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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When Teens Refuse To Get Up For School

Hi Mark,

I have a question regarding my 14 year old son who has chronically been sleeping in for the last 2 months. He refuses to go to bed at night---or goes, then sneaks down to the computer or out to a friends house at night. He has missed over 30 days of school and now we are heading back after the holidays and do not know how to break this pattern. Repeated calls in the morning to get up do not work. He responds in loud and foul language to leave him alone. What do we do?

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Here are some tips:

1. Flick the lights on and off a few times.
2. Pull the cover off of him.
3. Push him out of bed, gently.
4. Say "breakfast is on the table” (don't say this if it isn't true).
5. Set an alarm clock. It should have a noticeable ring, but not deafening. Set it for the time he needs to get up and put it by his bed.
6. Shake him a bit and say "rise and shine" … "time to get up" … or something like that. Use his name and mention something specific that is going to happen that day like a test in a particular class.
7. Turn on a television or a radio loud enough that the talk will interrupt his sleep (but not so loud that it’s going to hurt his ears or annoy the neighbors).
8. If he sneaks out of the house late at night – call the police and report him as a runaway.
9. Disable the computer so he cannot get on it through the night.
10. Use the strategy outlined in session #3 – online version of the ebook – entitled “When You Want Something From Your Kid.”

What To Do When You And Your Spouse Disagree On How To Discipline

You and your partner may have thought it would never happen – that your children would always remain precious angels, so perfect that you would never have to think about how to discipline them. Unfortunately, as most moms and dads know, that fantasy turns into a harsh reality very early on. Children will be children and how you intend to discipline them will soon become a very real fact of your life.

To make matters worse, as your kids grow older you may even find that you and your partner are not always on the same page when it comes to discipline. Discipline differences can cause trouble in a marriage – and can also greatly confuse your kids. It is important that you and your partner work together to come up with discipline methods that you both can agree on.

Many moms and dads end up adopting disciplinary techniques similar to those that that they grew up with. If your parents were overly strict, you may find yourself taking that type of approach with your own kids. If your partner’s parents were somewhat permissive, you may see that your partner has a more laid back way of doing things. Thus, you may be deemed the “mean” parent while your partner will be seen as the pushover. If you want to avoid this problem, there are some issues that you and your partner should talk about ahead of time:

• Don’t be trapped by your past. That includes both your own childhood and the style of discipline you may have used in an earlier marriage. Look for ways to explore, with your spouse, your unquestioned assumptions about disciplining kids. One good way to do that is to take a parenting class together. That does two things: It helps you realize how differently other people respond to the same situations you face as parents, and it gives you and your spouse a common base of information from which to develop your shared approaches to discipline.

• Agree on a signal to alert both of you that the conversation is, or is about to, get too heated and needs to be halted.

• The premise of a time-out is simple enough. When your youngster misbehaves, she must sit alone in a designated area for a specified amount of time. But, perhaps your partner feels that this technique has no merit. Thus, if you spend all week putting your youngster in time-out whenever she misbehaves, and then on the weekends your partner doesn’t do the same, your youngster may feel that she can get away with more when you are not around.

• Consider taking a few parenting classes together. That way you'll have a common parenting experience to draw on. Hearing how other people parent (and why) can give a fresh perspective on what you want for your own family. Even though we may have learned how to parent from our parents, as adults we benefit from learn new skills.

• Negotiate a Plan in Calm Waters. Sit down with your partner and try to agree on ways to discipline at a time when nothing is wrong. When you discuss things calmly, you're more likely to come up with a plan you can both stick to. This will allow you to talk about what's best for your youngster, and not "who's right."

• Spanking is a very controversial disciplinary tactic. If you were routinely spanked as a youngster, you may have already vowed that you would never do that to your own kids. Because it is such a hot topic, it is very important that you discuss the subject of spanking with your partner. Your partner may feel that a swift swat on the bottom is not harmful to a youngster, while you may feel that any type of hitting is completely unacceptable. If you cannot come to terms on this subject, your children are going to pick up on it.

