Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting 18 Year Olds

With my organization, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, we hear from parents on a daily basis. I can’t count the number of times parents call us when their teenager has become or nearing the legal age to be considered an adult (18 years old) and realize that all their hoping and praying that the negative behavior would change, is only escalating. Don’t be a parent in denial – be a responsible parent and help to get your teenager on a positive track for their future. Don’t wait until you are at your Wit’s End!

“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wits end! What can I do?” – Anonymous Parent.

18 – 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help. As parents, we have limited to no control. Practicing “Tough Love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom – as parent’s, we see our child suffering – whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.
I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out of control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior – I believe it is time to look for intervention NOW. I am not saying it needs to be a residential treatment center or a program out of the home, but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and preferable offer support groups.

It is unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen. The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes. Furthermore getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening.

This is the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center. However these parents with the 18-19 year olds have usually missed their opportunity. They were hoping and praying that at 16 – 17 things would change, but unfortunately, if not address, the negative behavior usually escalates.

In the past 9+ years I have heard from thousands of parents – and most are hoping to get their child through High School and will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school. Starting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education. Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance – being happy just having fun and not being responsible.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of sending a child to a program and having them escorted there – but in the long run – you need to look at these parents that have 18-19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity. While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change.

The closer they are to 18 – the more serious issues can become legally. If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult. This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system. As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home. It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.

At 18, it is unfortunate, these kids are considered adults – and as parents we basically lose control to get them the help they need. In many cases, if teen/adult know they have no other alternatives and this is the only option the parents will support, they will attend.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADHD - Kids Awareness Series

Parent networking is a great way to expand resources, tips, advice, and more! Today I was introduced to a new website – Kids Awareness Series. Kara Tamanini has worked in the mental health field for 15 years and specializes in ADHD. Her first book – Understanding ADHD is available now through Amazon and visiting her website.

One of her recent articles is how parents deal with ODD – Oppositional Defiance Disorder.
How Parents can deal with an ODD child

Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder exhibit an ongoing pattern of resistant, hostile, and uncooperative behaviors. These behaviors are often a challenge for parents and make the child’s behavior very difficult to deal with. Parents need support and undersanding and there are a number of things parents can do to help themselves and their child with ODD. First of all, build on the positive behaviors that you see in your child.

No child is bad every single second of every day. Point out good behaviors and praise them and reinforce the behaviors that are appropriate. Pick your battles! I can not stress this enough. If you argue every single; solitary point, you as the parent will be absolutely exhausted. Yes, I know it is difficult to let some things go as a parent, but you can not address every single thing. Avoid getting into a power struggle. Remember, ODD kids love to argue!

Prioritize the things that you want your child to do. Set up limits/boundaries for your child and stick to them. Bad behavior is only reinforced by you as the parent when consequences for behavior are not consistent. Do not change the consequences or become lax on them, just because you are tired of fighting the fight. Stick to your guns here. You as the parent should manage your own stress level and try to relax. Have interests of your own and try to spend time away. Have a support system in place. Nobody should feel they are alone with no one to rely on.

Take a time out for yourself if you see that you are about to lose your cool. Walk away until you can calm down. Staying in the situation where you are arguing with your child will only exacerbate the situation. Children with ODD often respond to parenting techniques if used consistently and in a positive manner. A behavioral contract is often needed with ODD children, but more on this in my next post.

Learn more about Kara at and follow her at Twitter @KidTherapist

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Video Game Addiction

As summer approaches, I am sure many parents can benefit from learning more about what our kids are playing online or with their handheld digital games. Check out this website with advice and resources to help you naviagate your child and their attraction to video games.

Video game addiction? Yes, it could be common problem in America youth. According to a latest study published in Psychological Science May 2009, a top-tier peer-reviewed scientific publication in psychology, about 8.5 percent of youth between 8 to 18 years old show symptoms of video game addiction.

