April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

Sex crimes – sexual molestation – and kids!

A scary and horrific combination!

Stacey Honowitz, a regular on HLN, CNN, Fox and MSNBC is also a leading state prosecutor with over 17 years dedicated to the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit.

However most importantly one of her accomplishments is her two educational books that serve to help parents, children, advocates and others to finally talk about this difficult subject in a manner which is comfortable for everyone.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Stacey Honowitz answered a few questions:

Q)  What changes in a child’s behavior should raise a red flag for parents?

Stacey:  Some behaviors in small children are nightmares, bed wetting, a constant need to be with you, a fear when you go to change them, and a general fear of staying alone with the person after they never had a problem before. I don’t like to generalize, because some of these behaviors are indicative of other issues, but sometimes a decline of grades in older kids, and a lack of enthusiasm for things warrant a discussion. It might not be abuse, but certainly if something doesn’t sit right with you, make sure and ask if they feel uncomfortable about something and want to share it.

Q)  What sorts of behaviors from an adult should raise a red flag for parents to prohibit that adult from ever spending alone time with their child?

Stacey:  This really goes back to the first question that you asked. Sometimes a person will pursue a child by engaging in behaviors that the child will enjoy. Constant gift giving, a relationship based on “being friends” and “don’t be afraid to tell me anything” coupled with an opportunity to spend “alone” time with them.

Red flag number one, the person calls and communicates with the child by phone or computer without you being present, and constantly asks you if they can “take your child” out for the day, or that they would love to babysit while you do what you have to do. Most parents are thrilled to have an adult take such an interest in their child, but they must realize that many times there is an ulterior motive.

Q)  If a parent is suspicious of an adult’s behavior, what steps can the parent take?

Stacey:  If any parent believes that another child is being abused please do not feel like your are intruding by trying to help. Most parents later on say “I thought something was happening but it was not my place.” It is your responsibility to alert either a family member, school authority or protective services if you suspect some type of abuse either sexual or physical. If you have a relationship with that child there is nothing wrong with you questioning the child, and asking “is everything okay” or “do you need my help with anything going on at home.” Better safe than sorry is a motto that really holds water.

For more information, order Stacey’s books:

Genius With a Penis, Don’t Touch!

My Private Parts Are Private

Learn more about Stacey Honowitz on her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Sue Scheff: A Decade of Helping Parents with Problem Teens

Recently Sue Scheff was featured on Momtourage (iVillage) answering tough questions about raising today’s teens. “A parent asked about invading their teen’s privacy, such as reading their emails, text messages or journals,” Scheff continues, “It is a matter of when safety trumps privacy.

Problem Teens? Are you at your Wit’s End?
Author Sue Scheff celebrates a decade of helping families with troubled teens.

In 2001 Sue Scheff created Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.) in an effort to help educate parents when they have reached their wit’s end with their teenager.

This year P.U.R.E. is celebrating over a decade of assisting over 50,000 families. During these ten years, Sue Scheff has been interviewed by many media outlets including ABC News, 20/20, Lifetime Balancing Act, The Rachael Ray Show, Fox News, CNN, Headline News, InSession, Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald, Forbes, USA Today, Sun-Sentinel and many others.

Recently Sue Scheff was featured on Momtourage (iVillage) answering tough questions about raising today’s teens. “A parent asked about invading their teen’s privacy, such as reading their emails, text messages or journals,” Scheff continues, “It is a matter of when safety trumps privacy. If you suspect your teen is in trouble, becoming secretive, withdrawn, changing friends, I believe it is imperative for a parent to dig deeper if their teenager won’t open up verbally.”

Scheff knows personally the turmoil mother’s experience when their household is being disrupted by bad teen behavior. Out of desperation she turned to teen specialty schools and behavior modification programs for her own daughter but that only worsened the situation. Although her story is painful and the trials and tribulations’ seemed endless, Sue Scheff believes that there are excellent residential treatment centers and recognizes she made a huge mistake when she was at her wit’s end which is why she agreed to have her story published in an effort to help others.

