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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Our problem is that he is never home...

Hi J.,

== > I’ve responded throughout your email:

Mark,

To catch you up and again some suggestions for guiding us (parents). M______ was successfully released from probation end of July. Just as we predicted, he has been out of control. He is 17 1/2. He has joined up with some friends who are known to buy/do weed. He has been linked to buying/doing weed as well. Not sure how "hooked" he may be--this is all hear say. He is told if he is not home by parent set curfew, he is not to come in the house. He may sleep in the shed if he does come home. We have let him in several times when out with his g'friend as she does call with their where abouts and are home soon after. We do trust her and she has confided in us about some of the things M has done/is doing. We have told him also that the security system is on, and he may not come into the house until a parent is home (we deleted his pass code).

== > This is all good. Great job!

He still is maintaining his job (Dad or g'friend or g'ma drive). He broke the power cord to his lap-top so has no internet (we lock ours). We confiscated his cell (he paid for phone we pay service/he pays "overages"), and the state suspended his driving license due to too many points. I will be DCing his phone service permanently this week as soon as I can get to the store. We (parents) do not plan on signing for his license when he is eligible (he believes we will "cave"). Told we would not drive him to/from school, he could take the bus, or travel with friends. He was told he can buy his own power cord when he has the money and can get one at retail, we would not loan him the money, or order one thru the internet. I stopped doing his laundry due to foul language aimed at me.

== > I think you hit another home run here!! Wow!

As incentives, he can "earn" back me doing laundry and driving him to/from work by not swearing and making his curfew for 3 consecutive days (has not done it yet). Can "earn" back license and use of a car by attending school, no swearing, picking up after himself, and coming in by curfew, passing drug screens (I bought these but so far has refused them), and must do this for 6 weeks and ONLY then with GPS teen tracking system on the car. (We know you recommend 7 days max, but we would be held legally responsible for anything happening to him/our vehicle and if he wants a car sooner than this, he can buy his own. Is this on track?)

== > Most definitely. You are a great role model for other parents who have trouble with the “tough love” concept. Before I read on …I want to say something at this point. Even though things may be far from perfect – can you imagine how bad things might have been had you not made your son accountable on these important issues?

Our problem is that he is never alone/home. He is with his g'friend or not home. He refuses to talk to us about the above. We can't even tell him the consequences because he starts yelling/swearing. We try to discuss him moving out in 6 months, but again, yelling. We find it impossible to tell him anything positive/and "I love you" when we don't even see him. How do we get our message to him?

== > I think you have bigger fish to fry than “swearing” at this stage of the game. He is an adult. Shift to helping him make plans to move out. Put it in writing – short and sweet – and let him know he has a deadline to be packed up and moved out.

Also, last night, he missed curfew (1/2 hour), started calling cell phones, house phones, knocking on the bedroom windows, and ringing the doorbell. The phones we can turn off, but we have to get up early for work, and have a younger child who really needs to be sleeping. Husband opened the door, and M barged in when told to stay out. Any ideas on keeping him out besides police involvement? The local police have told us they would make us allow him into the house as he legally lives there.

== > I want you to begin to focus on him moving out at this point. All the other stuff is water under the bridge. Here’s what one single father did who was in the same boat as you:

1. He told his son he had a deadline to be moved out (the day after his 18th birthday).

2. One week before the deadline, he took his son apartment shopping.

3. His son didn’t like any of the apartments – so Dad said, “Do YOU want to pick – or do you want ME to pick?” …The son picked.

4. Dad helped his son move – and even paid the first 2 months rent.

5. Lastly, he told his son he is always welcome to come home for a visit – but can no longer live there. Dad also said, “In the event you get evicted for not paying your rent, there is a Mission - The Christian Center on Main Street - that will take you in temporarily.”

End of story.

This father was not being cruel – quite the opposite. He was a good student of Online Parent Support and knew exactly what he had to do to “foster the development of self-reliance” in his son.