• Create your own family "rulebook." Write clear, reasonable, attainable rules (for both parents and kids) about what behavior is acceptable and what isn't. Your family, like a baseball team, will be more successful when you have clear guidelines.

• Present a Unified Front. Children understand when their parents feel differently about disciplining, no matter what their age. Kids will often get away with misbehaving simply by creating an argument between you and your partner — and this not only lets them off the hook, it creates a problem between the moms and dads. Make sure that your youngster sees both parents following the same guidelines, no matter what the scenario. Once your children start receiving the same treatment from both parents, they'll stop using your disagreements as a way to avoid punishment.

• Make a commitment both to honor and act on the signal. You might walk away and have an agreed-upon cooling off period. Or set a time to revisit your differences in opinion. Or write down what you're feeling and later share it with your spouse, who might better understand where you're coming from.

• Recognize What Your Arguments Do to Your Kids. No youngster likes to see his or her parents fight. When you argue about what to do with your children, you create a troubling environment for them, which could have serious long-tem effects. Fighting with your partner shifts the focus away from your youngster — and how they can learn to stop misbehaving — and on to a "parent versus parent" situation.

• Remember your successes. During your marriage, you and your wife have undoubtedly successfully negotiated many situations-with each of you both giving and taking a little until you reached some middle ground. You also be successful at ending arguments in front of the kids if you really want to. It won't be easy, but it will be rewarding. And your kids will be the ultimate winners.

• Make a plan and be consistent. Consistency is the most important thing to keep in mind when disciplining your kids. Try to avoid making empty threats, because kids can see right through them. Threaten a few times without following through and your children will soon learn not to take you seriously. Work with your partner to develop a plan that will keep you both in sync. Develop a punishment system for your children, as well as a rewards system for good behavior.

• Some moms and dads feel that the punishment should fit the crime. For example, if your children are fighting over which television show to watch, the punishment might be no television at all for a day. Or if your youngster grabs a toy from another youngster, he or she may not be allowed to play with that toy at all. Talk to your partner to see if you are both on the same page when it comes to consequences for your youngster.

• Be prepared for behavioral problems. Remember that many changes in kid’s behaviors are linked to their stage of normal development. It should come as no surprise that your toddler becomes defiant or your preschooler has an occasional temper tantrum. Talk ahead of time about how each of you would handle these predictable situations. That way you’ll have fewer conflicts when they occur.

• If, after discussing the various types of discipline methods, you find that you and your partner still cannot agree on how to discipline your kids, you should seek professional family counseling at once. This is not an area where you can just hope things will work out by themselves. Disciplining your kids is one of the most important parts of parenthood. Do a good job at it, and you children will grow into happy, well-adjusted adults.

Disciplining your kids can take a toll on your marriage if you and your partner don’t agree on how to do it.

=> Help for Parents with Strong-Willed, Out-of-Control Teens

What To Do When Teens Run Away: A Tough Tactic For Parents

Dear Mark,

I have recently "joined the program" and have seen an overall improvement. I have 3 daughters aged 17 (now left school & unemployed after going to live with her father several months ago because he does not have any boundaries), 14 (major issues see below) and 10. The children's father consumes alcohol in excess, which contributed to his lack of supervision.

Separated/divorced 4 yrs ago and my 14yo went to live with her father over 12 months ago where she was basically unsupervised until crisis this April including alcohol & Marijuana use, shoplifting, running away etc. I now have court orders to stop her running back there when I placed boundaries on her.

She is under care of mental health team (initially depressed now behaviour issues) and she has been attending appts. She keeps saying that she would rather live in a foster home than live with me (in a comfortable home).

I remove privileges of computer, bedroom door, phone, iPod, groundings etc, but she seems only to be good enough to get them back until the next time! Her logic is she might as well enjoy herself because going to be disciplined when returned.

Major issue at present is her running away for up to 4 days (I do report her to the police). I have now reached a point where I have had enough. Over 12 months ago she was a scholarship student at a private school, but has deteriorated in public school (multiple suspensions for disrespect, disobedience). Unfortunately school has not handled situation well as refusing to do "in house suspensions" so my daughter sent home. I asked multiple times for meetings with all concerned, but seems easier for them to just wait for her to be suspended again. The only option next year is Boystown residential program monday-friday - but the child has to co-operate!

I don't know what else to do...she has refused to come home again and I don't know where she is.

Please help me...

Thanks, S.

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Hi S.,

Re: I don't know what else to do...she has refused to come home again and I don't know where she is.

This will be a difficult task perhaps, but you will need to stop taking responsibility for her "runaway behavior." You can't hog tie her to a bed post ...nor can your keep her locked up in the house.

The quick answer is this: (a) "act as if" you are not bothered by her running away; (b) let her run; (c) do not attempt to find her and do not attempt to communicate with her (however, if she calls you, then do field that phone call); (d) when she returns, simply re-issue the consequence; (e) when she runs again, start the cycle all over.

Listen...

Clearly she knows that "running" pushes your "worry" buttons ...she gets a pay-off in the form of knowing she has control of (a) your emotional state and (b) her freedom to do what she wants. So the more you 'fuss' -- the more power she feels. Paradoxically, the more you are relaxed about her 'running' -- the less power she feels.

She runs because it keeps her in charge. 'Running' keeps her in charge because it gets a reaction out of you. As soon as you stop reacting -- game over! There's no pay-off anymore. She loses the power to push your worry buttons. As long as she can keep you in a state of anxiety and fussing -- she wins!

Her running is her responsibility now... and it has natural consequences associated with it as well.

So now you decide. Are you going to continue to feed this behavior with your reactions? Or are you going to pull the plug and let her worry about herself?

You pick. 

Mark Hutten, M.A.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents with Defiant Teenagers

How to Get Children to Stop Lying: 25 Tips for Parents

Honesty is the basis for any relationship because it develops trust and upon that foundation simple things like communication and responsibility rest. When a youngster lies, that trust is broken and relationships suffer. Moms and dads often don't know how to handle dishonesty and common discipline techniques don't quite address the problem. A more comprehensive plan is usually necessary since lying often has several components. Here are some ways to handle lying:

1. Ask your youngster why he was lying. Kids lie for a variety of reasons: to impress friends, to escape consequences or because of an active imagination. When you find out why your youngster is lying, it becomes easier to deal with the situation. For instance, you wouldn't discipline a youngster who is lying to protect someone the same way you would discipline a youngster who is avoiding consequences. Ask your youngster about the reason for the lying so you know how to prevent lying in the future.

2. Avoid disciplining your youngster for telling lies in public or in front of friends. If you observe your youngster telling a lie while around others, wait for a private moment to talk to her about the causes and consequences of lying. Admonishing your youngster in public can embarrass her and cause further lying to avoid similar reactions in the future.

3. A courtesy generally given in relationships is called, "the benefit of the doubt." When a youngster has developed a pattern of lying, we don't automatically give that courtesy. Believing someone requires trust, and it's a privilege which is earned. Privilege and responsibility go together, and when a youngster is irresponsible, then privileges are taken away. For a time, the things your youngster says are suspect. You may even question something that is found to be true later. A youngster may be hurt by this, but that hurt is the natural consequence of mistrust, which in turn comes from lying. Being believed is a privilege earned when kids are responsible in telling the truth on a regular basis. Not believing your youngster may seem mean, but your youngster must learn that people who don't tell the truth can't be trusted. Tell your youngster that you would like to believe him or her, but you cannot until he or she earns that privilege.

4. Be honest yourself. Say, "That doesn't sound like the truth to me. Most of us don't tell the truth when we are feeling trapped, scared, or threatened in some way. Why don't we take some time off from this right now? Later I'll be available if you would like to share with me what is going on for you."

5. Confrontation should result in making amends. This may seem unrealistic at first, but keep it in mind as your goal. Kids who are confronted with the fact that they are telling a lie should immediately agree and apologize. A youngster who is defensive is relying on arguing and justifying as manipulative techniques in order to avoid taking responsibility. This is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.

6. Create predictable consequences your youngster can count on. The consequences should be consistent and a natural effect of the lying. For instance, a youngster who tells tall tales learns that you no longer believe their stories. A youngster who lies to get out of a chore no longer is trusted with responsibilities. A youngster who is caught lying to a friend or family member is expected to confess the truth. These predictable, consistent and natural consequences teach your youngster about the importance of telling the truth.

7. Don't label your youngster a liar. People live to their labels. When you label your youngster a liar, you run the risk of that label becoming an identification and mode of behavior for your youngster.

8. Enforce your own rules. If you don't want to be lied to, enforce the punishment for lying. Many parents think they are giving out punishment when in fact, they aren't. As a parent, you have to be willing to choose the punishment and then police it. For example, if you say there will be no phone privileges for lying, there truly need to be no phone privileges, even if you have to take the phone out of the house.

9. Explain to your youngster how important it is to be trusted in life. Ask your youngster if she would be willing to work with you on developing trust.

10. Focus on solutions to problems instead of blame. "What should we do about getting the chores done?" instead of, "Did you do your chores?"

11. Help kids believe that mistakes are opportunities to learn so they won't believe they are bad and need to cover up their mistakes.

12. Know that lying is a learned but changeable behavior. People do what works. If lying has gotten your youngster what he wants while escaping accountability from you, the payoff is a luring incentive to continue. It's a parent's responsibility not to let it continue by creating consequences.

13. Let kids know they are unconditionally loved. Many kids lie because they are afraid the truth will disappoint their parents.

14. Let your youngster know that you value the truth more than the misbehavior. You would be more angry with a lie than with what he did wrong.

15. Lying may continue to cover up past lies. If a youngster has been given too much freedom, he may have had to make choices that he wasn't equipped to make and done things that he now knows were wrong. Lying may continue in an effort to hide those things.

16. Offer praise for truth-telling as a way to positively discipline your youngster into telling the truth and avoiding lies. Be specific in your praise. If you notice your youngster telling the truth in a difficult situation, say "Thanks for telling the truth. I know it was hard, but it made your friend feel much better." Remember that discipline is not an inherently negative experience; positive discipline can have impressive results in urging your youngster to tell the truth.

17. Respect your kid's privacy when they don't want to share with you.

18. Set an example in telling the truth. Share with your kids times when it was difficult for you to tell the truth, but you decided it was more important to experience the consequences and keep your self-respect. Be sure this is honest sharing instead of a lecture.

19. Show appreciation. "Thank you for telling the truth. I know that was difficult. I admire the way you are willing to face the consequences, and I know you can handle them and learn from them."

20. Some situations won't be clear and some kids will deliberately lie to avoid punishment. You find yourself in a predicament because proof seems impossible yet you have a sense that this youngster is not telling the truth. When possible, don't choose that battleground. It's too sticky and you will usually have other clearer opportunities later. Kids that have a problem with lying, demonstrate it often. Choose the clearer battles and use those situations to discipline firmly.

21. Stop asking set-up questions that invite lying. A set-up question is one to which you already know the answer. "Did you clean your room?" Instead say, "I notice you didn't clean your room. Would you like to work on a plan for cleaning it?"

22. Stop believing the lies. If you have caught your youngster lying, and in retrospect realize that you were naïve in believing far-fetched stories and excuses, acknowledge your accountability in that and stop being so gullible. You may still desperately want to believe that your youngster isn't lying to you, but chances are, if his lips are moving, he's lying.

23. Stop trying to control kids. Many kids lie so they can find out who they are and do what they want to do. At the same time, they are trying to please their parents by making them think they are doing what they are supposed to do.

