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

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

She is in juvenile detention...

Mark,

I subscribed to your ebook because we fit most of the descriptions of parents of out of control teens. I didn't even get to the bottom of the first session and our daughter has gotten much worse. As I write this she is in juvenile detention. She was arrested at our home last night after she scratched my husband’s arms when he tried to get her from spraying peroxide around our bathroom. In the last week she has become more angry and has had threatening behavior brought on by a “no” answer from us for demanding behavior on her part.

Last night, she demanded in a rude manner that we go shopping at 8 o'clock last night for a new outfit for school today. When told that we weren't going at 8pm but we could go in the next couple of days, she began to slam things in her room. It sounded like furniture breaking. It deteriorated from there and 911 was called because I was scared of her behavior. I was looking for crisis intervention, not the cops. 911 didn't answer, so I hung up and tried to call her therapist. 911 tried to call back and the line was busy so the cops came to our house. When we relayed the story, they said that she would have to either be admitted to the hospital or be arrested and sent to juvenile detention. I don't know if you can help or if this falls within your parent-coaching offer. I don't know what to do next. I don't know what to do when she comes home. She is missing her first 2 days of school because of this.

J.

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Hi J.,

First of all, it is very common for things to get worse before they get better. A child who may have been over-indulged most of her life has great difficulty – initially – in adjusting to the parent’s more assertive parenting approach.

Second, it’s good that the police arrived at your doorstep after your daughter engaged in “battery” (scratching is indeed “battery” in the legal sense).

I think it was a blessing in disguise that the cops came out to your house. If you had your way about it, you would have talked to some crisis counselor over the phone – which would have been a total waste of everybody’s time. You were about to employ a “half-measure” – but fortunately, this was not in the cards (so to speak).

So, in spite of yourself, you are on track. Your daughter will sit in detention for a few days, then she’ll have a court date soon, then she’ll come home – at which point you simply continue to work the program as outlined.

She got a wonderful “life-lesson” (i.e., battery has legal consequences).

Mark

My Out-of-Control Teen

1 comment:

George Schaffer said...

We experienced a similar situation recently with my 15 year old son. He has been a challenge to say the least since he was 4 years old. My wife and I have butted heads over him and his behaviour. I have dreaded it when he gets into trouble with neighbors, school, church etc., because it seems my wife takes out her frustration and disappointment on me. As it turns out, she blames me for the troubles he has gotten himself into - in her opinion, she feels I didn't love him enough and/or in similar fashion to how she loved/loves him. She feels I have been "on him" when ever he crosses the line and she feels my discipline attempts have been / are punitive. In my defense, I hold all my boys accountable for their actions and their decisions. I face problems and cheallenges instead of "sticking my head in the sand" and I take parenting very seriously. I love my boys but that doesn't mean I neglect my responsibility to parent them and help them grow to be good, honest, honourable, intelligent, respectful and loving men.

My son was taken into custody and later "processed" by a probation officer. The officer performed a quick and incomplete report for the courts that identified me (father) as an abusive parent who regularly beats his son and issues severe consequences. Basically the officer took the word of an defiant and angry teenager. The officer failed to interview me, his mother, the children's aid society or anyone else. My son had just recently robbed several homes and used the money to buy pot (and we have later found out ... oxycoten). I had confronted several of his drug dealing peers (and their parents) and had grounded him and taken away his cell phone. The removal of the cell phone was considered by my son as severe and unfair. Assigning chores like washing the car or raking the leaves was considered excessive in the eyes of my son. I don't think the probation officer even took the time to ask my son for examples of the "excessive consequences".

After this report, my wife decided that my disciplinary attempts throughout his life were abusive and she decided not to support me. After 4 weeks of court delays and rescheduling my son did the right thing and informed the court that the report was incorrect and that I had not abused him.

Unfortunately I have had the burden of being the principle disciplinarian - my wife has consistently shunned that responsibility as a parent. My son adores her and they have a wonderful relationship. He is still disrespectful to her and intimidates her ( he is a big 16 year old) and steals from her, etc. but she rarely issues any consequences, and when she does, she does not enforce them. She rarely enforces any of the consequnces I have attempted with him.

My son's behavioural problems have served to drive my wife and I apart - to the point now that she has demanded a divorse. Her reasoning is that we don't agree on anything.

As I reflect over and over on my life as a parent, I am amazed at how a person's choices and decisions have such a ripple effect on all the other loved ones in the relationship.

I hope you fare better with your daughter than I have with my son and my spouse.

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