Parent’s True Story: Searching for Teen Help

WitshandsAfter experiencing my good teen making some bad choices, I found myself surfing the Internet until I was so confused and stressed that I couldn’t make a decision. One group of specialty schools and behavior modification programs kept popping up wherever I clicked, and I figured they must be good. Then I received their beautiful glossy literature with a video that could make any parent weep.

Once the initial sticker shock wore off, the cost was reasonable in comparison with other programs, or so I thought until I enrolled my child. The hidden costs added up like a grocery bill. I was totally misled by the sales rep and made a rash decision. Mistake number one: being clueless as to whom you are speaking with when reaching out to these toll-free numbers. This is a common mistake for parents in a desperate situation. A swift sales rep is there waiting for you; meeting questions with the answers you want to hear and making promises that convince you they can help your child.

My true nightmare was just beginning.

Impressed by the fancy words and glossy brochures, I enrolled my child with the understanding that they were qualified to help. I am ashamed to say I never did a background check on these programs. I had called their parent references that they gave me (and later found out they were paid to talk to me, some actually receiving a free month’s tuition). I know many of you are thinking I must have been nuts, and you are right. In this stage of my life, I was at my wit’s end and just wanted help for my child.

Long story short, my frenzy and desperation led to my biggest mistake. I was looking for therapy and internalization through the help of professionals, but what I inadvertently ended up with was more of a teen warehousing program. This was not what they had sold me.

In retrospect, red flags went up shortly after I dropped my child off and I asked who the psychologist would be. Guess what? There was none, unless I wanted to pay extra! So who led the group therapy they raved about? There was no group therapy, there was a person, usually another student, who sat in a circle with them as they reflected. Their psychologist was available for another $100 per visit. But their sales reps had told me that there was a licensed therapist “on staff and on site.” I should have pulled my child then, but I thought I was over-reacting since I was in such a state of confusion and frenzy. The staff was very good at convincing me to “trust the program” instead of addressing my concerns.

My child wrote me letters: some good, some bad. According to the program, the good ones were considered manipulation; the bad ones were considered proof that she needed to stay longer. I couldn’t win and neither could my child.

During my child’s entire stay of almost six months, I was never allowed to speak with her. I only spoke with an employee once a week for 15 minutes (in further research, I discovered these employees had no credentials and many weren’t educated beyond High School, including the President of the organization). I later found out it usually takes up to six months to speak with your child, and in most cases up to a year to see them.

It took me months to realize that I had made a big mistake. In order to visit my child it was mandatory to attend some very bizarre seminars; I wrote my withdrawal letter immediately after the second seminar.

I brought my child home suffering from depression and nightmares from her time in a WWASPS program, and fear of being sent back had created suicidal thoughts.  My child went immediately into real counseling where, after almost two years, an excellent psychologist helped us recover from this horrible, traumatic post-WWASP experience. When my child felt confident that I wouldn’t send her back, I heard some unspeakable stories. I have also heard similar stories from many other post-WWASP aka WWASPS students and families suffering from the same post traumatic symptoms. Through this experience I have developed the opinion that fraud and misrepresentation, combined with a vulnerable parent, can lead to danger for a child. I believe in sharing my knowledge of this (very political) industry with as many families as possible.

So who am I? I am a parent that refused to be silenced. In 2001 I posted my story of what we endured. How my child was abused, how I was duped, and how they (in my opinion) continue to dupe others. WWASPS decided to sue me to have my story removed from the Internet. It went to a jury trial, and I won with truth as my defense.  My story is here and is also published in Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (Health Communications, Inc). I have continued to help families through my organization founded from our experiences, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc (P.U.R.E.)

As of March 2013, it is believed that WWASP aka WWASPS or Premier Educational Systems has affiliations with the following, click here.

If you are one of the many parents struggling with their teenagers — good kids making bad choices — you are not alone. If you are in need of teen help, residential therapy is an excellent resource.  In reality there are many more good programs than there are not so good; the key is to do your homework. I created a list of tips and questions to ask schools and programs before enrolling your child, as well as other valuable information. Be an educated parent and you will have safer and healthier teens. So ditch your denial and get proactive! Your child deserves a chance at a bright future.

