Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teen Moods

bookrollercoaster2Surviving the Roller Coaster:A Teen’s Guide to Coping with Moods
Have you ever been laughing one moment, and crying the next? How about so angry you could throw something, and then suddenly burst out laughing? All of us have experienced mood swings like this, and they’re even more common during adolescence. Rapidly changing emotions, from contentment to irritability, anger to despair, euphoria to despondency, are common occurrences during your teen years.
What causes these shifts in mood?
The sources vary, but for most teens, two main agents are involved: brain chemistry and life changes. The same hormonal activity that brings about the body changes teens experience also triggers changes in your brain. At the same time, your relationships with your family and friends are changing, you have more responsibilities and freedoms than ever before, and you face a whole new set of pressures. All these things can turn your life into a series of emotional peaks and valleys. But there is hope. This book will help you understand what’s happening to you, and it will offer practical coping mechanisms. Don’t worry. You too can survive the roller coaster!
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Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit

inhalantprevkitSource: Inhalant.org

Download this valuable kit today and learn more about inhalant use.  It is a serious concern today – since most inhalants are found in your household.

The Alliance for Consumer Education launched ITS Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit at a national press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The kit was successfully tested in 6 pilot states across the country.  Currently, ACE’s Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit is in all 50 states.  Furthermore, the Kit is in its third printing due to high demands. 

The Kit is intended for presentations to adult audiencesSpecifically parents of elementary and middle school children, so they can talk to their children about the dangers and risks associated with Inhalants. We base the program on data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.  Statistics show that parents talking to their kids about drugs decrease the risk of the kids trying a drug.

The Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit contains 4 components: the Facilitator’s Guide, a FAQ sheet, an interactive PowerPoint presentation, and a “What Every Parent Needs to Know about Inhalant Abuse” brochure.  Additionally, there are 4 printable posters for classroom use, presentations, etc.

Click here for free download.

Sue Scheff: Teen Suicide

teensuicide2Suicide is the third most common cause of death amongst adolescents between 15-24 years of age, and the sixth most common cause of death amongst 5-14 year olds. It is estimated that over half of all teens suffering from depression will attempt suicide at least once, and of those teens, roughly seven percent will succeed on the first try. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to the threat of suicide, because in addition to increased stress from school, work and peers, teens are also dealing with hormonal fluctuations that can complicate even the most normal situations.

Because of these social and personal changes, teens are also at higher risk for depression, which can also increase feelings of despair and the desire to commit suicide. In fact, according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) almost all people who commit suicide suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder or substance abuse disorder. Often, teens feel as though they have no other way out of their problems, and may not realize that suicidal thoughts and feelings can be treated. Unfortunately, due to the often volatile relationship between teens and their parents, teens may not be as forthcoming about suicidal feelings as parents would hope. The good news is there are many signs parents can watch for in their teen without necessarily needing their teen to open up to them.

At some point in most teens’ lives, they will experience periods of sadness, worry and/or despair. While it is completely normal for a healthy person to have these types of responses to pain resulting from loss, dismissal, or disillusionment, those with serious (often undiagnosed) mental illnesses often experience much more drastic reactions. Many times these severe reactions will leave the teen in despair, and they may feel that there is no end in sight to their suffering. It is at this point that the teen may lose hope, and with the absence of hope comes more depression and the feeling that suicide is the only solution. It isn’t.

Teen girls are statistically twice as likely as their male counterparts to attempt suicide. They tend to turn to drugs (overdosing) or to cut themselves, while boys are traditionally more successful in their suicide attempts because they utilize more lethal methods such as guns and hanging. This method preference makes boys almost four times more successful in committing suicide.

Studies have borne out that suicide rates rise considerably when teens can access firearms in their home. In fact, nearly 60% of suicides committed in the United States that result in immediate death are accomplished with a gun. This is one crucial reason that any gun kept in a home with teens, even if that teen does not display any outward signs of depression, be stored in a locked compartment away from any ammunition. In fact, the ammunition should be stored in a locked compartment as well, and the keys to both the gun and ammunition compartments should be kept in a different area from where normal, everyday keys are kept. Remember to always keep firearms, ammunition, and the keys to the locks containing them, away from kids.

Unfortunately, teen suicide is not a rare event. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. This disturbing trend is affecting younger children as well, with suicide rates experiencing dramatic increases in the under-15 age group from 1980 to 1996. Suicide attempts are even more prevalent, though it is difficult to track the exact rates.

Learn more about prevention. Click here.

Open lines of communication with your teen today.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Sexting and Your Teenager

sextingToday’s parents seem to constantly have to keep up with the new concerns with teens today.  “Sexting” is a growing and disturbing issue with many parents of teenagers today.  What these kids are not realizing is what goes online, stays online and spreads like a virus.  Teens today don’t think about college admissions or potential employers 2-4 years from now.  In an instant, a not so flattering photo can arrive in thousands of mailboxes!  That is, email boxes.  Take the time to talk to your kids about the ramifications this can potentially have on their future.

Source: Good Morning America

Sex easily and quickly integrated itself into the digital age; and now the teen trend of “sexting” — where a user sends sexually explicit images or messages via text on a cell phone — has parents struggling for a way to address the situation.

“We’re seeing 14, 15 and 16-year-olds and up are very commonly sharing naked pictures or sexual pictures of themselves,” said Internet safety expert Parry Aftab, of Wired Safety. “We’re talking about kids who are too young to wear bras who are posing in them, and then topless and then actually engaged in sex or even in masturbation. So we are seeing a lot of kids who are sexually active.”

There’s nothing coy about this 21st century amorous pursuit. Children as young as 12, who aren’t sexually active, are sending explicit, provocative and even pornographic images to their peers.

Click here to ask Internet expert Parry Aftab a question.

Click here for more Internet safety tips from Parry Aftab.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teen Help Programs

Are you a parent at your wit’s end?  Learn from my mistakes and all that I have learned over almost a decade of researching this very daunting industry of “teen help.”

witsIt has been almost 10 years since I made the horrible mistake of choosing Carolina Springs Academy for my daughter who was struggling. Good kid making some not so good choices? I felt she needed some sort of program to help her through her struggles – and sadly what we received was anything but help.

In the past 9+ years – I have successfully defeated WWASPS/Carolina Springs Academy through a jury trial as well as continuing to be a voice for parents that are at their wit’s end. I also won the landmark case ($11.3M Jury Verdict for Damages) for Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy done to my by a former WWASPS parent that defamed me online. Read more about that in my upcoming book.

If you are considering a Teen Help Program – take your time, do your homework – learn from my mistakes and gain from my knowledge.

Read Wit’s End and hear my daughter’s firsthand experiences. This is my first book published by Health Communications, Inc. (HCI) – the home of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Don’t be a parent in denial – don’t be afraid to give your teen a second chance at a bright future – there are many good programs, just take your time and do your research.

Learn more at http://www.helpyourteens.com/.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teen body image

Today’s peer pressure can hinder your teens self image and what they believe they need to look like.  Learn more about your child’s body image and how to enhance their self confidence.  Both of these can help them to make better choices in their daily lives.

teenhealthSource: TeenHealth

I’m fat. I’m too skinny. I’d be happy if I were taller, shorter, had curly hair, straight hair, a smaller nose, bigger muscles, longer legs.

Do any of these statements sound familiar? Are you used to putting yourself down? If so, you’re not alone. As a teen, you’re going through a ton of changes in your body. And as your body changes, so does your image of yourself. Lots of people have trouble adjusting, and this can affect their self-esteem.

Why Are Self-Esteem and Body Image Important?

Self-esteem is all about how much people value themselves, the pride they feel in themselves, and how worthwhile they feel. Self-esteem is important because feeling good about yourself can affect how you act. A person who has high self-esteem will make friends easily, is more in control of his or her behavior, and will enjoy life more.

Body image is how someone feels about his or her own physical appearance.

For many people, especially those in their early teens, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem. That’s because as kids develop into teens, they care more about how others see them.

What Influences a Person’s Self-Esteem?

Puberty

Some teens struggle with their self-esteem when they begin puberty because the body goes through many changes. These changes, combined with a natural desire to feel accepted, mean it can be tempting for people to compare themselves with others. They may compare themselves with the people around them or with actors and celebs they see on TV, in movies, or in magazines.

But it’s impossible to measure ourselves against others because the changes that come with puberty are different for everyone. Some people start developing early; others are late bloomers. Some get a temporary layer of fat to prepare for a growth spurt, others fill out permanently, and others feel like they stay skinny no matter how much they eat. It all depends on how our genes have programmed our bodies to act.

The changes that come with puberty can affect how both girls and guys feel about themselves. Some girls may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about their maturing bodies. Others may wish that they were developing faster. Girls may feel pressure to be thin but guys may feel like they don’t look big or muscular enough.

Outside Influences

It’s not just development that affect self-esteem, though. Lots of other factors (like media images of skinny girls and bulked-up guys) can affect a person’s body image too.

Family life can sometimes influence a person’s self-esteem. Some parents spend more time criticizing their kids and the way they look than praising them. This criticism may reduce a person’s ability to develop good self-esteem.

People may also experience negative comments and hurtful teasing about the way they look from classmates and peers. Sometimes racial and ethnic prejudice is the source of such comments. Although these often come from ignorance, sometimes they can affect another person’s body image and self-esteem.

Healthy Self-Esteem

If you have a positive body image, you probably like and accept yourself the way you are. This healthy attitude allows you to explore other aspects of growing up, such as developing good friendships, growing more independent from your parents, and challenging yourself physically and mentally. Developing these parts of yourself can help boost your self-esteem.

A positive, optimistic attitude can help people develop strong self-esteem — for example, saying, “Hey, I’m human” instead of “Wow, I’m such a loser” when you’ve made a mistake, or not blaming others when things don’t go as expected.

Knowing what makes you happy and how to meet your goals can help you feel capable, strong, and in control of your life. A positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle (such as exercising and eating right) are a great combination for building good self-esteem.

Tips for Improving Your Body Image

Some people think they need to change how they look or act to feel good about themselves. But actually all you need to do is change the way you see your body and how you think about yourself.

The first thing to do is recognize that your body is your own, no matter what shape, size, or color it comes in. If you’re very worried about your weight or size, check with your doctor to verify that things are OK. But it’s no one’s business but your own what your body is like — ultimately, you have to be happy with yourself.

Next, identify which aspects of your appearance you can realistically change and which you can’t. Everyone (even the most perfect-seeming celeb) has things about themselves that they can’t change and need to accept — like their height, for example, or their shoe size.

If there are things about yourself that you want to change and can (such as how fit you are), do this by making goals for yourself. For example, if you want to get fit, make a plan to exercise every day and eat nutritious foods. Then keep track of your progress until you reach your goal. Meeting a challenge you set for yourself is a great way to boost self-esteem!

When you hear negative comments coming from within yourself, tell yourself to stop. Try building your self-esteem by giving yourself three compliments every day. While you’re at it, every evening list three things in your day that really gave you pleasure. It can be anything from the way the sun felt on your face, the sound of your favorite band, or the way someone laughed at your jokes. By focusing on the good things you do and the positive aspects of your life, you can change how you feel about yourself.

Where Can I Go if I Need Help?

Sometimes low self-esteem and body image problems are too much to handle alone. A few teens may become depressed, lose interest in activities or friends — and even hurt themselves or resort to alcohol or drug abuse.

If you’re feeling this way, it can help to talk to a parent, coach, religious leader, guidance counselor, therapist, or an adult friend. A trusted adult — someone who supports you and doesn’t bring you down — can help you put your body image in perspective and give you positive feedback about your body, your skills, and your abilities.

If you can’t turn to anyone you know, call a teen crisis hotline (check the yellow pages under social services or search online). The most important thing is to get help if you feel like your body image and self-esteem are affecting your life.

Reviewed by: D’Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: March 2009

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teen Home Drug Tests

drugtest

Many parents contact us asking about home drug tests when they suspect their teens are using substances.  As we have discussed over and over, having an open line of communication with our kids is the first step towards finding out what they are feeling, what peer pressure they are facing and if they are experimenting with drugs.  Talk to your teen – and don’t stop talking.

Source: US News & World Report

These tricks are out there on the Web, so parents need to be informed

Google “beat drug test,” and the search engine spits out page upon page of ploys and products that can make incriminating urine seem drug free. All it takes is a computer-savvy teen to access them. The ease of cheating, in fact, is one of at least seven reasons parents shouldn’t try to test their kids for drug use. Instead, experts say, they should seek out a professional assessment.

