Monday, December 8, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Runaways


Teen Runaways are on the increase. Many teens think that the grass is greener on the other side.


They are confused and following the crowd of peers making poor choices. Teens want to escape the "rules of a household" and we as parents, become their number one enemy. They feel that they are fearless and can prove they can survive without their parents and our rules. Rules are put in place for a reason; we love our children and want them to grow up with dignity and respect we try to instill in them. Their flight plan, in some ways, is a cry for attention. Many times runaways are back home shortly, however there are other situations that can be more serious. This is not to say any child that runs away is not serious, but when this becomes a habit and is their way of rebelling, a parent needs to intervene.


So many times we hear how "their friend’s parents" allow a much later curfew or are more lenient, and you are the worst parents in the world. This is very common and the parent feels helpless, hopeless and alone. It is all part of the manipulation the teens put us through. With their unappreciative thoughts of us, they will turn to this destructive behavior, which, at times, results in them leaving the home.


Some teens go to a friend's house or relative they believe they can trust and make up stories about their home life. This is very common, a parent has to suffer the pain and humiliation that it causes to compound it with the need to get your child help that they need. If you fear your child is at risk of running, the lines of communication have to be open. We understand this can be difficult, however if possible needs to be approached in a positive manner. Teen help starts with communication.


If you feel this has escalated to where you cannot control them, it may be time for placement and possibly having your child escorted. Please know that the escorts (transports) are all licensed and very well trained in removing children from their home into safe programs. These escorts are also trained counselors that will talk to your child all the way, and your child will end his/her trip with a new friend and a better understanding of why their parents had to resort to this measure.


Helpful Hint if you child has runaway and you are using all your local resources – offer a cash reward to their friends privately, of course promising their anonymity and hopefully someone will know your child’s whereabouts.


Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your wits end. Try to remain positive and hopeful and do all you can to help understand why your child is acting out this way. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents.
Learn more at www.helpyourteens.com.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: National Teen Runaway Prevention Week



Welcome to the National Runaway Switchboard


Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away in a year. Our mission at the National Runaway Switchboard is to help keep America’s runaway and at-risk youth safe and off the streets. Our services are provided in part through funding from Family and Youth Services Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Call 1-800-RUNAWAY if you are a teenager who is thinking of running from home, if you have a friend who has run and is looking for help, or if you are a runaway ready to go home through our Home Free program. Call if you are a teacher looking for information to pass along to your students about alternatives to running from home.


Call if you care about a youth and want information on how you can help someone who may be at risk of running from home.
Our 24-hour crisis line has an experienced front-line team member ready to help you now. It’s anonymous, confidential and free. 1-800-RUNAWAY.



Saturday, November 8, 2008

Teens Helping Teens: Promise House Partners with Area Schools to Aid Teens Living on the Streets

DALLAS, Nov 03, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- On Nov. 6 at 1:00 p.m., students from five local schools will gather to culminate their month-long efforts to collect toiletries, personal care items and winter weather clothing for the Street Outreach Program of Promise House. Students from Bishop Dunne Catholic School, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, Parish Episcopal School, Greenhill School and Dewitt Perry Middle School started their collection drives in early October so that their contributions could be distributed during National Runaway Prevention Month in November.

The celebration of the students' efforts is the kick-off event for the 2nd Annual Who's Sofa Surfing Tonight Campaign sponsored by Promise House in conjunction with National Runaway Prevention Month, National Safe Place and the National Runaway Switchboard's Green Light Project. The campaign aims to spotlight the plight of homeless, runaway and abandoned teens in Dallas, which often goes unnoticed compared to the recent, dedicated effort to assist the adult homeless population.

"Over 1,000 teens are on the streets or sofa surfing each night in Dallas," said Dr. Harriet Boorhem, president of Promise House. "Promise House has been the consistent voice for change on this issue for close to 25 years.

"As the only agency to specifically serve the homeless, runaway and abandoned teenage population in Dallas, we believe it is imperative that the people of Dallas and the city government understand that just because teens have grown-up bodies, it doesn't mean they are grown up. Most runaways are lost, alone and terrified. They require specialized care that is usually not offered at adult shelters."

The kick-off event on Nov. 6 will feature Dr. Elba Garcia, mayor pro tem for the city of Dallas. The event will also feature a Promise House resident who will share her story as a part of a vigil to teens lost to homelessness. Additional ways for the community to get involved will follow throughout the month of November as part of the campaign.

Everyone is encouraged to display a green light bulb in their porch light during the month to show their support of this effort as part of the National Runaway Switchboard's Green Light Project. As the Dallas County Coordinator for National Safe Place, Promise House will be distributing green light bulbs to the community on Nov. 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the QuikTrip located at 3230 W. Mockingbird Ln. QuikTrip is a national and local sponsor of the Safe Place Program.

For more information on the Who's Sofa Surfing Tonight Campaign or to get involved, please call Promise House at 214.941.8578 or e-mail communicationsmanager@promisehouse.org.

About Promise House

Since 1984, Promise House has had an open door to youth and families in crisis serving over 50,000 teens and families in North Texas.
SOURCE: Promise House

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Runaways

Teen Runaways are on the increase. Many teens think that the grass is greener on the other side.

They are confused and following the crowd of peers making poor choices. Teens want to escape the "rules of a household" and we as parents, become their number one enemy. They feel that they are fearless and can prove they can survive without their parents and our rules. Rules are put in place for a reason; we love our children and want them to grow up with dignity and respect we try to instill in them. Their flight plan, in some ways, is a cry for attention. Many times runaways are back home shortly, however there are other situations that can be more serious. This is not to say any child that runs away is not serious, but when this becomes a habit and is their way of rebelling, a parent needs to intervene.

So many times we hear how "their friend’s parents" allow a much later curfew or are more lenient, and you are the worst parents in the world. This is very common and the parent feels helpless, hopeless and alone. It is all part of the manipulation the teens put us through. With their unappreciative thoughts of us, they will turn to this destructive behavior, which, at times, results in them leaving the home.

