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

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Daughter just scoffs at parent...

Hi J.,

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Hi Mark,

We are having trouble enforcing the 3 day discipline because my daughter has yet to complete it even though I keep saying that if you break the 3 day grounding, you will have to start it from day 1. She just scoffs at it and goes out whenever she wants. This has been going on all week. What can we do so that we don't end up looking stupid because she is not taking it seriously at all.

====> Say, "If you choose to walk out on your 3-day-discipline, you'll choose the consequence, which is we will call the police and file run away charges as well as go to juvenile probation and file an incorrigibility complaint." Then if she leaves, follow through with this consequence.

The other issue is that we don't seem to be able to have a normal conversation anymore without her shouting or swearing. As an example, yesterday I asked her to fold the washed towels and put them in the linen cupboard. She refused to do it. I said that if she didn't complete that task, she would not be allowed on the computer. My husband disconnected the keyboard but she just disconnected another one from a different computer and used that. When my husband told her that she did not have permission to do that, she just yelled at him but by then she had already done what she wanted to do which was to send her friend a message.

====> If this situation occurs again, simply make sure ALL the computers are disabled.

I've tried to talk to her to find out why she is behaving this way and have told her that it is really hard to function as a family when we cannot even talk to each other in a civil manner any more. All I get back is more yelling and bad language but never any hint of a reason as to why she is behaving this way. We feel like we're walking on egg shells.

=====> Trying to "reason with" your daughter is just another traditional parenting strategy. Simply state the house rule, then follow through with the consequence when the rule is broken.

She has also removed the door handles from her bedroom door so that we can't go in. I've told her that she is entitled to her privacy but she is not allowed to destroy property in the process. In fact, we haven't even been going to her bedroom because we've decided to give her some space in the hope that she will calm down and come to certain realisations about how her behaviour is affecting our family.

====> You are way off base here. She is NOT entitled to anything other than basic needs (e.g., clothes, food, shelter, education). Privacy does not fall into the "basic needs" category. Put the handles back on the door and tell her that if she chooses to remove them again, she'll choose the consequence, which is you will remove the entire bedroom door for a period of 3 days.

===> I can see that you are having great difficulty implementing "tough love." Also, I can tell that you are afraid of your daughter. Until you stand up to her, she will continue to be in charge.

Mark

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