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.

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Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teens and Internet Safety

Author: Kate Fogarty Source: University of Florida IFAS Extension
Introduction: Teens Navigating Cyberspace

If you believe e-mail, blogs, and instant messaging are a completely harmless way for teens to communicate, think again! Many teens have Internet access–often private communication in the form of blogs, chat rooms, and forums. These online communication aids are not themselves a problem. But the ever-present threat of being sexually solicited or bullied while on the Internet is a big problem.
While online, teens may be persuaded to do things or share private/confidential information, to be sexually solicited, and/or to experience public humiliation. Recent testimony on child protection before Congress, alerted the public to online sexual solicitation of teens. However, parents and youth workers may be less aware of “cyber-bullying” in which peers viciously attack one another. This article will define online sexual solicitation and cyber-bullying, explain the risk factors and negative effects of these communications, and outline ways to protect youth from harm.

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Why Kids and Teens Steal

By KidsHealth www.kidshealth.org

Kids of all ages – from preschoolers to teens – can be tempted to steal for different reasons:

Very young children sometimes take things they want without understanding that things cost money and that it’s wrong to take something without paying for it.

Elementary school children usually know they’re not supposed to take something without paying, but they may take it anyway because they lack enough self-control.

Preteens and teens know they’re not supposed to steal, but they may steal for the thrill of it or because their friends are doing it. Some might believe they can get away with it. As they’re given more control over their lives, some teens may steal as a way of rebelling.

Read entire article here: http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/shoplifting.html

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Children Who Bully

Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Typically, it is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms such as hitting or punching (physical bullying); teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying); intimidation through gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and sending insulting messages by e-mail (cyberbullying).

There is no one single cause of bullying among children. Rather, individual, family, peer, school, and community factors can place a child or youth at risk for bullying his or her peers.

Characteristics of children who bully

Children who bully their peers regularly (i.e., those who admit to bullying more than occasionally) tend to:

  • Be impulsive, hot-headed, dominant;
  • Be easily frustrated;
  • Lack empathy;
  • Have difficulty following rules; and
  • View violence in a positive way.

Boys who bully tend to be physically stronger than other children.

Click here for entire article.

Sue Scheff: Surviving Teen Depression by Gary Nelson

A Relentless Hope: Surviving The Storm of Teen Depression
By Gary E. Nelson

(Published by Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf & Stock, a traditional publisher)

Depression and related illnesses threaten to wreck the lives of many teens and their families. Suicide driven by these illnesses is one of the top killers of young people. How do teens become depressed? What does depression feel like? How can we identify it? What helps depressed teens? What hurts them? How do families cope with teen depression?

In, A Relentless Hope, Dr. Nelson uses his experience as a pastor and pastoral counselor to guide the reader through an exploration of these and many other questions about depression in teens. He’s worked with many teens over the years offering help to those confronted by this potentially devastating illness. The author also uses the story of his own son’s journey through depression to weave together insights into the spiritual, emotional, cognitive, biological, and relational dimensions of teen depression. The book is written for those without formal clinical training, so it appeals to teens, parents, teachers, pastors, and any who walk with the afflicted through this valley of the shadow of death. Through careful analysis, candid self-revelation, practical advice, and even humor, this pastor, counselor, and father, reminds us God’s light of healing can shine through the darkness of depression and offer hope for struggling teens and their families.

Dr. Nelson is available for speaking engagements, workshops, and interviews. See the contact page for information about reaching him. http://survivingteendepression.com/index.html

Sue Scheff – Parents Universal Resource Experts: 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.

 

 

 

Sue Scheff: Teen Career Angst by Connect with Kids

By Connect with Kids

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

– Michael, 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael, 14, pushes himself, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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