Some teens go to a friend's house or relative they believe they can trust and make up stories about their home life. This is very common, a parent has to suffer the pain and humiliation that it causes to compound it with the need to get your child help that they need. If you fear your child is at risk of running, the lines of communication have to be open. We understand this can be difficult, however if possible needs to be approached in a positive manner. Teen help starts with communication.

If you feel this has escalated to where you cannot control them, it may be time for placement and possibly having your child escorted. Please know that the escorts (transports) are all licensed and very well trained in removing children from their home into safe programs. These escorts are also trained counselors that will talk to your child all the way, and your child will end his/her trip with a new friend and a better understanding of why their parents had to resort to this measure.

Helpful Hint if you child has runaway and you are using all your local resources – offer a cash reward to their friends privately, of course promising their anonymity and hopefully someone will know your child’s whereabouts.

Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your wits end. Try to remain positive and hopeful and do all you can to help understand why your child is acting out this way. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents.

Learn more at www.helpyourteens.com and www.witsendbook.com

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Teen Substance Abuse


Why do they start? What Should I Look For?


A major factor in drug use is peer pressure. Even teens who think they're above the influence of peer pressure can often find it hard to refuse trying drugs when they believe their popularity is at stake. Teens may feel that taking drugs or alcohol to fit in is safer than becoming a perceived social exile, and may not realize that their friends will not abandon them simply for refusing a joint or bottle of beer. A popular adage that is thrown around regarding peer pressure says if your friends would abandon you for not accepting an illegal substance, they're not "real" friends- but try telling this to a teenager. A more effective method is to acknowledge the pressure to fit in and work with your teen to find solutions to these problems before they arise. Suggest that your teen offer to be the designated driver at parties, and work with them to develop a strategy for other situations.


Even agreeing to back your teen up on a carefully crafted story can help enforce your bond with them- giving them the okay to tell their friends to blame you or that you give them random drug tests will go a long way. Knowing they have your support in such a sensitive subject can alleviate many of their fears, and knowing they can trust you helps instill the idea they can come to you with other problems. This is also an excellent time to remind them to never allow friends to drive under the influence and to never get into a car with someone under the influence. Reassure your teenager that if they should give in to peer pressure and become intoxicated or high, or if they have no sober ride home though they are sober themselves that it is always okay to call you for a ride home. Some parents may want to consider getting teens a cell phone for emergency use, or giving them an emergency credit card for cab fare.


Depression is another major factor in drug use. For more in depth information on teenage depression, please visit Sue Scheff™'s Teen Depression Resource. Despite the fact that many substances actually make depression worse, teenagers may be lured in by the initial high, which in theory is only replenished by more drugs. Thus begins the vicious cycle that becomes nearly impossible to break without costly rehabilitation. If you notice your teen is acting differently, it may be time to have a talk with them to address these changes. Remember- do not accuse your teen or criticize them. Drug use is a serious cry for help, and making them feel ashamed or embarrassed can make the problem worse. Some common behavior changes you may notice if your teen is abusing drugs and alcohol are:


Violent outbursts, disrespectful behavior
Poor or dropping grades
Unexplained weight loss or gain
Skin abrasions, track marks
Missing curfew, running away, truancy
Bloodshot eyes, distinct "skunky" odor on clothing and skin
Missing jewelry money
New friends
Depression, apathy, withdrawal
Reckless behavior

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and Peer Pressure


Peer Pressure leads to “Good Teens Making Bad Choices” which is very common today.


Teen Peer Pressure can be extremely damaging to a pre-teen or teen that is desperately trying to fit in somewhere – anywhere in their school. They are not sure what group they belong in, and those that are suffering with low self esteem can end up fitting more comfortably with the less than desirable peers. This can be the beginning of a downward spiral. When a child doesn’t have confidence of who they are or where they belong, it can lead to the place that is easiest to fit in – usually the not the best crowd.


Keeping your child involved in activities such as sports, music and school clubs can help give them a place where they belong. We always encourage parents to find the one thing that truly interests their child, whether it is a musical instrument, swimming, golf, diving, dance, chess club, drama, etc. It is important to find out what their interests are and help them build on it. Encourage them 100%. They don’t need to be the next Tiger Woods, but they need to enjoy what they are doing and keep busy doing it. Staying busy in a constructive way is always beneficial.


It is very common with many parents that contact us that their child has fallen into the wrong crowd and has become a follower rather than a leader. They are making bad choices, choices they know better however the fear of not fitting in with their friends sways them to make the wrong decisions. Low self esteem can attribute to this behavior, and if it has escalated to a point of dangerous situations such as legal issues, substance use, gang related activity, etc. it may be time to seek outside help. Remember, don’t be ashamed of this, it is very common today and you are not alone. So many parents believe others will think it is a reflection of their parenting skills, however with today’s society; the teen peer pressure is stronger than it ever has been. The Internet explosion combined with many teens Entitlement Issues has made today’s generation a difficult one to understand.


It is so important to find the right fit for your child if you are seeking residential treatment. We always encourage *local adolescent counseling prior to any Residential Treatment Programs or Boarding schools, however this is not always necessary. Many parents have an instinct when their child is heading the wrong direction. It is an intuition only a parent can detect. If something doesn’t seem right, it usually isn’t. If your gut is talking to you, you may want to listen or investigate what your child is doing. Parents need to understand that teen peer pressure can influence adolescents in negative ways. Do you know who your child’s friends are?


Visit http://www.helpyourteens.com/ for more information.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Teen 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.

www.helpyourteens.com


Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more help and information.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Teen and Youth Gangs

Gang activity in the United States is not always the way that the media portrays it. Gang violence is not restricted to inner city settings, nor is it simply the activity of minority groups. There are gangs in cities, suburbs, and even small town America and the violence that many of these gangs encourage and participate in is costing far too many lives.

