I was on the chat site and with our time difference here in Australia, it’s hard to be there I guess when you’re on. Like I mentioned in chat, I have a 22 year old & an 18-year-old daughter and a 44-year-old husband, am 43. My 22 year old daughter for the last four months has been giving me grief, disrespecting me, showing me no respect in the way she speaks to me, she yells at me and uses foul language with me. We just don’t seem to get on at all, if we sit down and have a conversation, it all ends up in argument with her telling me its none of my business in what she does and where she goes. She has started hanging around with this girl from work, and since she, has my daughter has changed dramatically in her mood swings, she says I irritate her and she cant stand to be around me. She is always going away with this girl on weekends, and since she has met her, she has even now broken up with her boyfriend of just over a year, where they were talking bout getting married earlier on.
I have even accused my daughter if she is taking drugs, and we have gone to the doctors together to get a blood test, and it came up as negative. When she was young, my husband and I had a lot of problems, and we tried not to fight in front of the kids, but my husband can be a verbally abusive man and at one point was quite physically abusive towards me and sometimes not often to the older daughter, which I tried to stop and would hit him back. We have gone passed that stage a lot time ago and we got help for it, but now my older daughter says it has caught up with her and I guess in a way maybe she is punishing me for it.
Am so worried about her at the moment and feel that this girl that she is hanging around with has some kind of hold on her and I get this bad gut feeling, that maybe its just more then a friendship thing more of a relationship between the two of them. Usually she brings her other girlfriends at home but cause I told her earlier on, that there is something I don’t like about this girl, she is constantly hanging around with her, (she is 23) I’ve asked my daughter if this girl is a lesbian and she doesn’t say much she goes quiet, and I’ve asked my daughter if there is something going on between the two, she says what do you mean.
My husband in a heat of an argument accused my daughter that this girl is now her lover, she went absolutely spastic, and started calling my husband a pervert and a weirdo. I’m so sick and tired of all these fights and the disrespect that she is showing me for the last 4 months, am at the end of my rope at the moment, our house is a constant battle field every time we try to speak to my daughter and question her.
I would let her spend time with her girlfriend, however let her know that she could still contact a sexually transmitted disease if she has unprotected sex.
Strictly from the standpoint of keeping your daughter out of trouble, help her pick a core group of friends who you are comfortable with. You should know them and their parents. Undoubtedly, next to properly supervising your child, her friends will have the greatest impact on her actions and what she is exposed to.
You don’t have the time -- and she doesn’t have the attention span -- to teach her what to do in every possible situation. She should trust her conscience -- if it feels or seems wrong, dangerous or unfair -- it probably is.
You have the absolute right and responsibility to set the rules. Where she goes, who she goes with, how late she stays out, what she wears, etc.. These are all examples of boundaries. We have all seen the no and low boundary kids. They are the ones who skip school, stay out as late as they like, drink, and experiment with drugs and sex. These kids also have that strong adolescent need for the company of friends. Since most parents have boundaries that prohibit their children from joining them, they are constantly on the look out to make new friends that can join them. Don’t let your child be one of them.
Talking alone is not going to solve all the conflicts that are inevitably going to occur between you and your daughter. But communication is at the base of the parenting pyramid. You can’t set clear boundaries, educate, counsel or coach with out it. There are times and situations were active listening and exploring feelings are appropriate. There are also times were a more directive approach is needed. Remember “out-of-control teens” are experts at verbal judo. Don’t expect them to thank you for your wisdom or see your logic when you have to make an unpopular decision.
Finally, look for appropriate opportunities for your adolescent to start solving her problems on her own. Begin to talk about college, her getting married, finding a job, eventually living on her own, etc. Encourage her independence-seeking.
