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

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Mark:

I have been a member of your support group for several months now and have found it very helpful. This past Sunday, my daughter graduated from High School with an honors diploma. A few months ago, I would not have thought this possible. Thanks, in part, to your website and support group, her behavior has become much better.

She has always been a high achiever, but she also has been an extremely high maintenance girl, perfectly fitting your description of the out of control teen. My husband and I were married for 13 years before we adopted her from Korea. She was our shining star and we doted on her. You get the picture..... very spoiled, must always be the center of attention, very opinionated. She has a total lack of ability to tell the truth and a very high sense of entitlement. By following your advice, things have improved greatly, but this past year has been the most difficult of my life. We also have a 13 year old son whose temperament is the total opposite. He is shy, respectful, hard-working, a total joy.

There have been many, many issues over the last five or so years, but I need help with the biggest. When we first began implementing your program back in October, she resisted greatly. She was hanging around with a really rough group of kids. She has experienced some racism, which has greatly affected her, so she has turned her back on most of her Caucasian friends. Instead of trying to find a group that she fits in with, she has decided to find a group that she feels superior to. We live a very comfortable life, make good salaries and have a beautiful new home in an upscale neighborhood. She has chosen to befriend a group of gang-bangers from low-income families because, I believe, she likes to show off what she has to these kids. It has resulted in brushes with the law and them stealing from her and us. One young man that she considered her boyfriend stole her new digital camera and iPod as well as my son's wallet.

In mid-December, she had had enough of our new rules and ran away from home on a Friday afternoon after we told her she couldn't go out that night. Before I came home from work, she had packed a few belongings, got in her car and drove away. She knew that I would be taking her car away when she got home. She had her cell phone with her and did call me a few times, but wouldn't tell me where she was. We reported her as a runaway, which I think was a big shock to her. She felt that we wouldn't want to garner any bad publicity because I am a public official. By Sunday night, she called and said that she was going to go to school Monday morning and would come home after school to work things out. She followed through and came home. We have been working through things since then and she has stopped hanging with most of those kids.

Just when I thought things were turning around, one of her close friends called me and told me that my daughter was hiding something from me that I needed to know. She was pregnant and planning on having an abortion the next day without my knowledge. I talked to her about it and she admitted it. I found out that many people at school knew about it and I was humiliated. She told me that she was going through with the abortion no matter what I said, and I could either support her decision or not. We are active Catholics and this was totally against everything I believe in. I was extremely torn between my Catholic faith and my desire to make sure my daughter was safe. I was afraid of where she was going to have this procedure done. She was adamant that she could not raise a child, even with our help, and refused to place a child for adoption. Her child would have been biracial, Korean and Hispanic, and she felt that it would never be placed in a good home and would end up in foster care. Admittedly, I had no desire to raise another child at this point in my life.

I know that her child would have become my full responsibility. In the end, I made the decision to go with her for the abortion. This entire decision was made in less than ten hours, as I found out about the pregnancy the evening before the scheduled abortion.

Ever since the abortion, which occurred in late February, I have been wracked with guilt. I have not attended church since I cannot make myself go because I feel like such a hypocrite. Every week I tell myself that this week I will return, then on Sunday I can't make myself go. She knows that I'm not going and knows why, and she feels very guilty about it. I know that, because she told so many people about it, many parishioners at my church are aware of the abortion. I feel humiliated and shameful. Did I make the decision to help her because I was concerned about her, or about me? I cannot get past my guilt, and if I had it to do all over again, I would have refused to go with her. I would have made every attempt to force her not to have the procedure. She had several weeks to think about it, I had several hours. I deeply regret the decision.

I miss going to church, I miss my faith, but I don't know how to reconcile myself to this. I know that, people being people, many have already passed judgment on us and I will always feel that everyone in church knows what happened. My 13 year old son doesn't know anything about this, and I am concerned that someone will tell him. He wonders why we don't go to church anymore. Both of the kids went to the Catholic elementary school that is associated with this church, we have been life-long members and I really don't want to move to a knew church, I had planned on being a member here for the rest of my life. I am afraid to go and speak to my pastor about this for fear that he will have my daughter, and possibly me, excommunicated.

I'm sorry this letter is so long. If you have any suggestions for me, I would really appreciate it.

C.

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Hi C.,

Re: Did I make the decision to help her because I was concerned about her, or about me?

Answer: Both, which is understandable.

In situations such as this, we have to ask ourselves, “Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?” So, do the advantages of an abortion outweigh the disadvantages?

Advantages of going ahead with an abortion— Some of the consequences of compulsory pregnancy and forced motherhood (i.e., unwanted children) are as follows. The child:

· has more emotional handicaps
· does less well scholastically; is a low achiever
· is twice as likely to have record of juvenile delinquency
· is 4x as likely to have adult criminal record
· is more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs
· is 6x more likely to receive welfare between 16-21
· has poorer relationships with parents
· is at a higher risk to be abused or neglected by parents

Disadvantages of abortion—

· creates feelings of regret and grief
· does not give the child that is in the womb a chance at life, thus it is looked down upon by many religions
· having an abortion always lessens your chances for having children later in life
· the “would-be-mother” will always wonder ‘what if’ and may feel some level of guilt for the rest of her life about the child she could have had

No matter what her political persuasion, it always comes down to a very intimate, personal decision that no woman makes without some degree of emotional trauma. All of the options -- abortion, or raising the baby, or allowing another family to adopt the baby -- carry emotional pain and personal sacrifice. This is the price your daughter -- and you too, unfortunately -- are paying for her poor choice to have unprotected sex.

Millions of women and men, both in society and in the church, are suffering under the guilt of abortion. Nearly one out of five women getting an abortion identifies herself as a Christian. This means a quarter of a million abortions are performed on Christians each year.

It’s counterproductive to try to eliminate guilt feelings without dealing with guilt’s cause. Others may say, “You have nothing to feel guilty about,” but you know better. Only by denying reality can you avoid guilt feelings. Denial sets you up for emotional collapse whenever something reminds you of the child or grandchild you could have had. You need a permanent solution to your guilt problem, a solution based on reality, not pretense.

Bottom line: The good news is that God loves you and your daughter and desires to forgive both of you for the abortion, whether or not you knew what you were doing. So your 1st task is to accept his forgiveness, your 2nd task is to then forgive yourself, and your 3rd task is to forgive your daughter.

Re: church attendance.

Answer: I think you need to go back to your church and start attending services again. If you start getting some “bad vibes” from other church members, then find a church that forgives like your God did.

Mark

Online Parent Support

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