Learn from my mistakes, gain from my knowledge…..

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Strugglings Teens: The Birth of Parents Universal Resource Experts

After 12 years, my organization has been recognized for helping literally thousands of parents and families with their tweens, teens and young adults.

Recently I was interviewed by Career Thoughts.

Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc was created after I was duped online by trying to get my own daughter help.  I was a parent at my wit’s end.  I was vulnerable – I was scammed – and my daughter suffered the consequences.

Many people have asked about her, and she is now a grown woman, successful in her career and has two children of her own.  We have overcome the hurdles – not because of the horrific program she went to, but in spite of it – and because of the fantastic help we found after it to help de-programize her from the damage they did to her.

I always share with parents to learn from my mistake and gain from my knowledge.  That is the biggest gift I can give.

Enjoy this article -click here.

Behavioral Modification Programs – Specialty Boarding Schools – Teen Help Programs

What exactly is a parent looking for when their once happy bouncing toddler has turned into an out-of-control teenager?

Second semester.  Some teens have had enough. They don’t want to go to school anymore.  They believe they know it all.  It is easier to get a GED, after all, some of their so-called friend are doing it!

As much as you are trying to ignore or just say it is a phase, you notice your teen is withdrawing from the family, failing in school, smell alcohol, maybe even marijuana, cigarettes, and overall have become a child you no longer recognize with a personality that is defiant and totally disrespectful the the family boundaries – what do you do?

Most parents try local therapy – which is a great first step, but when happens when therapy doesn’t work?  You can’t be afraid to take that next step!  A parent in a denial only harms your teenager.  Don’t be held hostage in your home by your teen’s behavior.

Sending a child to a residential program/school is a major decision. It is not one to be taken lightly or to be decided on overnight.

Usually a teen’s behavior has been slowly escalating and a parent knows that deep down things are not getting better.  As much as you hope and pray that things will change, this is only typical teen behavior, sometimes it just isn’t.

With drug use and substance abuse rising – more dangerous and deadly ingredients being used, such as spice and inhalants, parents have reason to be concerned.  It isn’t your marijuana of generations prior – it is so much worse and in many cases – addictive and deadly.

If you have reached your wit’s end and now surfing the Internet for help, remember, anyone can build a website.  Anyone can put up nice pictures and create great content.  You need to do your due diligence.

Years ago I struggled with my own teenager.  I was at my wit’s end.  I didn’t realize what a big business this “teen help industry” was.  Yes, my child needed help, but what we received was anything but that.  My story is a cautionary tale – not one to scare you into not using a program, however on the contrary, you have to get your child help, but you have to do your research in getting them the right help.

You can do it without spending thousands!

Here are some quick tips:

  • Your child is not for sale, try to avoid those marketing arms selling you a list of programs that are not in the best interest of your child’s individual needs.
  • Always speak with an owner or director – Someone that has a vested in your teen’s recovery.  Their reputation is on the line.
  • Wilderness and other short term programs are usually nothing more than a band-aid that will fall off as quickly as the program lasted.  They are expensive camping trips and in most cases the Wilderness program will tell you at about 4 weeks that your teen will need to continue on to a longer term program.  What? Yes, now you go back to the research board and worse than that, your teen will be deflated when he finds out he/she isn’t coming home in 6-9 weeks as they were lead to believe – and they will be starting all over again with a new therapist – new schedule – and new setting.  Don’t get caught up in this “shuffle.”  Start and finish with the same school/program.
  • The average stay should be about 6-9-12 months, depending on your teen.  Anything less is probably non-effective.  Anything more, you may be creating abandonment issues in my opinion.
  • Do you really need an Educational Consultant?  Absolutely not.  You are the parent and no one knows your teen better than you do – with a few tips, you will be able to make some sound choices.

For more helpful hint and tips, please contact for a free consultation. After the ordeal I went through, I created this advocacy organization to help educate parents on finding safe and quality programs.