Most gangs are a loosely organized group of individuals who control a territory. A significant portion of gang violence stems from fighting over territory, which may be used to distribute drugs. Additionally, gangs tend to denote members through a sign or color. Two of the most well known gangs in the United States are the Bloods and the Crips which use the colors red and blue respectively.

Gangs often prey on the teenagers who wish to fit in. Being part of a gang can provide teenagers sought after friends and popularity. By joining a gang, teens have a social network already established for them with friends who are literally ready to die for them. This infrastructure can fill a void in a young person's life quickly and easily; however, it is in a negative way. The teenage years are a formative and difficult time for many people and joining a gang is a simple way to feel liked and popular. This is especially appealing for individuals with low self confidence or who feel as if they do not fit in. In dangerous neighborhoods, joining a gang can actually provide protection from other gangs, which is attractive for many people.

Since the 1970's, gang activity has spiraled out of control. Prior to the 70's, fewer than half of the states were plagued by gang activity, but now there is not a single state that does not have to deal with youth gang activity. Violence and gang activity peaked in 1996, but has decreased overall since then. However, activity continues to increase in less urban settings and violence is continuing to become more lethal.

Many people believe this is due to gangs' involvement in the increasingly lucrative drug trafficking market. This is not the case. The increase in violence seems to be stem from the availability and easy access of lethal weapons. Additionally, cars have become a more common accessory in attacks on rival gangs.

I am Sue Scheff™, and my organization Parents Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.™) seeks to protect America's teens. Keeping your troubled teen safe and on the right path in life can be an incredibly difficult task, but you are not the only one facing these problems, nor are you without resources. We as parents must work together to support one another and provide assistance and advice to educate and support one another through the difficult times. At P.U.R.E.™ you will find resources, including other parents who have faced the same trouble as you, which will alleviate the difficulties of raising a teenager.

If you are worried that your son or daughter has already or is likely to become involved with a gang, do not wait to seek help. We have compiled an abundance of useful resources on youth gang activity.

If the safety and well being of your teenager is at risk, do not hesitate to seek our support or professional help. Visit our website, Help Your Teens. The consultation service is free and any parent seeking help will be accommodated. You are not alone!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Teen Truancy - A Concern Among Parents

Truancy is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. Children in America today lose over five million days of their education each year through truancy. Often times they do this without the knowledge of their parents or school officials. In common usage the term typically refers to absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to a medical condition. It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes. Because of this confusion many schools have their own definitions, and as such the exact meaning of the term itself will differ from school to school and district to district. In order to avoid or diminish confusion, many schools explicitly define the term and their particular usage thereof in the school's handbook of policies and procedures. In many instances truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.

Many educators view truancy as something much more far reaching than the immediate consequence that missed schooling has on a student's education. Truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education they are receiving, or both. Because of its traditional association with juvenile delinquency, truancy in some schools may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school. This can be especially troubling for a child, as failing school can lead to social impairment if the child is held back, economic impact if the child drops out or cannot continue his or her education, and emotional impact as the cycle of failure diminishes the adolescent's self-esteem.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Dangers of Inhalant Abuse


I know I have Blogged a lot about Inhalant Abuse and I will continue to do so - especially after reading about the recent senseless deaths. Take a moment to read their Blog at http://inhalant-info.blogspot.com/ - Take the time to learn more and you never know when this knowledge will be necessary. http://www.inhalant.org/

Monday, July 21, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Runaway Information

Teen Runaways is one of the most stressful times parents will go through. Does your teen leave for long periods of time? Do they sneak out? Are they out of control?

Visit my latest website on Teen Runaways for more information.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Teen Trouble, Teen Runaways, Peer Pressure, Struggling Teens, by Sue Scheff

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

www.helpyourteens.com
www.suescheff.com
www.witsendbook.com

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Gun Violence


“One thing about him—he thought no one would hurt him. He thought, ‘no enemies.’”

– Mickye McGuire-Rush, Gregory’s Mother

Mickye McGuire-Rush sits in her living room and remembers her only son, Gregory. “One thing about him—he thought no one would hurt him. He thought, ‘no enemies,’” she says.

Gregory had no enemies and no protection from random violence. At age 15, he was shot to death by another kid didn’t even know.

“Mistaken identity—Gregory lost his life over something he didn’t even know was going on,” Mickye says.

Violence is killing our kids. Murder is the second leading cause of death among teenagers.

“I saw my friend in the hospital die with a nine millimeter, with a bible over it and we had a prayer before he died. Things change from that,” says one teen.

Changing the violence is exactly what a group of fourth and fifth graders are hoping to do. Some of the girls are step dancing for peace.

“We want the world to be a safe place to live,” says Ebony.

They’re part of a program at school that teaches non-violence as a way of life.

Experts say parents may not be able to prevent their children from becoming victims of violence, but they can teach kids how to handle disagreements peacefully in their own lives.

“It has to do with what you control and what you do not control. You control your own behavior. You control what you do inside that relationship with the people inside that household,” says Dr. John Jenson, psychologist.

“Clearly something is not working and I think to conclude that it’s the kids that aren’t working is inappropriate. We first must look at the environment that we have created as adults for kids to live in,” says Dr. Stephen Thomas, psychologist.

An environment that, so far, has claimed too many lives, including Gregory.

Mickye McGuire-Rush says, “He was my best friend.”

Tips for Parents

After a decade of decline, the number of children killed by gun fire has increased, according to the report Protect Children, Not Guns. This report from the Children’s Defense Fund, used data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, to compile this list of statistics:

3,006 children and teens died from gunfire in the United States in 2005—one child or teen every three hours, eight every day, 58 children and teens every week.
1,972 were homicide victims
822 committed suicide
212 died in accidental or undetermined circumstances
2,654 were boys
352 were girls
404 were under age 15
131 were under age 10
69 were under age 5
1,624 were White
1,271 were Black
614 were Latino*
60 were Asian or Pacific Islander
51 were American Indian or Alaska Native


The number of children and teens in America killed by guns in 2005 would fill 120 public school classrooms of 25 students each.

In 2005, 69 preschoolers were killed by firearms compared to 53 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

Since 1979, gun violence has snuffed out the lives of 104,419 children and teens in America. Sixty percent of them were White; 37 percent were Black.

The number of Black children and teens killed by gunfire since 1979 is more than 10 times the number of Black citizens of all ages lynched in American history.

The number of children and teens killed by guns since 1979 would fill 4,177 public school classrooms of 25 students each.

More than five times as many children and teens suffered non-fatal gun injuries.

181 more children and teens died from firearms in 2005 than in 2004—the first annual increase since 1994.

68 more children and teens died from homicide in 2005 than in 2004.

56 more White, 122 more Black, 40 more Hispanic, and 9 more Asian and Pacific Islander children and teens died in 2005 than in 2004.

More 10- to 19-year-olds die from gunshot wounds than from any other cause except motor vehicle accidents.

Almost 90 percent of the children and teens killed by firearms in 2005 were boys.

Black children and teens are more likely to be victims of firearm homicide. White children and teens are more likely to commit suicide.

The firearm death rate for Black males ages 15 to 19 is more than four times that of comparable White males.

A Black male has a 1 in 72 chance of being killed by a firearm before his 30th birthday; a White male has a 1 in 344 chance.

Eight times as many White children and teens committed suicide by gun as Black children and teens.

Males ages 15 to 19 are almost eight times as likely as females that age to commit suicide with a firearm.

The following behaviors and actions may be viewed as risk factors indicative of the potential for the initiation of violence by a child or adolescent:


Has a history of tantrums or uncontrollable angry outbursts
Uses abusive language or calls people names
Makes violent threats when angry
Has brought a weapon to school
Has serious disciplinary problems at school or in the community
Abuses drugs, alcohol or other substances
Has few or no close friends
Is preoccupied with weapons or explosives
Has been suspended or expelled from school
Is cruel to animals
Has little or no supervision and support from parents or a caring adult
Has witnessed or been a victim of abuse or neglect
Has been bullied and/or bullies or intimidates other kids
Prefers TV shows, movies or music with violent themes
Is involved with a gang or an antisocial group
Is depressed or has significant mood swings
Has threatened or attempted suicide

What Parents Can Do

The following are suggestions of ways to help your child or adolescent deal with feelings and/or situations that might lead them to participate in violent behaviors:

Give your children consistent love and attention. Every child needs a strong, loving, relationship with a parent or other adult to feel safe and secure and to develop a sense of trust.
Children learn by example, so show your children appropriate behavior by the way you act. Settle arguments with calm words, not with yelling, hitting, slapping, or spanking. If you punish children by hitting, slapping, or spanking them, you are showing them that it is okay to hit others.

Talk with your children about the violence they see on TV, in video games, at school, at home, or in the neighborhood. Discuss why violence exists in these contexts and what the consequences of this violence are.

Try to keep your children from seeing too much violence: limit their TV time, and screen the programs they watch. Seeing a lot of violence can lead children to behave aggressively.

Make sure your children do not have access to guns. If you own firearms or other weapons, unload them and lock them up separately from the bullets. Never store firearms where children can find them, even if unloaded. Also, talk with your children about how dangerous weapons can be.

Involve your children in setting rules for appropriate behavior at home; this will help them understand why the rules should be followed. Also ask your children what they think an appropriate punishment would be if a rule were broken.

Teach your children nonaggressive ways to solve problems by discussing problems with them, asking them to consider what might happen if they use violence to solve problems, and talking about what might happen if they solve problems without violence.

Listen to your children and respect them. They will be more likely to listen and respect others if they are listened to and treated with respect.

Note any disturbing behaviors in your child such as angry outbursts, excessive fighting, cruelty to animals, fire setting, lack of friends, or alcohol/drug use. These can be signs of serious problems.

Don't be afraid to get help for your child if such behaviors exist, and talk with a trusted professional in the community.

References

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
National Safety Council
SafeUSA - National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Children’s Defense Fund

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Runaways is a Growing Concern

Read more about Teen Runaways - parents need to be educated on today's teens and the peer pressure that is surrounding them.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - How to Hang with your Teen


By Shoulder to Shoulder

Ok, we know it may seem like an oxymoron: parents and teens having fun together? It has been known to happen. Whether its family activities, time just for you and your teen, special events and trips or just the every day activities around the house, find ways to create fun and connections with teens.



HERE ARE SOME IDEAS:

Read the same book and then talk about it.
Take a class together. Try dog obedience or cooking classes.
Go out for lunch to celebrate the beginning of the school year.
Celebrate half birthdays with a special family meal.
Share a subscription to a favorite teen magazine and talk about one article.
Cook a special meal together for someone who is ill.
Go to a music store and listen to their favorite CDs. Then have them listen to our music. (Ignore the groans.)
Take your teen to work with you.
Build something together.
Take a trip by car and visit places that were special to you when you were your teen’s age.
Go for a bike ride with one of their friends and the friend’s parent.
Have a favorite “breakfast diner” and eat there once a month.
Schedule your lunch hour during your teen’s lunch break - check them out of school and take your teen to lunch.
Ask your teen for suggestions.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) The Dangers of Inhalant Abuse

By www.inhalant.org
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:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Gambling Addiction with Kids




“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.

References
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: Are you Strugging with Your Teen?

Are you considering any of the following programs for your child? Take a moment to read my experiences - www.aparentstruestory.com as well as my book where you can hear my daughter's experiences for the first time - order today at www.witsendbook.com .