The latest parenting challenge is dealing with emerging adults who have no intention of leaving the nest. Many 18 to 29-year-olds either return home after college or they've never even left home. The media refers to them as "Boomerang Kids." Parents are worried that their kids won't leave home.

This new phenomenon is highlighted in the movie "Failure to Launch." Matthew McConaughey plays Tripp, 30-something bachelor whose parents want him out of the house. They hired Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), an interventionist, to help him move out. Paula has a track record of successfully boosting men's self-confidence to cause them to want to be independent.

Interestingly, this story line is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Young adults are indeed becoming more difficult to coax out of their comfy childhood homes. Since the '70s, the number of 26-year-olds still living at home has nearly doubled! Here are the top four factors contributing to this change:

They Are Unprepared—They are overwhelmed or unmotivated to live independently. They would rather play it safe by occupying the family home, playing computer games, and delivering pizza.

These kids often grow up living the life of the privileged. Here well-meaning parents provide their children with all the amenities congruent with an affluent lifestyle. The parents are focused on doing more for their children than what their parents did for them-at the expense of keeping them dependent. Kids don't move out because they've got it made!

When your financial generosity isn't combined with teaching kids how to become self-sufficient at an early age, we cannot expect them to automatically possess adequate life skills when they reach legal adulthood. How will they gain the skills to confidently live their own life, when they haven't had the opportunity to do things for themselves?

They Are Cautious or Clueless—They are committed, but unsure how to discover their ideal career path. They approach college with the same trial and error mindset their parents had only to find out that it no longer prepares them for today's competitive world.

Parents do their kids a disservice by waiting until they are 17 or 18 before initiating career-related discussions. In our dynamic society where change is a daily diet, this is much too late! It's best to start young, at age 13.

This stage of development is the perfect time to begin connecting the dots between what they love to do and possible career options. It can take years to prepare for the perfect career. Beginning early will help teens maximize their opportunities in high school and make college a much better investment.

They Have Personal Problems—They don't have effective life coping skills, have failed relationships or are grieving some other loss or wrestling with a challenging life event.

In "Failure to Launch," we learn that Tripp's parents indulged him largely because the woman he loved died and he hadn't gotten over his loss. When Tripp fell in love with Paula-the new girl of his dreams-his self-sabotaging habit of dumping a girl before she can get too close got reactivated. Finally, his friends intervene and Tripp eventually faces his demons, to everyone's delight.

If your teen is struggling emotionally, don't make the mistake of thinking it will somehow magically get better without an intervention. Tough love requires that you insist your adolescent get professional help so that he or she can move forward. If you don't know how to have that kind of conversation, consider getting help from a parenting expert.

They Have Mounting Debt—They've accumulated significant credit card debt and moving back in with their parents is a way to pay it off.

According to the National Credit Card Research Foundation, 55% of students ages 16-22 have at least one credit card. If your teen falls into this group, make sure you monitor spending together online. Helping your teen understand how to budget and manage credit cards will be important for handling a household budget in the future.

Kids can't learn to manage money if they don't have any, or if parents always pay for everything. If your offspring moves back home, I recommend you charge a nominal amount for room and board. As an adult member of your household, it's important for your young adult to contribute to household chores and expenses.

If the purpose of your child's return home is to pay off bills or a college loan, have a realistic plan and stick to the plan to make sure your young adult moves out of the house.

Determine Goals and Stick to Them—Most parents enjoy having their children visit and will consider offering some short-term help. However, indulging an adult child's inaction does not help your son or daughter begin their own life. If your child defaults on your agreement, be willing to enforce consequences, to help him or her launch into responsible adulthood.

Mark

My Out-of-Control Teen

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's important to deal with ADHD kids proactively, before the problems gets out of hand. Get a diagnosis early. Statistics have shown that these kids sometimes get on drugs, and end up in jail.

Anonymous said...

It's important to build self esteem early on. In the teen years, kids are going through pubity. They are under a lot of pressure from these changes combined. Kids need positive role model. Kids need the right kind of friends

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