Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Career Angst by Connect with Kids

“I want to be at the top of the pile, and if I’m not there, I feel like I gotta do a lot of things to get there.”

– Michael, 14

There’s growing evidence that kids today are more worried about their future than previous generations. And that anxiety is occurring in younger and younger children. How can this type of anxiety impact your child?

Whether they’re involved in sports, clubs or academics, kids today are quickly learning that competition is a part of life.

“I think there is more competition these days to go to the best college, to make the best SAT scores, and it’s like everybody is trying to be the best,” 14-year-old Connie says.

Even at the tender ages of 12, 13 and 14, adolescents begin to worry about the future – “Where will I go to college?” “What kind of career will I choose?” “How much money will I make?” It’s a new kind of teenage angst.

Thirteen-year-old Trey feels the pressure every day.

“I set my standards very high and when I don’t achieve my goal, I feel very bad,” he says.

Michael, 14, pushes himself, too.

“You want to be better than everybody else. I know I do. I want to be at the top of the pile and if I’m not there, I feel like I gotta do a lot of things to get there.”

The National Association of School Psychologists estimates that career-related anxieties among teens have increased about 20% in the past decade. Experts say striving for success is great, but they also warn that if it becomes an obsession, it can be unhealthy for kids.

“They become anxious [and] jittery. They become worriers,” says Dr. John Lochridge, a psychiatrist. “They turn to drugs or alcohol as external ways to calm themselves down.“

Experts say that parents need to help kids put success into perspective and teach them how to pace themselves.

“[It’s important to] emphasize the moment as opposed to where we are going to be in five years, where we’re going to be in 10 years or what are we achieving,” says Dr. Alexandra Phipps, a psychologist.

But more than anything, parents need to help their children recognize the importance of “just being a kid.”

Says Connie: “Sometimes, I feel like I have so much stress on me. And I feel like at this age, I should be enjoying myself, but sometimes I don’t feel like I’m enjoying life as I should be.”

Tips for Parents

The recent barrage of layoffs and economic turmoil of the past year is not only taking it’s toll on the working class but it is also affecting children – even those in middle school – as they begin to worry about their financial future. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, career-related anxiety among children has increased approximately 15-20% in the past decade. Even affluent, academic achievers are finding themselves buckling under enormous amounts of pressure as they witness the world of work become a place of fierce competition.

This trend of children’s early anxiety over financial well-being is further evidenced by a 2007 Charles Schwab “Teens & Money” survey. The survey of 1,000 U.S. teens in aged 13-18 revealed the following statistics:

Despite their optimistic longer-term earnings expectations, 62% say they’re concerned about being able to support themselves after high school.

49% say they’re concerned their parents/guardians will not be able to support them financially if they attend college.

One in four (25%) say they sometimes feel guilty for being a financial burden to their parents (among teens 16-18, 31% say this).

More than half (56%) are concerned about their parents’/guardians’ financial well-being.

Is it harmful for children and adolescents to be worried about competition and financial success at such an early age?

Competition is generally good for children, according to the National Network for Child Care.

Whether children are competing for a spot on the volleyball team or a chance to win an academic scholarship, the experience helps them gain insights about their physical and intellectual skills and limitations.

Competitions also enable children to learn teamwork, identify personal goals, develop criteria for success and motivate them to increase their efforts to attain the goals they desire. But if your child begins to develop a “winning-is-everything” attitude, parental intervention may be necessary.

If your adolescent seems preoccupied by future financial insecurity, you can take several steps to ease their angst. The experts at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism suggest you start by using these tips to guide your child when dealing with the issue of careers:

Encourage your child to explore his or her options. Be supportive by asking your child, “Can I help you get connected?” or “Can I help you with researching a career?”

You need to remember this is not your career decision. Have trust in your child and be supportive, yet informative.

The world of work has changed since many parents made their first career choice. So some parents need to realize some of their information might be outdated.

Direct your child to resources where he or she can research his or her desired career.

If your child comes to you with career and financial concerns, the best action you can take is to listen, according to the National PTA. Engaging in open communication with your child and sharing your own experiences and frustrations will help to ease your child’s anxiety.

If your adolescent appears highly stressed about the future, you need to take the necessary steps to reduce that amount of stress before it can damage your child’s physical health. The American Academy of Family Physicians cites these signs and symptoms that indicate your child may be experiencing too much stress and anxiety:

Feeling depressed, edgy, guilty or tired
Having headaches, stomachaches or trouble sleeping
Laughing or crying for no reason
Blaming other people for bad things that happen
Only seeing the down side of a situation
Resenting other people or personal responsibilities
The National PTA says that you can help your adolescent learn to keep his or her anxiety at a minimal level by teaching him or her the following skills:

Limit or expand the number of your activities and responsibilities based on your capabilities. Preteens and teens should have challenges without becoming overwhelmed.

Avoid unnecessary worry. Thinking about a problem in order to arrive at a solution can be positive, but constant and unconstructive worry doesn’t accomplish anything. It usually just makes situations more stressful.