- is spiteful and vindictive
- blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
- is touchy or easily annoyed by others
- loses temper
- argues with adults
- actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
- is angry and resentful
- deliberately annoys people
- Easier access to lethal means, such as guns and drugs
- A more violent youth culture, fueled by video games, music, television and movies
- A lack of family stability; divorce, abuse
- Reduced impulse control due to technology and the rapid pace of modern life
- A romantic misconception about the finality of death
- Peer pressure and a feeling of powerlessness
- Limited access to mental health services
- Loses interest in favorite extracurricular activities
- Has problems at work and loses interest in a job
- Abuses substances, including alcohol and drug (illegal and legal drugs)
- Begins to experience behavioral problems
- Withdraws from family and friends
- Experiences sleep changes
- Experiences changes in eating habits
- Begins to neglect hygiene and other matters of personal appearance
- Experiences emotional distress which brings on physical complaints (aches, fatigues, migraines)
- Has a hard time concentrating and paying attention
- Begins to receive failing grades at school
- Loses interest in schoolwork
- Engages in risk taking behaviors
- Complains more frequently of boredom
- Does not respond as before to praise and encouragement
- Actually says, “I’m thinking of committing suicide” or “I want to kill myself” or “I wish I could die”
- Begins giving away favorite belongings, or promising them to friends and family members
- Throws away important possessions
- Shows signs of extreme cheerfulness following periods of depression
- Creates suicide notes
- Expresses bizarre or unsettling thoughts on occasion
- Lack of regular exercise
- Sedentary behavior (e.g., watching TV, sitting at the computer, playing video games)
- Low family incomes and non-working parents
- Consuming high-calorie foods
- Eating when not hungry
- Eating while watching TV or doing homework
- Don't place your son on a restrictive diet
- Avoid the use of food as a reward
- Avoid withholding food as punishment
- Encourage him drink water rather than beverages with added sugars (e.g., soft drinks, fruit juice drinks, and sports drinks)
- Stock the refrigerator with fresh fruit and vegetables
- Plan times when you prepare foods together
- Eat meals together at the dinner table at regular times
- Avoid rushing to finish meals
- Avoid serving large portions
- Avoid forcing him to eat if he is not hungry
- Limit fast-food eating to no more than once per week
My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents
2nd - If he as a computer or TV in his bedroom, take them out of there! Make his room as boring as possible.
3rd - Establish a consequence for NOT getting ready on time (e.g., must go to bed an hour earlier; cannot have any friends over on the weekend, etc.). And establish incentives for getting up on time (e.g., can have pizza Friday evening, can go to a Saturday afternoon movie with a friend). You get the idea – be creative!
4th – In the morning, tell him – ONLY ONE TIME – “it is time to get up,” then make a very Very VEry VERy VERY load noise that startles him. Slam his door, smack the door with the palm of your hand, drop something heavy on the floor, yell “YEEEEHHAAAAAWWWWWW” – you get the idea. This will get his blood pressure up which will make it very difficult to settle back into alpha (warning: expect him to pretend that you did not startled him and that this strategy has no effect). I know this may seem like a ridiculous strategy, but it works. After several mornings of this, he will tend to not dawdle as much.
5th – Finally, use the strategy in the ebook: “When You Want Something From Your Kid” (in the Anger Management section of the online version of the ebook).
Here’s to a better home environment,
Mark Hutten, M.A.
Thank you for the offer and for your web site. I am still reading the "book" which I downloaded yesterday.
Our son G___ is not a bad kid by any stretch of the imagination. He is an A/B student in school, is well liked by all of his teachers, has friends and has a part time job. But his mother and I (we are married) are the "enemy" from what I can gather from the discussions and arguments with G___. He has become very secretive and has lied as to his whereabouts in the past. I know he is scared about going off to college in the fall. Not scared enough not to go, but concerned about being on his own. For this reason, he says he has chosen to try to do without our help in order to make him "grow up", which he says he has a lot to do. But his methods are sometimes frightening.
I'm hoping that by reading the book, I may gain some insight as to how to handle the situation. It is physically tiring and by the end of the day his mother and I are exhausted just from the mental frustration of trying to deal with him.
I’ve responded to your email point by point below.
Please look for these arrows: >>>>>>>>>>
I have a 16 yr old (we are UK based) who is depressed and angry and won't respond to offers of seeking help via doctor or counsellor.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Counseling is just another “traditional” parenting strategy that doesn’t work very well, and in too many cases, it makes a bad problem worse. When parents attempt to force counseling on a difficult child, she usually resents it and views this strategy as a form of punishment. She also tends to believe that the family is blaming her for all the parent-child conflict. If the whole family will go to counseling, then you may see some benefit. Otherwise, save you money.
