HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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You Don't Want To Be The "Good Guy": Tips for Parents of Defiant Teens

Hi Mark, During the last few weeks me and my husband have been following (as much as we can) your program. Thank you for making it available on line. We have a fourteen year old daughter and an eight year old son. Our daughter is very well described in your lectures. I recognised that my overindulging approach and the fact that in the past me and my husband had different opinions on her parenting and also the fact that she is very strong willed person led to her behaviour problems. We are trying really hard to keep being firm and give her the consequences of her bad choices. Meanwhile we encourage all the small positive steps that she does. What can we do to make sure we keep the behavioral changes from her moving in the right direction and help her to be a productive adult? Thank you for your support. ~ M.


RE: "What can we do to make sure we keep the behavioral changes from her moving in the right direction and help her to be a productive adult?"

In a nutshell, foster the development of self-reliance in your daughter.

As a parent, you want to do everything for your child, but you have to realize that sooner or later, she must do things on her own. Young people have to learn about how to earn their own money, how to manage it, and how to make smart financial decisions with it. The longer you keep on handing everything to your children, the harder it will be for them to learn these crucial life skills and lessons on their own and that will severely backfire on them in their adult life.

I think as children grow older, you have to say “No” more frequently, and make them work hard for the things they want to have, because you have to teach them the value of hard work, the value of a dollar, the virtue of patience, of delayed gratification, etc., or else they will never learn and that’s a greater disservice to them in the long run.

People whose parents didn’t provide them with everything usually appreciate the things they have more. They have to work hard in order to get those things they need on their own, which usually makes them more financially responsible, more responsible in general, harder workers, etc. I'm not saying that ALL people whose parents didn’t provide them with everything will turn out like that -- nor am I saying that those people whose parents provided them with everything cannot also garner those same qualities.

All I’m saying is that those whose parents did not provide them with everything have a greater opportunity to develop those crucial life skills that are critical in adult life simply because they need to. Those who got everything handed to them usually don’t have that need to develop those crucial life skills, so they don’t spend time cultivating them.

What’s my point?

Don’t spend any time or energy worrying about trying to be “the good guy.” You are not a “buddy.” Your job is to help your daughter foster the development of “self-reliance.” So, in that sense, you are her coach.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

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