Choosing a program is not only a huge emotional decision, it is a major financial decision - do your homework!

Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (withdrew their affiliation with WWASPS)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SC
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS
Horizon Academy, NV
Lisa Irvin (Helpmyteen)
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide (Promotes and markets these programs)
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Royal Gorge Academy, CO
Sky View Academy, NV
Spring Creek Lodge, MT
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis
Tranquility Bay, Jamaica

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Is Your Child In Trouble?


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.





http://www.inhalant.org/


http://www.helpyourteens.com/


http://www.witsendbook.com/

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Do you know where your teen will be this summer?


By Aurelia - www.parentingmyteen.com


School’s Out for Summer: Do You Know Where Your Teen Will Be?


These are questions most parents face during the summertime. Perhaps both you and your husband work full time, or work at home. Whatever the case may be, your teen has a great deal of free time, which can either be utilized to increase their emotional and educational growth, or to engage in activities which may be the catalyst for potential trouble.





Let’s face it, for some teens the first day of summer is looked upon as a license to run wild with no cares in the world except their own. While every teen needs a few weeks to unwind, if there has been no advanced planning on what your teen can be doing during summertime, the door is open for them to waste time watching TV or playing video games or hooking up with friends and just hanging out at the beach. This is a great concern for parents who want their teens to increase their physical activity and mental prowess during the summer months in a safe environment.


What can parents do to ensure they are not only aware of where their teen will be, but what they will be doing?


If you are concerned about your teen this summer, it’s time to have a serious conversation wherein you set up a series of rules. Here are some tips which may help in this regard:


• Establish a curfew for your teen, both day and night.


• If you are a working parent, ask your teen what he or she will be doing during the day. Inform your teen that permission is required before they venture out.


• Remain in constant touch with your teen via a cell phone.


• Invited your teen’s friends over for a Saturday barbeque. This will allow you to get to know who your teen hangs out with.


• Set up a routine of chores your teen can help with at home, and for which he or she can earn extra money.


• Plan family outings to museums or places of interest on the weekends.


• Take your teen to the library and choose a number of books to read over the summer. Since this is a requirement of most public schools, encouraging your teen to expand his or knowledge will help them advance in school as well.


• Limit the amount of TV and computer time. Use parental controls, which are part of all Internet service providers.


• If you are a working parent, plan a week’s vacation for the entire family. You can either choose a destination that has a great deal of history, or a place in which the family can spend quality time together and reestablish the family unit.


Summertime for teens can either be a safe, fun-filled experience, or it can be a time where worry is your constant enemy. Open communication with your teen is not only important, but is paramount in continuing parental control over your teen in every facet of their growth. While your teen may not like it now, they will thank you later.


Visit parenting my teen to plan For the Perfect Teen Summer and gain more ideas on keeping your teen out of trouble, motivated and learning during the summer.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sue Scheff: Understanding Teen Decision Making




What was he thinking? How could she? If you find yourself wondering what your teen was thinking, the answer may be not much. Kids often make snap judgments based on impulse, especially when situations come up quickly, leaving teens with little time to sort through the pros and cons.


Some of those hasty decisions may involve cheating in school; skipping class; using alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs; going somewhere or being with someone that you do not approve of; or driving too fast. But the consequences can include losing your trust, letting down friends, getting into trouble, hurting education and job prospects, causing illness or injury, or leading to other reckless behavior.




Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sue Scheff: Inhalant Abuse- WARNING SIGNS


Inhalant Abuse is a lesser-known form of substance abuse, but is no less dangerous than other forms.The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service has reported that more than 2.1 million children in America experiment with some form of an inhalant each year and the Centers for Disease Control lists inhalants as second only to marijuana for illicit drug use among youth.

However, parents aren't talking to their children about this deadly issue. According to the Alliance for Consumer Education's research study, Inhalant Abuse falls behind alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use by nearly 50% in terms of parental knowledge and concern. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America reports that 18 percent of all eighth graders have used inhalants, but nine out of 10 parents are unaware or deny that their children have abused inhalants. Many parents are not aware that inhalant users can die the first time they try Inhalants.

Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome is caused in one of two ways. First, Inhalants force the heart to beat rapidly and erratically until the user goes into cardiac arrest. Second, the fumes from an Inhalant enter a user's lungs and central nervous system. By lowering oxygen levels enough, the user is unable to breathe and suffocates. Regular abuse of these substances can result in serious harm to vital organs including the brain, heart, kidneys and liver.

Even if the user doesn't die, Inhalants can still affect the body. Most Inhalants produce a rapid high that resembles alcohol intoxication with initial excitement, then drowsiness, disinhibition, lightheadedness and agitation. Short-term effects include headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, severe mood swings and violent behavior, slurred speech, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, nausea, hearing loss, limb spasms, fatigue, and lack of coordination. Long- term effects include central nervous system or brain damage. Serious effects include damage to the liver, heart, kidneys, blood oxygen level depletion, unconsciousness and death.

Studies show that strong parental involvement in a child's life makes the child less likely to use Inhalants. Know the warning signs or behavior patterns to watch for and take the time to educate yourself about the issue so that you can talk to your children about inhalants.

Click here for entire article and warning signs - http://www.inhalant.org/inhalant/warnings.php



http://www.inhalant.org/

http://www.helpyourteens.com/

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Deliberate Misuse of Inhaler found in 1/4 of Teens


We've had a few questions on the inhalant.org message board in the past months about teens potentially using their asthma medication to get high. One poster's friend had a daughter whose inhaler recently needed to be refilled every week when it normally was only refilled every two or three months. Another's stepson was misusing his asthma medication and "has been eating this pills as if they are M&Ms!"


The University of Michigan News Service featured an article about a new study looking at the prevalence of inhaler abuse in teenagers. The study in question was performed by researchers at the U of M using 723 adolescents in thirty-two treatment facilities. The study reports that "nearly one out of four teens who use an asthma inhaler say their intent is to get high".