Become better organized. Plan activities and goals a step at a time so that parts are accomplished. This gives you more self-esteem and more reasonable deadlines.

Practice ways to reduce stress, such as aerobic exercise, proper nutrition, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, relaxation exercises, sleep, massage, taking a whirlpool or sauna bath and by having FUN.


American Academy of Family Physicians
National Association of School Psychologists
National Network for Child Care
National PTA
Northwestern University

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Carolina Springs Academy, Darrington Academy, Midwest Academy, Royal Gorge Academy, Red River Academy, Lisa Irvin etc....

Are you considering any of the following programs for your child? Take a moment to read my experiences - as well as my book where you can hear my daughter's experiences for the first time - order today at .

Choosing a program is not only a huge emotional decision, it is a major financial decision - do your homework!

Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (withdrew their affiliation with WWASPS)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SC
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS
Horizon Academy, NV
Lisa Irvin (Helpmyteen)
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide (Promotes and markets these programs)
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Royal Gorge Academy, CO
Sky View Academy, NV
Spring Creek Lodge, MT
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis
Tranquility Bay, Jamaica

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parent Advocate - Helping Teens through Tough Times

Straight Talk: Helping Bright Teens Through Tough Times

Let's face it - raising a child is difficult. Add to this fact all the characteristics of exceptionally bright young people that make this population unique. As they get older, they begin to move through adolescence, puberty, and teenage years. On any given day, it's likely that you already have a lot on your plate in terms of parenting your highly gifted adolescent. Then, your son or daughter experiences a bump in the road, perhaps even a sinkhole. How can you help your child in dealing with a difficult time, such as the death of a loved one or friend, existential depression, peer pressure, general disappointments and "life lessons"?

We asked some professionals with experience and expertise in nurturing gifted children to assist parents by sharing ideas for helping gifted teens through challenging times. Below, we've summarized their thoughts and suggestions.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sue Scheff: Your Child's Strenghts by Jenifer Fox M.ED

By Jenifer Fox M.ED

One of the most important goals of the Strengths Movement is to equip parents with the tools they need to help children discover and leverage their strengths. As this site continues to grow and evolve, we will continue to add resources. If you know of a good resource which is not listed here, let us know and we will add it.

As a parent advocate, this book and websites offer tremendous educational information for parents to help them with their child's strengths.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Deliberate Misuse of Inhaler found in 1/4 of Teens

We've had a few questions on the message board in the past months about teens potentially using their asthma medication to get high. One poster's friend had a daughter whose inhaler recently needed to be refilled every week when it normally was only refilled every two or three months. Another's stepson was misusing his asthma medication and "has been eating this pills as if they are M&Ms!"

The University of Michigan News Service featured an article about a new study looking at the prevalence of inhaler abuse in teenagers. The study in question was performed by researchers at the U of M using 723 adolescents in thirty-two treatment facilities.

The study reports that "nearly one out of four teens who use an asthma inhaler say their intent is to get high".The lead author of the study, Brian Perron, declared that their findings "indicate that inhaler misuse for the purposes of becoming intoxicated is both widespread and may justifiably be regarded as a form of substance abuse in many cases."

The study also found that teens that abuse inhalers are more likely to abuse other drugs as well as have higher levels of distress. They were also more "prone to suicidal thoughts and attempts than youths who did not misuse their inhalers to get high."

From a survey of the study participants, "about 27 percent of youths who had been prescribed an inhaler used it excessively. In addition, one-third of all youths in the sample had used an asthma inhaler without a prescription."

So why would teens abuse their inhalers? What are the effects? The inhaler abusers said that they experienced positive feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and an increase in confidence.The negative effects were "feeling more dizzy, headaches, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, irritability, and confusion."

The most common misusers of their asthma inhalers were females and Caucasians.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sue Scheff: Silencing Skeptics: The Truth About ADHD

By ADDitude Magazine

Parents of children with attention deficit disorder often wonder if their kids will stay on ADD drugs for life. A medical expert explains.

I recently diagnosed eight-year-old Aidan with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD). When I met with his parents to explain the disorder, each time I described a symptom, his mother exclaimed, “That’s me!” or “I’ve been like that all my life, too.” At the end of the appointment, she asked me if she should be evaluated, as well.

As an adult, Aidan’s mother had jumped from job to job, and had difficulty meeting household demands. As a child, she had struggled through school, often getting into trouble and getting poor grades. After a thorough evaluation of her chronic and pervasive history of hyperactivity, distractibility, and other symptoms of ADHD, she was diagnosed by a psychiatrist who works with adults.

