Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teens Shoplifting

Holiday’s are officially here – malls are crowded – stores are busy with the holiday rush especially today on Black Friday.

It doesn’t matter your economic status, it seems some teens from all financial backgrounds will try their “hand” at shoplifting. Why?  Peer pressure?  Is it cool?  Part of the crowd? 

What constitutes shoplifting?  It doesn’t have to be only stealing, shoplifting can include changing price tags (which is harder to do now with the bar scans in some stores), consuming food or drink without paying for it, leaving a restaurant without paying, wearing items out of a store (again, hoping there isn’t an alarm tag on them) – this and more will land you in legal trouble if you are caught.

Teens seem to believe it could never happen to them – however more and more I am hearing from parents that have had to deal with this.

To learn more, visit www.stopyourkidsfromshoplifting.com and get some great parenting tips such as:

Why Children Steal and Your Role in Preventing Retail Theft

Very young children sometimes take things they want without understanding why it’s wrong. Elementary school-aged children know better, but may lack enough self-control to stop themselves. Most preteens and teens shoplift as a result of social and personal pressure in their lives. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

•  Feel peer pressure to shoplift
•  Low self-esteem
•  A cry for help or attention
•  The naïve assumption they won’t get caught
•  The belief that teen stealing is “not a big deal”
•  Inability to handle temptation when faced with things they want
•  The thrill involved
•  Defiance or rebelliousness
•  Not knowing how to work through feelings of anger, frustration, etc.
•  Misconception that stores can afford the losses
•  The desire to have the things that will get them “in” with a certain group of kids.
•  To support a drug habit.
•  To prove themselves to members of a gang.

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Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teen Entitlement Issues

Does your teen have Entitlement Issues?

Does your teen expect more from you than they have earned or deserve?

Many parents only want the best for their children (usually more than they had growing up), but has this actually backfired on families?

In today’s society many teens have major entitlement issues. Many parents feel that giving their teen’s material items will somehow earn them respect. Quite frankly, the opposite occurs in most families. The more we give, the more our children expect and the less they respect us. We literally lose ourselves in buying our children’s love. At the end of the day, no one wins and life is a constant battle of anger, hopelessness, and debt.

While interviewing a young teen, she was recently given a new car – brand new – felt she deserved it since her parents gave her two used ones previously. She is only 17 years old and already controlling her household and believes she was entitled to this car. She shows no appreciation or respect to her parents. Simply, she deserved it. Can you imagine owning 3 cars by the age of 17, yet never buying one? This is an extreme example, but I am sure many parents can relate.

Entitlement issues can lead to serious problems. Teaching your child respect and responsibility should be priority. Although the issues may have started to escalate, as a parent, it is never too late to take control of the situation and say “no” when your teen feels they are entitled to a frivolous item or anything that is considered a privilege.

Life is about responsibility, as parents we need to teach our children responsibility – helping our children comes natural to us, however when it becomes excessive and the child doesn’t appreciate it, it is time to step back and evaluate your situation.

Learn more at www.helpyourteens.com

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Parenting Tips

Sue Scheff – Founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts and Author of Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-Of-Control Teen

 Offers 10 Parenting Quick Tips

 

 

1.                  Communication: Keeping the lines of communication of your child should be a priority with all parents.  It is important to let your kids know you are always there for them no matter what the subject is.  If there is a subject you are not comfortable with, please be sure your child has someone they can open up to.  I believe that when kids keep things bottled up, it can be when negative behaviors can start to grow.

 

2.                  Knowing your Children’s Friends:  This is critical, in my opinion.  Who are your kids hanging out with?  Doing their homework with?  If they are spending a lot of time at a friends house, go out of your way to call the parent introduce yourself.  Especially if they are spending the night at a friends house, it important to take time to call the parents or meet them.  This can give you a feeling of security knowing where your child is and who they are with.

 

 

3.                   Know your Child’s Teachers – Keep track of their attendance at school: Take time to meet each teacher and be sure they have your contact information and you have theirs if there are any concerns regarding your child.  In the same respect, take time to meet your child’s Guidance Counselor.

 

4.                  Keep your Child Involved:  Whether it is sports, music, drama, dance, and school clubs such as chess, government, school newspaper or different committees such as prom, dances and other school activities.  Keeping your child busy can keep them out of trouble.  If you can find your child’s passion – whether it is football, soccer, gymnastics, dance, music – that can help keep them focused and hopefully keep them on track in school.