As one of the most representative scientific study on video game addiction, this publication has been getting a lot of medium attention. As a result, it has been raising concerns from parents. Unsurprisingly, it also raised some debates, from game players and video game makers.
The goal of this website is to provide unbiased information about video game addiction and influence of video game to the daily life of ours and our next generation in both positive and negative ways.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Parents Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.)

Parent's Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.™) is an organization that was founded in 2001 by Sue Scheff. For the past several years Parent's Universal Resource's has assisted families with valuable information and resources for their children and teens that are at risk. Teens that are struggling with today's peer pressure, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and simply good kids starting to make bad choices. We have many very satisfied families that have used our services. Please take a moment to read some of our testimonials.

Whether you are seeking Boarding Schools, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Wilderness Programs, Christian Schools, Summer Programs, Military Schools and more, Parent's Universal Resource's can offer you options to explore to help educate you in a very important decision for your child and family. We invite you to fill out a Free Consultation Form for more information.

Parent's Universal Resource Expert's™ are parents helping parents. As a parent that experienced and survived a difficult teen, we believe that desperate parents are at high risk of making rash and detrimental decisions in choosing the best placement for their child. Please take a moment to read my story - "A Parent's True Story" - which is one the reasons this organization was created.

As a member of the Better Business Bureau for many years we are an organization that prides ourselves in helping others and bringing families back together.

There are many Doctors, Attorney's, Therapists, Police Departments, Schools, Guidance Counselors, and other professionals that refer Parent's Universal Resource's to families. In many cases, after a family has used our service, they recommend us to their friends and relatives. We have built our reputation on trust and putting families first. At Parent's Universal Resource's we believe in bringing families back together.

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

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Websites

A few months ago I was introduced to this fantastic website for parents of teens and tweens. I recently visited there again, and was again, amazed at the up-to-date articles including deciding on your teen’s allowance, the high costs of having your teen involved in sports, and so much more. I noticed today a educational article on the inside scoop of anonymous tip lines for cyberbullying. Read more and remember, visit this website - it is not only informational, it is bright and cheery!

I’ve been working with a local group to educate and develop policy around the issue of cyber-bullying. If you’ve been a reader you’ll know that a friend of mine’s child was a victim of cyber-bullying recently. I discovered some products (this is but one) that I am going to recommend the schools take into consideration. It is computer program that provides an anonymous communication link between the students and the administration. I think we all know that kids are the best resource for knowing what’s going on inside our schools.

Here is a description of the program from their website (Disclaimer: I have not received any product information or free product from this company - I found it via research):

” Experts say in four out of five school shootings, the attackers boasted about their plans to other students beforehand. So how can school officials and law enforcement bridge the communication chasm between students and faculty? Is investing in security cameras and infrastructure improvements the right approach? AnComm believes that if we are to reduce the likelihood of violence in schools, we must put communication at the core of our school safety plan.

Administrators need to give students a way to reach out to counselors and faculty without fear of retribution or embarrassment to seek help or notify those who can help that there are problems inside your school that require attention. ‘Talk About It®’ provides an affordable, easy-to-implement option to immediately breaking the code of silence and getting students to ‘Talk About It®.’

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Camps and Programs

Can you even believe that summer is just about here? May 1st is only days away - so are you still looking for a summer camp or program for your teen or tween?

Summer camps can be a great self esteem building opportunity for many kids. If you are still considering summer programs for your child - here are some ideas for your consideration.

Camp Finders® is a free service which matches children ages 6-18 with appropriate overnight summer camps and teen programs.

