Re: Kicking Out a Minor—
You didn’t say how old your son is.
The legal age of majority in all but four states is 18. When a person reaches the state's age of legal majority, parents are no longer financially or legally responsible for them. In which case parents wanting their adult child to move from the family residence is well within their legal rights to take such action. If the person refuses to leave voluntarily the parents may if they so choose enlist the aid of their local police.
States with higher ages of majority than 18-years are: Alabama and Nebraska 19, Mississippi and Pennsylvania 21. In these states parents can petition the court to be released from parental responsibilities if said child is at least 18-years of age.
Online Parent Support
First you need to make sure your son has an understanding of the relationship between school, grades and going to class and real life and what he will do in the future. By now he should be thinking about college or career choices. He cannot hope to achieve those goals without a decent school record...and that record is more than just grades.
I think you need to start doing some serious thinking about these things, too. It is not always fun to be a parent and give firm guidance, but you need to think about him long-term best interest and the life skills he will need to pursue him goals. Although it may be hard for you to follow through, your son needs to learn to be responsible for him behavior and to accept the consequences of that behavior. That is what grown ups do, and he's nearly a young adult now. He needs to see that school is, in a sense, like a job; in a real job he cannot just skip work because its' a nice day and you don't want to go.
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If I understand you correctly, your issue here is that you want your son back. I must, of course, issue a disclaimer that what I write here cannot be construed as legal advice. It is, in fact, just general information.
You didn’t say who has legal custody currently.
When you agreed to let him stay with his dad, was there some sort of written agreement giving him temporary custody?
Is there a divorce decree giving you custody, and was there ever a court date to re-modify custody changing from you to him?
If there is a divorce decree giving you custody and it was never changed -- and the agreement giving him temporary custody was verbal -- only then notify the police and give them details.
You may have to go back to court to regain custody -- and he has to prove you are an unfit parent.
You can also petition the court to let your son decide who he wants to live with - but don’t coach him -- it has to be totally his idea, and if the judge senses he’s been coached, he won’t honor anything.
This is kind of hard to give an exact answer without knowing the above answers to my questions. Too many variables, but hope this helps. Good luck.
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I am writing for advice on how to get my 7th grade son to do his best in school. He is very intelligent, yet does not seem to care about his schoolwork. He easily makes it on the honor role, but with effort he could be on the top honors. Recently, I discovered that he got a 40% on a Spanish quiz. I asked if he could retake it and he made up some story. After emailing the teacher I discovered that he did retake it during his detention time (which I knew nothing about) and he received the same grade. So now he is lying about his work and about having detention. He is a constant disruption in class. Though the teacher has moved his seat several times he still turns around and talks w/others. What can I do about this??? In general, he is liking 7th grade more because he moves from class to class every 40 minutes. I know that he is easily distracted and we try to give talk w/him about things he can do to focus. The problem is that he doesn't seem to care! He is very active in sports. He is on the soccer team and is doing well with that. He is also playing on a town baseball team. I wanted to take him off of the baseball team, but my husband thinks that will only make matters worse. The busier he is, the better his behavior is, but how do I get him to focus more on his schoolwork??
Thank you again for all of your time and support.
Poor academic performance is addressed in the section of the eBook entitled Read these Emails from Exasperated Parents.
Please look toward the bottom of that page where it reads:
"My 16-year-old son brought home straight F's on his last report card. I grounded him for the entire grading period, but he continues to fail in nearly all subjects. I know he is a bright kid and can do the work when he wants to. What can I do to motivate him?"
Let me know if you need clarification,
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I look forward to improving the home environment and relationships here. It is a difficult time at the moment. I have sought help elsewhere locally, but have been placed in a queue - which doesn't help when thing are 'happening'.
