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Helping Struggling Teens

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.

Read the article -click here.

Residential Therapy: Are you ready to made the leap?

You have finally reached your wit’s end.  It has come to a point where you have exhausted all your local resources.  The one on one therapy is no longer working, if it ever did.  The fact is, it is a fight to even get your teen to attend a session.  If you do get them to attend – how many times to they actually manipulate the therapist to actually believe there isn’t an issue at all…… in some instances the blame can come right back to the parent!

Yes, manipulation of a teen is priceless.  They are the best at what they do.  However now is the time for the parent to be the best at what they are – a parent.

You decided it is time for residential therapy and you jump on the Internet and you start with Google by typing in key words.  Teen help, struggling teens, defiant teens, teen help programs, military schools, reform schools, troubled teens, rebellious teens, etc.

What you will find is a list of marketing arms that are very quick to “sell you a group of programs” rather than discuss what is best for your individual teenager.  I always caution parents to beware of these toll free numbers and marketing arms that you have no clue where you are calling and who is connected to what.

I once was at my wit’s end – my story is what prompted me to created an organization to help educate parents about the big business of “teen help”.  Take a few minutes to read – “A Parent’s True Story” and you will realize that although you absolutely need to get your son or daughter help, you also need to take the time to do your research.

I have listed some “Do’s and Don’ts” when searching –  these are some great helpful hints for parents.  This is such a major emotional and financial decision that I encourage to read through my website and learn as much as you can before making a decision.  I firmly believe in residential programs – I just also believe you need to select the right one for your child’s needs.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

Teen Help Programs: The Internet Search

You have finally reached your wit’s end with your teenager.

You have exhausted all your local resources, your nerves are fried, you have removed all their privileges and nothing is making a difference – you are literally a hostage to your own child!

What now?

It is time for outside help… but you get online and realize first the sticker shock…. (price of programs and schools) then you see all these horror stories – EXACTLY WHO SHOULD YOU BELIEVE?

Your gut!

Years ago I was in your exact spot – and I didn’t listen my gut, and the results were not good, however it had a purpose.  The reason was to be a part of helping parents not make the mistakes I did.

When you get online you will see many toll free numbers going to places unknown.  Usually sales reps that will more than happily give you a list of programs that they believe will be perfect for your child – but how do they know?

Point is – you don’t want a sales rep – you don’t want a marketing arm, you want an owner, a director or someone that will be vested in your child’s recovery and healing process.  Someone that will be held accountable – their reputation will be reflected upon your child’s success.

I created an organization that helps educate parents to better understand the big business of residential therapy.  There are questions parents need to ask, that many don’t think about while they are desperate for help such as when will they be able to speak with their child or visit their child.

I encourage you to visit www.helpyourteens.com and find out more about residential therapy – especially if you are considering the next step.  Don’t wait for a crisis to happen.  Be prepared.

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Is your teenager the problem?

Hmmm, well, this is a bold and common statement I hear quite frequently so when a new friend/colleague mentioned she has a book coming out this spring with this title, I was intrigued.  After all, as a parent that struggled with a teen that was less than perfect, and liked to convince me that “I” was the problem, this book just may go flying off the shelves.

My Teenager Is The Problem” is written by Ronae Jull, the Hope Coach.

A bit about this new book…..

Do you struggle with that one family member who constantly challenges your serenity, twists your stomach into knots and keeps you up at night, questioning your sanity? If that family member is your teenager, you’re not alone.

Teenagers can cause feelings of anger, incompetence, and helplessness in even the most confident parents. Regardless of how successful your professional life, your home keeping skills, or your other relationships,parenting a teen can challenge your resolve to remain calm and mindful when dealing with him or her.

Maybe you’ve come to feel that you shouldn’t have become a parent, you can’t do anything right, and that your teen may not make it to his or her adult years in one piece.

You don’t have to feel this way.

Order My Teenager IS the Problem! today and recapture peace and sanity for you and your family. The book — authored by The HOPE Coach, Ronae Jull — provides specific step-by-step strategies, guaranteed to save your teen and renew your peace-of-mind.