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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 for more information. To learn more about Sue Scheff, please visit

Contact: (954) 260-0805

Media Contact:
Tyronne Jacques

Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Struggling Teens: Back to School

Listening to parents on a daily basis struggle with what is going on with their teens today can be stressful and pull at your heartstrings.  Many times it has nothing to do with the parenting, it is today’s society and the harsh pressures of peer influence.

In the same respect, you can’t be a parent in denial – you can’t assume since your teen’s friend is making bad choices that your teen that is following that behavior is not part of the issue.  Remember, it is your teen making the choice to smoke that joint – or drink that beer.  Yes, it is peer pressure, but a teen has free will and they can say no.

Need help?  Is your teen spiraling out of control?  Check out – Stop being a parent in denial and give your teen a second chance at a positive future.

Sue Scheff: Parenting Struggling Teens

schoolAs school opens, our phones start ringing.  Is your teen starting off on the wrong foot already?  Are you considering a Boarding School?  What will be best for “your” child? 


This is my child, where did I go wrong? Most likely you didn’t, sometimes life gives us stumbling blocks that are put there for a reason. None of us is perfect, parenting is not easy, children don’t come with manuals, and we can’t be blamed for all the bad in this world.

Parenting is probably one of the most difficult jobs to do. That, combined with working a full-time job and juggling household chores, as well as many other activities in life, can lead to turmoil in many lives. As a parent, we need to consciously make time to get to know our kids, and our kid’s friends. This can be very difficult with our schedules; however, a necessary step to be able to get to know your child and build trust.

This is my child. Good or bad, they don’t deserve abuse. If your child needs help from outside sources (Therapeutic Boarding School, Residential Treatment, etc), you need to feel confident there are safe and qualified schools and programs. Although sometimes hard to locate immediately, after time and research, you will finally find the best school or programs for your child’s individual needs. After all, this is my child. They are our future. Take the time to research, research, and research. Good kids making bad choices – that is the way of most of today’s teens.

  • School Opens

As a new school year opens, our phones become very busy. Many of the parents who call are at their wits end with their child’s lack of motivation toward school and desire to be less than the child’s potential is. The phrase ‘my child is a good kid, this is not like him/her’ is very common. Many children embarking on a new school year try to figure out where they fit in.  Peer Pressure can be extremely difficult for adolescents.

Today, the most frequent statement is how intelligent a child is, yet he/she not working up to their potential – an underachiever.  They are capable of the work, but lack the motivation to complete it.  How many kids achieve great test scores, however fail a class since they don’t finish their homework?  Unfortunately this is very common.

Making mistakes and falling is all part of growing up and maturing. Although our instincts are to love and protect, we must, at times, let them learn from their mistakes. Loving them is unconditional, and protecting them is natural. Watching them fail can be painful; however, watching them learn from it is fulfilling.

Although there are no standard answers in today’s society of teens and pre-teens, one issue is clear, they need our support and our guidance to help them through the rough spots. It seems very difficult to determine when to let them fly and when to intervene. Each family and child, with their own unique dynamics, knows what works best for them.  The influences of today’s peer pressure can be overwhelming.

Locating a smaller private school or residential program may lead to success depending on the child. Unfortunately, costs may be prohibitive for some families. Some of the schools offer scholarships or financial aid. If they don’t, you may want to ask them for a resource that may be able to assist you.  There are lending institutions for Educational Loans.

Military Schools are an excellent choice for children that flourish with structure and positive discipline. Many parents are under the misconception that Military Schools are for troubled children; that is false. Military Schools are a privilege and an honor for children to attend. Most Military Schools start at $20,000.00 per year. Some have scholarship programs.

Military Schools can build your child’s self-esteem and confidence to start making productive choices and help the child in reaching his or her potential academically. The social environment can be a positive atmosphere for both boys and girls. Again, with Military Schools, it is not for children that are out of control, at risk or using substances.  Many ADD/ADHD students flourish in the structured environment.

Traditional Boarding Schools are a great opportunity for children to enhance their ability to achieve academically. Like Military Schools, they are not for troubled children or out of control teens. They are prestigious and usually offer more academic attention for the child. There are many that offer classes for the children that have Learning Differences including ADD and ADHD. Most Boarding Schools start at $25,000.00 per school year. In some instances, finding a Boarding School for your child that offers their special interest (e.g. Arts, Music, an Equestrian program, Sports etc.) could also encourage progress in their future.