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Our 16 year old was all gung ho to get a job at the local Y as a lifeguard (he is certified) - he filled out the application, got called for an interview and agreed to go tomorrow at 3pm for the interview - now he is decided he doesn't want to work there - we have tried to find out why - lots of excuses (he knows someone who did that and hated it, the water test will be too hard, the pay will be too low etc) We think he is making a big mistake - we tell him he will have no issues passing the text and he should go thru with it and it will be a great job a couple of days a week to get extra gas money. He's says he is going to call and cancel the interview - he claims he will look for another job later..........we don't want to get in a fight and have tried to talk to him calmly about it - I think he just afraid he won't do well or something..........what to do?
I would say this one falls into the "pick-your-battles-carefully" category. You're right in not wanting to fight about this. I presume you have bigger fish to fry (or will).
He's not going to tell you what's up ...and the more you pry, the more he will make up his mind to not follow through with this job.
Sometimes less is better. That is true in this case. Let go of YOUR NEED to have him be a lifeguard. He'll do well in whatever he sets HIS mind to.
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We decided that this was the last straw and we were going to send him to Turnabout Residential Ranch for three months. He was very terrified of this, after talking and agreeing to see professional counsellors, we opted for a behavior contract and counselling. Things have been better but he is still angry and the counsellor said he is not depressed and that he is closed off at the appts. and as long as things are good at home he can have a break from counselling since he sits there not speaking anyway. He did get a job, but is working with his friends, and not focusing on school work. I feel that according to your e-book that he is at a stage 5. He also came home drunk both nights last weekend. I fear he is drinking way too much. He was not allowed out the next two days of the long weekend for this behavior. Our home life has always been good. We have been blessed with a wonderful family. There has never been any abuse. We are guilty of spoiling our kids to a degree, but have always expected them to work and helpout. I feel if I impose too many restrictions on him he will runaway again, even though that is one of the rules in the behavior contract. He is quiet, but has always been that way. He was never disrespectful until the last two months. He also lying about where he is going sometimes. His drug test was negative and he was tested for everything. He also took the earring out at our insistance, which was appreciated. I have always told him that we have rules because we love him. If you have any suggestions, they would be very much appreciated. I am still seeing the counsellor.
You’ve listed numerous problems here. Alcohol abuse seems to be the most pressing issue. Moms & dads often assume that teenagers try alcohol and drugs to rebel or to "fit in" with their peer group. However, teenagers with undiagnosed emotional or behavioral problems often use drugs and alcohol as a way to relieve their frustrations. A depressed teen may self-medicate with alcohol to escape the terrible sense of hopelessness. Unfortunately, alcohol only exacerbates the problem.
Drugs like ecstasy and other club-drug uppers may even make them feel "normal" when for weeks they have felt miserable. The impact of such drugs on serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, chemicals in the brain that regulate mood, can be devastating for teenagers and adolescents. The damage they do to receptors in the brain can make the road back from depression even harder.
Often moms & dads approach the issue of drug and alcohol use as simply a discipline issue for a teen who is "bad." However, your teen may be sick. They may be unable to express to you exactly how they feel. Therefore, contacting a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents, is your first step in nailing down the source of the problem. If your teen is self-medicating to treat depression, anxiety, or other emotional or behavioral disorders, simply applying more discipline and creating more rules will not impact the underlying problem that led to substance abuse in the first place.
While some teenagers self-medicate to treat depression, other teenagers end up with a serious mental disorder due to abuse of drugs or alcohol. Abusive drinking or drug use can seriously undermine your teen's physical, emotional, and psychological health. Some drugs, such as methampetamines, can seriously affect the neurotransmitters, which are known as the "messengers of the brain." Recent studies suggest this damage can be long-lasting and even permanent. Many teenagers have the mistaken notion that club drugs are benign. In fact, while they might feel "good" while taking them, they can make it difficult for the teen to feel good naturally for a long time to come. The longer teenagers use these drugs, the more difficult treatment and the higher rate of relapse due to their inability to "feel good" or even "normal" because of the damage to their neurotransmitters.
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I am planning on one lesson per week. I have not skipped forward and understand the process. My challenge is that L__ is in the hall for 30 days. On Oct. 9 we go back to court and the judge will decide if L__ goes to a foster home and out of our care. I find your lessons very informative and eye-opening. The DA wants him to spend 30 days in the hall and then 30 days under house arrest (ankle bracelet). If we can get through the next 3 months, he can start high school as his expulsion order expires. I am writing a letter to the judge explaining that we are on your program and do not want to lose L__ to the system.