Read just a few of the proven solutions offered in this amazing book below:

Creating and enforcing boundaries

  • Dealing with bad attitudes
  • Substance abuse
  • Dealing with and stopping rage
  • Helping your depressed teen
  • Coping with bullying behavior
  • Helping your mentally ill teen
  • …and much more…

For more information on Ronae Jull and her services, visit her website at www.RonaeJull.com.  You can follow Ronae Jull on Twitter and join her on Facebook!

As a Parent Advocate and Author of a parenting book on residential therapy, Parent Coaching can be an avenue a family can use prior taking the step into residential therapy.

Specialty Boarding Schools – Horizon Academy, Red River Academy – What are they?

Hold on, you will find the RIGHT help, just don't panic....

HELP – Who do I trust!!! What website is really telling me the truth?  Where are these toll free numbers really going to?  How do I know these people really care about my teenager?

Scary huh?  Yes, I was there over a decade ago – and unfortunately – today the same organization that harmed my daughter has moved on (though re-named themselves) are still practicing from what I have heard.  This is, of course, my experiences.

Troubled teens, teen help, struggling teens, at-risk teens, problem teens, difficult teens, boot camps, military schools, behavior modification, specialty schools, specialty programs, teen help programs, boarding schools, residential treatment centers, residential therapy, emotional growth programs, therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs, defiant teens, manipulative teens, disengaged from the family, family conflict, hopelessness, WIT’S END….

You have about reached your wit’s end when you are searching the web and typing in about every keyword you believe describes what you think you are looking for.  Glorified websites appear – maybe some not so beautiful, maybe you want a Christian setting, maybe you think a good boot camp or have that traditional thinking of an old fashioned military school…. however you will soon realize this isn’t 50 years ago.  There are legitimate residential therapeutic schools today and it is a parent job to do their research to be sure they find a safe and quality program that fits their individual needs.

After hours – days – even weeks (I have actually spoken to parents that have spent months) on the Internet, sometimes the confusion can deepen, which is why I did create Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.

With this – I am only sharing my own experiences…. and it has to do with the affiliated programs with the title of this Blog….

Are you confused yet? Looking for teen help and realizing this is a BIG BUSINESS?

So, your teen is driving your crazy.  You are at your wit’s end. You have finally decided you need outside help. You have exhausted all your local resources.  Local therapy doesn’t help, heck, you can’t even get your teen to attend.  Your teen is failing in school, he/she is very smart yet doesn’t want to attend school and believe they know it all.  Many say, “typical teen“, but as a parent, we know it is more than that.

Where did our good kid go?  Good kids making bad choices – and they don’t need to be placed in an environment that will make them worse in my opinion – learn from what happened to me!

As a victim of the WWASPS organization – I am often called or receive many emails about our (my daughter and I) experiences with them.  Obviously not pleasant.  Though I am happy to say the program she was at, Carolina Springs Academy, which attempted to go through a name change to Magnolia Christian Academy (or School) depending on the day you Googled it, is finally closed – it has been rumored some of the staff is now at their affiliate program – Red River Academy.

Let me be clear for legal purposes – these are rumors – but if I were placing my child in program, I personally wouldn’t take any chances – and furthermore, Red River Academy is clearly named in the current lawsuit which is extremely disturbing with allegations of fraud, abuse, neglect and much more – (click here) that is current.

Then we come to Horizon Academy.  Another alleged WWASPS facility.  Why say alleged?  Maybe they will deny they are affiliated – yet look at their staff, again, you will see they were once employed at other WWASPS programs.  Jade Robinson was at the program in Mexico (named in that lawsuit with alleged abuse and neglect) Casa By the Sea, then went on to Bell Academy, which didn’t last long, and I assume is trying to continue at Horizon Academy.

So when the “sales rep” tells you that “Sue Scheff” is a disgruntled parent – I say – YES, I was – you put my daughter in a box for 17 hours, she was mentally and emotionally abused – food and sleep deprived – I was complete defrauded – and she also missed out on 6 months of education.  None of which I had signed up for.  Grant it, this was 10 years ago – a lot has changed – but those original owners haven’t – so in my humble opinion – I wouldn’t trust any of their programs with my pets….. BTW: I am the only parent to have defeated WWASPS in a jury trial.  

Most of the other (many) lawsuits have settled out of court with silence agreements.  I don’t have one, which is why I can still share my story – which is why I get slimed online – which is why their sales reps have all sorts of stories about me – including “the jury made a mistake” – neglecting to tell you I won the appellate court too.  No one condones child abuse – period.

