Sue Scheff: Identity Theft – What Teens Need to Know

With the expanding Internet use by almost everyone and every organization and business, identity theft is a growing problem. 

South Florida is one of the prime stomping grounds for identity theft.  Florida became the state with the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft complaints, totaling 22,664 in 2009, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Stealing a social security number can create havoc for the owner of that number. 

Reported by the Miami Herald, 18 year-old Tia Nicole Holzworth plans to attend community college and works an after-school job managing rides at the Fun Spot amusement park in Florida.

She is not a dishwasher, paver installer or construction worker.

Yet her Social Security number was used by a score of undocumented workers doing those blue-collar jobs during the past two years in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, authorities say.

A recent study by the Federal Trade Commission found that more than 20,000 kids and teens were the victim of identity theft in 2008.

If your teen is getting a job this summer, or applying to colleges, talk to them about securing their social security number.   Until it happens to you, you cannot imagine the stress and frustration you will have to go through to explain that you are a victim of identity theft.  Years from now as you apply for a mortgage or want to purchase a car, your credit report may pop up suspicious activity. 

Teach your teens now how to protect their identity.  It could save them a lot of grief later.

How to safeguard your Social Security number:

• By law, your Social Security number is only required for opening new financial accounts or lines of credit, obtaining a job or for governmental purposes such as taxes or benefits.

Ask questions: If a company asks for your number, ask under what law they need the number and offer an alternative identification. Only give it out if you feel comfortable with the company, and if you don’t, be prepared to do without its services.

Don’t carry your Social Security card on a daily basis. Memorize the number. If your Medicare card had your number, make a wallet-sized photo copy for your wallet or purse and black out the final four digits.

Shred any financial documents that might have your Social Security number before trashing them. Monitor your financial statements closely. And be wary of entering your Social Security number on web sites.

Your Social Security number can be changed if you can prove you have been the legitimate victim of identity theft.

• For more information, go to  

Sources: Social Security Administration, Identity Theft Resource Center, Miami Herald

You can also visit the Identity Theft Resource Center for more helpful tips on securing your identity.  Read more.

Sue Scheff: Summer Programs and P.U.R.E.

Summer is almost here, is your teen failing in school?  Hanging out with less than desirable peers?  Smoking pot or worse?  Do you see your teenager going down a negative path?

Maybe it is time to find a good, positive Emotional Growth Summer Program to help stimulate your teen in a positive direction.  Build their self-worth to make better choices.  Help them to determine where these negative actions are stemming from. 

Being a proactive parent can help you prevent your teen from spiraling out-of-control.  Just say NO to Boot Camps, as many parents believe that beating a child into submission will scare them straight.  In many cases, this is simply false.  It is about building your child back up again.

For more help and assistance, please visit – for over a decade, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.) has helped thousands of families.  Whether we are there to let you know you are not alone or you are seeking outside help, P.U.R.E. is available to you.  Fill out a form today and get a free consultation.

Sue Scheff: Your Teens Are One Click Away – What Direction will They Go?

Have you thought about how dangerous a “click of a mouse” is?  Dangerous?

As you start a new year, take the time to educate yourself on Internet safety.  Learn how you can become proactive in your kids lives both online and off.  Learn how that one click can either open doors that you can benefit from, or enter hallways are dark and dangerous.

You can put as many parent safety controls on your computer system.  You can employ technical gadgets galore, but until you educate yourself and your kids about the dangers that can lurk online, you and your family are not 100% protected.

Yes, you can be just one click away:  Be sure it is a click into safety not danger.

Did you order your FREE Cyber safety book from the FTC? Order today!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer kids!

Also on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: Parenting Tips #9 from FINK (Families Interaction Nutures Kids)

fink-resourcesParenting Teens Tip Nine – Communicating with confidence, clarity and consistency

June 9th, 2009 by Kate Yaffe

kidscommunicationAre you being clear and consistent in your communication with your children?

I had a conversation with an ex-client the other day and she told me that one thing that had helped her so much in the parenting years was something I had said to her ages ago, that is, the difference between Ask and Tell.

So I thought I would share this easy distinction with you.

An Ask is a request of your teenager, a question they have the right to answer yes or no to, or re-negotiate.

A Tell is an order or an instruction – you are telling your teen to do something and it needs doing now; there is no negotiation.

Most parents, unclear in their communication, ask when they should be telling and tell when they should be asking. With a teenager there is no doubt that we will be asking more than telling, but sometimes we will still tell, for example, “Come on, we are leaving now!”

I had a conversation with an ex-client the other day and she told me that one thing that had helped her so much in the parenting years was something I had said to her ages ago, that is, the difference between Ask and Tell.

So I thought I would share this easy distinction with you.

An Ask is a request of your teenager, a question they have the right to answer yes or no to, or re-negotiate.

A Tell is an order or an instruction – you are telling your teen to do something and it needs doing now; there is no negotiation.

Most parents, unclear in their communication, ask when they should be telling and tell when they should be asking. With a teenager there is no doubt that we will be asking more than telling, but sometimes we will still tell, for example, “Come on, we are leaving now!”

So look at your parenting; where are you asking when you should be telling? Remember, if their is no negotiation at all then it is a tell. Where are you telling when you could be asking? Remember, if you could stretch a little and there is room for negotiation, then it is an ask.

Most teenagers negotiate with everything because parents are not clear with them, so they never know if it is an Ask or a Tell. They push their luck and negotiate everything, knowing they will win some and lose some, but it worth a try.