Our challenge with the house arrest is that we think L__ will allow his friends in the house and he will still snoop around. I've had to take the phones with me when I go to work because he made over 400 hours of calls. He needs 100% supervision. How successful is house arrest?
Thanks for committing to the program as it is intended.
Re: How successful is house arrest?
First of all, "house arrest" is simply where the child must stay home under parental supervision. I think you're referring to "home monitoring" (different from house arrest in that probation will be notified if your son gets out of range).
In any event, there's good and bad news here--
The good news: Home monitoring has an excellent track record because the child knows there is always somebody "watching" to see if he steps outside the house -- even when parents/grandparents are away.
The bad news: Home monitoring is usually only effective for as long as the child is on the monitor -- and it cannot control who your son invites in the house while you're gone.
More bad news: House arrest (if that is what we're talking about here) is a miserable failure on all fronts as far as I'm concerned.
Bottom line: You can't depend on home monitoring, house arrest - or even probation to "solve" the problems. That why it's good you have some new parenting tools in your toolbox now.
I Googled my 'problem teenager' and came up with your website. I bought the manual, and it is precisely what I needed.
I fear it is too late though, as my teen daughter is leaving home on the day she is 16 to live with a guy 25 years old, whom she said she met on holiday in Lanzarote, when she was 10. He is unemployed and has Diabetes. She is on the phone to him every day. She's flunked school, her exams, and thrown away an amazing singing/acting talent. Your book describes her behaviour precisely, 'Overindulged'.
I will put into practice that which is in the book and hope that we can turn her round before August.
Having been through family services, the police, social services and the courts and still not got a solution, what a relieve it is to know that there is somebody out there who seems to know what they are talking about. Many many thanks. You have at the very least given me cause for hope, thank you.
My Out-of-Control Teen
She was being sneaky, which should get a consequence. Earning the $20.00 that was basically stolen seems to be the best option. Also, give her a clear warning that if this happens again, she will not be able to use your debit card (just pay cash).
My Out-of-Control Teen
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K's behaviour towards me has significantly improved since he lost his phone twice in one week (for 48 hrs each time).
However, last night he was rude. When I told him to hand over his phone, he refused and said I'd have to physically wrestle him to get it (that would end badly, I knew).
Instead of getting physical, I said until he gives me his phone for 48hrs, I would not be driving him anywhere. He is holding out still, but it has only been one day (he threatened to get his father to drive him, but interesting didn't pursue it, and instead missed cricket training).
My question is: should I continue with this position, or should I snatch it from him when I have the chance, and hide it? (He would probably rampage, but if that's what has to happen, I can live with it).
I would be grateful for your perspective.
First of all, “he was rude” is very vague. What did he actually say or do?
Second, what is he doing to “earn” cell phone privileges?
Whenever a child introduces a new problem on top of an existing one, parents should put the new problem in the “deal-with-it-later” file (*please see Q & A - On Discipline in the chapter of the eBook entitled “The Art of Saying No” – Session #2 – online version).
Re: …he refused and said I'd have to physically wrestle him to get it…
In this case, he is grounded, but the clock does not start until he hands you the cell (*please see Instructional Videos #16 and #17).
Online Parent Support
Hope things are fine with you.
I thought I'd give you a bit of an up date from down under. Over the past month we have had two meetings with A___'s school principle, the school counsellor and her teacher, and things have been fairly positive from a school point of view. The principle is a great guy and was very keen to know what we were dealing with at home as the problems at school are less intense. He asked me to email him the basic management principles of your e-book and said the school would do as much as they could to keep Anna on track. I now get a weekly report on her progress from her class teacher and they are now working out the classes for next year with a view to giving her the best teacher and appropriate classmates to minimise disputes. She got a little award at assembly the other day for "improved behavior in the classroom" so that was good.