I have been called a crusader (and not in a flattering way) though I take it that way.  I have made it my mission to find the better programs and schools, since I do know what it is like to be at your wit’s end.  I know what parents need help. I am not against residential therapy, which brings us to many  of my stalkers that were formally abused in programs that believe all programs should be closed down.  That is being extreme – they are not a parent trying to save their child’s life and future.

I will share with you that there are more safe and quality programs than there are bad ones – it is just about doing your homework and research.  Today you are more fortunate than I was – you have more access to information and you can learn from my mistakes and  my knowledge.

Please – take 10 minutes to read my story and see the list of programs that are and were once affiliated with Carolina Springs Academy – and from there, you make your own choices for your child.

I had one parent that almost went to Red River Academy that actually said the sales rep said they could have their teen “extracted” within a few hours?  Extracted?  Really – is your child a tooth?  Please don’t get rushed into a quick decision – this is a major emotional and financial decision.

WWASPS can try to discredit me to parents, but I have been vindicated by many included legally and the media.

My organization is Parents’ Universal Resource Experts – and no matter what those “sales reps” or the Internet fiction – I don’t own, operate or manage any schools or programs!  We are about educating parents when they are looking for help for their at risk teen…. Don’t get scammed when you are at your wit’s end.

Oh – and when these “sales reps” send out these defamatory links about me – another FACT they neglect to tell you is I won the landmark case for Internet Defamation that awarded me $11.3M in damages for what was said about me online!  Lies and twisted facts!  Here is my recent appearance on Anderson Cooper.

This is strictly my opinion on my own experiences – you are free to make your choices…

Teen Drinking: Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Youth

If you manage the health and well-being of 9- to 18-year-olds, this Guide is for you.

“Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide” is designed to help health care professionals quickly identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems. NIAAA developed the Guide and Pocket Guide in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, a team of underage drinking researchers and clinical specialists, and practicing health care professionals.

Why use this tool?

  • It can detect risk early: In contrast to other screens that focus on established alcohol problems, this early detection tool aims to help you prevent alcohol-related problems in your patients before they start or address them at an early stage.
  • It’s empirically based: The screening questions and risk scale, developed through primary survey research, are powerful predictors of current and future negative consequences of alcohol use.
  • It’s fast and versatile: The screen consists of just two questions, which can be incorporated easily into patient interviews or pre-visit screening tools across the care spectrum, from annual exams to urgent care.
  • It’s the first tool to include friends’ drinking: The “friends” question will help you identify patients at earlier stages of alcohol involvement and target advice to include the important risk of friends’ drinking.


Download or order the Guide and pocket guide.

You may also be interested in related resources to support you, your patients, and their families

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Family Meals: How Important Are They? New Survey of 2011 Family Dinner Report

Recently a report was released from CASA Columbia about the importance of family dinner.  In today’s hectic world, many parents with two jobs, kids in different activities or single parent homes, family dinners can seem impossible.

2011 FAMILY DINNERS REPORT FINDS:

TEENS WHO HAVE INFREQUENT FAMILY DINNERS LIKELIER TO SMOKE, DRINK, USE MARIJUANA

TEENS LIKELIER TO HAVE ACCESS TO ALCOHOL, MARIJUANA, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WHEN FAMILY DINNERS INFREQUENT

NEW YORK, NY, September 22, 2011 – Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are almost four times likelier to use tobacco; more than twice as likely to use alcohol; two-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and almost four times likelier to say they expect to try drugs in the future, according to The Importance of Family Dinners VII, a new report from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia).

The CASA Columbia family dinners report revealed that teens who have infrequent family dinners are likelier to say they have ready access to alcohol, prescription drugs (without a prescription in order to get high) or marijuana. Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are more likely to be able to get alcohol, prescription drugs or marijuana in an hour or less. In contrast, teens who have frequent family dinners are more likely to report having no access to such drugs.

The CASA Columbia family dinners report reveals that 58 percent of teens report having dinner with their families at least five times a week, a proportion that has remained consistent over the past decade.