Order on Amazon today.

Wit’s End, Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen, authored by Sue Scheff, was released in 2008 by Health Communications, Inc (HCI) and has been selling fast and steady to parents, educators and people with at-risk teens. “I am amazing at how many parents have emailed me or called to say that my book has helped them in many ways. After struggling with their own teen, they realized they are not alone,” Scheff says. “I also hear from parents on a daily basis that they were so confused but after reading my story, understand this teen help industry better and are able to make better choices for their own teen.”

With today’s ever expanding digital world, many parents hit the Internet looking for help for their troubled teenager only to be bombarded with slick websites and slicker sales reps trying to get your business. Scheff realized over ten years ago when she had her own struggles, that the Internet isn’t always what is seems to be.

“Deciphering Internet fact verses Internet fiction can be very difficult,” Scheff said in a recent interview with The Parenting Plate. “This is why my book, Wit’s End has proven to be a priceless asset when looking for residential therapy for your child.”

Sue Scheff continues her story about the Internet and how it can be an educational tool or a lethal weapon, depending who is using it, in Google Bomb, The Untold Story of the $11.3 Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet, also authored by Sue Scheff and Internet Expert and Attorney, John Dozier Jr., and published by HCI in 2009.

If you are searching for residential therapy for your troubled teen, visit www.HelpYourTeens.com for more information. To learn more about Sue Scheff, please visit www.SueScheff.com.

Contact: (954) 260-0805
Email: sue.scheff@gmail.com

Media Contact:
Tyronne Jacques
1-985-633-1413
http://www.suescheff.org/

Teen Mentor Program Shut Down by Child Welfare

U.S. teens faced this "box" when disciplined.

Parents can reach their wit’s end when it comes to today’s teenagers.

Whether they are using drugs, drinking,  hanging with the wrong crowd, running away, and finally want to drop out of high school – what options do parent have?  A parent in denial is a dangerous parent – since your teen is at-risk and his negative behavior is a cry for help.

Many reach into the Internet and attempt to find help.  These desperate parents are ready to believe almost anything – as long as a promise to help their teen is involved.

A Broward County family, who doesn’t wish to be named, has lived this horror.  While simply trying to get their 15 year-old daughter help, they were duped, their daughter was harmed both physically and emotionally.  Lawsuits go flying and silence agreements are swiftly put in place.

A youth behavior modification center run by the Utah-based World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP) is closed following allegations of abuse – according to the Tico Times.

For the second time in the past nine years, a youth behavior modification center run by the Utah-based World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP) is closed following allegations of abuse. This one was run by the association’s director, Bob Lichfield, brother of Narvin Lichfield, who ran a similar center here until it was voluntarily shut down in 2003 – continues the Tico Times.

WWASPS is the organization that the Broward family above experienced, WWASPS has been, since 1998, featured in many media outlets including New York Times, Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, 48 Hours, Dateline and literally dozens of others throughout the country, in a negative light.

Back in 2000 there were over a dozen of their programs in existence.  Today you will find a handful, including Red River Academy (LA), Horizon’s Academy (NV) and Cross Creek (UT).  There are several others, and through a string of name changes, the roots usually come back to the Lichfield group, WWASPS.

With the recent closing of Teen Mentor in Costa Rica, it seems parents are still being duped.  Florida mother, Erica (named changed for privacy), picked up her son this week from Teen Mentor and is simply mortified at what she was sold and what her son received.  She will be meeting with our state’s attorney office, she wants answers why this is allowed to continue as WWASPS still has other programs still open.

Teenagers today are a challenge. If you find yourself in spot that you exhausted all your local options and need intervention, a residential therapy program or otherwise, do your due diligence.  There are many excellent programs in our country.  WWASPS has many URL’s, marketing arms, and sales people just waiting to help you – dial with caution. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  If it is far less expensive than the average program, look and try to find out why.