 

 

5.                  Learn about Internet Social Networking: In today’s Cyber generation this has to be a priority.  Parents need to help educate their kids on Cyber Safety – think before they post, help them to understand what they put up today, may haunt them tomorrow.  Don’t get involved with strangers and especially don’t talk about sex with strangers.  Avoid meeting in person the people you meet online without you being there.  On the same note – cell phone and texting – don’t allow your child to freely give out their cell numbers and never post them online. Parents should consider ReputationDefender/MyChild to further help protect their children online.

 

6.                  Encourage your teen to get a job or volunteer:  In today’s generation I think we need to instill responsibility and accountability.  This can start early by encouraging your teen to either get a job or volunteer, especially during the summer.  Again, it is about keeping them busy, however at the same time teaching them responsibility.  I always tell parents to try to encourage their teens to get jobs at Summer Camps, Nursing Homes, ASPCA, Humane Society or places where they are giving to others or helping animals.  It can truly build self esteem to help others. 

 

 

7.                  Make Time for your Child: This sounds very simple and almost obvious, but with today’s busy schedule of usually both parents working full time or single parent households, it is important to put time aside weekly (if not daily at dinner) for one on one time or family time.  Today life is all about electronics (cell phones, Ipods, Blackberry’s, computers, etc) that the personal touch of actually being together has diminished.

 

8.                  When Safety trumps privacy:  If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or other suspicious behaviors (lying, defiance, disrespectful, etc) it is time to start asking questions – and even “snooping” – I know there are two sides to this coin, and that is why I specifically mentioned “if you suspect” things are not right – in these cases – safety for your child takes precedence over invading their privacy.  Remember – we are the parent and we are accountable and responsible for our child.

 

 

9.                  Are you considering outside treatment for your child? Residential Therapy is a huge step, and not a step that is taken lightly. Do your homework!  When your child’s behavior escalates to a level of belligerence, defiance, substance abuse or God forbid gang relations – it may be time to seek outside help.  Don’t be ashamed of this – put your child’s future first and take steps to get the help he/she needs – immediately, but take your time to find the right placement. Read Wit’s End! for more information.    

 

10.             Be a parent FIRST:  There are parents that want to be their child’s friend and that is great – but remember you are a parent first.  Set boundaries – believe it not kids want limits (and most importantly – need them).  Never threaten consequences you don’t plan on following through with.

 

 

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: The Ballad of the Adopted Child by Jeanne Drouillard

DOES your teen,

  • always seem angry?
  • have anger that turns into rage?
  • show signs of depression, i.e., withdrawal, slipping grades?
  • show disrespect to you or disrespect people in authority?
  • self-protect by keeping people at a distance?
  • lie, manipulate and steal?
  • ever talk about his/her biological parents?
  • want to find his/her biological parents?



DO you,

  • feel comfortable about your teen’s behavior?
  • recognize signs of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)?
  • believe you must be adopted to show signs of RAD?
  • understand what is meant by the Primal Wound?
  • think it makes a difference at what age a child is adopted?
  • understand bonding and how it can be disrupted?
  • understand the fear and pain of an adoptee?
  • understand adoptee’ difficulty in trusting and showing love

It can be difficult to know if your adopted teen’s anger is normal and within the range of typical teenage behavior. Most teenagers get angry, especially during the years when their bodies are changing and the hormones can bring quick and severe mood swings. All teenagers are searching the world trying to find out who they are and what they want to become. They all want to know how the world will affect them and how they will affect the world.

If not addressed as a child, an adopted teenager has a duality of conflicts to overcome. Whether adopted as a baby or as an older child, this teenager has had a separation from the birth mother and this is a strong link that is not forgotten. Nancy Verrier calls this the Primal Wound. In the womb, Psychologists now agree that the child is very aware of the mother, how she smells, how she laughs and feels, even how she sounds. The baby has been inside the womb for nine months. This baby even realizes if it was a wanted pregnancy or an unwanted pregnancy – this baby knows. It also has an awareness of the physical, mental and emotional connection with the mother. Bonding begins before physical birth and possibly shortly after conception. Many professionals used to laugh at this idea and thought it impossible for a little baby to know and remember being separated from its birth mother. Alas, the tide has changed and the professionals now believe that this child couldn’t help but know the separation from the birth mom that carried it – and this is the primal wound that stays with that child forever.

