Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Text Messages that Harm – Update on Josie Ratley

When tragedy hits our community, it can be a shocking and stunning  event that brings everyone together. The beating of Josie Lou Ratley, Michael Brewer who was nearly burned to death by other teens, Anthony Jones  in Duval County, who was shot after being a victim of text hit lists that were flying, and Cameron Lee Kage who is accused of making a bomb to set off at his school in Brevard County,  all are part of a wake-up call to what our schools and teens are facing today.

Text RAGE is exploding and it is time that schools, teachers, parents and students along with their community ban together to stop this bullying and violence.

The text messages were recently revealed that prompted 15 year-old Wayne Treacy to literally beat Josie Ratley, an eighth grader, nearly to death.  After three surgeries, she is in rehabilitation.  

Just hours prior the brutal beating of Josie Lou Ratley, vicious text messages were flying. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “Snap her neck then stomp her skull. Fastest way I could think of,” read one of the texts, which were released Wednesday in discovery in the court case against 15 year-old Wayne Treacy.

Another text message sent from Treacy’s phone prior to the beating reads: “This bxtch ran her mouth bout my bro who she knew is dead. Nao I want her head.”

These texts prompted one of the most heinous forms of teen violence.  Wayne Treacy, allegedly, with the help of his girlfriend, 13 year-old Kayla Manson, tracked down Josie Ratley and carried out what his text stated.  With steel toed boots, he stomped her skull.  Thankfully teacher Walter Welsh intervened just in time.

Whether you are in Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, Brevard, St. John’s or Duval County, you need to learn more about your school climate

When bad things happen to good people, we need to take the bad and find the positive.  Education is key to prevention of violence.  Take the time to form an anti-bullying organization and measure your School Climate by contacting The Center for Social and Emotional Education
 

Related articles:

Myths of Bullying
Bullying Bystanders or Bullying Busters
Michael Brewer a Voice of Determination to Stop School Violence
Dangers of Texting and Sexting

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Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Anger Management and Your Teens

I don’t care what you say I am doing what I want to do! I hate you and you just don’t want me to have fun!”

All my friends are allowed to stay out late; you are mean and want to ruin my life!”

“You have no idea how I feel and you are only making it worse!”

When a difficult teen is out of control, they only can hear themselves and what they want. It is usually their way or no way! There are so many factors that can contribute to these feelings. The feelings are very real and should be addressed as soon as you see that your child is starting to run the household. Teen anger may lead to teen rage and teen violence which can soon destroy a family.

A local therapist can help your family diagnosis what is causing the negative behavior patterns. Conduct Disorder or Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) is some of the many causes to this harmful and stressful behavior. Many times you will find a need for a positive and safe program either local or outside your home are that can  help determine where these hurtful outbursts are stemming from. 

As difficult as this may seem, it is important that as your teen is expressing these feeling of anger and rage, that you as the parent learn to control your emotions.  You don’t want to fuel it or feed it which can potentially enrage it. 

Here are some tips for parents to learn to help manage their stress level as their teens is spiraling out of control:

  1. Take a ‘timeout.‘ Although it may seem cliché, counting to 10 before reacting really can defuse your temper.
  2. Get some space. Take a break from the person you’re angry with until your frustrations subside a bit.
  3. Once you’re calm, express your anger. It’s healthy to express your frustration in a nonconfrontational way. Stewing about it can make the situation worse.
  4. Get some exercise. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. Go for a brisk walk or a run, swim, lift weights or shoot baskets.
  5. Think carefully before you say anything. Otherwise, you’re likely to say something you’ll regret. It can be helpful to write down what you want to say so that you can stick to the issues. When you’re angry, it’s easy to get sidetracked.
  6. Identify solutions to the situation. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work with the person who angered you to resolve the issue at hand.
  7. Use ‘I’ statements when describing the problem. This will help you to avoid criticizing or placing blame, which can make the other person angry or resentful – and increase tension. For instance, say, “I’m upset you didn’t help with the housework this evening,” instead of, “You should have helped with the housework.”
  8. Don’t hold a grudge. If you can forgive the other person, it will help you both. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want.
  9. Use humor to release tensions. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don’t use sarcasm, though – it’s can hurt feelings and make things worse.
  10. Practice relaxation skills. Learning skills to relax and de-stress can also help control your temper when it may flare up. Practice deep-breathing exercises, visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, such as “Take it easy.” Other proven ways to ease anger include listening to music, writing in a journal and doing yoga.