Finding safe and quality is priority, take your time.

For helpful hints and questions to ask schools and programs you are considering, visit www.HelpYourTeens.com or www.TeenHelpAdvice.com.

Be an educated, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

Treating Troubled Teens: Sue Scheff on InSession (CNN)

CNN - InSession - TruTV (Formerly CourtTV)

This week I was on In Session with Ryan Smith.

An interesting segment about troubled teens and boot camps. It is also a disturbing trial that is almost incomprehensible.

As a young man is being charged with hiring a hit-man to kill his parents, part of his defense is the horrible time he spent in a specialty program.  This program was actually under the same umbrella of schools and programs that my own daughter attended.

Yes, the program in our experience, was extremely abusive – both physically and emotionally.  Did it create someone to actually kill their parents?  I haven’t heard of that yet.  I will share with you these types of stories can sometimes deter parents from getting their teens help.

P.U.R.E. was created to help educate parents on searching and investigating schools and programs for your teen’s individual needs.  We warn you to use caution of slick marketing scams – fancy websites and toll free numbers going all over the place.

When you realize you are losing control of your teen and have exhausted all your local resources, it is time to stop – do YOUR homework – and find help for them.

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

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more valuable information.

Watch CNN here.

Sue Scheff: Talking to your Kids about Death

Michele Borba  is an Author, Child Expert, Speaker and more.  Her recent Blog entry is one that I believe parents throughout the world can benefit from.   The loss of a music ICON as well as a beautiful woman that fought the “not-so-funny” word/disease called cancer and allowed the world to see her determination and love of life through the pain of this disease, is hard to explain to anyone, especially children.

Personally, I grew with both these Celebrities.  It was only about 2 months ago I turned my 10 year old niece on to the Thriller and Bad CD.  Yes, and when she went home to my sister, she insisted my sister go straight out and buy Thriller! (Good thing this was 2 months ago, I am sure today it wouldn’t be that easy).  The funny part of this story is, my sister had a hard time finding it at the store – she asked a sales person for help.  This sales person looked at my niece and asked her – what are you looking for “Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers?” – with that, my niece, in her not so polite way – said, “NO, I want Michael Jackson!”   Can you imagine, this ICON that my sisters and I grew up with is still touching our kids today.

When my (now 24 year old daughter) was only around 8 years old, would sing to Michael Jackson regularly and then performed it at a wedding!  What am I saying?  Michael Jackson’s music is timeless (not was, IS) as we all still listen to this incredible artist.  If you think his music is great, his videos are totally the BEST – he will be missed!

Here is Michele Borba’s Blog Entry yesterday – to read more about Michele, visit – http://www.micheleborba.com/

realitycheckHow to Talk to Kids About the Deaths of Michael Jackson & Farrah

Posted: June 26th, 2009 by Michele Borba

Many parents say that explaining death to children is one of the toughest topics. So if you haven’t had that talk, are you ready this afternoon? Chances are highly likely that your child will ask you about death if not today then sometime soon. After all, the passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett is not only front page news, but also the hot playground topic. And when kids are the ones delivering the news, chances are also high that the facts about death will be wrong. Now is the time to open up the discussion, explain death to your child in terms he understands, and answer any questions.

Children’s understanding of death differs vastly from adults, so here are a few points to review before you have that important  conversation.

