It’s Not My Kid: Parents In Denial

NotMyKid2On a weekly basis parents will continue to blame the friends or the other kids that their teen is hanging out with for the bad choices their child is making.  You have to think, if the parent can’t come to some accountability—how can we expect the teen to?

Have you stopped to consider your child (teenager) has made a choice to hang out with that peer group?  They have free will not to hang out with that negative choice of friends–however that is where they believe they fit in.


Low self-esteem?  Belief that it is a cool group?  Desire to be part of a group even if it is a less than desirable one?

I speak to parents on a weekly basis and often hear how parents can make excuses for their teen.  Whether it is a friend’s fault–the school’s fault–the fault of an ex-spouse–you name it, rather than putting the blame on the person that is making the bad choices, some parents have a difficult time admitting their once good child is now making such negative decisions.

Don’t be a parent in denial; you are only hurting your child.  The sooner you recognize your teen needs help the sooner you can get on the path to recovery and healing in your home.

Do you feel like you are hostage in your home to your teen’s behavior?  At any moment  your teen could explode in a rage over something that didn’t go their way?

You shouldn’t have to live that way.  In life we don’t always get what we want all the time – actually most of the time.  Teens need to learn early that respecting authority, especially their parents, is a priority.  If you are giving your teen their boundaries and they are defying them you are heading down a road of trouble.  Start with consequences and don’t waiver.  Never threaten what you can’t follow through with.

If you feel you have exhausted all your local resources and including therapy, visit and consider the next step.  It may prove beneficial.  It is important to be proactive and don’t forget, academics are important too.  Just because your defiant child is out-of-control doesn’t mean they are going to skip out on school!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

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Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Mother Daughter Conflicts

Well, not sure I should comment or let this speak for itself.  I think all mothers and daughters go through what we can call challenging times.  The good news is usually we all recover from them.  The bad news is with the stress of the holidays it can sometimes become more heated.  Connect with Kids just posted an article with some great tips and information about dealing with our daughters and the conflicts we do and will face.

Source: Connect with Kids

Mother Daughter Conflict

“A lot of it that has to do with, ‘Do I want to be like her or how can I be different and do I want to be different?’”

– Judy Greenberg, licensed clinical social worker

The holidays aren’t all pretty music, sparkling lights and beautifully wrapped gifts. When families spend a lot of time together, there can be conflict and often it’s between two people who one day will be the best of friends.

Lauren and her mother had a good relationship, until she turned 13. “We fought all the time,” Lauren remembers. “And it was usually screaming, yelling, drag-out fights,” echoes Lauren’s mother Terri Breach.

There was less conversation between the two and less time together. Lauren wanted more control over her life. Her mother didn’t want to give it up. “All of a sudden I felt like I just didn’t want to be with her anymore,” says Lauren. “I wanted to be with my friends. I wanted to do things on my own.”

“Which was hard,” says Breach. “It was very hard for me because I was like, ‘Wait, I’m still here.’”

“There’s a degree of loss there, and moms have to prepare themselves for that,” says Judy Greenberg, a licensed clinical social worker.

Experts say conflict between mothers and daughters typically starts during early adolescence when girls begin to search for their own identity apart from their parents – especially their mom. “A lot of it that has to do with, ‘Do I want to be like her or how can I be different and do I want to be different’?” explains Greenberg. When daughters break away, she says, sometimes it hurts.

“It was very hard for me because I still wanted her to be my little girl,” says Breach.

But experts say it’s really not personal. It is a normal part of development and what is needed is an extra dose of love and patience. That’s what worked for Lauren and her mother. They are once again close to each other.

“Part of it,” says Lauren, now 17, “is that I aged and matured. I’m not a junior high kid anymore. I’m a senior in high school, and so I can understand where my mom’s coming from now. And I feel like I enjoy her company more now.”

For Lauren’s mother, the key was letting go of her little girl and embracing her emerging young adult. “She is an incredible, beautiful young woman, and I couldn’t ask for a better daughter.”

Many mothers fear a daughter’s adolescent years. The mother-daughter relationship comprises conflicting feelings: love, anger, worry, resentment, envy and need. Its dynamics change as each female ages.
When daughters become young adults, the focus of the mother-daughter relationship is the daughter’s efforts to become an adult. While this is rewarding for the mother, it is also a significant expenditure of time and energy that focuses on one person — the daughter.

Research shows significant variations in mother-daughter relationships exist between ethnic groups. Euro-American women want to do fun activities with their mothers but also want to maintain certain boundaries. Asian-Indian and African-American women generally turn to their mothers for support, wisdom and advice. Hispanic women tend to want to be dutiful daughters and help their mothers.