“This year’s study reinforces the importance of frequent family dinners,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Columbia’s Founder and Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “Ninety percent of Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before age 18. Parental engagement in children’s lives is key to raising healthy, drug-free kids and one of the simplest acts of parental engagement is sitting down to the family dinner. Seventeen years of surveying teens has taught us that the more often children have dinner with their families the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.”

Family Relationships Matter
This year’s report examined the quality of family relationships between a child and his or her parents and a child and their sibling(s) and found that teens who report having close family relationships are less likely to smoke, drink or use marijuana.

The family dinners report found that teens having frequent family dinners are more likely to report having excellent relationships with their family members. Compared to teens having infrequent family dinners, teens having frequent family dinners are:

  • One-and-a-half times likelier to report having an excellent relationship with their mother;
  • More than twice as likely to report having an excellent relationship with their father; and
  • Almost twice as likely to report having an excellent relationship with their sibling(s).

Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, teens who have infrequent family dinners are almost two-and-a-half times likelier to report that their parents do not regularly make time to check in with them.

Less Time Spent with Parents Related to Increased Risk for Substance Abuse
Teens who have frequent family dinners spend more time with their parents overall, and the report finds a relationship between time spent together and teen substance abuse. Compared to teens who spend 21 hours or more per week with their parents, teens spending seven hours or less are twice as likely to use alcohol, and twice as likely to say they expect to try drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription to get high) in the future.

Teen Perceptions of Sibling Substance Use Related to Teen Substance Abuse Risk
Compared to teens who do not believe their older sibling or siblings have ever tried an illegal drug, teens who believe their sibling(s) have are:

  • More than five-and-a-half times likelier to use tobacco;
  • Almost three times likelier to use alcohol;
  • Six-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and
  • More than three times likelier to expect to try drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription to get high) in the future.

Length of the Family Dinner
The report found that families having frequent dinners spend more time around the dinner table.

Five percent of teens say their family dinners usually last less than 15 minutes; 27 percent say 15 to 20 minutes; 41 percent say 21 to 30 minutes; and 28 percent say dinner usually lasts more than 30 minutes.

Teens having infrequent family dinners are four times likelier to say dinner lasts less than 15 minutes compared to those teens having frequent family dinners. Teens having frequent family dinners are twice as likely to say dinner lasts more than 30 minutes, compared to those teens having infrequent family dinners.

“Although having dinner is the easiest way to create routine opportunities for engagement and communication, dinner isn’t the only time parents can engage with their children,” said Kathleen Ferrigno, CASA Columbia’s Director of Marketing who directs the Family Day — A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ initiative. “If your schedule can’t be rearranged to include family dinners, engage in other kinds of activities with your children so that you are a reliable, involved, and interested presence in their lives. Remember the magic that happens over family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the communication and conversations around it. Creating opportunities to connect is what’s important.”

Family Day — A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™
Family Day is a national movement launched by CASA Columbia in 2001 to remind parents that frequent family dinners make a difference. Celebrated on the fourth Monday in September—the 26th in 2011—Family Day promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children’s risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. What began as a small grassroots initiative has grown to become a nationwide celebration which is expected to once again be proclaimed and supported by the president, all 50 U.S. governors and the mayors and executives of more than 1,000 cities and counties. This year the first spouses in 26 states are serving as Honorary Chairs of Family Day. Stouffer’s and The Coca-Cola Company once again will serve as leading Sponsors. Ten Major League Baseball teams are celebrating and promoting Family Day and the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, the Wrigley Building in Chicago, the Cira Centre in Philadelphia, the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, and the governor’s residences in Kansas, Nevada and New Jersey are lighting up in red and blue in support of Family Day. For more information about Family Day, visit www.CASAFamilyDay.org or find Family Day on Facebook or Twitter.

The findings in this report come from The National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parents, released on August 24, 2011. CASA Columbia used Knowledge Networks to do an Internet-based survey administered to a nationally representative sample of 1,037 teens (546 boys, 491 girls), and 528 of their parents, from March 27 to April 27, 2011. Sampling error is +/- 3.1 for teens and +/- 4.4 for parents. As in the past, CASA Columbia used QEV Analytics to do a survey of trend questions at home by telephone which was administered to a nationally representative sample of 1,006 teens (478 boys, 528 girls) from March 29 to May 9, 2011. Sampling error is +/- 3.1.

