My husband (Pat) and I are excited that we found your website. We have a 15 (almost 16) year old. Oct. 2005 he was diagnosed as bipolar, ADHD, and ODD. He was sent to the state hospital for 2 months to stabilize his moods and meds. He was sent home (failure to comply and interfering with other people's treatment plans). That was a tough time because it was easier to live without him than to live with him at the time. We filed for a CHINS petition (Children in Need of Supervision). He was place on probation and began receiving therapy from another counselor.
Here we are a little over a year since he came home. It has been a lot of ups and downs. There have been days when we feel like we couldn't go on and that it would be best for him to be placed in residential treatment. The psychiatrist is still changing his meds. I feel like we're still dealing with the same issues. My son wants to do what he wants, when he wants. He becomes belligerent when he doesn't get his way. Imagine, a 15-year-old, 5' 9", 260 lb kid throwing what seems to be a temper tantrum because he didn't get his own way. I worry about how he will turn out as an adult. He comes from a family that has a long history of anger problems and violence.
When he turns 16 he will be applying to get into Job Corp. We are excited about this ...probably for some wrong reasons. But at this place, he will not allow us to parent him. Little things become such a big fight ...the simple stuff, like picking up after himself ...or taking his meds.
You just described all the other kids I work with during my day job (i.e., multiple mental health issues and behavior problems). And the parents that show up for my group are in the same boat as you (i.e., “Tried everything …still just treading water.”).
If you will commit to using the strategies in my eBook, you will finally begin to experience some positive change. But you must NOT dabble with these strategies – no half measures. Half measures WILL be the kiss of failure.
- After issuing a consequence, never retract it.
- Allow your out-of-control kid to make wrong choices – this gives him wisdom; experience is a great teacher.
- Be able to differentiate between your kid’s wants and her needs.
- Consider having only one television and one computer in the house.
- Don’t nag – simply follow through with the consequence.
- Don’t try to save your kid from negative consequences and painful emotions associated with poor choices.
- Expect your out-of-control kid to resist your new parenting strategies.
- Give equal love to all your kids, but parent them differently.
- Give only one warning -- then follow through with the consequence.
- Give your kid at least five chores to do each week.
- If you have tried to correct your parent’s mistakes by attempting to be a “better” parent, know that (a) you turned out all right, and (b) you may be erring on the other end of the extreme (e.g., your parent was aggressive to you as a child, so you decide to parent in a passive way).
- If you slip into a rage against your kid, apologize - but don’t try to compensate by over-indulging him.
- If your kid hibernates in his bedroom, take that television and computer out of there.
- Keep an eye out for your kid’s guilt-trips.
- Know that a weaker parenting-strategy supported by both parents – even if they are divorced -- is better than a stronger strategy supported by only one.
- Learn to say -- and stick with -- “no.”
- Only give your kid gifts on these 3 occasions: birthdays, Christmas, and graduation.
- Pay attention to your feelings of guilt about how you have parented, and know it is a sign that you are – once again – beating up on yourself.
- Remember that over-indulged kids are too comfortable – they need some discomfort before they will change.
- Remember that parenting is not a popularity contest – you are not a buddy!
- Respond to your kid’s anger with a poker face.
- When taking away privileges, take away the privilege for a short period (3 days works best). If it lasts too long, resentment builds, the kid forgets the infraction, and the lesson is lost.
- When you catch yourself feeling sorry for your kid, know it is a sign that you are – once again – taking on too much responsibility.
- When your kid needs to be cheered-up, do so with active listening, empathy, paraphrasing, validation, and hugs rather than giving him/her a lot of stuff and freedom (e.g., unearned privileges, food, gifts, fun activities).
- Don't dabble with these non-traditional parenting strategies – be consistent and you will out-will the strong-willed, out-of-control kid!