Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – At-Risk Youth Programs

natguardThe Army National Guard’s Partners in Education program connects schools, teachers, and students with free Army National Guard educational resources, from classroom presentations to programs for at-risk youth. Classroom
presentations can be requested online, and topics include:

Partners In Education (, a dynamic, interactive presentation that takes students through the steps needed to prepare for life after high school.

HUMVEE School Program (, a unique, hands-on opportunity that informs students about technical career directions while offering an up-close and personal look at the high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle.

YOU CAN School Program (, an award-winning program that offers more than 30 motivational presentations organized into the following categories: health and social well-being, life betterment,
discovery, and disaster preparedness. It introduces students to necessary life skills in order to let them know that they can have successful futures and accomplish great things.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – 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.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Teenage Summer Romance – Teen Relationships

Summer romance? Teenage love and relationships – learn more.  Great article by Richard Hills.

teenlove2By Richard Hills

I was 17 when I had my first “real” girlfriend (yes, yes, I was a late bloomer). But in fairness that is not to say that I hadn’t fallen in love before that; what many would have called ‘crushes’. Now, as a father, I get to watch this all unfolding in front of me again with my three daughters.

To prepare writing this article I was looking for some background data on teenage love, or relationships, and while there is a ton of information out there, it was not the sort of thing I want to address here.

The scenario: I’m in the car to pick up my teenage daughter from middle school. When she gets into the car, she’s simply beaming. “How did your day go?” I ask, “Ohhhh daddy, I met this boy today and …” 30 minutes later as we arrive at home she’s still talking about him. Teenage love; do we take it seriously?

According to all the information out there on the internet, we’d better take it seriously; STD’s, teen abuse, teen sex, teen pregnancy – a plethora of information to make any father lock up his daughter in the top room of the tower and throw away the key!

But these are not the issues I wanted to talk about today. Not that they are not worthy of discussion, they are. I’ve talk about some of them already in past articles and I’ll discuss others later. But today I just wanted to talk about the feelings of love. When your son or daughter comes to you with that silly doe-eyed expression talking about love, what is our first reaction as parents? I’m sure the issues listed above come into mind, but often I think the thought of “puppy-love” comes into mind. “Oh darling, you’re too young to know what real love is”. If you are thinking that let me recommend to you that those words NEVER leave your mouth in front of your child.

Childhood love is an expression of Self. It is a display of much needed independence and moral growth at this age of development. We as parents should not minimize this in the eyes of our youth, in fact I believe it should be encouraged. David Richo, noted psychologist and author often writes about the 5 A’s (attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance, and allowing). These are attributes that we need fulfilled from a very early age. These later, in healthy relationships become the attributes that we desire to give. But we’ll never be able to give them if we never got them from our parents. So, when your teen comes to you in love, don’t dismiss those feelings as ‘puppylove’, or “you’re too young to understand” – trust me, to your teen, YOU don’t know what you are talking about.

In my research I did find an interesting article / study about teenage relationships.  This study found our teenage boys have much more feelings then they are normally given credit for. I shouldn’t be surprised (having been one of those boys) – but I am a father of daughters now and the perspective is very different. If we take away our children’s love when they are young, what exactly will they have when they are older adults? It is real love, and should be treated as such. In our experience we know, just as she came bouncing to the car expressing her love, one day she will come running to the car in sorrow and pain over a lost love. Let us, as parents be there both times; first to celebrate… then to commiserate with our child’s healthy growth.

 For more info: David Richo

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Summer and Teens

Summer, the sunny season where parents of teens have to scramble. Either you’re trying to find something for your teen to do or you’re rushing to get them to work, camp or a pool party. Add in finding time to plan and pull off a family vacation and can anyone with a teenager really say summer is the time of year that things slow down? Not in our home! Here are some resources to help you get through the work of being a parent of a teen in the summer and have more fun.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Communication with your Teenager

Sarah Newton and Lisa Warner continue to give informative and fantastic tips for parenting teens today.  FINK Blog  is a site you have to visit and appreciate all this valuable parenting insights, articles, resources and great tips!