We are so grateful for the chance your program has given us and I feel so fortunate for having discovered you online!! We are still dealing with bad behavior at home but it is, as you forecast, a little less stressful and frequent.
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The history of narcissistic personality disorder:
The name for narcissistic personality disorder comes from Greek mythology. In the tale, a young man, Narcissus, spurned those who sought his love. He was very good-looking, and quite full of himself. In fact, he was so good-looking that he thought himself as beautiful as the gods. No woman or man could please him. Then, one day, he fell in love with the reflection of himself in a pond. He stared at the reflection, reveling in its beauty, until he wasted away. Other stories end with him falling into the pond and drowning as he moves closer to get a better look. Like Narcissus, adolescents with narcissistic personality disorder have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and rarely consider others' feelings, preferring to seek the attention that confirms their own grandiose ideas.
Difference between adolescent narcissism and adolescent narcissistic personality disorder:
A certain degree of selfishness, self-importance and narcissism is to be expected during the teenager years. Indeed, when one has a personality style considered narcissistic, he or she is usually a general healthy person in a psychological regard. However, such people, although arrogant and proud at times, do not rely on others to help them maintain a healthy self-esteem, and they do not cherish unrealistic images of their skills and abilities.
On the other hand, adolescent narcissistic personality disorder takes a different form. Teenagers with this personality disorder are unable to establish a stable self-image that includes an accurate assessment of skills. They feel entitled to special treatment, and when they receive perceived slights to their grandiose perception of their own skills and importance, they may become angry and sometimes violent.
Some signs of pathological narcissism - adolescent narcissistic personality disorder:
· Arrogant and haughty behavior
· Belief that others envy the person
· Does not consider others' feelings
· Expectations of special treatment
· Exploits other people
· Fantasies about having exceptional success, attractiveness or power
· Need for constant praise and validation
· Over-emphasis on achievements and exaggeration of one's skills
Developmental factors that contribute to adolescent narcissistic personality disorder:
· Excessive admiration that does not receive a balance of realistic feedback
· Learned manipulative behaviors from other sources
· Overindulgence from parents
· Oversensitive temperament from birth
· Parents over-praise and value as a way to increase their own self-esteem
· Severe childhood emotional abuse
· Unreliable or unpredictable care giving from parents
Treating adolescent narcissistic personality disorder:
It is very difficult to treat teenager narcissistic personality disorder because an adolescent is usually already in such a fragile mental state. Often, treatment is met with contempt, as the teenager perceives the therapist-client relationship as one that does not properly affirm the adolescent's perception of self. The goal is teach the teenager to value him or herself on a more realistic level and to adjust one's thinking about others' value in relation to his or her own. Exercises to help the adolescent develop empathy for others are part of the treatment of this personality disorder. Medication is usually not used, except sparingly in cases where depression and anxiety come out as symptoms while the adolescent struggles to cope with a new reality.
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My wife and I are finishing Lesson #1. My God!!! We've been the worst kind of indulgent parents, thinking all the time that we were doing the good thing for our son. Quite frankly, we've both cried the past couple of hours at how destructive our "parenting" has been. Just the opposite of what we wanted. Your program is 100% on the money in terms of describing the issues. Glad we found your site, and hope it's not too late.
As some additional background, up until 2 1/2 years ago, I was heavily engaged with my son. We played paintball, R__ raced BMX for 6 years, has won 5 national championships and we spent 2-3 days a week at the track and traveling out of town to races, fishing, camping. 2 1/2 years ago, because of financial issues, I took a job with an emergency management agency that has me traveling across the U.S. for 6-7 months at a time with only a week or two in between. I feel so bad! I see now that in spite of my good intentions, I essentially abandoned my boy, hence his hooking up with this "friend" of his. His attitude is sullen, he's unhappy, angry, dresses like a skin head, and is lying to us, chippying with marijuana (we've had him drug tested). In spite of our apprehension, my wife and I are anxious to get our son back. Below is a set of expectations we've come up with. Are we on the right track?