These tips from the Mayo Clinic can also be helpful to your teens.  It could benefit you to sit down with your teens and talk about controlling rage and anger before it escalates to the boiling over point.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Read more about this subject.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: When Teens Hate Parents

Unfortunately many parents will hear these words when a heated debate comes up and a teenager is not allowed to have or do a specific event/item. Enduring this type of ‘tough love’ is one of the most common paths parents of struggling teens have to travel, hearing these hateful words.

Many cannot understand or grasp the concept of “not enabling” the child to ruin or run the family unit. Enduring life with a teen that is running the home can result in many uproars, conflicts, arguments, battles, and sometimes psychical and verbal abuse. Tough love is exactly that: Tough. Loving our children is unconditional, but we don’t have to like what they are doing or how they are destroying their lives.

There will come a time when a parent realizes enough is enough! This is the time that they need the support from outside sources, such as a support group, along with professional intervention. This does not reflect you as a parent, nor does it place blame on the family, it is the child that is making the bad choices and the family is suffering from it.

Many times tough love is simply letting go. Let the child make their mistakes and they will either learn from them or suffer the consequences. Unfortunately depending on the situation, it is not always feasible to wait until the last minute to intervene. If you see that tough love is not working at home, it may be time to consider residential placement (placement outside the home). Quality residential placements work with the entire family.

While in the whirlwind of confusion, frustration and stress that the child is causing, it is hard to see the actual problem or problems. With time and distance, the healing starts to occur. Tough love is a very painful and stressful avenue, however in some families, very necessary and very rewarding. Tough love if used correctly can be helpful. However if you are the type to give in at the end, all the hard work of standing your ground will be for nothing. Actually, your weakness or giving in could result in deeper and more serious problems. Please confer with professionals or outside help if you feel you are not able to follow through with what you are telling your child you will do. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, you are certainly not alone.

Learn more about residential therapy at www.helpyourteens.com.

Be an educated parent, you will have a more peaceful home. 

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Parents’ Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Troubled Teens

Are you at your wit’s end? 

Are you experiencing any of the following situations or feeling at a complete loss or a failure as a parent?  You are not alone and by being a proactive parent you are taking the first step towards healing and bringing your family back together

  • Is your teen escalating out of control?
  • Is your teen becoming more and more defiant and disrespectful?
  • Is your teen manipulative? Running your household?
  • Are you hostage in your own home by your teen’s negative behavior?
  • Is your teen angry, violent or rage outbursts?
  • Is your teen verbally abusive?
  • Is your teen rebellious, destructive and withdrawn?
  • Is your teen aggressive towards others or animals?
  • Is your teen using drugs and/or alcohol?
  • Does your teen belong to a gang?
  • Do they frequently runaway or leave home for extended periods of time?
  • Has their appearance changed – piercing, tattoo’s, inappropriate clothing?
  • Has your teen stopped participating in sports, clubs, church and family functions?  Have they become withdrawn from society?
  • Is your teen very intelligent yet not working up to their potential? Underachiever?  Capable of doing the work yet not interested in education.
  • Does he/she steal?
  • Is your teen sexually active?
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Is your teen a good kid but making bad choices?
  • Undesirable peers? Is your teen a follower or a leader?
  • Low self esteem and low self worth?
  • Lack of motivation?  Low energy?
  • Mood SwingsAnxiety?
  • Teen depression that leads to negative behavior?
  • Eating Disorders?  Weight loss? Weight gain?
  • Self-Harm or Self Mutilation?
  • High School drop-out?
  • Suspended or Expelled from school?
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts?
  • ADD/ADHD/LD/ODD?
  • Is your teen involved in legal problems? Have they been arrested?
  • Juvenile Delinquent?
  • Conduct Disorder?
  • Bipolar?
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

 Does your teen refuse to take accountability and always blame others for their mistakes?

wits Do you feel hopeless, helpless and powerless over what options you have as a parent?  Are you at your wit’s end? 

Does any of the above sound familiar?  Many parents are at their wit’s end by the time they contact us, but the most important thing many need to know is you are not alone.  There is help but the parent needs to be proactive and educate themselves in getting the right help. 

Many try local therapy, which is always recommended, but in most cases, this is a very temporary band-aid to a more serious problem.  One or two hours a week with a therapist is usually not enough to make the major changes that need to be done.    

we_are_parents_tooIf you feel you are at your wit’s end and are considering outside resources, please contact us. http://www.helpyourteens.com/free_information.shtml  

 An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child.  It is critical not to place your child out of his/her element.  In many cases placing a teen that is just starting to make bad choices into a hard core environment may cause more problems.  Be prepared – do your homework.