The once-prominent fear of growing up to be like one’s mother is termed “matrophobia.” Today’s mothers and daughters are changing. As daughters hit their 20s and 30s, many, if not most, mothers and daughters admire and agree with each other. In addition:

  • Past literature shows that the mother-daughter relationship is considered the most significant of all intergenerational relationships.
  • The teen years are difficult for a mother because her daughter is basically a child in a very adult body.
  • Conflict arises in even the best relationships because both mother and daughter care greatly for one another.
  • Estrangement between a mother and a daughter is a combination of individual, familial and societal factors.
  • The reasons why mothers and daughters become estranged can be varied and complex.
  • Celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Meg Ryan have had well-publicized, toxic relationships with their mothers for a variety of reasons beyond fame and fortune.

There are several reasons why mothers and daughters undergo conflict during adolescence. The most common are:

  • As the emotional caretakers of the family, mothers often feel responsible for ensuring each child survives and even thrives during adolescence.
  • As daughters are blossoming into shapely young women, their mothers are often in or approaching midlife. Mothers may find it difficult to live with adolescent daughters who remind them of their ever-diminishing youth.
  • A daughter’s effort to develop her own individuality motivates her to examine her mother’s every action. Mothers typically describe feeling scrutinized by their teens.
  • In general, women find handling conflict and anger to be difficult.

Tips for Parents

Society expects women to be good mothers and holds them responsible, more so than fathers, for good parenting. Often, those who fail might be deemed “bad women.”

As hard as it is for most, an important part of parenting is letting go. The best gift a mother can give a daughter — and in turn, as she becomes an adult, that a daughter can give her mother — is permission to be herself. For a mother self-awareness is important, as is not placing undue emphasis, worry and concern on how her daughter turns out.

  • Even if you had a great rivalry with your mother, it doesn’t mean the pattern must continue with your daughter.
  • Realize that all relationships have downsides. A mother and daughter should focus on the positive aspects of their relationship.
  • Invest time and energy in your relationship.
  • Begin to give your daughter the tools to make her own decisions when she’s young.
  • Enter your child’s world: Listen to her music, even if you hate it. Take a genuine interest in her motivations. Participate in activities together, and be sure some are what she likes, even if it’s something you don’t normally do.
  • Start mother-daughter traditions — it’s never too late to begin new ones — and make a promise to keep the traditions alive year after year.
  • Trust and communication are key aspects of your relationship. Adult daughters reported that they wanted respect and trust in their relationship with their mothers.
  • For minor conflicts, daughters should try to understand the life circumstances, challenges and choices of their mothers.
  • When necessary, remind your daughter you are the parent.
  • Join a women’s group or look into family therapy together to help resolve serious long-standing problems.


  • Discovery Health
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Pioneer Thinking

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Parenting Teen Girls

Girls can be mean.  That has been proven over and over again.  Whether it is jealousy, or a sense that one girl is better than another – mean girls bring bullying to another level.  Growing up we always heard about “sticks and stone can break your bones, but words can never hurt you.”  That is simply not true.  Words can hurt emotionally and cause many negative feelings including low self esteem, depression, headaches and other illnesses. 

Learn more about the effects of bullying, mean girls and how to help your daughter if she is being harassed by other girls (and boys).



By Shannon Hutton

What to do About the Mean Girl

If you have a daughter, take the time to read this. It could save her a lot of heartache. Not to mention stomach aches, headaches, missed days of school, lower grades, eating issues and depression.

The sad truth is that every school, whether public, private or parochial, has mean girls. I bet you can still even remember who they are from your school. As a school counselor and mother of three daughters, I know firsthand – both personally and professionally – how much it hurts when girls are targeted by bullies.

girlThe old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” couldn’t be further from the truth. While boys usually bully through intimidation, girls bully through exclusion, also called relational aggression. Here’s an example of a case of relational bullying, taken from my experience as a school counselor:

“Heather” was miserable because a girl in her class, “Leslie,” was not only saying mean things to her face, but getting the other girls in the class to exclude her with the age old line “You can’t be friends with me, if you’re friends with her.” In our sessions, Heather would complain that she didn’t have anyone to play with because girls were afraid that if they hung around her they’d become Leslie’s next target. Leslie had immense influence over the social dynamic among these girls.

