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

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

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I need major help...

I need major help. I prayed to God, read the bible and have been even studying the bible with a Jehovah witness (not that I understand the religion at all). My point is my oldest daughter, N___ was arrested today (day before mothers day, go figure that one) for shoplifting a sports store. Come to find out this wasn't the first time. She went to Winco (grocery store) and was caught stealing with a girlfriend top roman and gum. They were let go to someone posing as their mother. I am going to file charges against this women when I find her. Also her friend gave them my last as hers.

This friend and my daughter are bad news together and the girl already has had problems with the law as well is mother of a 11 month old at age 17. Her mother keeps threatening her that is going to file custody of her grandson. Sorry, back to my daughter, N___ - She tells my husband and I that we are to strict on her and that is part of why she keeps doing what she has been doing.

We let her go into Independent studies and start cosmetology school through an ROP program. I wonder if this was my first mistake. I had a hard but was convinced with the support of the counselor and psychologist at her high school that it would work for her to transfer to Independence high school where she would go to school once a week, then go to cosmetology the rest of the week plus work and make time for getting home work packets done. This also meant my husband and getting another car so N___ could drive back and forth to beauty college in another town. She was given a lot of trust and I thought this would be good for her since she is a natural at doing hair already and she doesn't want to go to college after high school. We made a deal that she would work hard since she wanted to become a cosmetologist sooner than later. I thought it would give her something she would work hard at and make good. I was wrong, she got mixed up with the wrong person and is on a destruction path.

My husband said he knew and worried that her going to Cosmo school and all would be trouble. He wasn't trusting of her. But here we are now. I don't know what to do. Do I take everything away from her? Going to Cosmo school, the car. She is going to have go to Reach program through the police department which we had put her in before on a voluntary basis about three years ago and who knows what else will happen after going to court.... Her friend let her in dust at the store. We think she was the in on it but didn't get caught with anything on her. I feel my daughter has destructive illness and she is just 17 this last April. In another year she will be 18. What do I do? I am so scared for her and the toll it takes on everyone else in the family. Thank you for you time and sorry I feel I have written so much. But I don't know where to turn and going back into regular counseling, well I just can't see that working. She just keeps defying everyone and everything, but then can be so loving and caring. What is happening to this world and the people on it? Please help. Thank you

L.

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Hi L.,

Re: shoplifting—

Here are a few tips to help you get through this trying time:

· Avoid confronting your teenager at the scene or facility. It just will not help and could go against both of you if charges are filed.

· Find out who is in charge and treat this person with respect. Find out if charges are being filed. Write these things down; do not rely on your memory.

· Lay out the consequences in an Action Plan for your teenager.

· Talk with your spouse about consequences. Try and do this a day or two later, so that you know you are over the shock and have calmed down.

· When you first get the call, write down where you need to go to get your teenager and the phone number of the facility. Many parents do not do this and try to figure it out after they have hung up the phone. Avoid this added stress by writing it all down.

· When you get home with your teenager, take a time out. You will both need it. There is nothing wrong with letting your teenager know that you are not prepared to discuss this with them yet.

Re: negative peer influence—

You may not be comfortable about your daughter's choice of friends or peer group. This may be because of their image, negative attitudes, or serious behaviors.

Here are some suggestions:

· Check whether your concerns about their friends are real and important.

· Do not attack your child's friends. Remember that criticizing your teen's choice of friends is like a personal attack.

· Encourage reflective thinking by helping your teen think about his or her actions in advance and discussing immediate and long-term consequences of risky behavior.

· Encourage your teen's independence by supporting decision-making based on principles and not other people.

· Get to know the friends of your teen. Learn their names, invite them into your home so you can talk and listen to them, and introduce yourself to their parents.

· Help your teen understand the difference between image (expressions of youth culture) and identity (who he or she is).

· If you believe your concerns are serious, talk to your teenager about behavior and choices -- not the friends.

· Keep the lines of communication open and find out why these friends are important to your teenager.

· Let your teen know of your concerns and feelings.

· Remember that we all learn valuable lessons from mistakes.

No matter what kind of peer influence your teen faces, she must learn how to balance the value of going along with the crowd (connection) against the importance of making principle-based decisions (independence).

Re: Do I take everything away from her?

No. She received (or will receive) a natural consequence (i.e., via the Reach Program).

Don’t pull the plug on her. Allow her to these mistakes – this is the only way she’ll learn anything. Trust that she will make better choices based on her learning.

That’s right. She should keep her car and should be allowed to continue her education. If she had not received legal consequences, the recommendation would be different.

Remember: As parents, our #1 goal is to foster the development of self-reliance in our children. Taking away her car and education will have the opposite effect – that is, it will foster more dependency.

Simply allow her to fully experience the uncomfortable emotions associated with her poor choices (in this case, to shoplift, which resulted in getting busted).

Mark

My Out-of-Control Teen

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