CASA Columbia is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat abuse of all substances—alcohol, nicotine, illegal, prescription and performance enhancing drugs—in all sectors of society. Founded in 1992 by former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Columbia and its staff of some 60 professionals aim to inform Americans of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives, find out what works in prevention and treatment of this disease, and remove the stigma of substance abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.

CASA Columbia has issued 76 reports and white papers, published three books, conducted demonstration programs focused on children, families and schools in 36 states and Washington, D.C., held 19 conferences, and has been evaluating drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programs to determine what works best for what individuals. The most recent CASA Columbia book, How to Raise a Drug Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., a practical, user friendly book of advice and information for parents, is widely available in paperback. For more information visit www.casacolumbia.org.

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Eating Disorders, Body Image, Self-Esteem: Where Does a Parent Start?

Be aware of your teen's emotions.

How am I supposed to bring this up with my kids? I don’t know where to start.

Initiating a conversation about someone else is a neutral, non-threatening way to broach the topic. If you hear that someone in your child’s school has an eating disorder, that is an appropriate time to bring it up. Your child already knows or will hear rumors soon, and may have questions that you can answer. If you don’t have any examples closer to home, there are frequently stories of celebrities in and out of treatment.

One that your child may already know is Demi Lovato, a teen actress and singer who has been in numerous Disney movies and TV shows. She entered a residential treatment center last fall, and in April 2011 she gave a few interviews where she discussed some pretty heavy topics.

She discussed being bullied as a child, and her subsequent depression, eating disorder, and self-mutilation, as well as her recent diagnosis with bipolar disorder, her recovery, and helping other girls in her new role with Seventeen Magazine. Here are a few sources for you that condense her story: an article that summarizes Demi’s disorders and treatment or this video where Demi discusses being bullied, her eating disorder, cutting, and her treatment.

Chances are, your children already know her story, and have heard about people at school doing things like skipping meals, purging, or cutting. Demi’s life may not have been that of a typical child, but we can use her story to check in and connect with our children.

Why should I be concerned if my kid is on a diet? I’m on a diet too.

You as an adult are more likely to have your diet in the proper perspective. Kids and teens, especially perfectionist, driven, rule-bound ones, can take things too far until it is a compulsion they cannot control. In her interview, Demi said that by fifteen years old, she was skipping most meals, and when she failed to lose weight, started throwing up. Take stock of your own eating habits – ditch the rules about food, weighing portions, or calorie counting, and instead focus on eating mostly nutritious food, only when you are hungry. Also, never cut yourself down for your weight or what you eat, or be critical about others’ weight or appearance. Before you say it, think how it would sound coming out of a child’s mouth.

My son has been losing weight, but it’s for sports, so that doesn’t count, right?

It’s true that girls and women are more likely to develop eating disorders, but out of eleven million suffering from ED today, one million of those are male. Check over the list of symptoms below, and pay attention to your instinct as a parent. If anything about the way your son is losing weight concerns you, talk to him and talk to a professional. Better safe than sorry!

What’s the difference between an eating disorder and a diet? Or, what are the symptoms of an eating disorder?

It’s possible to diet without developing an eating disorder, but most medical professionals agree that children should not be on any diets.

Where the two differ, however, is the ability or inability to think logically and rationally. So when a normal dieter looks in the mirror and sees progress, anorexics have a distorted view and cannot see themselves as anything but fat. Their irrational compulsion justifies extreme measures, like purging, skipping entire meals, and laxatives. A medical professional or therapist can help with an accurate assessment and diagnosis, but let your instinct as a parent serve as an early warning system. You are often the first to know when something is up with your child, even if you aren’t sure what it is.

Be watchful for these symptoms:

  • Different eating habits, diet plans, skipping meals, snacks, meat, or desserts, avoiding eating with others
  • Distorted, negative self-image
  • Eating alone, in secret, or at night
  • Avoiding social situations that involve food
  • Change in moods including depression, anxiety, withdrawal, irritability, obsessive behavior in other activities
  • Preoccupation with dieting, calories, food, cooking, diet books, what others are eating
  • Visiting websites that promote unhealthy weight loss
  • Any weight loss, weight gain, or failure to make expected gain in height
  • Compulsive exercising
  • Taking laxatives, diet pills, or steroids
  • Making excuses to get out of eating
  • Going to the bathroom right after meals, running water to hide vomiting sounds
  • Wearing loose clothing to hide weight loss or body shape
  • Hoarding high-calorie food, or evidence of binge eating (food wrappers, quantities of food disappearing)

If I suspect they are hiding something, should I snoop in their things?

If you are truly concerned for their safety, you are justified in violating their privacy. This is a last resort, however, and there are ways to avoid it unnecessarily. Are you sure you can’t draw it out in a conversation? If you are just curious, or feeling out of touch, you should instead be working on building your relationship. If you are paying for your son or daughter’s cell phone, internet service, and car payments, you can establish upfront rules about their use that don’t leave them feeling violated.

Be judicious with what you find. If it’s serious, such as laxatives, weapons, drugs, evidence that they are being bullied or stalked by a predator, act on it immediately. They will of course be furious and hurt, but the danger to them is substantial. If you find something upsetting but not dangerous, such as communication complaining about you, first take a deep breath, try to remember what it was like to be a teenager, and let go of your anger. Then work on strengthening your connection.

I’ve seen signs, and now I’m worried. How do I ask my son or daughter if they have an eating disorder?

If you have reason to believe there is a problem, tell them you are concerned without using guilt or blame. Begin by saying, “We have noticed this. Let’s talk.” Skip the lecture, ask open questions, and do more listening than talking. Show compassion and patience. Don’t accuse, shame, or demand anything (except, of course, a visit to a doctor).

Find a therapist that has experience and training in eating disorders. Educate yourself with the resources available from reputable sources such as the National Institute of Mental Health site, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Parent Toolkit, or call the NEDA Helpline at 800-931-2237. HelpGuide.org also has a good basic guide for family and friends.

Why is our son or daughter doing this? Is it my fault?

Finding who to blame should not be your first action. However, the question may nag you whether you as a parent have contributed to your child’s condition. Parents do not cause eating disorders. Studies have found that someone can inherit a predisposition, but there are many other factors involved. Like in Demi’s case, where she suffered from depression first, and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ED is often combined with other mental conditions such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, or anxiety. Personality traits like perfectionism, eagerness to please, and being highly driven seem to correlate. ED patients come from every sort of family, every ethnicity, cultural background, and economic status. Parents can, however, be instrumental to recovery.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Talking to your teens about eating disorders – Jacksonville Parenting Teens | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/parenting-teens-in-jacksonville/talking-to-your-teens-about-eating-disorders#ixzz1SHVduMWa

Wilderness Programs: Are They for Your Teen?

What is a “Wilderness Program?”  If you are a parent that is struggling with a teenager that is out-of-control, you will surf the Internet and attempt to find help.  Many parents first think of boot camps as a resolution – a way to teach our teen a lesson.  Then you realize that maybe that is not the best avenue and you are somehow directed to wilderness programs.  Not always, but especially if you have hired an Educational Consultant, their first recommendation is commonly Wilderness programs.

There are many very good Wilderness Programs in our country, however the question remains, are they necessary or should you go directly to where most teens eventually end up:  Residential Therapy program.

Wilderness programs are mainly designed to break a teen down.  Although they are not punitive, in comparison to a boot camp, they are primitive, forcing your teen to appreciate the luxuries he had at home.

However, a residential therapy program can do the same thing, since many are not designed by Hilton (TM).  Have you also thought about this:  Your teen is already broken down, why do we need to continue to break him/her down?

Let’s look at the pro’s and cons. 

  • Wilderness programs can cost you up to $500.00 a day. Yes, a day.  Some start as little as $250.00 a day (Yes, as little as).  Now multiply that by 30 days or actually 6 weeks, since the average stay in Wilderness is 6-9 weeks.  At the low end: A month in the mountains will cost you $7500.00.  That is questionable to many, as well as out of the financial means of many more.
  • Wilderness program rarely have academics.  Fact is your teen is probably not focused on academics and could care less about them.  Working on their emotional stability is the goal here, however it shouldn’t be an excuse to delay education.  Although your child may not care about their education, you do.
  • Wilderness programs are short term.  Short term program, short term results and a lot of money.  In most cases they go on to residential programs which will run you about another $5000.00 a month and up for another 10-12 months.  Wouldn’t it make sense to start and finish at the same place with the same therapist and the consistency of recovery?
  • Wilderness programs are sadly where we hear of the most deaths or accidents in teen help programs.  It is true, accidents can happen in any program, however when listening to speakers in congress while attempting to pass a bill to stop abuse in residential programs, it seemed the parents that lost a child in a program were mainly in Wilderness programs.

Some positives:

  • If your teen has not escalated to a point of serious concern, and is just starting to make some poor choices, maybe a 6-9 week wake-up call is all that is needed.  As long as you can afford it, and remember, if they decide he/she needs more than the 6-9 weeks, you need to be prepared to go the next step.
  • The teen is removed from their home environment.  They are put in a place of isolation and maybe this is just what they need to reflect on their current negative behavior.
  • There are some excellent Wilderness programs with very good and caring staff in our country.  Many teens that had a wilderness experience really feel it was very good.  Many parents also believe that the Wilderness program helped their child get ready for the next step, residential therapy.
  • Wilderness programs offer a great opportunity for your teen to live outdoors and experience outdoor therapy.  With some teens this is very beneficial.

This is a personal decision, and although I am not an advocate of Wilderness programs I can appreciate and respect parents that believe they need this extra step and it has worked for them.  It is my philosohy that starting and finishing at the program is part of the consistency of healing.  Having to switch programs and therapists (especially) and starting over, can feel like you have fallen back to ground zero. However, each family is different with different needs, so this is an individual decision.

Is Wilderness right for your teen?  Only you can answer that.

Visit www.HelpYourTeens.com.

PROM is a Four Letter Word

Underage drinking is illegal.

The event of prom is no small matter, endless movies have been crafted around this big dance– can we say “Footloose” without our toes tapping?

With nostalgia comes temptation, not only for teens, but parents. Local St. Johns County parents with seniors graduating this year may remember when the legal drinking age was 18. Coupled with memories of your own senior prom, well meaning, otherwise logical parents may be tempted to relax an otherwise firm “no alcohol” policy for this special event.

Let’s talk you off the ledge and back into your parent pants.

P is for planning. Seniors want to have a good time at prom. Regrettably, they’ve grown up in a media culture that has shown them images of good times being had with alcohol, and alcohol only. The best way to mediate this attitude is to literally plan for a goodtime. What happens before prom and after prom are often more important than the prom. Contrary to popular belief, teens are not wired to drink; they’re wired for fun and risky behavior.  Pool parties, slip and slides with bubbles, scavenger hunts and other types of crazy and somewhat goofy activities make memorable events. If you’re not planning for fun, they’ll find it on their own.

R is for respect. Most teens don’t respect parents who provide alcohol to minors and the largest portion of alcohol to minors comes from a small percentage of parents. The adage “their going to do it anyway” is a slippery slope for parents trying to convince themselves they’re doing the right thing by providing alcohol. There are many things teens “might” do when given the opportunity – sex, drugs, speed, steal, lie – at the end of the day, we’re obligated to provide the framework for good decisions, not try to mediate potential bad ones.

O is for omnipresent. Defined as, “present everywhere”, our teens once believed we were omnipresent. No matter where they were, or what they were doing, we somehow knew or found out everything. As they get older, carry more responsibility, and prove themselves worthy, we loosen our omnipresent grip. Consider however, that a teen’s brain is rapidly developing until about 21 to 22 years of age. Their decision making still has very much to do with two things – 1) what is everyone else doing? and 2) will I get caught? A healthy dose of omnipresence before big events such as prom reminds your teen that you still care enough to check up on them and gives them a powerful out should they face an overdose of peer pressure.

M is for memories. Remind teens that the best way to remember prom is to add nothing but fun. Who wants to risk having their head end up in a toilet, have a date that pukes all over them, or be so hung over you can’t make it to the beach the next day? When they send their own teen off to prom, the memory of how you handled their prom, from pictures to rules to curfew will undoubtedly be fresh in their minds. Let’s keep the parent pants on and enjoy prom. Be the wall between teens and alcohol.

Provided by PACT Prevention Coalition of St. Johns County

Visit www.PACTPrevention.org for more information and remember, “Be The Wall!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!
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