She’s had fights with her father where he physically lashed out at her in response to her rudeness and she now hates her father with vengeance.
>>>>>>>>> Her father should be taking the high road rather than stooping to her level. As you will discover from reading “My Out-of-Control Teen” eBook, reacting to a strong-willed kid with anger and violence results in the parent losing – every time!
I have 2 other daughters 14 and 12 and she is upsetting them with her 'hatred comments'. To make the situation even more complicated, their last physical exchange resulted in me asking my husband to leave.
We have been having problems for years and in the last few months we weren't speaking and were due to breakup in order to resolve the situation. We are still apart and the 2 younger girls are upset by this. We are attending marriage guidance to see if our marriage can be saved. But with Xmas looming I want him to be with his daughters Xmas eve/day and Boxing Day, but the problem child is threatening not to be there. Everyone knows a fuss will be made by her on the day which will upset the family, although I’ve asked her to try and let it go for that period as there are others to consider. She hates him, wishes him dead and I don't no how to deal with the situation - please help.
>>>>>>>>> At the risk of making this response to your dilemma sound like a sales pitch, the best way I can help you is to offer you the eBook. You’ll find detailed solutions there, and you can use me as your personal parent coach as the next several weeks and months roll by.
I’ll be here for you whenever you’re ready to get started with the material:
Yes, my husband and I have over-indulged him; which after reading your on-line book is the root of his destructive behavior.
This past spring he became involved with a girl. The relationship went from “date” to talk of marriage within 3 months. We became aware of their sexual activity in May and I notified the girl’s mother. Her mother and I decided that their relationship should not continue. Three days after prohibiting them from seeing each other, they conspired to meet at her house while her parents were away and on his way to her house, he totaled his car. He was immediately grounded and for a month after the accident, lied about seeing her, denied responsibility for the car accident, refused to go to work, snuck out at night, locked himself in his room, carved her initials in his arm and refused to speak to us. We grew very worried that he was going to harm himself with these behaviors. His behavior was so mean, nasty and erratic, I didn’t even like to leave him at home with our dogs.
After much desperation, I contacted a military school to see about sending him away for his senior year. They recommended I speak with an academic consultant. The academic consultant recommended a wilderness camp. We approached him with the idea of the wilderness camp and my husband was going to fly him out; but he adamantly refused. We ended up having an adolescent transport service take him. During his time at the camp, he communicated well (written only) with us and complied with the camp 100%.
Upon his return, we told him that we did not want him to continue the relationship with his girlfriend and that we wanted to start clean with our relationship. But since we did not trust him, he would have to earn back trust and privileges. We felt strongly that a good portion of his defiant behavior was associated with the girlfriend and we still prohibited him dating her. This position seems to have been a mistake as we feel we have created a Romeo & Juliet situation. Recently, we know that their relationship has problems (constant fighting etc.) he continues the relationship; but he makes every attempt to hide it from us. He denies that he is seeing her. I have information to the contrary.
We have implemented many of your strategies and work everyday to be consistent. Although after reading your online book, I realize we have a few things to work on. Our son works 2 jobs this year and is taking a college level course along with the required 12th grade English course he needs to graduate. We allow him to go out with friends and have friends over and he is good about keeping curfew. He no longer sneaks out. I see glimpses of him taking on responsibility, but he still has a long way to go.
My current dilemma is that he turns 18 on March 26, 2007. Although he is beginning to understand a little about responsibility, he has no idea what it will be like for him to live on his own. He has recently been “threatening” to move out upon his 18th birthday. My husband and I have taken the position of not arguing with him but simply asking him questions about how he plans to support himself, get to work & school, and where he believes he will live. He gets ticked-off and frustrated when he realizes that he doesn’t have the means to support himself. My husband and I have tried very hard not to buy into his arguments; it is difficult, but does seem to be successful.