B. & A.
ISSUES FOR R__
1. Hang up towels after taking a shower.
2. Pick up dirty clothes and put them in hamper.
3. Keep your bathroom neat.
4. Keep your room picked up. Clean and vacuum your room once a week.
5. Take out trash, including emptying your bathroom wastebasket.
6. Keep truck clean. Clean inside and out once a week.
7. Help with dinner cleanup as requested.
8. After a meal, pick-up/scrape dishes and put in sink.
Allowance: For consistently doing chores, you will earn $15.00 a week. To earn additional money, ask us for things you can do around the house. (Wash windows, wash the van, etc.)
1. That you will not drink alcohol.
2. That you will not do drugs.
3. That you will not steal, or be with people who do steal.
4. That you will be honest and “do what’s right” even if no one is watching. Think independently. Say “no” to friends who want to involve you in illegal behavior.
5. That you will be respectful of your mother and me and other adults.
6. That you will be home at the designated time and will abide by set curfew.
7. That you will complete school and homework as required.
8. Self respect for your health, appearance, physical well being.
Violation of the above house rules will result in “consequences”. These consequences will include:
1. Loss of phone privileges.
2. Loss of driving privileges.
3. Loss of television privileges.
4. Loss of video game privileges.
5. Loss of freedom (grounding). Earn freedom by accepting discipline, reasonable expectations, and a positive attitude.
Re: Are we on the right track?
I think this is largely on track. Some things fall into the "gray area," which simply means there are multiple ways to do it right.
My biggest concern with what I hear from you so far is that you may be moving to fast. I've said it before, but let me repeat: Only implement session #1 assignments in week one ...session #2 assignments in week two ...and so on.
Slow down a bit. Working too hard to make up for lost time may result in more lost time.
My Out-of-Control Teen
I want to believe this was the turning point but have been crushed too many times and don't know the right answer...
Visiting isn't until Sunday (we opted to not go this past Sunday when he really only wanted us to go in order to bring his girlfriend) His latest phone call was to use his life savings (about $500) and call a bail bondsman. He also says he has information for the police that he needs to share with them before XYZ kid gets out of jail. All of this is starting to wear me down.
I want to believe this was the turning point but have been crushed too many times and don't know the right answer. Please help.
Re: Mark, what is the best thing?
I think you may already know what I'm going to say here. To bail him out is to return to over-indulgent parenting, which will have a negative consequence associated with it -- for both you and your husband.
Re: I don't want more upheaval in my home--is it likely to get worse if we continue to refuse?
To refuse to bail? In the short run, possibly. But in the long run, no. He will get a much better life-lesson sitting behind bars than he will sitting at a desk.
Re: How would you feel about this latest offer? Is 4-5 days in jail (for now) enough?
Re: Is he ready for change or is this just because it's too uncomfortable?
He's sincere while his in jail. But without some serious discomfort, his sincerity will be short lived.
If it only took 6 weeks for him to forget about being on probation, how long do you think it will be before he forgets he was incarcerated (in the event that you bail him out)?
My Out-of-Control Teen
Thank you for your contact. This morning I was on the verge of asking my 16 year old young lady to leave and find a new place to live.
After watching and reading the first part of your advice I feel MUCH stronger.
I don't want to lose my daughter, I want her back fighting for MY team not the team of rudeness and emotional emptiness she seems to be in.
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- Being genuinely interested in your son's activities. This allows moms and dads to know their teen's friends and to monitor behavior, which is crucial in keeping teenagers out of trouble. When misbehavior does occur, moms and dads who have involved their children in setting family rules and consequences can expect less flack from their children as they calmly enforce the rules. Moms and dads who, together with their children, set firm boundaries and high expectations may find that their children's abilities to live up to those expectations grow.
- Encouraging independent thought and expression. In this way, teenagers can develop a healthy sense of self and an enhanced ability to resist peer pressure.
- Having a positive relationship with your son. When parent-teen interactions are characterized by warmth, kindness, consistency, respect, and love, the relationship will flourish, as will the teen's self-esteem, mental health, spirituality, and social skills.
