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Pick Your Battles Carefully

HI Mark,

Thanks for checking in. Life is okay for now. We booted our oldest daughter out after the party in the house, she is now living in an apartment with a friend, so things have really gotten better at home, not having that stress. She seems to be doing okay. I don’t like her partying, but she is starting college in the fall and will be working, so hopefully that
will tone down.

I do have a question. I have a 12 year old daughter at home now, that is wonderful don’t get me wrong. But I was curious, when I am issuing her a consequence she rolls her eyes and looks away very upset with arms crossed and often storms out of the room and slams her door. Is this something that I should have an issue with? She follows through with the consequences that have been issued, but I just wonder how much I should make of the door slamming and eye rolling. Thanks for your advice.

P.

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Hi P.,

I would put the “eye-rolling/door slamming” in a file named Don’t Fight That Battle. If she’s following through with the consequence, then you win.

However, if she’s damaging the door or door frame, or if she slams so hard that things fall off the shelves and break, then issue a warning: “If you choose to slam the door, you’ll choose the consequence. The door will be removed.” …or “If you choose to slam the door, you’ll choose the consequence – you will be grounded FROM your room (except to sleep, of course).”

If she slams again after the warning, follow through with the consequence. Then, while on discipline, if she doesn’t do any door slamming for 3 days, she gets her door put back on the hinges. (Doors are fairly easy to remove and re-install.)

In any event, do not – DO NOT – let her know that this is irritating to you.

Mark

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The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.

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