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

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

I am so tired of his games...

Mark,

Well, M______ was home with husband, and 2 other children (19 and 9 yr old sons) yesterday. 16yr old would not do anything. When I came home from work, I told him, take as long as you would like, but he would not have use of the car (lost this privilege) and we would not be driving him until XYZ was all done. Well, he acted as if he wasn't going to do it, put it into high gear, and left on time. He kept whining how I shouldn't use "his" (the car we own but allow him to drive) car, "his" gas, etc. This met deaf ears. Also had to listen to similar stuff on the way home from work.

He got on the phone almost immediately when home. Told he was not to use the phone as part of his punishment (also is NOT allowed to call ex/?now current again girlfriend until girl's mother calls us to give permission as she threatened us in June about keeping him away). Well, I picked up extension and it was this girl. Unplugged the phone. He then started his usual tantrum--changing out TV channel, increasing the volume, etc. His TV (shares room with a brother--9 who was trying to sleep) was taken out of the bedroom. He acts like he's leaving so I call the police to file runaway (did this about 10 days ago). He then sneaks back into the garage a few minutes later. I call 911 back to cancel. He goes out the back door, husband locks it, and now he's banging door with rocks to come in, calling me a "b_____". I tell him if he's to come in, he's to go straight to his room. Husband goes into our bedroom with me, is angry, and says something like "I'm ready to kill him I'm so mad". M______ finds a phone and HE calls 911 that he heard a gun, he feels threatened, etc. Police come, talk to him and us, and realize he's doing this for attention and leave. He is told his punishment will start when he starts to follow our "grounding". Tell him in the morning he is not to leave our house/yard.

I come home from work mid-morning to take him to school to pick up his schedule, ID photo, etc. and find him riding his 9yr old brothers bike down the main 5 lane road. I pull in, and load up the bike and drive him home. He is not talking. He says he's not going to the school. I tell him, I will give him 5 minutes, will wait in the car, and start to charge him my missed wages and the gas to come all the way home. He is demanding his "designer" clothes (for the picture I'm guessing). I refuse, saying he has not yet yearned them back. He does come out within the five minutes, and we complete the school errand. I have my lunch and go back to work. I remind him he is to stay home. He does stay home, but he has been calling the girlfriend when told NOT TO!!! We will tell him tonight we will start the consequences all over again and when he goes without calling her, he can earn his privileges back. I am so tired of his games, I really could scream!!

He is under the impression that once he turns 17 we can no longer call the police when he leaves and he will be free to come and go as he pleases. I know we can withhold things he desires, but do you know what the laws are for 17 yr olds in Michigan?

Thanks for the support and insight!

J____

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First of all, I want you to know – in no uncertain terms – that you are working the program as it was intended. I’m very, very proud of you for getting down in the trenches and getting dirty. Most parents ‘wimp-out’ about now. Result: the child wins! And the parent now has to spend a lot of time trying to re-gain ground. This is the tough work that WILL (and at some level IS) deliver a payoff.

Now …several really important points here:

You MUST develop a “support system”. I’m part of that, but you need to have more of it. Find individuals who will listen to you, help you, encourage you, pray for you, etc. This can be your husband (of course), a pastor, friend, family member, therapist, etc. You have come toooooooo far to wave the white flag.

Also, you will want to work on the business of “healthy emotional-detachment” (which can only come about in the context of a strong support system). Emotional detachment is simply developing the skill of removing as much of your “internal negative emotions” from the equation as possible (e.g., feelings of anger, frustration, weariness, etc.). This is difficult, but with a little practice is highly possible. You begin to cultivate detachment “one day at a time” – one episode at a time. At first, you have to “fake it” (i.e., you “act as if” you’re not getting upset and discouraged). Then, after a few episodes of “faking it,” you begin to see that you are – in fact – not getting as upset/discouraged/etc.

In addition, you will want to TAKE CARE OF YOU (e.g., pamper yourself, find time to relax, pray, meditate, play, recreate …get a massage, have a glass of wine and a really nice dinner at a fancy restaurant one a week or so, etc.).

And if you’re not doing so, be sure to “catch your son doing things right” – or “not doing things wrong.” Don’t forget to reward with “acknowledgment and praise” (I’m sure he is doing at least one thing right each day).

Lastly, follow the Parent’s Spiritual Principles <== outlined here.

Re: Juvenile Code for Michigan. Let’s not worry about that right now. You will have legal recourse options (e.g., emancipation, juvenile probation, etc.). But just continue working the program, and this shouldn’t be necessary.

Stay the course, and follow the recommendations listed above.

Mark

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