  • Describe death in physical terms. Clarify that death means that life stops, the deceased cannot return, and the body is buried. Farrah Fawcett stopped breathing, eating, walking and so he is no longer feeling pain, worrying or hungry. “Michael Jackson died because his heart stopped beating.” Anything less simple and explicit can cause confusion and be misinterpreted by the child.
  • Be honest, open, and direct. Clear up any misunderstandings about death your child may have. Give the details your child needs to know. Withhold those facts that are not in your child’s best interests. If you don’t have an answer just admit you don’t know.
  • Be prepared for tough questions. The American Academy of Pediatrics says kids are most likely to ask these five questions: “What is death?” “What made the person die?” “Where is the person now?” “Can it happen to me?” “Who will take care of me?”
  • Avoid euphemisms. Keep in mind that your child may not grasp the concept of death and take your comments literally. So refrain from statements like: “He is in a deep sleep,”  “She was laid to rest.” “He slipped away.” “She is resting peacefully,” “She was very sick and the illness made her die” “God took her away.” Such comments are often confusing and can cause children worry the same thing may happen to them as well: (“If I’m sick I may die, too.” “If I go to sleep I will go to heaven.”)
  • Be prepared for tough questions. Michael Jackson was 50 and a father of younger children. Your child may ask: “Will you die?” It’s fine for you to answer, “Not for a long time. I’m taking care of myself and I’m just fine.”

Your child may ask the same question over and over. That’s just how children process information. Encourage those questions and tell your child to come to you anytime. You want this information to come from you so your child gets the right facts about death as well as any other topic.

A child’s understanding of death varies by different ages and stages. Here is a quick review of what to expect:

  • Preschool: Think death is only temporary like going to sleep (the dead might or might not wake up after a while). Difficulty separating real from fantasy so they often believe their thoughts or actions may have caused the death (especially if they were “bad). “Wishing hard enough” or “acting right” might bring the deceased back. Abstract concepts such as heaven are difficult to grasp Most assume they personally will not die: it happens only to others.
  • School Age: Gradually begin to understand death is final (the dead stay dead and aren’t just sleeping), but still need perspective. May think of death as a person or ghostly figure such as a clown, shadowy death-man, or skeletal figure. Believe thoughts can make things happen so some see the possibility of escaping from death if they are clever or lucky enough. May fear that death is contagious and other loved ones (themselves included) will “catch it” and die as well. Abstract concepts (heaven, an “after live” and spirituality) are still difficult to comprehend.
  • Preteens: Ten and up: Most understand that death is an irreversible and inescapable part of life and now aware of the possibility of their own death. More aware how their world will change and impact of losing a loved one has on their future (”Who will go with me to the football banquet?” “Who will walk me down the aisle at my wedding?”) Curiosity about the process of death develops and may ask for more specific details such as: “Is the body cold?” “Where does the body go?” 

bookbigparentingGet more Parenting Solutions by following @MicheleBorba on Twitter.

Michele’s new book is coming out this fall – The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.

Sue Scheff: Are you Considering Residential Therapy for your Teen?

Just a reminder of my organization that I created almost 10 years ago after a negative experience with my own teenage daughter.  A Parent’s True Story  has been widely read through my book Wit’s End! I was very fortunate that Health Communications, Inc. recognized the importance of my story and the valuable advice I offer to parents who are desperate for help and are at risk of making rash decision in searching for residential therapy. Order today at http://witsendbook.com.

we_are_parents_tooParent’s Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.™) is an organization that was founded in 2001 by Sue Scheff.  For the past several years Parent’s Universal Resource’s has assisted families with valuable information and resources for their children and teens that are at risk.  Teens that are struggling with today’s peer pressure, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and simply good kids starting to make bad choices.  We have many very satisfied families that have used our services.  Please take a moment to read some of our testimonials.

Whether you are seeking Boarding Schools, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Wilderness Programs, Christian Schools, Summer Programs, Military Schools and more, Parent’s Universal Resource’s can offer you options to explore to help educate you in a very important decision for your child and family.  We invite you to fill out a Free Consultation Form for more information.

Parent’s Universal Resource Expert’s™ are parents helping parents.  As a parent that experienced and survived a difficult teen, we believe that desperate parents are at high risk of making rash and detrimental decisions in choosing the best placement for their child.  Please take a moment to read my story – “A Parent’s True Story” – which is one the reasons this organization was created. 