So get clear in your communication and give your teenagers clear messages about what they can and cannot do.

Learn more:

Sue Scheff – Parenting Struggling Teens

It 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.

Parent Coach – Dr. Paul Jenkins – Parental Power!

Dr. Paul Jenkins offers a fantastic Podcast Radio Show on a wide variety of topics relating to parenting and family concerns.
Visit and listen and learn how you can broaden your parenting skills!

Sue Scheff: Empower Yourself as a Parent

Parent Empowerment!
By Sue Scheff

Are you at your wit’s end? Completely frustrated and stressed out over your child’s behavior? Are you questioning where the child you raised with values went? It is time to empower yourself with information that can help you take control again.

So many parents are desperate to find resolution and peace with their out of control teen. They feel helpless, hopeless, scared, exhausted, and bewildered where this behavior came from.

Many teens are suffering with low self esteem, depression and other negative feelings that are making the act out in defiant ways. It is important to try to resolve these feelings before they escalate to worse behavior, including substance abuse and addiction, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders, self injury, gang involvement, etc.

These teens are usually very intelligent and capable of getting Honor Roll grades, however are not working up to their potential and lack the motivation to succeed and do well. This can stem from peer pressure combined with the teen’s feelings of low self worth. It is one of the most common trends today – highly intelligent teens making bad choices. Are you telling yourself; “This is not my child,” yet soon realize that it is and you must take control of an obvious out of control situation.

As a parent that has experienced and survived a troubled teen – I am introducing “Parent Empowerment” to help you take control of your family again. My goal is that you will learn from my mistakes and gain from my knowledge.

Do you think you are alone? I can assure you, that there are many parents that are in your same situation – and feeling the same frustrations.

Let’s look at things we have tried – and I am confident many of you will see the familiarity with these consequences:

Remove privileges or place restrictions on cell phones, televisions, computers, going out on weekends, friends, phone time at home, etc. In today’s society, although these should be privileges, most are considered normal necessities of a teen’s life. This can be related to entitlement issues. Click Here Many instances even if you have removed the privileges, the child knows he/she will eventually get them back, and find other means to communicate with their teen world.

Change schools – How many times have we believed if we change the school the problems will go away? Maybe in some cases, however these issues will follow your child into the next school environment. The problems may be masked in the beginning, but in most cases, the trouble will soon arise again. Changing schools, although may temporarily resolve some problems; it is rarely the answer when teens are emotionally struggling.

Have your child go live with a relative out of state? Wow, this is very common, but the other similarity is that in many situations it is a short term resolution before the family is calling and saying they can’t do it any longer – you need to find another alternative for the teen. This can be traumatic and stressful for both families involved and cause friction that could result in more negative feelings.

How many families have actually moved? Believe or not, parents have looked for job transfers or other avenues to try to remove their teen from the environment they are currently in. So many of us believe it is the friends, which it could be, however as parents we need to also take accountability – this is not saying we are to blame, but we need to understand that our children are usually not the “angels” we believe they are. Sure they are athletic, played varsity sports (football, track, golf, swim team, dance etc.), musically gifted, or other special talents as well as were in all advanced placement classes – but reality is, if you are reading this, this has changed.

Seeking a therapist will help. Yes in some cases it will. And of course, we should all try this avenue first. Unfortunately more times than not, the teens are already a master manipulator and can breeze through these sessions convincing the therapist the parents are the problem. I know many of you have probably already experienced this. The other concern with therapy is that in many situations the one hour once or twice a week can barely scratch the surface of what a family with a troubled teen may require.

Was your child arrested? If your child has committed a crime, chances are they will be arrested. If your child has become belligerent in the home and you fear for your safety or the safety of your family, again chances are they will be arrested. In some cases with first time offenders the charges could be dropped. However if this becoming a chronic problem, you seriously should consider outside help. When a teen is arrested and placed in a juvenile detention center, even for one night, they are exposed to a different element that could either scare him/her or harden them. Teens can learn bad habits in these centers, or potentially worse, make friends with teens that have far worse problems than yours.

Scared Straight Programs or Boot Camps – Are they effective? Many parents will seek a local weekend Scared Straight Program or Boot Camp. In some cases, it may have a positive effect on your teen – a wake up call so to speak; however in other cases it may worsen your problem. Depending on your child and the problems you are dealing with or how long they have been going on, may help you to determine if these types of programs would be beneficial or detrimental to them. Some teens will leave a Boot Camp or weekend Scared Straight program with more anger and resentment than when they entered it. The resentment is usually directed at the person that placed them there – not at the program. This can open doors to more destructive behavior. Personally, I am not in favor of Boot Camps or Scared Straight Weekend programs. A visit to a jail with a police officer, giving the teen the awareness of what could happen to them, may be a better way to help the teen to understand consequences of the current behavior.

These above efforts are avenues parents could try before considering any type of boarding school program. I believe exhausting all your local resources should be the first path. Making a decision to place a child outside of the home is a major decision and one that is not to be taken lightly. It is important you educate yourself – empower yourself with information to help you make the best decision for your child. Here is a list of questions to ask schools and programs in order to determine if they are a fit for your teen.

Click here:
Helpful Hints: when searching for schools and programs.

An educated parent is an empowered parent. Parent Empowerment! Take control of your family life again. Don’t be a parent in denial – take control and become empowered! I believe giving your child a second chance to have a successful life is our responsibility as a concerned parent.