Parenting Teens Tip Ten – When and how to negotiate with your teen

By Sarah Newton



Agreements are the things that, without a shadow of a doubt, have transformed in big way many of my client’s relationships with their children. They take the heat out of many situations and put you as the parent in control. This does not mean that you control your teenager, only that you can control your own self in the negotiation stage of agreements.

Agreements are the backbone to everyday life we make and break agreements daily. We agree to get our children to school on time, we agree to pay the mortgage and we agree to meet a friend for lunch. These are all things that, considering the options we have decided to agree on, we can at any time pull out of, if we so choose and although there will be consequences, some will be easier to break than others. Upsetting a friend over cancelled lunch arrangements may be easier than losing our house since we have not paid the mortgage, or losing our child’s place at school because we got them their late.

Whether you like it or not, your life is a series of agreements, some not so great as others but nevertheless, all agreements. You were not forced into any of them, you weighed up the alternatives and decided to agree, knowing the consequences and the impact that the agreement has upon you.

This is why it is so important that we start to make agreements with our children as early as we can because as I have said, life is full of them.

Think of the agreements you make everyday now and how they came about -are any of them rules that we must stick to? Are any of them forced upon us? Even the law in a way is a set of acceptable behaviour agreements; we can choose not to agree with them and break the law, knowing the penalty. We have that choice.

So what is common in our agreements?

1. We are generally involved in the process
2. We have the information we need to make a choice
3. We know the consequences of breaking them
4. We choose to accept them or not accept them.

So if this is how we operate in life, then why do we so often give our children a set of rules to adhere to? Not involve them in the process, expect them to abide by them without giving them the proper information and we certainly do not make it clear what will happen if they are broken…oh and then we scold them for not making a choice.

Does that seem right?

No it doesn’t! No wonder we can never get them to do anything.
OK, so what I want to do today is give you a system that you can use

Here are two definitions from the dictionary about the word agreement.
The act of agreeing or of coming to a mutual arrangement.
An arrangement that is accepted by all parties to a transaction.

This is not a clever way for you to instill rules or get your teenager to do something, it is a way of you all agreeing what is acceptable, since you all share the same house, bathroom, wallet

Think for a moment, how you get your children involved, how the house runs and how you ensure it runs smoothly – how are they involved in this? What do you have in place at the moment?

There are three main steps in making an agreement and they are listed below – we will go through these more in class.

Step one – Get clear

Before making any agreement, be clear what it is you want. Most parents skip this step and it is crucial, do you want her to do the washing up or do you want her to take more responsibility around the house? Having a conversation that starts, “Let’s talk about you taking more responsibility around the house,” is very different than, “I want you to do the washing up”. Whatever it is you think you want, ask what it is you really want, what is the bigger why?

Step two – Make the request

You are making a request of your teenagers, you are not telling them – they have the right to say yes, no or re-negotiate and you need to be ready for this. Ask for what you want and ask for a discussion around this. What you are doing here is opening the conversation up for negotiation.

Step three – Seal the deal

After negotiation, you must both be clear what has to be and when it has to be done. Some wishy-washy, “…yes I will do the washing up…” is not good enough.

Here is also where you need to have a discussion with your teenager about what will happen if the agreement is broken and although you may not know the exact consequences yet, there needs to be some discussion here about the possibility so that your teenager can agree, knowing exactly what they are getting into.
One important note to remember here are that you must come to an agreement with love. If you are making an agreement from fear it will not work.

OK so what do we do when an agreement is broken?
First we do not panic, you stay calm and let your child know that the agreement has been broken. You need to think about it and come up with a solution. Ask them to do the same.

Now there is not one-size-fits-all here and it will depend on the agreement, how it was broken and the reasons for the breach, so to speak.

Give yourself at least 24 hours and only after a discussion with your teenager come to a conclusion.
The first thing to do is look at the broken agreement and the circumstances and ask yourself if their is a remedy you could put in place to ensure that this does not happen again. A remedy is something you will put in place to ensure the agreement is not broken again. For example, if they just forgot about the agreement what could remind them?

Go into the agreements again with the remedy in place and see if that works.