“Cheating remains the Achilles’ heal of drug urine testing in all settings,” says Robert DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health Inc. and former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. With increasing opportunities for testing—by prospective employers, schools, and parents—experts worry that teens may have more impetus than ever to try. Last week, at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., toxicologist Amitava Dasgupta of University of Texas-Houston medical school demonstrated various ways that employees try to beat workplace drug tests—and how experts foil these schemes in the laboratory. There’s nothing to stop kids from using the same tricks, and there’s no guarantee that parents will be able to catch them at home.

Here are five ways—some of them downright dangerous—that teens may try to cheat drug tests. They’re all described elsewhere on the Internet, so parents should be aware of them.

1. Tampering. A sprinkle of salt or a splash of bleach, vinegar, detergent, or drain cleaner is all that’s needed to muck up a urine specimen. These and other household substances are all too often smuggled into the bathroom and used to alter the composition of urine, making the presence of some illegal substances undetectable, says Dasgupta. Same goes for chemical concoctions sold all over the Internet. Sometimes these additives or “adulterants” will cloud or discolor urine, easily casting suspicion on the specimen, but others leave the sample looking normal. Laboratory toxicologists employ simple tests to catch these cheats. For example, a few drops of hydrogen peroxide will turn urine brown if it’s been mixed with pyridinium chlorochromate, an otherwise-imperceptible chemical designed to foil drug tests.

2. Water-loading. Gulping fluids before providing urine, a long-standing tactic, is still the most common way that teens try to beat tests, says Sharon Levy, a pediatrician and director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Children’s Hospital Boston. Whether cheats use salty solutions to induce thirst, flushing agents that increase urine output, or just plain old H20, their aim is to water down drugs so they can’t be detected. Some testing facilities may check urine for dilution and deem overly watery samples “unfit for testing.” But consuming too much fluid too quickly can occasionally have dire consequences. “Water intoxication” reportedly killed a woman following participation in a radio show’s water drinking contest, says Alan Wu, a professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California-San Francisco.

3. Switching drugs. Perhaps most alarming, says Levy, is that teens bent on defeating drug tests will sometimes switch their drug of choice to an undetectable (or harder to detect) substance that’s considerably more hazardous. Inhalants, for example, include numerous types of chemical vapors that typically produce brief, intoxicating effects. “You don’t excrete [inhalants] in your urine,” says Levy, but “inhaling is acutely more dangerous than marijuana.” Indeed, inhalants can trigger the lethal heart problem known as “sudden sniffing death” in otherwise healthy adolescents, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The tragic case of young David Manlove is an example.

4. Popping vitamins. Perhaps it’s because niacin (aka vitamin B3) is known to aid metabolism, or perhaps it’s because Scientologists are said to take it in excess to flush their bodies of toxins. Whatever the reasons, some teens got the idea that extreme doses of this vitamin would erase any trace of their illicit drug use. Instead, it almost cost them their lives. In two separate incidents, emergency physician Manoj Mittal of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has found adolescents who downed at least 150 times the daily recommended dose of niacin (15 mg) to cheat drug tests. (He described the cases last year in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.) Both kids were vomiting, had low blood sugar, and had “significant” liver toxicity when they arrived at the ER. And the niacin didn’t even do what they’d intended; both tested positive for illicit drugs. “People might think that since [niacin] is a vitamin it’s harmless,” says Mittal. “But these cases suggest that our bodies have limits.”

 

 

5. Swapping urine samples. Whether they use a friend’s clean urine, synthetic pee, or even freeze-dried urine purchased online, some teens try to pass off foreign samples as their own, says Levy. The biggest tip-off is temperature. “Anything significantly lower than body temperature is suspicious,” says Dasgupta, which is why some have tried to shuttle samples in armpits or taped to thighs to keep them warm. Possibly the oddest trick of all is a device marketed to those trying to beat witnessed drug collections, says Wu: a sort of prosthetic penis called the “Whizzinator” that claims to come equipped with clean urine “guaranteed” to remain at body temperature for hours, with the help of special heat pads. “Believe it or not, [the prosthesis] comes in different colors,” says Wu.