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

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She lies, drinks, smokes, tries to make me feel guilty cause i wont give her money...

My 16 yo daughter has left to live with her bf she lies, drinks, smokes tries to make me feel guilty cause i wont give her money. She wants to live like a 20yo but has no job is with people that are quite often in trouble with the police. I just want her to come home and go back to school. She just wants to do what she wants when she wants and the way she wants. I’ve tried reasoning calmly, getting angry, being tough, making her feel guilty, nothing seems to work, she is just so stubborn about what she wants to do she doesn’t seem to care, about herself, her future or her family. Please help!!!

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Hi N.,

We always want to allow our kids to make mistakes (unless it is life-threatening of course). Making mistakes is the ONLY way a strong-willed child learns. So, to save her from making the mistake of living with her boyfriend also disallows her a learning/growing opportunity.

This relationship with the 20-year-old is not likely to last very long. Let her know that she is always welcome to return home – BUT under your guidelines/rules – not hers. Draft a contract soon – like later tonight – that lays out in great detail what will be required of her in order for her to live in your house. Then when (notice I said “when” rather than “if”) she starts whining to you about how her boyfriend is mistreating her and wants to come home – make her sign the contract up front.

Mark

My Out-of-Control Teen

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The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen

The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.

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