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

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

Teenage Tantrums and Destruction of Property

"Dear Mark, my strong-willed daughter seems to have a real hard time adjusting to the fact that if she chooses to leave the house during the 3 day grounding, the 3 days start over. On her second day of grounding she had a half-day of school but instead of coming home she went out with friends. When she came home I informed her that her three days would start over because she chose not to come right home from school. She had a HUGE fit - and preceded to trash the whole house. 

She left but came back two hours later and proceeded to continue her tantrum (turning on every light in the house, demanding that I give her stuff back NOW, hitting, and throwing stuff at me). I told her if she did not stop I would call the police. Well needless to say I had to call the police and had her charged with disorderly conduct and property damage. My question is who should clean up the mess. Should I make her do it, hire a maid, or just do it myself and make her pay me? During her fit I started taking things away. Does the three days start over again from the time she came home from the police station and do I keep her stuff until the three days are served."


First of all, I want to say GREAT JOB! You are a good example of the type of parent I can enjoy working with, because you are working the program as intended. And I know it was tough for you to call the cops on your daughter.

Re: My question is who should clean up the mess. Should I make her do it, hire a maid, or just do it myself and make her pay me?

Since she already received a consequence in the form of legal ramifications that she will have to answer to eventually, I wouldn’t heap on another consequence by insisting she clean up. If she hadn’t had the cops called on her and been charged – it would be a different story.

Re: During her fit I started taking things away. Does the three days start over again from the time she came home from the police station and do I keep her stuff until the three days are served?

Again, she’s already had a consequence. Of course the wheels of justice turn slowly though, so she will not feel the total impact of the consequence for some time.

Issue the following warning: “In the future, when you have a 3-day-discipline and you choose to break the law by throwing things at me and tearing up the house, you’ll choose the consequence – I will call the police again AND go to Juvenile Probation to file a complaint. Then you can answer to the Judge. Your choice!”

In the event she has another similar temper tantrum, follow through with your stated consequence.

I’m glad the tail is not wagging the dog in your house anymore.

Mark Hutten, M.A.


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