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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Practical tips to diffuse the hatred between father and daughter?

Hi Mark

During the last few weeks me and my husband have been following (as much as we can) your program.

Thank you for the great idea to make it available on line.

We have a fourteen year old daughter and an eight year old son.

Our daughter is very well described in your lectures. I recognised that my overindulging approach and the fact that in the past me and my husband had different opinions on her parenting and also the fact that she is very strong willed person led to her behaviour problems.

Before starting the program we were aware that she was having sex with her 18 year old boyfriend. Her constant threatening that she might run away stopped me from interfering directly. In the very beginning of the program we decided that we cannot let this continuing and my husband spoke to the boyfriend's parents and the boy himself. He just said that she was 14 and they needed to be supervised. I do not regret this step. But it happened that he spoke to his parents when she was completely unaware and babysitting her brother. Needless to say she was very hurt and felt betrayed by us.

After that we are trying really hard to keep being firm and give her the consequences of her bad choices. Meanwhile we encourage all the small positive steps that she does.

It is a really long list how many boundaries she pushed in the last 3-4 weeks:

*violting curfew
* skipping school for 4 days
*smoking in the house
*asking for a lift to her best friend's in the night for sleepover just we to realise the next morning that they both disappeared that night and came 8 am in her fiends house
*leaving the house without telling anyone
*being really rude and calling us names and swearing
* taking all the pills from our cabinet (paracetamol and aspirin)

Only by the Lord's grace I am still sane.

I can see that my husband's patience is running over. He started to rage at her.

On the few occasions when she was able to talk to me she said that she frankly hates us and she really hates her father. They never had a good relationship but now it is a nightmare. I keep reminding myself that the things are expected to get worse before get better. It seems that my husband lost the hope to establish a healthy relationship with our daughter and to see her growing into a responsible adult.

Can you give me some practical tips how to diffuse the hatred between them.

I cannot understand whether she realises that her behauvior cannot be tolerated as it is now or she is still in her angry state not accepting the consequences because she just hates this family and refuses to follow the rules in the family.

Thank you for your support.

M.


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Hi M.,

As a parent, you want to do everything for your child but you have to realize that sooner or later, they must do things on their own. They have to learn about how to earn their own money, how to manage it, and how to make smart financial decisions with it. The longer you keep on handing everything to your children, the harder it will be for them to learn these crucial life skills and lessons on their own and that will severely backfire on them in their adult life.

I think as children grow older, you have to say “No” more frequently, and make them work hard for the things they want to have, because you have to teach them the value of hard work, the value of a dollar, the virtue of patience, of delayed gratification, etc., or else they will never learn and that’s a greater disservice to them in the long run.

People whose parents didn’t provide them with everything usually appreciate the things they have more. They have to work hard in order to get those things they need on their own, which usually makes them more financially responsible, more responsible in general, harder workers, etc. I ‘m not saying that ALL people whose parents didn’t provide them with everything will turn out like that -- nor am I saying that those people whose parents provided them with everything cannot also garner those same qualities.

All I’m saying is that those whose parents did not provide them with everything have a greater opportunity to develop those crucial life skills that are critical in adult life simply because they need to. Those who got everything handed to them usually don’t have that need to develop those crucial life skills, so they don’t spend time cultivating them.

What’s my point?

Don’t spend any time or energy worrying about trying to be “the good guy.” You are not a “buddy.”

Your job is to help your daughter foster the development of “self-reliance.” And you are totally powerless over whether or not she chooses to harbor resentment based on your more assertive parenting style.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

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