Click here for entire article.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sue Scheff - Wit's End! A Mother and Daughter's True Story and more

"Wit's End!" is now available with my daughter's voice finally being heard of her experiences at Carolina Springs Academy. Order today at and you will receive it shortly. "Wit's End!" will be in all book stores in July, so order the early release today!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts - Raising Kids Today Can Be A Challenge

Connect with Kids is a comprehensive website that offers parenting articles, helpful tips for parents, parent forums and more. They also offer Parenting DVD's on a variety of subjects that affect our kids today. Whether it is Troubled Teens or how to raise successful kids - there is probably a DVD that can help you better understand the issues surrounding our kids today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Runaways

A Growing Problem for Today's FamiliesOne 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.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts - Huffing Freon

As a parent advocate (Sue Scheff) I think there needs to be more awareness on inhalant use of today's kids. Huffing Freon can be so accessible to kids today - especially since I am in Florida - I think parents need to take time and learn more. is a good place to start.
Read More.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts - P.U.R.E.

P.U.R.E. is based on reality - especially with today's teen society of technology including MySpace and other Internet concerns for children. Today we are educating children at much younger ages about substance abuse, sex, and more. The latest wave of music and lyrics, television, and movies help to contribute to generate a new spin on this age group. This leads to new areas of concern for parents.

We recognize that each family is different with a variety of needs. P.U.R.E. believes in creating Parent Awareness to help you become an educated parent in the teen help industry. We will give you a feeling of comfort in a situation that can be confusing, stressful, frustrating, and sometimes desperate.

Desperate? Confused? Stressed? Anxious? Helplessness? Frustrated? Scared? Exhausted? Fearful? Alone? Drained? Hopelessness? Out of Control? At Wit's End?...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Discipline Do’s: Creating Limits for ADHD Children

By ADDitude Magazine

5 ways for parents of ADHD children to establish a reliable structure and solid limits.

Your child with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) is loving, intelligent, cute, creative — and often wants his own way. He has the talk and charm to out-debate you, and will negotiate until the 59th minute of the 23rd hour. Like salesmen who won’t take no for an answer, he can wear you down until you give in to his wishes.

Sound familiar? Children with ADHD are more often slave to, than master of, their wishes and feelings. Those who are exceedingly impulsive and distracted seem to have a greater need for interaction and attention, even if getting it means battling with their parents. While all children require reliable structure and solid limits, ADHD kids need them more. Holding your ground is not mean or unreasonable. Here are some strategies for hanging tough.
Click here to read the entire article.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: How Expectations Contribute to Success by Connect with Kids

Research shows that kids who grow up under high expectations do better than kids who don’t. And experts say kids start learning those expectations as babies. What do you expect from your kids? How is it working?

The Power of Expectations explores how setting goals can help children succeed. It also explores the dangers when parents have unrealistic expectations for their children, and how that shows up as stress, anxiety, and acting out with risky behaviors.

How do you balance the success you want for your child, as well as your own feelings, with what your child is truly capable of? How do you avoid expecting too much, or not enough? Watch The Power of Expectations, where you’ll learn from other families facing these same issues, along with powerful advice from child experts and educators.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Are you strugging with your teenager?

Struggling Teens, At Risk Teens can be described in many ways, depending on what they are struggling with.

Is your teen struggling or at risk? Are they experiencing the bumps of puberty combined with the pressures of teen-life today? There are many reasons why your child could be experiencing a confusing time in their young life, but it is our responsibility as a parent to try to determine the cause of their inner hurt and sadness that can potentially cause negative and inappropriate behavior. Many teens will close up like a clam, but we need to keep on digging to help our child from sinking to a level of making bad choices. As a parent, this can be extremely difficult, and may require outside help. Don’t ignore it, search for answers then find your take action. Seeking outside assistance is nothing to be ashamed of and knowing you are not alone is comforting.

If a teen is struggling in school with their academic's, this could be a learning disability that has not been diagnosed or properly diagnosed. Your child could also be having some emotional problems that are distracting them from school and hopefully a therapist or guidance counselor could help you with. This can evolve from many sources including problems at home, a disagreement with a friend, or even an issue that they have been suppressing. With this, we always encourage parents to seek local therapist to evaluate the situation. Early prevention can help your child not to become a troubled teen.

At times a child may view an issue as extreme, when in reality it is minor. It is how a child perceives the problem, in comparison to how an adult would see the same problem. Children do not have the maturity parents have which may cause a child to act out negatively due to a minor incident. We may think it is small issue, but to the teen, it is huge. This needs to be addressed before it escalates into "major trouble." Problem teens, at risk teens, struggling teens, troubled teens, depressed teens, angry teens, difficult teens, violent teens all need proactive parents to seek help sooner rather than later.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Carolina Springs Academy - Sue Scheff - A Parent's True Story (When I was at my wit's end).

Our story has been read by thousands of families since I posted it years ago. I have been through litigation and proved my story is our experiences. I fought back as I have been maliciously attacked online and won an unprecedented jury verdict for damages of over $11M! My daughter and I are fighters - that is how she endured Carolina Springs Academy and I endured 5 years of litigation victoriously!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sue Scheff - Troubled Teens? Defiant Teens? Out of Control Teens?

Are you struggling with your teen or pre-teen? Considering outside treatment?

Take a moment to read "A Parent's True Story" and soon you can purchase "Wit's End!" which is where many parents feel when they are desperate with today's kids.