The lead author of the study, Brian Perron, declared that their findings "indicate that inhaler misuse for the purposes of becoming intoxicated is both widespread and may justifiably be regarded as a form of substance abuse in many cases."


The study also found that teens that abuse inhalers are more likely to abuse other drugs as well as have higher levels of distress. They were also more "prone to suicidal thoughts and attempts than youths who did not misuse their inhalers to get high."


From a survey of the study participants, "about 27 percent of youths who had been prescribed an inhaler used it excessively. In addition, one-third of all youths in the sample had used an asthma inhaler without a prescription."


So why would teens abuse their inhalers? What are the effects? The inhaler abusers said that they experienced positive feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and an increase in confidence.The negative effects were "feeling more dizzy, headaches, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, irritability, and confusion."


The most common misusers of their asthma inhalers were females and Caucasians.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sue Scheff - Difficult Teens


Are you struggling with your teen?


Visit http://www.helpyourteens.com/ P.U.R.E. - Parents Universal Resource Experts - Parents helping parents.


P.U.R.E. is based on reality - especially with today's teen society of technology including MySpace and other Internet concerns for children. Today we are educating children at much younger ages about substance abuse, sex, and more.


The latest wave of music and lyrics, television, and movies help to contribute to generate a new spin on this age group.


This leads to new areas of concern for parents. We recognize that each family is different with a variety of needs. P.U.R.E. believes in creating Parent Awareness to help you become an educated parent in the teen help industry.


We will give you a feeling of comfort in a situation that can be confusing, stressful, frustrating, and sometimes desperate.Desperate? Confused? Stressed? Anxious? Helplessness? Frustrated? Scared? Exhausted? Fearful? Alone? Drained? Hopelessness? Out of Control? At Wit's End?...

http://www.helpyourteens.com/
http://www.witsendbook.com/
http://www.suescheff.com/

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts - Teen Drug: Salvia


“They feel very out of control; it’s very scary. They will literally have blackouts, and what we are seeing is a lot of people having accidents because they lose their coordination. They aren’t able to think clearly, so we are seeing people fall, stumble, hurt themselves, and have driving accidents.”

– Heather Hayes, LPC, drug counselor

Today, more teenagers are smoking a powerful hallucinogenic herb that is native to Mexico. It is a potent drug, the effects are almost instantaneous, and because it is legal in most states, it has caught the attention of lawmakers around the country.

Henri and Thomas say they have a friend who’s tried it. It’s called Salvia.

“He smoked it, and then went to scratch his head … and can’t remember anything after that,” says Henri Hollis, 18.

Add Thomas Steed, 18, “His friend said he was just going like this [flailing his arms] for like 20 minutes straight.”

In most states, salvia is legal. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has salvia on its list of “Drugs and Chemicals of Concern.” On the streets and in head shops, salvia is also referred to as “magic mint,” “sally-d” and “diviner’s sage.”

“My friend just brought some over one day, and I was like, ‘Alright!’ says Nick Nehf, 18. “I mean, I’d never heard of it before, but he said he had bought it down the street at the head shop and I was like, ‘Alright, whatever.’”

“Salvia divinorum is a perennial herb that grows wild in Mexico. It’s a hallucinogenic. It’s what back in the 60s we used to call a psychedelic,” says Heather Hayes, licensed professional counselor (LPC) and drug counselor.

Experts say that salvia affects the brain nearly 10 times faster than cocaine, and targets the parts of the brain responsible for motor function.

“They feel very out of control; it’s very scary. They will literally have blackouts, and what we are seeing is a lot of people having accidents because they lose their coordination. They aren’t able to think clearly, so we are seeing people fall, stumble, hurt themselves, and have driving accidents,” says Hayes.

Many states are now considering legislation to ban salvia.

In the meantime, experts say, explain to your kids that just because something is temporarily legal doesn’t mean it is safe.

“Initially, when the drug Ecstasy was developed it was not illegal, but shortly after it was,” says Hayes. “And now we know that Ecstasy is extremely damaging to the brain -- we have people who die after one use. So that would be the analogy I’d give.”

“Anybody who I’ve talked to who has done it says they are never going to try it again because it was too much for them,” says Steed.

Tips for Parents

Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Media Awareness Program offer these tips to help keep kids from using drugs:

It sounds simple, but one of the best ways to keep your kids drug-free is to show them you care. Simple gestures like an unexpected hug or saying ‘I love you" everyday can help kids gain the confidence to say no to drugs.

Look for teachable moments. Talk about a recent drug or alcohol-related incident in your family or community.

Explain the principles of "why" and not just "what" to do or not do.

Teach real-world coping skills: drug prevention can start by building a teen's confidence for a job interview or teaching a child how to rebuff a schoolmate who wants to copy homework.

Parents remain one of the strongest moral influences on kids, and they need to send a clear anti-drug message. Studies show that parental ambivalence increases a child's risk for drug use.

Focus on one drug at a time: there's strong evidence that media attention to harmful effects of specific drugs has made a difference.

For instance, a 1995 ad campaign about abuse of inhalants, such as paint thinners and glues, precipitated a drastic drop in use.

In 1986, cocaine use fell after extensive news reports on the death of Len Bias, a college-basketball star who died after using cocaine.

(Currently, Heath Ledger’s death has prompted drug rehabilitation for other celebrities as well as the general population.)

These examples illustrate the life cycle of a drug. Word of a drug's “benefits” spreads rapidly, but there is a lag time before kids learn about the dangers. Once the risks become apparent, occasional users drop the drug and potential new users don't try it. Parents and educators can make a difference if they pay attention to the life cycle of a newly popular drug and work to quickly spread the word about harmful effects.

Don't lecture: the use of lecturing is often cited as the single biggest flaw in the best-known and most popular anti-drug programs. Get kids more involved in the lesson, such as asking them to discuss how they'd react at a party where kids were drinking.