As a member of the Better Business Bureau for many years we are an organization that prides ourselves in helping others and bringing families back together

There are many Doctors, Attorney’s, Therapists, Police Departments, Schools, Guidance Counselors, and other professionals that refer Parent’s Universal Resource’s to families.  In many cases, after a family has used our service, they recommend us to their friends and relatives.  We have built our reputation on trust and putting families first.  At Parent’s Universal Resource’s we believe in bringing families back together.

  • 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
  • Sue Scheff: Parents Helping Parents

    autismawarenessAs with my organization, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, I created it to help other parents that are struggling with today’s teens.  After going through a difficult time with my own teenage daughter, I made some major mistakes, however I wanted others to learn from my mistakes: more important – gain from my knowledge.  I firmly believe that parents helping parents and parents learning from other parents firsthand – can be priceless!

    Rhonda Spellman  is a proud mother of a beautiful son – who happens to have autism.  She has made it her mission in life to share with other parents and expanded her information into wonderful children’s books.

    Here are some of her parenting tips and please take a moment to visit her website.

    Quick tips: 9 Keys of Parenting

    • Children with Asperger’s Syndrome benefit from an environment that helps to build upon their strengths and builds their confidence and self esteem. What interests them? Help them to gain greater knowledge about their areas of abilities and interest. This helps to build their confidence.

     

    • To help them develop their social skills it is a good idea to talk with them frequently, inquiring how they feel about certain situations. Vary their exposure to a wide range of experiences. Observe their reaction to each and talk about their feelings.

     

    • Was the trip at the park better than the trip to the mountains? Why? What made one better or worse than the other? Try to avoid large crowds, too much noise and too many sensory impulses at one time. People with Asperger’s Syndrome are simply unable to assimilate too many variables at one time and you are setting them up for a ‘meltdown.’

     

    • It helps a person with Asperger’s Syndrome to broaden their interests and topics of conversation. Try introducing something new and different, in small steps and in small time slots. For example, visit a new location that offers a perspective that may enhance an ability they already possess. Go to a new planetarium if astronomy is “their thing.” Different settings can help them to learn what is and what isn’t socially appropriate.

     

    • Keep in mind that it is a critical element to ensure that they are in a safe, supportive, and strength-based group setting. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome unfortunately tend to act out inappropriately and become targets for bullies.

     

    • Because children with Asperger’s Syndrome are already fearful or otherwise resistant to socially interact with others it is paramount to begin working on their social skills as early as possible. They already have difficulty communicating with others and are often excluded in their schools by their peers because they appear “different” or “weird.” Involving them in small group settings in a familiar environment not only exposes them to “accepted” behaviors but it also gives them a feeling of acceptance among their peers.

     

    • *At my house we often have as many as 11 extra neighborhood children playing in the backyard with my two boys. My almost eight-year-old son has Asperger’s Syndrome. My just turned six-year-old son does not. They both are involved with the play at times. Sometimes my older son is an observer… and that’s okay. Sometimes he prefers to just play in the sandbox or paint with sidewalk chalk. *He gets the chalk wet and “paints” wonderful pictures.

     I make popsicles by the dozen and the children take turns passing them out. I am firm on fairness and each knows the unwritten rule that no one is ever left out. Yes, the extra children can be exhausting… yes, the extra children can make a mess… yes, making the popsicles takes some time and it costs me a few extra dollars… Can I afford the extra time and effort? The way I see it: The interaction for my son is therapy I can’t afford NOT to do!

     

    • A child with Asperger’s self esteem is greatly enhanced when they are given opportunities to participate with and / or help others. Allowing them to pitch in and help with chores and to have responsibilities is a great start. Making sure that they are recognized and rewarded is the second step. Watching them grow into happy, stable and productive people is the always the goal.

    I learn from my very different boys every day. I aim to teach them to love and accept those differences, in each other and in all others, every day.