In order to improve the situation, I had to not only reduce the power Leslie had, but empower Heather as well. Here are some ideas that helped, adapted for use by parents:

  • Ask for specifics when your daughter hints at bullying. Who? Where? How?
  • Tell the principal and classroom teacher the specifics of how she is being bullied. Have them tell other teachers (i.e., gym, art, music), recess aides, hallway monitors and cafeteria staff so that everyone who comes in contact with her can be on the lookout and poised to intervene.
  • Explain to her that reporting an incident is not the same as tattling, and have her tell an adult at school when she is being bullied.
  • Encourage her to stick with a friend at recess, lunch, in the hallways, on the bus or walking home because she is more likely to be targeted when she is alone.
  • Teach her to convey self-confidence by walking confidently, with her head up. Bullies target those they think are weaker.
  • Pay attention to how she is sleeping, eating, feeling and doing in school. If you notice changes in any of these areas, have her see the school counselor.
  • Arrange opportunities for your daughter to socialize with her friends outside of school to help her maintain a strong social support system. 

In Heather’s case, these steps alleviated the problem. But because it’s tougher to catch girl bullies, it’s extremely important for girls to tell an adult if they are being bullied. Unlike boys, who usually bully physically, mean girls often spread rumors, whisper as their target walks by, talk loudly about a party she wasn’t invited to, give her the silent treatment, and as discussed above, tell others not to be friends with her. School personnel are there to help, but in order to do anything they must know a problem exists!

To read more about relational aggression, I recommend the following books:

Shannon Hutton has a Master’s of Education, and currently works as a school counselor for kindergarten through eighth grade. She counsels students on a host of issues, including anger management, peer relationships, divorce, and test anxiety. She is the mother of three children.

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 – Kidfluence

kidsfluenceCheck out this fantastic and informational website offering webcasts, TV Show, articles and more about today’s teens and all kids.  Up to date content on what your kids are doing online and how to understand it all!  Yes – all confusing and all ever changing.

Source: Kidfluence

Kidfluence is a brand created to strengthen youth development and education. Through its many programs such as Kidfluence TV, Teen Talk and Teen Screen, Kidfluence aims to be a leading advocate on teen issues.
The heart of the brand is an exciting new television show, Kidfluence TV, that discusses issues, events, and conflicts that affect our youth today.
A diverse group of opinionated personalities ranging from parents, coaches, teachers, professionals, advocates, and of course, tweens and teenagers will contribute to very candid discussions. With so many issues affecting our youth today, everyone has a point of view on what should be done, how matters should be handled.
Kidfluence is a television program that allows everyone to be an influential and a loyal supporter of tackling youth issues head on.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teen Study Skills

quizzyLike in yesterday’s Blog, many parents are looking for ways to stimulate their children with their academics and helping them with their study skills.  Especially teens in High School getting ready to apply to colleges.  Qwuzzy’s World and Cramster are two great resources for parents to review.

Qwizzy’s World offers you or your child a unique learning experience that is both effective and fun! Check out the special features on the site that make practice tests a blast for the entire family.

Find out more at Qwizzy’s World FAQ.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Parent Resources – Teen Doing their Homework has been helping parents with their children that are struggling with completing homework or needs help understanding and learning study skills.  Take a moment to review their free offer that can help you help your teen.

Source: is a free and effective alternative to tutoring. With experts and knowledgeable community members available 24/7, we leverage the popularity of online social networks to boost your child’s understanding and grades. And don’t forget, you can brush up on your own knowledge anonymously as well. Sign up today.

HERE’S WHAT YOU GET (It takes less than 30 seconds to register for free )

Step-by-step textbook solutions

Sometimes answers in the back of the book just aren’t enough. Read our step-by-step solutions to actually understand how to solve the problems. And, unlike a solution manual, if you don’t understand the demonstrated steps, you can ask our community for clarification.

Expert help at any time, day or night.

Ask or answer questions on the Cramster Q&A Board to understand difficult problems and stop getting stuck at the same place. The Q&A Board is moderated by experts and, unlike teachers, you can ask them questions at night, too.

Proven results

Our exit surveys continually prove the worth of’s resources. 91 percent of members said Cramster helped them keep the grade they desired, while 60 percent said using Cramster improved their grade above what they had expected.

A safe, confidence-building online experience

With the ability to remain anonymous, students no longer have to worry about asking “dumb” questions or seeking too much help. As a parent, you can learn anonymously and at your own pace as well. Additionally, our team of moderators works around the clock to ensure the safety of all members. As a McAfee and VeriSign secured site, your child’s personal information is completely safe with us.