Repeat the message: the most successful anti-drug classes are those that are presented over the course of a child's school career.

References
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Media Awareness Program

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Teen Runaways

A Growing Problem for Today's Families
One of any parent's greatest fears is a missing child.

Each year, one million troubled teens from every social class, race and religion run away from home. Unfortunately, for American families, that number continues to rise.

Confused, pressured and highly impressionable teens follow their peers into bad choices. In most cases, runaway teenagers want to escape the rules and regulations of their family and household. Disagreements with parents leave them unhappy and frustrated to the point of rebellion. Naiveté leads them to believe they could survive outside the nest; and dreams of a life without parental guidance, rules and punishment seem ideal.

Click here for more information on teen runaways.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts - Huffing Freon



As a parent advocate (Sue Scheff) I think there needs to be more awareness on inhalant use of today's kids. Huffing Freon can be so accessible to kids today - especially since I am in Florida - I think parents need to take time and learn more. www.inhalant.org is a good place to start.
Read More.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts - Sue Scheff - Teens At Risk



P.U.R.E. is based on reality - especially with today's teen society of technology including MySpace and other Internet concerns for children. Today we are educating children at much younger ages about substance abuse, sex, and more. The latest wave of music and lyrics, television, and movies help to contribute to generate a new spin on this age group. This leads to new areas of concern for parents.


We recognize that each family is different with a variety of needs. P.U.R.E. believes in creating Parent Awareness to help you become an educated parent in the teen help industry. We will give you a feeling of comfort in a situation that can be confusing, stressful, frustrating, and sometimes desperate.


Desperate? Confused? Stressed? Anxious? Helplessness? Frustrated? Scared? Exhausted? Fearful? Alone? Drained? Hopelessness? Out of Control? At Wit's End?...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Drinking and Driving





It’s hard to get teens to really listen when adults talk to them about the dangers of drinking and driving. Your kids will listen to Shattered. The program features true stories from real teens whose lives were drastically changed as a result of drunk driving. Watch and learn together, and suddenly the pressure is off your own children as they relate to the kids onscreen. You won't be talking at your children... you'll be talking with them.


“I didn't think I’d ever be one of these people, you know, that drinks and drives and hurts people, but I am.” – Jayme Webb, her story, in Shattered


Shattered is a no-sugar-coated, heart-wrenching program, with facts and tips from experts to help parents and teens avoid the risks of drinking and driving.


“As teenagers, we always think we are invincible and nothing bad is ever going to happen to us,” says Whitney, 16. But bad things do happen. Nearly 3,000 teenagers die each year due to alcohol-related car accidents. It is the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds.


Comes with a free Family Viewing Guide with myth-busters about alcohol’s effects, sobering up, peer pressure, and resources to help you create a driving contract you’re your teens.

http://www.helpyourteens.com/
http://www.witsendbook.com/

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Does your teen steal?




If you discover that your teen is stealing, it is important to confront them before taking any further action. If you *suspect* your teen is stealing (e.g., you have no witnesses or tangible proof), it is important that you approach the situation calmly and rationally- and do not accuse your teen of anything. Allow your teen to explain their side of things before you react. If they confess to stealing, it is important that you are clear in the position that you will not tolerate this type of behavior. Experts suggest a great way to dissuade your teen from stealing again is to escort your teen back to the store with the stolen merchandise and have them apologize and explain themselves to store security or management.

If your teen has already been caught in the act by store personnel, his or her options may not be that great. Each store determines its own rules about how to handle shoplifters. Some teens may be let off with a warning, while others may be banned from the store, and some may even be formally charged and prosecuted in compliance with local laws. If your teen is arrested and prosecuted, the value of the merchandise they have stolen will greatly determine the amount of trouble your teen may find themselves in. If the merchandise or money your teen has stolen is worth less than $400, this is considered petty theft. Petty theft is punishable by fine and up to six months in prison. If the value is over $400, your teen can be sentenced to up to a year in prison, and can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. The danger in your teen being charged with a felony is that this will stay on your teens permanent record, unless your teen is deemed by the court to be a minor and his or her record is sealed when your teen turns 18.

A felony on your teen’s permanent record can haunt your teen for the rest of his or her life. It can prevent your teen from college acceptance, future jobs, scholarships, apartments and can even play a role in future custody battles or adoption cases.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Gangs


Teen Gang and Gang Violence has taken on a new light in today's age.

Gangs prey on the weak child that yearns to fit in with a false illusion they are accepted into the “cool crowd”. With most Gangs as with Teen Cults, they can convince your child that joining "their Gang or Cult" will make them a "well-liked and popular" teen as well as one that others may fear. This gives the teen a false sense of superiority. Remember, many of today’s teens that are acting out negatively are suffering with extremely low self confidence. This feeling of power that they believe a gang or cult has can boost their esteem; however they are blinded to the fact that is dangerous. This is how desperate some teens are to fit in.

In reality, it is a downward spiral that can result in damage both emotionally and psychically. We have found Teen Gangs and Teen Cults are sometimes hard to detect. They disguise themselves to impress the most intelligent of parents. We have witnessed Gang members who will present themselves as the "good kid from the good family" and you would not suspect their true colors.

If you suspect your child is involved in any Gang Activities or any Cults, please seek local therapy* and encourage your child to communicate. This is when the lines of communication need to be wide open. Sometimes this is so hard, and that is when an objective person is always beneficial. Teen Gangs and Teen Cults are to be taken very seriously. A child that is involved in a gang can affect the entire family and their safety. Take this very seriously if you suspect your child is participating in gang activity or cult association.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Tips for Finding a Teen Runaway


If you are currently dealing with a runaway, act immediately. Do not waste any time in utilizing every resource you can to find your child.

The list below details a plan of action and tips for finding help.

