my good hip,” Richard says with a laugh.

Tips for Parents

The Federal government estimates that 30 percent of car accidents are due to driving distractions. To help keep your teen safe while they are in the car, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group recommend these guidelines for teaching teens about driving distractions.

  • Know and enforce your state’s Graduated Driver License laws and restrictions, including unsupervised driving, time of day and passengers in the car.
  • Sign a teen driving contract (many are available online, including SADD’s Contract for Life.
  • Set family driving rules with clear consequences for breaking the rules. SADD recommends rules such as:
    • No alcohol or drug use
    • No cell phone use, including text messaging
    • Limit distractions — eating, changing CDs, handling iPods or other activities while driving
    • Limit or restrict friends in the car without an adult
  • Be a role model. Your teen will follow your driving example, so be sure you are keeping your own rules.
  • If you receive an important call or must make a call, pull off the road. Do not drive while calling or texting.
  • Let your voicemail take the call. You can call back later when you are not driving.
  • Know when to stop talking. If the conversation is long, emotional or stressful continue it when you are not driving.
  • Do not take notes while driving. If you don’t want to forget a note, use a take recorder or pull off the road.
  • Do not eat or drink while driving.
  • Groom yourself at home, not in the vehicle.

References

  • Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) & Liberty Mutual Insurance Group Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE)
  • Safe America Foundation
  • Road and Travel

Sue Scheff – Parent Advocate: KYDS Survey on Inhalant Use

A recent news story used the statistics found in the 2006 Prevention Needs Assessment Survey from the KYDS Coalition, sponsored by the Broome County Mental Health Department in Binghamton, New York.

The entire survey can be read in the link above, but it is rather long; here are some relevant data points:

Percentages of Students using Inhalants (lifetime):

7th grade

2002: 8.7%
2004: 8.1%
2006: 10.8%
Monitoring the Future survey: n/a

8th grade

2002: 11.0%
2004: 8.9%
2006: 15.2%
Monitoring the Future survey: 17.1%

9th grade

2002: 10.3%
2004: 10.7%
2006: 13.5%
Monitoring the Future survey: n/a

10th grade

2002: 7.6%
2004: 10.2%
2006: 14.6%
Monitoring the Future survey: 13.1%

11th grade

2002: 7.9%
2004: 11.6%
2006: 13.0%
Monitoring the Future survey: n/a

12th grade

2002: 8.4%
2004: 7.6%
2006: 10.5%
Monitoring the Future survey: 11.4%

Total

2002: 9.0%
2004: 9.6%
2006: 13.0%
Monitoring the Future survey: n/a

What are the highlights of this data? Well, there is an increase in every single grade for inhalant usage from 2004 data to 2006. Total inhalant usage jumped from 9.0% to 13.0% in four years.

A lot of people wonder why lifetime inhalant use reporting is higher in eighth grade than it is in other years. If someone reported using inhalants when they were 13, shouldn’t they have reported a lifetime inhalant use when they are 18?

I can think of two reasons for why this may happen. First, as students get older, they might minimize the importance of inhalant usage during middle school and not report it as often, or simply forget about it after a few years.

Secondly, many of these surveys are done during school hours. If you have students abusing inhalants in eighth grade, these same students might not have stayed in school all the way until senior year. They may have moved on to other drugs and abandoned their schoolwork. Studies would have to take into account the dropout rate as well.

It will be interesting to see the results of a 2008 study.

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Love Our Children USA

Every year over 3 million children are victims of violence and almost 1.8
million
are abducted. Nearly 600,000 children live in foster care. Every day
1 out of 7 kids and teens are approached online by predators.

Visit LOVE OUR CHILDREN USA

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Parents Need to Learn More about Inhalant Abuse

Inhalant Abuse is an issue many parents are not aware of, they are very in tune to substance abuse regarding drugs and alcohol, however huffing seems to be a subject that is not discussed enough.

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.