My husband and I have already concluded that when he is 18 & graduated from high school, if he doesn’t wish to comply with household rules, we will ask him to leave. My question is, since he will turn 18 prior to high school graduation, what tips do you have for our handling his defiant behavior for those months between April and graduation? I’m not sure what to do about college either. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I don’t have a whole lot to add. It sounds like you and your husband are greatly on track. Just continue to digest the material in the ebook (listen to all audio too).
Become an expert in the following strategies (online version of the ebook):
- The “Art of Saying Yes”
- The “Art of Saying No”
- “When You Want Something From Your Kid” (Anger Management chapter)
Re: college – Your son is an adult now. Let him decide what he wants to do, then provide encouragement in that area. If you try to push or pull him in one direction or the other, he will likely take an opposite path.
Here's to a better home environment,
Both my husband and I have read your eBook. However, he is still wanting to over-indulge our daughter. What can I do?
It will be very important for you and your husband to be united and bonded on most issues. A weaker plan supported by the both parents is much better than a stronger plan support by only one parent.
The two of you must set aside your differences as partners and resolve to work together as parents in the best interest of your child. This is difficult, but not impossible to do.
You will continue to disagree – and that's O.K. But agree that you will not let your own differences interfere with your ability to parent together. Argue only when your child is not within earshot.
Make important decisions about your child together. Sit down with your husband and create rules that your child must follow, but that the two of you agree on.
Also, learn to let go a little and accept that the situation cannot be perfect.
Try to schedule talks with your husband at times when you are both relaxed and can concentrate. It is much easier this way.
Finally, put your plan in writing. For example: "As parents, we agree to allow our daughter to do a, b, and c. And we will mutually impose a consequence for x, y, and z. The consequence for x is ___________, for y is ______________, and for z is ______________."
I hope this make sense. Give it a try. Let me know how this works for you all.
Please stay in touch,
Here's an email from a mother whose 17-year-old son is "on the run." He has a drug habit, and is basically floating from one living arrangement to another. This mother sent her son a letter inviting him to Christmas Eve dinner:
Sent letter to my son. He would have received it on Friday. In it I also expressed your advise. I have also invited him to join all our family for Christmas Eve dinner. It is Monday. Would you suggest any further contact? If yes when? Or do you think I should wait until he contacts us? Christmas Eve is in 6 days. It's frustrating when we don't have the answers ourselves anymore. What do you suggest?
The main goal is for (a) your son to start taking responsibility for himself, and (b) for you to take less responsibility in order to achieve (a).
Whenever you are undecided about what to say or do, ask yourself the question, "Is what I"m about to say or do going to promote the development of self-reliance in my son, or is it going to inhibit the development of self-reliance? If your decisions promote self-reliance, then they are good decisions ...period.
Thus, should there be further contact? I don't think so.
Further contact feels a bit like you taking on too much responsibility (again). He's been given an invitation. It's his choice whether to show up or not. If he "no shows" ...you can give him his gifts as well as a Christmas kiss on the cheek whenever he does show up. In the meantime, spend your time and energy on the family members that are near you.
Let go and let God. Don't give your son the power to steal your joy this Christmas -- this is YOUR choice.
My fifteen year old daughter has always had problems with making and keeping friends. Its heart breaking when she never gets invitations to parties or sleep-overs. Is it too late to help her? She is an only child, does this make a difference?
The fact that your daughter is an only child does make a difference, but not a BIG one. Because only children do not have siblings with whom to interact, they learn to be children on their own and become very self-sufficient. Parents can help, but ultimately children become conditioned to depend on themselves. Although this self-sufficiency can have its benefits, it can also mean that only children are inherently alone as their personalities develop.
Only children must develop in social situations that may not be suited to their personalities. An only child's environment forces her to take on characteristics of extraversion despite natural inclinations toward introversion. A naturally introverted child must show extraverted qualities if she wishes to make friends. But take heart, the development of extraverted qualities can be learned, and with time, an element of extroversion becomes habit.
Of course, very few humans are strictly extraverted or introverted. To call an only child “introverted” would be to imply that the child developed into his/her natural tendency toward that certain personality type with little influence from the environment.