- Check whether your concerns about their friends are real and important.
- Do not attack your child's friends. Remember that criticizing your son's choice of friends is like a personal attack.
- Encourage reflective thinking by helping your son think about his actions in advance and discussing immediate and long-term consequences of risky behavior.
- Encourage your son's independence by supporting decision-making based on principles and not other people.
- Get to know the friends of your son. Learn their names, invite them into your home so you can talk and listen to them, and introduce yourself to their moms and dads.
- Help your son understand the difference between image (expressions of youth culture) and identity (who he 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 son know of your concerns and feelings.
- Remember that we all learn valuable lessons from mistakes.
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We went for counselling tonight and it was a mess.
The counsellor asked how we were doing and C___ said he was fine. Then he asked me why I was so quiet. I said that C___ doesn't really want me to really talk. The counsellor said that there was a wall up between us. I said that I was upset that he stole the car and that there was a trust issue. That was what set off C___. He said that I brought up to him on the phone the other night when I asked him how he was doing with his issue with drugs and was what the counsellor was helping with working for him. He said that it was very hard and I said maybe he should be around the kids that do not use and that would make it easier and he got mad. Tonight he told the counsellor that that made him upset, that I make him upset and the counsellor told him that nobody can make you upset if you don't let them that is your feelings. He used the example of the alcoholic that drinks and says to his wife I drink because you bug me about drinking. Then he got mad at the counsellor and said he didn't want to be here. (He had been calling for a week asking when that appointment was.) C___ asked my husband a question about why he had to leave our house and my husband was trying to explain and C___ cut him off. The counsellor said to C___ you asked your Dad a question but you don't want to hear the answer you cut him off. C___ said that is the way I talks that he asks a question that is how he is. I explained or tried to explain that every action has a reaction and that his behaviour is something I could not tolerate in our home. He told the counsellor that when I see him that he is myr son and she doesn't even give him a hug. C___ started to cry and asked my husband to drive him home. All the way home C___ cried. He told my husband that I keep bringing up all the stuff that went on in the last few months. He said that he didn't want to talk to us and not to call or anything. He said that when he was living here that I was always on his case, I was getting calls from the school that he wasn't showing up for class, he was hanging out at a friends place all day, he wouldn't go to tutoring and I would have to pay for the missed session. I basically was to keep my mouth shut and let him do what he wanted to do that he was running the show. He wasn't going to his co-op job placement for school, no homework was being done, he was lipping off to me. He also brought up that I went and talked to his friends parents about what was going on, ie. that their kids were in my house when I was on vacation, that is break and enter, and that they were in the car and if the police had to do a check on the vehicle and find it, those kids would have been charged and had a criminal record, but the police would not lay charges because the car came right back.
I stayed for the rest of the counselling session the counsellor said that I am looking at C___ and seeing the same things I saw in my dad. My dad was a violent alcoholic and I have to get past this and see C___ as C___.
When I left the session, I went over to C___'s and he was still crying. He told me that he was upset that I didn't come over to the house that he was staying at and ask him to come home. He doesn't like living in the townhouse with these other kids. He didn't like living at his friend's home with the mother that got him out of detox and the same mother that signed the lease for the townhouse. Now he says that he is stuck there for a year until the lease is up. I was suppose to coming running after him and after he did all these bad things to us and ask him to come home. He also said he was upset that I had taken all of his things away, cell phone, computer etc. just before he left, hey I was following the program. It seems that every time a counsellor disagrees with him and points something out he get mad and quits. The counsellor said that he wants my love not my criticism. I think C___ has a problem with authority.
One day last month I went to the coffee shop and came out and my car had a big scratch on it. That night C___ came over to the house to say hi and then out of the blue said, you have to admit Mom that when ever I used your car I always took good care of it, did I, did I. Wow, I wondered if he know or if he scratched the car. Later that week, I came home and there was this tshirt with a big knot in the middle of it I thought this is weird, I opened the tshirt up and there was pieces of glass tied up in this tshirt. My neighbour said that she just saw a car with teenagers back out of my drive way but didn't see who was in it. This all happened before C___ went on a bender and showed up at our door in the middle of the night crying to get him help.
