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

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

How do I avoid that circle fight?

Hi K.,

I responded to each of your questions in turn below.

Please look for the arrows: >>>>>>>>>>>>>

I have done a first 'read through' your ebook. It is very good and I can see that it is going to be very helpful. But I have a few first thoughts about ideas that weren't expanded enough for me.

For example, in you session #3 assignment section you used an example of a child cleaning his room, however this is not an accurate example for me of how these conversations go.

In our home: The parent notices the room is still a mess, says your example.... then the child responds "what's the matter with my room, it looks clean enough to me?".... where does the parent go from here. Because although I have shown my son the standard repeatedly, chores ALWAYS end up in a fight for this very reason - he refuses to do the job properly then gets angry and demands to know what the matter with the job he's done. Initially I've tried to say things like... "what you've done so far is great... but...and then point out the areas that need improving or finishing... but then that leads to "I did it fine!" …and on and on it goes, until I'm hollering "just do it!"

So, how do I avoid that circle fight?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>> There’s nothing to expand upon here really. Here’s the formula (albeit simple): Let your son decide when he will complete his required chore. When he thinks he’s done cleaning up his room, do a quick inspection. If the chore is not done properly, say, “Your chore is not completed. Take as much time as you need, but you may not leave until your room is done the way it’s suppose to be done.”

If he says, “What's the matter with my room, it looks clean enough to me,” then you put on your ‘poker face’ and sound like a broken record by re-stating “you may not leave until your room is done the way it’s suppose to be done.” ---Please refer to the section on “Anger Management” in the online version of the ebook.

The larger issue here seems to be that you are in a power struggle with your son over the ‘room cleaning’ business. Power struggles create frustration, anger and resentment on the part of the parent and the kid. Resentment causes a further breakdown of communication until it seems as if all you do is argue. An argument can only happen if there is more than one person. With just one person, it is simply a temper tantrum.

Don’t continually remind him of how the chore is to be completed -- he knows the drill. He can either choose to meet the expectations, or he can choose the consequence.

You cannot make him clean his room. He already knows how it’s supposed to be done, and it gets old trying to make him do it ‘right.’ But you can issue a consequence for not meeting your expectations (e.g., he can’t leave until it’s done right, no TV tonight, no phone privileges, etc.).

Also you talked about lying, which is a very serious problem with our son. You listed a bunch of reasons why a child lies, one that you didn't list seems to be one that we deal with a lot...our child lies so that he can break the rules. He lies about what movies he's going to see, whether parents will be home, who will be present, what they'll be doing, etc... Because we check up on him, he gets caught and privileges are revoked, but it doesn't stop him from using the same lies over and over again.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I mentioned that one of the reasons kids lie is to “control the situation” …I see this as the same thing as lying to “break the rules.”

Again, you cannot stop him from lying, but you can issue a consequence for lying. Then it’s up to him whether or not to lie again. If you issue the consequence in a way that doesn’t accidentally reward him for lying, it shouldn’t be an ongoing issue. If you are providing a lot of intensity when he lies, he will continue to seek that intensity by lying again, and again. ---Please refer to the section on ‘intensity’ here: http://www.myoutofcontrolteen.com/energetic

And lastly. Our son's biological mom has Bi-Polar Disorder and a Conduct Disorder, the two of them have paired up to break our rules. She learns the rule, she breaks the rule when they're together and he goes along with it. Our son is 16, so we have no legal ability to intervene in their relationship. Do you have any strategies that might be helpful in dealing with that type of situation, because even if we can effectively discipline him, we still have to deal with her, and we can't discipline her?

>>>>>>>>>>>>> I’m starting to sound like a broken record here: You’re right -- you have no control over his bio-mom. But guess what? You have no control over your son either!! But you CAN control the things your son enjoys (e.g., phone, television, toys, games, freedom for activities, junk food, toiletries, favorite cloths, bedroom doors, furniture, etc).

He will NEVER work for what YOU want, but he WILL work for what HE wants. By controlling the things he wants, you will eventually motivate him to change unwanted behaviors. Focus on controlling his stuff and freedom rather than focusing in trying to control him. ---Please refer to the section on self-reliance here: http://www.myoutofcontrolteen.com/rely


I just have to say thank you so much for making yourself available for help. You have no idea what a blessing it is to be able to talk to someone who can help, and who knows what we're going through.

God Bless You!

K.M.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Thank you. I hope that this clarifies a few things. Please stay in touch.

Mark

www.MyOutOfControlTeen.com

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