There is a story that Nancy Verrier tells in her book, “The Primal Wound” about a little girl who was adopted as a baby. She had never been told she was adopted. One night this four-year old child had a nightmare and called for her mommy. Her adopted mother went in to comfort her and held her and told her everything would be okay because “Mommy was here.” The little girl said, “No, I want my other mommy.” This story is not unique and other similar stories have surfaced. How did this child know?

Many adopted children develop RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). This occurs when a child, teen or adult cannot attach and trust, as they should and experience trouble developing close intimate relationships. When the child is taken away from its birth mother, even if it is put in the home of a family giving the child love, this child is confused and knows this is not the same mother it had and its trusting abilities are lessened. If the child is put into a hospital, or foster care and then moved again and again, its trusting mechanisms do not know what it means to have a consistent caregiver to take care of its constant needs, i.e. hunger, pain, etc. This makes a child angry and scared and then the cycle has already begun.

After the child is adopted, hopefully in a loving home, a decision is made by the child as to what role to play within the family. Some have so many layers of anger and rage that negative behavior is exhibited constantly. Others may decide to be a complacent and pleasing personality because they want to make sure that these new parents are not disappointed or else abandonment will follow. Another choice is not to get close to anyone because this relationship probably won’t last and getting close will be painful when it ends. Several adult adoptee’s I’ve spoken to have confirmed this behavior. The more neglect, abuse and abandonment a child suffers, the more deep-seated will be this distrust for adults or anyone in authority.

It is common for adoption issues to remain hidden until adolescence. Sometimes a child seems well adjusted and happy during the early years and then everything comes out during the teen years. It is also very common for the child to stay in denial and hide deep feelings from everyone, even themselves, and in their teen years – which is an identity search time – these feelings rise to the surface. Usually, the child knows inside that something is not right but the complexity of their feelings give them fear and they hesitate talking about these fears since they believe they can trust no one.

You DO NOT have to be adopted to have RAD. Any child who suffered a separation from their original caregiver for a period of time could have symptoms. Separation from the mother due to illness or divorce can trigger separation anxiety, and divorce can also trigger guilt if the child feels part of the cause of the divorce.

Causes of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) and Symptoms of Attachment Disorder

Let’s look a little deeper into RAD and see what some of the causes and symptoms are. I like Dr. Marcy Axness’ approach when she says she is campaigning to change the name from Attachment Disorder to something like “Attachment Deprivation” because it is a failure in the RELATIONSHIP, not the child.
 

Causes of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)

  • unwanted pregnancy
  • neglect
  • inconsistent or inadequate day care
  • dramatic prenatal experience (exposure to drugs/alcohol)
  • sudden separation from the primary caretaker (illness, death, hospitalization)
  • abuse (physical, emotional, mental, sexual)
  • adoption
  • frequent moves (foster care, failed adoptions)

Symptoms of Attachment Disorder:
 

  • superficially engaging and charming
  • indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
  • does not trust caregivers or adults in authority
  • does not develop morals; no empathy, remorse or compassion
  • resists all efforts to nurture or guide them
  • acts out negatives, provoking anger in others
  • lies, steals, cheats and manipulates
  • destructive, cruel, argumentative and hostile
  • extreme control problems
  • cruel to animals, siblings
  • poor peer relationships and lacks a conscience
  • tries to separate adults – gets them into fights – divides them
  • engages in hoarding or gorging on food
  • has a preoccupation with fire, blood and gore

Children with some of these symptoms could be at risk. If they have half or more of these symptoms, they usually are RAD to some degree and would need therapy from a qualified attachment therapist. Don’t waste your time and money with other therapy because it doesn’t work. Don’t take your attachment child to an ordinary therapist. Usually this therapist will take time to try to win the trust of your child and then will talk to them about their problems. Attachment children DO NOT trust. That is the main problem. Also, they do not learn from discussions and talking. Attachment children learn from feeling, doing and experiencing. They need attachment therapy.

Sometime during our lives, we all cross paths with attachment disordered individuals. In business, they are the ones having trouble getting along with others, or they have a desk in the back of the room and don’t mingle with others. Others can sometimes charm us or con us. They might even shock us with unbelievable cruelty. Very often these individuals grow up untreated and have no concern for other people. RAD children have learned early on that the world is unsafe and have developed unhealthy protective shells
so the outside world cannot pierce it and then they feel safe. They become their own protectors and as such can turn everyone against them. Without help, they grow into dysfunctional adults.