Since I emailed you, I have been using the 30 second rule saying hi, love you etc. and quickly leaving. I dropped a few things off apples, melon, carrots and he said to me on Saturday, thank you so much, I appreciate it and it was nice seeing you, what time is counselling.
Now today after the session what direction do I go in?
Any insight in to this kid from what you have seen?
"Counseling" is just another traditional parenting strategy that tends to make a bad problem worse (and you're hearing this from a counselor).
I would say that YOU received a natural consequence for making the choice to involve your son in counseling.
Counseling does not work for a strong-willed teen because he thinks that the parent is blaming HIM for all the family's problems (e.g., "My mom thinks there is something 'wrong' with me ...she's trying to 'fix' me...").
Re: Now today after the session what direction do I go in?
First, I'd question whether or not I was wasting money on counseling. If you son feels like he needs "talk therapy", I'm sure he'll tell you so.
Second, continue doing what you've been doing with one important caveat: Every time you see your son, make it a habit to say things that boost his confidence (e.g., "You're more than capable of making it on your own ...you've got what it takes to be a productive adult in society ...I've got confidence in you ...I love you son..."). Find a thousand different ways to say the above over the next several months - and even years. Eventually he will come to believe your words of encouragement.
Third, don't fall for the guilt trips. A soon as you begin to "feel sorry" for your son, you run the risk of returning to over-indulgent parenting (and I don't think you're one to move backward rather than forward).
Online Parent Support
First, let’s make a distinction between truancy and school refusal-
· The kid is unreasonably scared of going to school.
· The kid might pretend to be sick or say he or she doesn't want to go to school.
· The kid usually wants to stay home because he or she feels safe there.
· The kid chooses not to go to school.
· The kid skips school and doesn't tell his or her parents.
· The kid may have antisocial behaviors such as delinquency, lying, and stealing.
Kids with school refusal are scared to go to school. They may be so scared that they won't leave the house. School refusal is most common in 5- and 6-year-olds and in 10- and 11-year-olds, but it can start at any age.
The problem might start after a kid has been home for a while, such as after a holiday, summer vacation, or brief illness. It also might happen after a stressful event, such as moving to a new house or the death of a pet or relative.
Kids who won't go to school often say they feel sick. They might wake up and say they have a headache, stomachache, or sore throat. If they stay home from school, the "illness" might go away, but it comes back the next morning before school. Some kids may have crying spells or temper tantrums.
Kids with school refusal may worry about the safety of their parents or themselves. They may not want to be in a room by themselves, and they may be scared of the dark. They also may have trouble falling asleep by themselves and might have nightmares.
Kids who are truant (or "playing hooky") are not scared to go to school the way kids with school refusal are.
Take your kid to the doctor. Anxiety or a physical illness might be causing the problem. You also should talk to your kid's teacher or school counselor. Your kid's doctor will be able to rule out any illness that may be causing the problem.
Unreasonable fears about leaving home can be treated. Parents must keep trying to get their kid to go back to school. Your kid's doctor may want your kid to talk to a psychologist, social worker, or kid psychiatrist. The doctor also might prescribe medicine to help with your kid's anxiety.
The longer your kid stays out of school, the harder it will be to return. The goal of treatment is to help your kid learn ways to reduce anxiety and return to school.
Kids who do not go to school for long periods may develop serious learning setbacks or social problems. Kids who do not get professional help might have emotional problems such as anxiety when they get older. Early treatment of this problem is important for your kid's well-being.
Online Parent Support
Mark Hutten, M.A.
The next time the younger kids come to you with tales of woe concerning older sis, just say, "I love you, too!" and walk away, singing the first verse and chorus from “The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music." After they recover from their disorientation, they will catch up to you, complaining ever more loudly. Turn around and say, "Life is good!" (Sing the opening lines from "When The Saints Go Marching In").
The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen
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