If the agreement is broken again and it is obvious that another remedy is not the answer or the breaking of the agreement in the first place was so severe or no remedy could be found, then move into a penalty.
Now, I did think long and hard before using the word penalty, so in its broadest sense it does mean punishment. However, one of its definitions is loss or other unfortunate result of one action and for me, that definition did fit. If your child breaks an agreement, just like if you did, there will be some kind of loss or unfortunate event. If we don’t turn up for work we may get fired – loss of job. If we fail to meet a friend for lunch they may not be happy with us – an unfortunate result. Often, someone else, i.e. the school, may enforce a penalty. However there will be times when you as the parent need to step in. If this is the case, then discuss options with your teenager first and come to a solution that you are both happy with.
So there is the system for making agreements. We will talk through it in greater length on the call.
Before next week I just want you to think about agreements in the context of your own home. What do you do already? Where could an agreement support you more? What has and has not worked so far?

As everything the key to this is consistency without consistency this will never work.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Parenting, Kids and Teen Health

kidshealthWelcome to KidsHealth!

If you’re looking for information you can trust about kids and teens that’s free of “doctor speak,” you’ve come to the right place. KidsHealth is the most-visited site on the Web for information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years.

On a typical weekday, more than 500,000 people visit KidsHealth.

One of the things that makes KidsHealth special is that it’s really three sites in one: with sections for parents, for kids, and for teens.

KidsHealth is more than just the facts about health. As part of The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, KidsHealth also provides families with perspective, advice, and comfort about a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral issues that affect children and teens.

To do this, our editorial staff communicates complex medical information in language that readers can understand and use. And all KidsHealth articles, animations, games, and other content go through a rigorous medical review by pediatricians and other medical experts. Ongoing, scheduled medical reviews ensure the information is as up-to-date as possible.

Along the way, KidsHealth has received its share of recognition — among them, four Webby Awards, including for Best Family/Parenting Site and Best Health Site on the Web, the Parent’s Choice Gold Award, the Teacher’s Choice Award for Family, and the International Pirelli Award for best educational media for students.

KidsHealth cannot take the place of an in-person visit with a doctor, who can perform examinations and answer questions. But we can provide unbiased, reliable information to help you and your family pursue good health and wellness for a lifetime.

Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media

The Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media is a part of The Nemours Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by philanthropist Alfred I. duPont in 1936 and devoted to improving the health of children.

The pediatrician-led Center is unique in the nation with its exclusive focus on children’s health media — and offers a post-residency fellowship for physicians seeking to further develop their skills in health communications.

Our recent projects include The Pink Locker Society, a novel that aims to educate and entertain preteen girls; and the Healthy Habits for Life Resource Kit, a DVD and 100-page booklet — produced in collaboration with Sesame Workshop — that helps preschool teachers incorporate healthy physical activity and nutrition habits into everyday routines. We also created Fit Kids, published worldwide by Dorling Kindersley, an illustrated book to help parents keep their kids and teens eating healthy and active.

Licensable Health Information and Media Inquiries

The Center also creates children’s health information for licensed use by hospitals and corporations. Our business development team welcomes inquiries from organizations regarding collaborative or licensing projects. Requests from the media for interviews with KidsHealth experts are welcome. For permission to reprint or link to KidsHealth content, see our Permissions Guidelines.

Sponsorship Opportunities

KidsHealth offers a variety of sponsorship opportunities on; KidsHealth in the Classroom; in our weekly e-newsletters; and through offline initiatives, video, and other means. Sponsorship revenue is used to support the development of KidsHealth educational programs. We welcome you to join us in supporting families.

Tell Us What You Think

We depend on you — and our millions of other visitors — to let us know your thoughts about KidsHealth, how we have been helpful, and ways we can improve the site. If you have a correction to request, please send that along, too. I guarantee we’ll listen.

Editor-in-Chief and Founder, KidsHealthChief Executive, Nemours Center for Children’s Health MediaNemours Foundation

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Balanced Parenting

balanceparenting“Helping families successfully balance the joys and challenges of family life”
Welcome to Balanced Parenting!
Are you exhausted at the end of the day with your kids?
Do you feel like you argue or negotiate with your kids day and night?
Are you worried that your kids aren’t respectful?
Baby sleep issues?
Do you expect too little of your kids?
Do your kids expect too much of you?
Is your marriage suffering because all of your energy goes to your kids?
Together, we can tackle these issues and bring more peace and family togetherness into your home.
Visit for more information: