Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: ‘SKINS’ Where Teens Are Teens?

Viewer discretion advised…

Is that enough to convince your teen to watch with caution?  It seems most of today’s society simply ignore any warnings of viewer discretion announcement.

Reality shows are definitely the trend and there is no denying, they are becoming more and more popular with all ages, but what happens when it involves minors?  Toddlers and Tiarras has had much controversary, not to mention Jersey Shore.  From toddlers to young adults, when is enough – ENOUGH?

The controversy surrounding MTV’s no-holds-barred teen drama “Skins” is shaking up parents as as as the Parents Television Council (PTC). Just days after the U.S. version of the British teen series first aired,  PTC has urged the federal government to investigate the show for possible violations of child pornography laws.

According to the president of PTC, Tim Winter, “You have a major conglomerate, Viacom and MTV, that is directly marketing to children graphic sex, profanity, drug use.”

Seen on the Today Show (must watch video), legal analyst and victims’ rights advocate Wendy Murphy not only sees the PTC’s point, she anticipates Viacom’s defense.

Their defense is likely to be ‘oh, come on, this is just a television show,’ but that’s not really a defense, because that’s not the issue,” Murphy explained. “The only issue is, are there kids involved who are under the age of 18? That’s it! That’s enough!  That’s child pornography.”

For those that have not heard of this new show, Skins is not a reality show, it is actually scripted and the actors are between the ages of 15-18 years-old.  They are participating in disturbing acts such as sex, drugs and more.  Is this legal?

Let’s hear your opinion.  Leave your comments below.

Alexis P. of Ft. Lauderdale commented, “When my 14 year-old son sees a view discretion warning, he continues watching as if it wasn’t there.  It is ridiculous to believe that parents are able to control everything their kids are watching and it is a shame people see this trash as entertainment.”

MTV issued a statement on Today Show as follows:

Skins’ is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way,” the statement read. “We are confident that the episodes of ‘Skins’ will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”

Let’s go back to the beginning, who is really reading Viewer Discretion Advised? Most likely, not the kids watching it – those words usually peak the curiosity of most teens and tweens.

Be an educated parent, know what your kids are watching.

Read more.

Sue Scheff: Teen Dating Abuse – Teen Sexual Assault

loveisnotabuseWith the recent gang rape of a 15 year-old girl in Richmond, California, our country is awakening to one of the ugliest forms of abuse to teens. Sexual abuse, assault and rape of teens are horrendous and more attention needs to be brought on this subject.

Teen dating violence and abuse is an issue parents need to be aware of and learn more about. Love is Not Abuse is an organization that was founded in 1991 by Liz Claiborne Inc. Everyone needs to take the time to be an educated parent; you will have a safer teen.

Love is Not Abuse posted an informational letter from an expert on Teen Dating Abuse. Please learn more now and explore their website for more resources.

A Letter to Parents on Teen Dating Abuse from Pediatrician and Expert, Dr. Elizabeth Miller

Dear Parents/Guardians/Educators,

As a physician who specializes in care for adolescents, a researcher on teen dating abuse, and a parent of a teen, I am often asked by other parents to talk about the warning signs of dating abuse, what parents should be looking for, and how they can help their child navigate out of an unhealthy relationship. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to these questions.

A Common Characteristic

A common characteristic of unhealthy and abusive relationships is the control that the abusive partner seeks to maintain in the relationship. This includes telling someone what to wear, where they can go, who they can hang out with, calling them names, humiliating them in front of others. Over time, the isolation from one’s social network increases, as the abuser insists on spending time “just the two of us,” and threatens to leave or cause harm if things do not go the way they want, “You must not love me.”

Creating this isolation and dissolution of one’s social supports (loss of friends, disconnectedness from family) are hallmarks of controlling behaviors. In addition, abusers often monitor cell phones and emails, and for example, may threaten harm if the response to a text message is not instant.

Parents are rarely aware of such controlling tactics as these occur insidiously over time, and an adolescent may themselves not recognize the controlling, possessive behaviors as unhealthy. “They must love me because they just want to spend time with me.”

Warning Signs

While the following non-specific warning signs could indicate other concerning things such as depression or drug use, these should also raise a red flag for parents and adult caregivers about the possibility of an unhealthy relationship:

•no longer hanging out with his/her circle of friends
•wearing the same clothing
•distracted when spoken to
•constantly checking cell phone, gets extremely upset
when asked to turn phone off
•withdrawn, quieter than usual
•angry, irritable when asked how they are doing
•making excuses for their boyfriend/girlfriend
•showering immediately after getting home
•unexplained scratches or bruises

Sexual coercion and violence are also not uncommon in teen dating abuse. Again, because of the emotional abuse and control, victims of sexual violence may be convinced that they are to blame for what has happened. “You’d do this if you loved me” or “If you don’t have sex with me, I’ll leave you” are common examples of sexual coercion. In some instances, girls in abusive relationships describe how their partners actively tried to get them pregnant. Rarely do teens disclose such sexual abuse to their parents as they may feel shameful, guilty, and scared. Parents need to be aware of the possibility of sexual abuse, and to ensure that they communicate with their child that they are never to blame if someone tries to make them do things sexually that they don’t want to do. And certainly, that no one ever has the right to put their hands on them, period. The physical and sexual violence can escalate quickly in these unhealthy relationships where the abusive partner has significant control over the other.

Advice for Parents

Perhaps the best advice for parents is to start talking about what constitutes a healthy, respectful relationship early on with your child. Sharing the warning signs of teen dating abuse with your child and saying, “If you know someone who’s experiencing something like this, let’s talk about it, let’s talk about how you can be a good friend and help them stay safe.” Please assure your child that they are not to blame for an unhealthy relationship, and that you are available to help them be safe and happy. Please avail yourself of the many good resources available on teen dating abuse for youth and adults.

For more information on teen dating violence and abuse: Stop It Now, MADE Coalition, Love is Respect, S.A.A.R.A., Rachel Simmons (Huffington Post).

Also on

Sue Scheff: School Violence – Teens bringing weapons to school

Last week I wrote about School Violence.  This is a topic every parent, teacher, guidance counselor and all that work with kids today need to take the time to be educated about.  What happened in South Florida last week is yet another wake-up call.  Connect With Kids has this timely article with parenting tips.  Be an educated parent, you will have a safer teen.

weaponsSource: Connect with Kids

Bringing Weapons to School

“I’ve done jail time I never thought I would do because I had a weapon at school.  You know, I might have felony charges.”

– Scott, 18 years old

It’s happened again- another murder in an American school.  This time it was a student stabbed to death by another boy at an affluent high school in suburban Miami.  The boys were reportedly fighting over a girl.

But why did the boy bring a weapon to school in the first place?

Eighteen-year-old Scott may shed some light on this problem.  Now in an alternative school, he says he brought a gun to school for two reasons.  “Maybe I thought I’d be a little safer, and just having a weapon, you just feel like you’re a little more important.”

Experts say safety and status are often the reasons kids bring weapons to school.  “Kids carry weapons for the same reason that adults carry weapons, for self-protection,” says Dr. Katherine Christoffel with the Handgun Epidemic Lowering Plan Network.
“Or, they want to feel powerful,” says psychologist Dr. Nancy McGarrah.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 percent of students say they’ve brought a weapon to school in the past 30 days.  And nearly half say it’s for protection.

“It tends to be kids with low self-esteem, kids that don’t feel like they have a lot of power and control in their life in general,” Dr. McGarrah says.
Eleven-year-old Philip, who is only in 6th grade, brought a knife to school.  His reason: to defend himself against bullies, who he says are constantly on his case.  “Hitting you upside the head with books, or pushing your head into the locker – it just, it scares you.”
Experts say parents have to be very specific when discussing the consequences of taking a weapon to school.  Explain in detail the many ways students could be caught, which would likely lead to arrest, followed by being kicked out of school.   
Scott would give kids this message: “There’s many things that maybe you looked down the road your life thinking on planning on having, that’s just gone down the drain for having a weapon at school.”
Experts warn that logic may not be effective for all children.  If your child seems depressed, and especially if he shows an unusual interest in weapons, you may want to consult a professional therapist.
“You need expert help,” Dr. McGarrah says. “You shouldn’t try to handle that alone.”

Tips for Parents

According to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, children who witness violence have higher rates of mental disturbances, including post-traumatic stress syndrome, distress, depression and aggressive behavior.   While this isn’t surprising, researchers are taking interest in the increased number of U.S. children who witness violent acts in their daily lives.  The rate of incidence is especially high among inner-city youth.

Consider these facts from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • New Haven, ConnecticutAlmost all eighth-graders who were studied knew someone who had been killed.
  • Los Angeles, California:  Researchers estimated that children witnessed 10-20% of all homicides.
  • Chicago, Illinois:  One-third of the children studied witnessed a homicide, and two-thirds witnessed a serious assault.
  • Boston, Massachusetts:  Of the children under age 6 who were surveyed, one of every 10 witnessed a shooting or stabbing.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana:  Fifty-one percent of fifth-graders in a study were victims of violence, while 91% witnessed some type of violence.
  • Washington, D.C.Thirty-two percent of children ages six to 10 in a study were victims of violence, and 72% witnessed some type of violence.

The results of the Harvard study on witnessing violence are echoed in previous research from the American Psychological Association (APA).  The APA says children who see violent acts are at a greater risk for becoming victims of violence or participating in violent behavior.  Growing up as a witness to violence can result in these additional consequences:

  • Substance abuse
  • Emotional disorders
  • Poor achievement in school
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Serious injuries
  • Health problems
  • Suicide attempts
  • Separation and divorce
  • Physical and mental disabilities


  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Psychological Association
  • Harvard Injury Control Research Center

Sue Scheff: Preventing Hazing

bookhazingDr. Susan Lipkins is a leading expert on preventing hazing and helping people understand the dangers of this type of violence. After watching her on What Would You Do last night, I was shocked at how some people felt this behavior was amusing. I think parents need to learn more about this horrible behavior and learn how it can potentially effect someone you love.

Visit Dr. Susan Lipkins website and learn more.
What is Hazing? Source: Inside Hazing
What: The Basics

Hazing is a process, based on a tradition that is used by groups to discipline and to maintain a hierarchy (i.e., a pecking order). Regardless of consent, the rituals require individuals to engage in activities that are physically and psychologically stressful.
These activities can be humiliating, demeaning, intimidating, and exhausting, all of which results in physical and/or emotional discomfort. Hazing is about group dynamics and proving one’s worthiness to become a member of the specific group.

Sue Scheff – Residential Therapy – Teen Help

If you are debating residential therapy for your teen, learn more about this extremely daunting and confusing industry. Yes, you need to get help – but educate yourself first.

Learn more about Wit’s End at and author Sue Scheff at -the response has been overwhelming!

If you are struggling with your teen today – pick up Wit’s End and learn more!For a quick read, check out – the foundation of Wit’s End!

Sue Scheff – Wit’s End – Parenting Your Teens Today

Are you at your wit’s end?


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


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


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


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



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




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


If you feel you are at your wit’s end and are considering outside resources, please contact us.   An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child.  It is critical not to place your child out of his/her element.  In many cases placing a teen that is just starting to make bad choices into a hard core environment may cause more problems.  Be prepared – do your homework.


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


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


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

·         Helping Teens – not Harming them

·         Building them up – not Breaking them down

·         Positive and Nurturing Environments – not Punitive

·         Family Involvement in Programs – not Isolation from the teen

·         Protect Children – not Punish them







Sue Scheff: Teen Runaways – A Growing Problem

One of any parent’s greatest fears is a missing child.


Each year, one million troubled teens from every social class, race and religion run away from home. Unfortunately, for American families, that number continues to rise.
Confused, pressured and highly impressionable teens follow their peers into bad choices. In most cases, runaway teenagers want to escape the rules and regulations of their family and household. Disagreements with parents leave them unhappy and frustrated to the point of rebellion. Naiveté leads them to believe they could survive outside the nest; and dreams of a life without parental guidance, rules and punishment seem ideal.


The dangers of a runaway lifestyle are obvious. Afraid and desperate, teens on the street are easy targets for robbery, rape, prostitution, drug addiction and violent crime. While the official Runaway Hotline cites nine out of ten teens return home or are returned home by the police within a month, any amount of time on the street can change a child forever. Protecting our children from a potential runaway situation is incredibly important; the problem is serious, and the effects are severe.


My name is Sue Scheff™, and through my organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, I am working to keep America’s teens safe. A troubled teenager is a difficult and uphill battle, but you are not alone! As parents, we must work together to educate and support each other through the crisis. The best resource is that of someone who has been there; and at P.U.R.E.™, parents can find the information and support of so many dealing with the same situations.
Are you worried that your troubled teen will run away from home? We have compiled some of the most helpful resources on teenage runaways.


Looking for support or professional help? Visit our website, Help Your Teens. Our consultation service is free of charge and available to any parent seeking help. You are not alone!