Parent Beware-ness

Since the establishment of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E. )years ago (since 2001), there have been companies attempting to duplicate P.U.R.E.  We have yet to see any organization offer the emotional and parent support that we offer to families. P.U.R.E. is parents helping parents. We encourage all parents, friends, and relatives to research, research, and research. Our homepage offers a link to a list of Helpful Hints as well as Questions to ask Schools and Programs that can be beneficial in making the best choice for your child.

Until our United States government enacts federal laws to provide oversight standards for private schools and private residential programs, you must rely on your instincts and investigations. P.U.R.E. encourages our Congress and United States Senate to enact consumer protection laws for families and children that will help reveal widespread deception that is regularly used by some programs.

We don’t want parents to become fearful from finding help for their children, but parents must do their homework. It is the most important component of finding the best school or program for your child. Building your child back up, enhancing their self-esteem, and working with professionals can help your child to mature into a productive adult.  It is about giving your child a second chance to be all they can be.

Programs/Schools that use food and/or sleep deprivation, expect the children to live in unsanitary conditions, deprive them of an education, or isolate them from others for extended periods of time are Red Flags. Continue searching until you feel 100% comfortable with your decision. Although your child is acting out negatively, putting them into a negative and poor environment is more likely to build more anger and resentment. They don’t need the Hilton; however they do deserve basic human needs. Eating right and healthy combined with good sleep habits is more likely to enhance your child’s desire to change for the positive.

Parent Information

Many parents think if they pay an Educational Consultant or someone that has an association with a group that is self-made (not regulated by any governmental agencies, i.e. IECA – Independent Educational Consultants Association) they are going to the experts. The old cliché kicks in, “since they cost so much, they must be good.” Although there are some reputable Educational Consultants, you must continue to do your research to find one if you choose to hire one.  It is part of being a proactive parent.

Too many times we have heard from the parents that have been misled by this type of organization. Trusting someone to place your child is a major responsibility. Are they liable if something happens to your child in the programs “they” believe is best for him/her? Why do many refer to the same group of schools and programs, usually after recommending a Wilderness program? With the many parents that call us, those that have used Educational Consultants have given us the same program referrals and most, if not all, have been recommended to Wilderness first. Is there something more to this that we cannot see? We are not insinuating they are bad programs; however, the continuity can be a red flag.

Although we are not advocates of Wilderness programs, the pattern of the Educational Consultants using them first prior a Therapeutic or Residential program, could be viewed as a double dip. Wilderness programs may be good for some children; however, to assume they all need that step seems a bit suspicious. In many cases, Wilderness programs are never long enough to offer lasting results – and they are extremely expensive. Unfortunately, some parents are misguided that a 60-90 day program may be a fix-it-all. Why not start where you want to finish? We have seen much success in a solid and qualified 6-9-12 month programs.  Where a child can start and finish with a sense of accomplishment. 

Another RED FLAG is while surfing the Internet, you are overwhelmed with different toll-free numbers, different web designs, even different marketing names; however, they all lead to the same group of schools and programs. Have you used the Key Word “Military School” and your results are anything but Military Schools? The unfortunate misconception may add more stress and confusion to an already desperate situation. We cannot control the spamming of the Internet, which means you need to be extremely careful as to who or what you are calling.

At P.U.R.E. we offer parents resources offer parents resources and our personal experiences with many programs and schools. We do not place children into schools and programs; we give families resources and options that may be appropriate for their child. We also encourage parent and child feedback from all schools and programs. We like to share it with others who could be looking at the same program. We do not claim to be members of any big organizations, nor do we claim to be Educational Consultants. We are professionals and parents doing our best to help others find safe and qualified settings for their precious cargo.

As a Member of the Better Business Bureau we take pride in our organization and will continue to assist families in need. Keeping your family safe is our priority. P.U.R.E. is “bringing families back together…”

Who to trust? The answer is easy; trust your gut, your heart and yourself as a parent that knows what is best for their child. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t assume your emotions are getting the best of you; your emotions can be your red flags flying.

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

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