RAD people are very controlling. They need to control in order to feel safe. Usually when they were very little children and could not control their environment, bad things happened to them. My daughter Elena is serious attachment disorder. One of her teachers used to tell me that he would watch Elena’s eye movements and body language when she walked into his classroom. She would pause for a moment or two and look around the room very carefully and very deliberately. From that moment on Elena always knew exactly what was going on in any corner of the room at any moment. That is the only way she felt safe.

Usually attachment individuals have moved around from one institution to another or one foster home to another or even from relative to relative. They cannot trust that the same person will be there on any given day to gratify their needs. They learn not to trust or love and are unable to attach to anyone, causing them to be very resistant later to attachment if they are adopted. Trusting is very difficult for RAD children. Trusting means to love – and loving hurts. They have been hurt too deeply.

Parents adopting children who have experienced abuse, neglect or have been institutionalized have a long road ahead of them. When these children grow up and start exhibiting anger and then total rage, it can be quite fearful to the unsuspecting parents. These children have many layers of anger and rage, but it is based on fear that they will be abandoned again because they can’t trust and believe deep down that they are not good enough for someone to love them. Their birth mom gave them away. It is amazing to hear some of these children tell you that they hoped their Moms could see them now as adults because then she would know that they didn’t turn out to be such a bad kid. I’ve heard grown ups talk this way. This little child inside never leaves. Some of these same teens and adults still want to find their birth parents to answer questions of why they were given away. They just want to know.

My daughter Elena had been put in a program that promised me they knew all about attachment disorder but they grossly misrepresented themselves. I wasted seven months of her precious life before I had her moved into an appropriate program. This new program really acknowledges attachment disorder and in our four months I have seen a real improvement. Elena’s improvement only occurred after the harm of the first program had been resolved.

I used to talk to my daughter and tell her how much I loved her and that I was going to be her “Forever Mom” and we were going to have a wonderful life and so on. Elena usually listened politely and I was so naive I just didn’t know how much I was missing the mark. Talk doesn’t work with Elena because she doesn’t trust and doesn’t believe she deserve love. What I learned to do was sneak up on her and tell her something like, “Elena, I love you so much and I’m so glad you’re here with me” and then I was gone. Another time I might say, “Isn’t it great, I’ve got you and you’ve got me?” And then I was gone. Just little tiny doses of love were all she could handle.

Working with an attachment child is very tough and there is not much gratification for a long time. Just when you think there is progress, the rage comes back. Yet, that doesn’t’ mean there isn’t any progress. Progress inches in and keeps coming as long as we give these children lots of laughter, love and empathy. Don’t let them drag you into an argument. They want your anger because they handle it better than love. I believe they have so much anger, turmoil and pain inside that they relate better to it. For example, Elena came home after getting a C- on a test. She didn’t study and I knew it. She was almost proud when she showed me her report card and she really wanted me to get mad, why? She deals better with my anger and then it takes the responsibility for a bad grad off of her. But I didn’t respond with anger. Instead when she showed me her well-earned C- I simply said, “I’m so sad for you. It must be very embarrassing getting a grade like that.” Then I turned around and went back to my own life, leaving her to handle her life. Don’t give them anger. That is what they want BUT give them what they really need which is laughter, love and empathy.

Remember there is always hope. Author Nancy Thomas when asked if older children could still be helped she enthusiastically answered, “Oh Yes, as long as they are still breathing – that is the only requirement.” All these children need is the correct therapy – attachment therapy — and parents who are willing to learn along with them.

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.

Parents’ Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teen Truancy

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.

Learn more – click here.

Parents Universal Resource Experts- Sue Scheff – Teenage Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy in the United States is a serious concern. The US has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births of any industrialized country.

1/3 of all US teenage girls will become pregnant. This equals to roughly 750,000 each year! Unmarried teenage mothers rarely finish high school; in fact, 2/3 do not.

Children born to teenage mothers are more likely to suffer from low birth weight and other medical problems. They are also more likely to develop learning disabilities and mental disorders as they reach their teenage years.

The facts are real. Our sons and daughters live in a generation plagued by these statistics, and it is up to us as parents make a change.

Learn more click here.