 Many parents are in denial and keep hoping and praying the situation is going to change.  Unfortunately in many cases, the problems usually escalate without immediate attention.  Don’t be parents in denial; be proactive in getting your teen the appropriate help they may need.  Whether it is local therapy or outside the home assistance, be in command of the situation before it spirals out of control and you are at a place of desperation.  At wit’s end is not a pleasant place to be, but so many of us have been there. 

Finding the best school or program for your child is one of the most important steps a parent does.  Remember, your child is not for sale – don’t get drawn into high pressure sales people, learn from my mistakes.  Read my story at www.aparentstruestory.com for the mistakes I made that nearly destroyed my daughter. 

 In searching for schools and programs we look for the following:

  • Helping Teens – not Harming them
  • Building them up – not Breaking them down
  • Positive and Nurturing Environments – not Punitive
  • Family Involvement in Programs – not Isolation from the teen
  • Protect Children – not Punish them

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 – Parenting Difficult Teens

teentoughloveIt stems back to “children need to have their self-esteem built up to make good decisions.” Today most families are either single parent or both parents are working full time. This is not the fault of the teen, nor is it the fault of the parents. It is today’s world and we must try to find the middle.  Troubled teens, rebellious teens, angry teens, problem teens, difficult teens, depressed teens; unfortunately are part of the society of adolescents today.

Communication is always the first to go when people get busy. We have seen this over and over again. We have also experienced it and feel that our children shut us out; this can lead to difficult teens and teens with problems. Although we are tired and exhausted, along with the stress of today’s life, we need to stop and take a moment for our kids. Talk and LISTEN to them. Ask lots of questions, get to know their friends and their friend’s parents, take part in their interests, be supportive if they are having a hard time, even if you can’t understand it; be there for them. 

This all sounds so easy and so simple, but take it from parents that have walked this path, it is not easy. When a parent works a full day, has stress from the job along with household chores, not to mention the bills, it is hard to find that moment. We are all guilty of neglect at one time or another after all, we are only human and can only do so much. We feel the exhaustion mounting watching our teens grow more out of control, yet we are too tired to address it. Out of control teens can completely disrupt a family and cause marriages to break up as well as emotional breakdowns.

We know many feel it is just a stage, and with some, it may be. However most times it does escalate to where we are today. Researching for help; P.U.R.E. is here for you, as we have been where you are today. Do you have a difficult teen, struggling teen, defiant teen, out of control teen, rebellious teen, angry teen, depressed teen? Do you feel hopeless, at your wits end?  Visit www.helpyourteens.com.

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Military School or Program Options, please complete our Information Request Form. Please visit Informational Articles for more beneficial information.  Read more about Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.

Sue Scheff Parenting Difficult Teens

 teentoughloveIt stems back to “children need to have their self-esteem built up to make good decisions.” Today most families are either single parent or both parents are working full time. This is not the fault of the teen, nor is it the fault of the parents. It is today’s world and we must try to find the middle. Troubled teens, rebellious teens, angry teens, problem teens, difficult teens, peer pressure, depressed teens; unfortunately are part of the society of adolescents today.
Communication is always the first to go when people get busy. We have seen this over and over again. We have also experienced it and feel that our children shut us out; this can lead to difficult teens and teens with problems. Although we are tired and exhausted, along with the stress of today’s life, we need to stop and take a moment for our kids.

Talk and LISTEN to them. Ask lots of questions, get to know their friends and their friend’s parents, take part in their interests, be supportive if they are having a hard time, even if you can’t understand it; be there for them.
This all sounds so easy and so simple, but take it from parents that have walked this path, it is not easy. When a parent works a full day, has stress from the job along with household chores, not to mention the bills, it is hard to find that moment. We are all guilty of neglect at one time or another after all, we are only human and can only do so much. We feel the exhaustion mounting watching our teens grow more out of control, yet we are too tired to address it.

Out of control teens can completely disrupt a family and cause marriages to break up as well as emotional breakdowns.We know many feel it is just a stage, and with some, it may be. However most times it does escalate to where we are today. Researching for help; Parents’ Universal Resource Experts is here for you, as we have been where you are today.

Do you have a difficult teen, struggling teen, defiant teen, out of control teen, rebellious teen, angry teen, depressed teen? Do you feel hopeless, at your wits end?

Visit www.helpyourteens.com.