Since 1994, Camp Finders® has personally visited approximately 175 sleepaway camps and various teen programs. During this time period, Camp Finders™ has been placing children in overnight camps and in the following teen programs: teen tours; wilderness camps & outdoor adventure; college enrichment; community service; sailing, SCUBA, & marine biology programs; foreign language programs and more… Visit

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Summer Jobs

Here are 10 tips about where to look and how to act on job interviews

Source: Parenting Today

By Laura T. Coffey

Even in the best of times, teenagers face plenty of hurdles when they look for summer jobs. Would-be employers often worry that they’ll be undependable, late and generally flaky — and teens must convince prospective bosses that they’re actually reliable and responsible.
This summer could be even tougher for teens, though, because competition for jobs is expected to be so fierce. In many cases, teenagers will be going head to head against adults who have years of work experience behind them. And they’ll be doing so in a job market that has fewer positions available.

A recent survey by, an employment Web site that connects people with hourly jobs, found that nearly half of hourly hiring managers won’t be recruiting summer employees this year. Even more ominous, 73 percent of hiring managers anticipate receiving more applications this summer than they did last summer from job-seekers of all ages.

Does this mean that teens should abandon all hope of finding gainful employment this summer? Not at all! The following tips can help.

1. Start looking now. Shawn Boyer, chief executive officer of, said employers are already thinking about their upcoming summer staffing issues, even though we’re only in the month of April. One way to beat out at least some of the competition is to start your job search early rather than waiting for the school year to end. “Consider telling them, ‘I can work 10 hours a week now, and then I can ramp up my hours after school gets out,’ ” Boyer said.
2. Get the word out about your job search. Begin actively telling people that you’re looking for a job. Think about all the adults in your life: your teachers, guidance counselors and coaches, your family doctor and veterinarian, your parents’ friends, your friends’ parents, and so on. This approach could turn you on to job prospects.

3. Plan for a repeat performance. The survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers revealed that 65 percent of their summer staffs will consist of returning workers. If you had a job last summer and you didn’t absolutely hate it, consider reapplying again this year. Your past employer will be interested in you because you’re already trained.

4. Be professional. Make sure that everything you include in your job application is spelled correctly and is free of grammatical errors. Don’t use all lowercase or all uppercase letters, Boyer advised. Be sure the e-mail address you put down isn’t silly or distracting. The same holds true for the voice-mail prompt on your cell phone or home phone.

5. Do mock interviews in advance. A job interview can be a lot more stressful than you might think. To work out the jitters ahead of time, do a few practice interviews with someone other than a friend or parent, Boyer recommended. “Practice with a guidance counselor, a teacher or a friend’s parent that you’re not that comfortable with so it will be more realistic,” Boyer said.

6. Show some energy. Employers who bring teenagers on board say they appreciate their enthusiasm and eagerness to do whatever it takes to get a job done. Display those traits on your job interview — and on the job, as well.

7. Get appropriately gussied. Dress nicely for your job interview, as if you were about to attend a religious service. Do this even if the dress code for employees is casual. Absolutely remember to send a handwritten thank you note after your interview — a step many adults routinely forget to take.

8. Play up your strengths. Many teens show a tendency to be hard on themselves and minimize their accomplishments. Remember that a job interview is not the place to beat yourself up. Instead, emphasize flattering details about yourself, such as being an honor-roll student, juggling extracurricular activities and volunteering in the community. “List out in particular the leadership positions that you’ve held,” Boyer said. “That helps to dispel the idea that teens aren’t responsible.”

9. Know where to look. As bleak as the job market is right now, Boyer said these places that are still open to hiring teens: fast-food restaurants; movie theaters; merchandising companies that stock shelves for retailers — American Greetings is looking for this sort of help, he noted — and health-care facilities. “There are a wide range of positions in the health-care sector that don’t require you to have a certain level of credentials,” Boyer said. “There’s valet-parking people’s cars, working in a hospital gift shop, working in a cafeteria, being a receptionist.”

10. Consider working at a bank. If you’re at least 18, you also may be able to land a job as a bank teller. Banks often need help over the summer months when many of their employees go on vacation, Boyer said — and he added that a bank job can look good on your resume.

Sources and resources:, the U.S. Labor Department’s Web site for teens
Occupational Safety and Health Administration