Tips For Finding a Runaway


Keep an updated phone list with the home and cell numbers of your teen's friends. Using the phone list, call every one of your teen's friends. Talk immediately with their parents, not their friends, as teenagers will often stick together and lie for each other. The parent will tell you anything they know, including the last time contact was made between their child and yours. They will also know to keep closer tabs on their own child.


Keep an updated photo of your child on hands at all times. With this photo, create one-page flyers including all information about your teen and where they were last seen. Post these flyers everywhere your teen hangs out, as well as anywhere else teenagers in general hang out. Post anywhere they will allow you to.


Immediately contact your local police. It is advised that you actually visit the office with a copy of the flyer as well as a good number of color photos of your teen. Speak clearly and act rationally, but make sure that they understand how serious the situation is.


Contact the local paper in order to run a missing ad. Also, contact any other printed media available in your area; many will be very willing to help.


Contact your local television stations, as well as those in nearby counties. Most stations will be more than happy to run an alert either in the newscast or through the scrolling alert at the bottom of the screen.


Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your "Wits End". Remain positive and be creative: try to understand why your teen is acting this way, what they are running from and where they might be running.


These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don't be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents. Please visit Sue Scheff™'s Parents Universal Resource Experts™ to find support and professional help with your runaway situation.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens Flunk Personal Finance



By Connect with Kids
http://www.connectwithkids.com/

“It’s easy for these students to get the credit, go and buy a stereo, go and buy a television, go buy all this stuff that they want, and then all of sudden, they’re in a lot of debt.”
– Carol Pizza, economics teacher


Teenagers in the U.S. spend more than $150 billion a year, according to Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU), an organization that tracks teenage consumer behavior and attitudes. Yet, how much do teens today understand about basic finances such as saving, investing and borrowing? Not much, according to a new national survey.


In the survey, teens were asked several questions about money, including: If you lose your credit card, what’s your liability?


Here’s how some high school students answered:”One thousand dollars,” Blake guesses -- incorrectly. ”Five hundred dollars,” guesses David. Wrong again. But Lauren answers correctly: “Fifty dollars.” Next question: where will money grow the most over 18 years?


Lauren asks, “Savings account?”


Denise agrees: “Savings account.”


They are both wrong; Kelly gets it right: “Stocks.”


In a recent national survey, more than 6,000 12TH graders were tested, and they answered more than half of the questions incorrectly. College students also took the test this year, and they answered 38 percent of the questions incorrectly. Experts say that what teens don’t know about money can hurt them.


Carol Pizza, an economics teacher, explains, “It’s easy for these students to get the credit, go and buy a stereo, go and buy a television, go buy all this stuff that they want, and then all of sudden, they’re in a lot of debt.”


Pizza says parents can teach their kids about debt, bills and balancing a budget by giving them hands-on experience with the family finances.


“They need to encourage their child to help them with their bank statement every month, reconciling their checking account. Just let them be more involved; let your child know more about your finances, know how much your mortgage is a month.”


Pizza also suggests giving teens a credit card, but with strict spending limits, so they learn how easy and painless credit cards can be -- until they get the bill.


“We’re getting to the point where we’re almost in college and we’re going to be getting our credit cards,” says David, a high school student, “and if you get into a lot of debt then your parents are going to have to pay and you’re going have to pay, too, and it’s not going to be a good situation.”


Tips for Parents


Several factors, including the media, peers and personal successes and failures, influence children’s attitudes about work, money, spending and saving. But according to the National Council on Economic Education, parents exert the most influence on children’s ability to make sound financial decisions. Children need to see their parents practice sound money management – saving, budgeting and making rational (instead of impulsive) decisions about purchases. The Americans for Consumer Education and Competition suggests the following tips to help improve your child’s financial fitness:


Start financial education early by giving your child a weekly allowance.


Discuss the difference between “must have” purchases, such as school supplies, and “would like to have” purchases, such as a new video game.


Discuss family financial matters (family budget, routine shopping, purchase of a new car or home, planning a vacation, paying for college, etc.) with your child.


Discuss with your child his or her options when he or she receives a monetary gift (saving, investing, giving to charity, etc.).


Incorporate the media (newspaper articles, television, etc.) as a tool to educate your child about financial matters.


Work with your teen to develop a realistic budget. Set long- and short-term financial goals and the plans for achieving them.


Explain the advantages of waiting to make a purchase today, such as the latest gaming system, to save for another desired item, like a car or college education, tomorrow.


Promote shopping around before making purchases. This step generally assures a better deal and discourages impulse buying.


Use financial (checking account, credit card, etc.) statement reviews as a teaching aid to evaluate spending habits, promote sound financial practices and to instill fraud review practices.


Stress the importance of safeguarding personal and financial data, such as Social Security, personal identification (PIN) numbers and credit card information, as a means of preventing frauds like identity theft.


Foster charitable giving by urging your teen to donate some percentage of his/her allowance, however small, to the organization(s) of his or her choice.


References
The Americans for Consumer Education and Competition
National Council on Economic Education

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sue Scheff: What is Inhalant Use?


Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of common products found in homes and communities with the purpose of "getting high." Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products. When used as intended, these products have a useful purpose in our lives and enhance the quality of life, but when intentionally misused, they can be deadly. Inhalant Abuse is a lesser recognized form of substance abuse, but it is no less dangerous. Inhalants are addictive and are considered to be "gateway" drugs because children often progress from inhalants to illegal drug and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.

Inhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual's head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.

What Products Can be Abused?

There are more than a 1,400 products which are potentially dangerous when inhaled, such as typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue. Most are common products that can be found in the home, garage, office, school or as close as the local convenience store. The best advice for consumers is to read the labels before using a product to ensure the proper method is observed. It is also recommended that parents discuss the product labels with their children at age-appropriate times. The following list represents categories of products that are commonly abused.

Click here for a list of abusable products.

http://www.inhalant.org/