Nonetheless, environment forces the only child to struggle against his/her natural tendencies in order to function normally. Perhaps this struggle helps explain some of the common characteristics that emerge among only children, such as the tendency to not participate in many activities, but leading the ones in which they do participate. An only child tends to be more conscientious, more socially dominant, less agreeable, and less open to new ideas compared to the child who has siblings.Therefore, she can choose to practice “approaching people” …she can practice speaking to people …and she can practice being interested in what others say and do. This will feel very abnormal at first, but with time, it will become habit. She can choose to have time alone – and she can choose to have times where she is “a part of” rather than “separate from.”
Here's to a better home environment,
Are there residential treatment centers that effectively treat ODD? How many kids in the US under 17 have ODD?
Hi B. & D.,
RE: Are there residential treatment centers that effectively treat ODD?
Residential treatment is not recommended for the treatment of ODD. Parent management training (PMT) is the recommendation because it has been demonstrated to affect negative interactions that repeatedly occur between the children and their parents.
PMT consists of procedures with which parents are trained to change their own behaviors and thereby alter their child's problem behavior in the home.
PMT is based on 35 years of well-developed research showing that oppositional and defiant patterns arise from maladaptive parent-child interactions that start in early childhood.
These patterns develop when parents inadvertently reinforce disruptive and deviant behaviors in a child by giving those behaviors a significant amount of negative attention. At the same time, the parents, who are often exhausted by the struggle to obtain compliance with simple requests, usually fail to provide positive attention; often, the parents have infrequent positive interactions with their children.
The pattern of negative interactions evolves quickly as the result of repeated, ineffective, emotionally expressed commands and comments; ineffective harsh punishments; and insufficient attention and modeling of appropriate behaviors.
My Out-of-Control Teen eBook provides parents the training needed in disrupting negative behavior problems associated with ODD.
RE: How many kids in the US under 17 have ODD?
The exact number of cases of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in the U.S. in not known. ODD is the most common psychiatric problem in children. Over 5% of all children have this. In younger children it is more common in boys than girls, but as they grow older, the rate is the same in males and females.
My son has recently been diagnosed with ODD and ADHD. He is almost 10 years old. He is really good at school, but he has the defiance problem away from school. My question deals with the ADHD. I see him as having problems with concentration at school, but he is NOT hyper at all. What's the difference with ADHD and ADD? Why don't they diagnose it as that instead?
About 15% of ADHD children are ADHD without hyperactivity. Children with ADHD without hyperactivity are different in many ways from ADHD kids.
-- They often have lower energy than normal.
-- They are less assertive than normal. As a result, they are usually quite popular in school compared to ADHD kids.
-- They are much more likely to have learning disorders (especially Math) than ADHD kids.
-- They are much less likely to have ODD or conduct disorders.
-- They usually do not get identified early in school.
-- They are more likely to quietly daydream and never accomplish much. As a result, they do a good job of staying out of the teacher’s radar.
--They have a tendency to just drift through school (their body is in attendance, but not their mind).
Hope this answers your question,
Very hard few days - one thing after another. She [daughter] had school disco Friday night. She carried on about underwear, which I had actually just washed. Went on and on. Sat night was about cranberry sauce. She ran out of the house to her dad’s - very annoying. I am feeling very tired. I was going out but to tired - just want to sit.
I can't seem to show no emotion. Sometimes I can, but last night she made me cry, how much can you take. She ran back to my ex and said horrible horrible things about me and my partner. Thursday night she ran out of her piano concert. I have a job now but can't make stats probably loose it. I am depressed and sad all the time - just want to close eyes and dream of being far away. Beach somewhere sipping cocktail. No worries - like my twenties.
These feelings you are having are very common for parents with out-of-control kids.
Here is a list of symptoms parents can expect to experience when dealing with their difficult child:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Guilt ("If only I had done . . .”)
- Shame (“I’m not a very good parent.”)
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite
- Increased cravings for junk food
- Withdrawal from others
- Intense sadness or tears when a memory is triggered
- Loneliness, or a sense of separateness from your kid
Dealing with a strong-willed, out-of-control kid is very exhausting and trying. It will take about 25% of all your emotional, mental, and physical resources. You have to take care of yourself in ways you would not have to if your child was not so difficult. This includes things like:
- Go out weekly away from this kid and your home with your spouse or significant other.
