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

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Sometimes I think about committing suicide...

Mark,

My 13 year old son recently shows lots of problems and finally he is under probation with the electric monitoring program. My culture of origin is Korean but I try to understand this culture and raise him in the bi-cultural condition. I've studied counseling education and for the last two decades I've worked on the field of education. It is really heartbroken just watching him to struggle and at the same time I have to support him.

For the last two weeks he was o.k. under that ankle monitor and seemed to change his mind toward the positive direction. But yesterday my older son (19 years old) told me C___ (13 years old one) smoked the day before yesterday when I went to bed and he secretly shared this story with him. I never suspected him at home even though he did some drugs outside when I was gone to Korea to take care of my ill father. How could he smoke in my house under my presence? But last week his kind of bad friend visited him and they smoked together in the bathroom. When I checked the bathroom, they told a lie and just said they burned his friend's F graded math test.

I am not concerned about his smoking habit. He has lied habitually. So I kept on asking him to tell the truth but he burst his anger and broke the closet mirror. I did not respond to him even though I was so upset and even scared. I better call the probation but I couldn't.

Two weeks ago there was a big fight between him and his dad in my house while I was gone to Korea and his dad (my ex-husband) called the police and he was sent to the jail. I believe it is not good to invite the legal system to control my own child. After that anger burst moment suddenly he became calm and childish again to talk nicely to his brother and me. I think he has a mental problem too as well as this conduct disorder.

Sometimes I think about committing suicide for my own luck and his. But I know time matters. Someday he will grow and everything will be fine. But I am not sure he could be a responsible healthy civilian not a criminal.

I cannot share my ugly story with anyone anymore. His probation officer recommended me to take individual counseling and it will start this Friday. But I cannot open wide because they have to report to the court about any progress and any issues during the sessions.

Is there any hope? I really want to give up his custody and go back to my country never seeing him again.

-Y.

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Hi Y.,

Some kids misbehave because they are experiencing internal distress: anger, frustration, disappointment, anxiety, or sorrow. The younger a child is, the more likely he is to call attention to his distress through his behavior.

When their behavior is extreme and highly disturbed, the temptation is to dismiss these kids as scary, lost, or bad to the core. Increasingly, there is a tendency to relegate them to the criminal or juvenile justice system. Yet, by doing so, we may overlook the fact that some of these kids have serious underlying emotional disorders.

Many of the underlying causes of childhood behavioral problems, including family violence and abuse, can be prevented or successfully managed. It's important to look beyond obvious negative behaviors to identify underlying biological, emotional, or social vulnerabilities that might be present and treatable. Biochemical underpinnings and genetic vulnerabilities interact with environmental forces and individual characteristics to cause conduct disorders.

Because kids with conduct disorders may suffer from myriad biological, psychological, and social vulnerabilities, a combination of treatment methods seems most effective. Frequently this combination of therapy will include liaison with community resources including juvenile court staff or probation officers.

The methods described in My Out-of-Control Teen eBook have been used with considerable success with aggressive kids, particularly when parents themselves can make changes. When parents can participate fully, this method helps parents to encourage appropriate behaviors in their kids and to use discipline in more effective ways. In order to interact with their kids in new ways, parents learn to use positive reinforcement, to link misbehavior to appropriate consequences, and to develop ways of negotiating with their kids. Once the parent child relationship smoothes out, many kids are better able to navigate their social and academic worlds in a more productive manner.

So yes …there is always hope.

Welcome to Online Parent Support,

Mark

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