- Get adequate exercise.
- Make sure you have some hobby you enjoy and can do when things get chaotic at home.
- Expect and accept some reduction in your usual efficiency and consistency.
- Try to avoid taking on new responsibilities or making major life decisions for a time.
- Talk regularly about your parenting struggles with someone you trust.
- Accept help and support when offered.
- Be particularly attentive to maintaining healthy eating and sleeping patterns.
- Keep reminding yourself that your responses are normal responses to a stressful situation.
- Give yourself permission to do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself.
- Have moments of prayer and meditation.
- Do things that feel good to you--take baths, read, exercise, watch television, spend time with friends, fix yourself a special treat, or whatever else feels nurturing and self-caring.
- Allow yourself to cry, rage, and express your feelings when you need to. Try not to numb your feelings with alcohol or drugs. This will only complicate your situation.
Finally, if you are having difficulty showing no emotion, then you are giving your daughter too much power. She can’t make you spit …she can’t make you stand on your head …she can’t make you mad …she can’t make you sad …she can’t make you happy …she simply does not have that kind of power over you.
If you cry, or get angry, or whatever -- this will be a choice that you – and you alone - make. You are in charge of your emotions -- not your daughter. And if you choose to react strongly to her negative behavior, she will continue with that behavior.
In summary, (a) take care of yourself, and (b) don’t give your power away.
Please stay in touch,
Thank you for your email. We've been having problems with our 13-year-old son and recently saw a counselor last week, which was with both my husband and I. After a very bad evening, I found your website and purchased your book which described my "out of control teenager" perfectly.
Am I better off forcing my son to go to the counselor or trying your steps first? He obviously does not want counseling. He is not a problem in school or anything else he does. He is a very well liked boy who is extremely athletic, good looking and smart. Unfortunately, he does not like rules and always wants to be in charge. The outbursts occur only at home, but obviously we have severe concerns on his disruptiveness to the home.
Thanks for your help.
Counseling is just another "traditional" parenting strategy that doesn't usually work very well. I see many cases in which it makes a bad problem worse. I would predict that this will be the case for you as well.
Just get into the ebook and begin digesting the material. Email me as you go along. This will be a much better route for you.
Stay in touch,
Here are a few ideas that your son could do either at home or away from home:
1. Bake bread
2. Bake cookies or a cake
3. Help cook dinner
4. Do soap carving
5. Go and visit grandparents
6. Go bike riding together
7. Go bowling
8. Go camping
9. Go fishing
10. Go swimming
11. Go to a movie
12. Go to the library
13. Go wading in a creek
14. Go window-shopping
15. Have a bonfire
16. Have a family meeting to discuss whatever
17. Have a family picnic in the park
18. Have a late evening cookout
19. Have a barbeque
20. Have a water balloon fight in the backyard
21. Learn a new game
22. Make candles
23. Make caramel corn
24. Make homemade ice cream
25. Plan a vacation
26. Plant a tree
27. Play basketball
28. Play cards
29. Play Frisbee
30. Put a puzzle together
31. Roast marshmallows
32. Share feelings
33. Sit on the porch and watch cars go by
34. Take a hike through downtown
35. Take a walk through the woods
36. Take a walk through your neighborhood
37. Go to a school play
38. Take pictures
39. Take flowers to a friend
40. Take a walk in the rain
42. Visit a college campus
43. Visit a museum
44. Visit a relative
45. Visit different parks in town
46. Visit the fire station
47. Visit the neighbors
48. Watch a television show together
49. Work on a family scrapbook
50. Write letters to friends
You get the idea. I'm sure you can be creative and come up with even better ideas,
I’ve responded to each of your points in turn below.
Please look for these arrows: >>>>>
Anyway, I would like to know if you could provide some guidance as to how to approach our current issues with our older 17-year-old son. He will be 18 in January. We have actually tried going to a psychologist last year with no real progress. To make matters worse he and his father do not have a good relationship because my son says he always picks on him. Actually, he has always tried to steer him in the right direction and on three previous occasions his father has been very supportive but obviously very upset with
He has been living away from home since April with his girlfriend with several friends or girlfriends family with no positive outcomes. All have asked them to leave. They both have no jobs or money. They are involved in stealing whenever it is necessary. Both are using cannabis and alcohol. My son has actually physically abused girlfriend I am told.
She has as recent as 5 days ago gone back to New Zealand. My son is supposed to link up with her when he gets a passport. Girlfriend grandparents going to send money, which they are to pay back I am told.
>>>>>>>>>> The girlfriend’s grandparents will be financing their drug habit (bad idea to send money, and it will probably not get paid back -- but I’m sure you know this).
He is currently living with a friend’s family, mother and three other younger brothers. Family is well known to police. Not a good environment.
I have just visited him with my sister who came for support to tell him we miss and love him and that when he wants to change his circumstances he can call me at any time. Especially to have his finger looked at in the hospital, as he still has not gone back to have pins removed to allow movement. He said he would when he wants to.
>>>>>>>>> I think it’s appropriate to let your son know that the door is always open, but you have no control over how well -- or poorly -- he takes care of his body. Are you possibly taking on too much responsibility?
He was very angry and abusive. Called me every name under the sun and that if I cared I would pay for his fines. He has over $400 in traffic offences and $9,000 for damages caused in an accident in May.
>>>>>>>> I have to be blunt here. I can tell that he has been over-indulged. I hear you saying that he (a) is resentful, (b) has a sense of entitlement (i.e., “you owe me”), (c) is not taking responsibility for his obligations, and (d) has a strong appetite for more pampering – these are all signs of a child who has been over-indulged (I’m assuming you have read my views on this).
In any event, good for you!!! You have not (and you should not) enable him any further by taking responsibility for his obligations.
He seems to be extremely jealous of his brother and what he got. He now talks about his brother having a dirt bike and he didn't get one. He forgets he chose a car. He actually had two and smashed both up.
>>>>>>>>> This provides more evidence that he has been over-indulged.
He always tells me I have ruined his life and again I am doing this because I will not pay his debts and sign his passport papers. He can get passport in January without my permission. He also said if I do not help him to get to NZ to be with his girlfriend I will not see him any more.
>>>>>>>>>>> I’m sure this is not the first time he has tried to “guilt-trip” you into letting him have his way. He is trying to push your “worry buttons” – and is doing a very good job of it.
He does not look well and he has lost a lot of weight. I have actually gone to the police to advise them I am extremely concerned and that if he is involved in anything that I am available at any time for his support.
>>>>>>>>> O.K. Here’s the deal (and I know you wouldn’t want me to simply tell you what I think you want to hear) –
You son (a) is exhibiting Oppositional Defiant Disorder tendencies -- as well as Conduct Disorder tendencies, (b) is chemically dependent, and (b) is spoiled rotten. Does this make him a bad kid? No! Are you a bad parent? Of course not!!
He’s going to be 18 soon. He is already an adult. You are trying to hard Margrit. And the harder you work to help him, the worse it will get. You already have evidence of this.
I would ask you to get into the business of “letting go” (i.e., refuse to take responsibility for his poor choices). You are going to have to muster up some tough love here dear mom.
Tell him this: “You know I can't control you -- and if you really want to stay away from home and use drugs, I can't stop you. But no one in the world loves you the way I do. That is why I have to ‘let go’ of trying to change you. The more I try to help you, the worse it gets. So I am going to focus my energy on the things I can control, and I’m going to stop spending time and energy on those things I cannot control. Again, I love you, and my door is always open. But you have to start helping yourself now – it’s your job from here on out.”
Here’s some hope: The less responsibility you take for him, the more he will take for himself. He may have to hit rock bottom first. You must allow him to experience the painful emotions associated with poor choices, otherwise you will drive yourself crazy – and you will have no energy left for your husband and younger son.
Tough assignment – I know! Trust me on this one though.
I want to leave you with the serenity prayer:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can – and the wisdom to know the difference …amen.”
Please keep me posted,
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