24. Talk about reality and truth and how they are different from fantasy, wishes, possibility, pretend, and make believe. Require that kids use cues to identify anything other than reality. Here are some ideas: "I think it happened this way" … "I think this is the answer" … "I'm not sure" … "Maybe" (possibility) … "I wish this were true" … "I'd like it if..." (wish) … "I'd like to tell you a story" … "I can imagine what it would be like to..." (fantasy)

25. Understand that lying behavior occurs in both extremes of the parenting continuum. If you're in a highly permissive environment, kids lie. If you're in a highly rigid and strict environment, kids lie. Moms and dads may wonder, "Why would a youngster lie in a permissive environment if you give him everything and let him do anything he wants to do?" Kids sometimes lie because they have been given too much freedom.

Kids can lie in a variety of ways, from tall tales to little white lies. When a youngster is caught in the act of lying frequently, as a parent you must use discipline to stop the unacceptable behavior of constant lying. Although you may immediately think to punish your youngster for telling lies, positive discipline can be used with natural consequences to teach your youngster about the importance of telling the truth and the disadvantages to frequent lying.

My Out-of-Control Child: Help for Parents with Oppositional Defiant Children

When Your Teen Breaks The Law

When teens break the law, they’re handled in a different way than a grown-up who commits the same criminal offense. The aim of the law would be to discipline the teenagers for what they’ve done, but also to provide them with an opportunity to learn from their blunders.

Often the adolescent is spoken to about the criminal offense by law enforcement, and when the adolescent confesses taking part in the criminal offense, it’s usually kept out of legal courts (if the adolescent hasn’t experienced prior trouble with the law). Rather than going to court, it’s usually dealt with in a manner in which the adolescent is responsible for repaying any damages he’s done and returning any stolen property. An apology and an explanation to the victim may also be a stipulation.

Offenses by teenagers can consist of simple things like trespassing or as severe as robbery or even worse. More severe offenses can end with the adolescent needing to appear in court. In these instances, a family group conference is generally called. This requires the mother and father, somebody that represents the law, and somebody serving as a youth advocate. The consequence for the adolescent is talked about, along with reparations and penalties. These proposals are offered to the Judge for consideration.

The individual who was the victim has a voice in the issue too. The victim is permitted to consult with the Judge to convey how the crime impacted him or his loved ones and what he would like to have specified as a consequence. His viewpoint will be taken into account by the Judge, but that doesn’t mean that the Judge will discipline the adolescent in the way that the victim has advised.

Once the matter is kept out of court, the adolescent is expected to follow the rules set down by the meeting (e.g., attending school without missing any days or being late, attending counseling meetings, working a part-time job to pay restitution, reporting to a guidance counselor weekly, etc.). The mother and father are often included in the future plans, sometimes in the form of attending family counseling sessions with the juvenile. When the adolescent does not comply, then the issue is generally taken up at court.

Juvenile courts usually have jurisdiction over matters concerning children, including delinquency, neglect, and adoption. They also handle "status offenses" such as truancy and running away, which are not applicable to adults. State statutes define which persons are under the original jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction in delinquency matters is 17 in most states.

Many juveniles are referred to juvenile courts by law enforcement officers, but many others are referred by school officials, social services agencies, neighbors, and even parents, for behavior or conditions that are determined to require intervention by the formal system for social control.

Whenever it becomes a courtroom issue, factors change. More stringent fees and penalties are suggested and there tend to be more serious consequences if the adolescent does not comply. In certain states, the mother and father could be held accountable for the financial part of the fine and for ensuring the adolescent attends counseling and school.

The consequences may differ based upon the crime that's committed. For a simple trespassing charge the adolescent may get just a stern warning from law enforcement and escorted home in the cop car with a warning to stay a certain distance from the crime scene. Regarding vandalism the culprit is generally required to begin some form of counseling and to repair or pay for any damages. For any more severe criminal offense like robbery the adolescent is going to be ordered to make financial restitution along with counseling, and perhaps probation.

The adolescent meets with a probation officer weekly and talks about how he has spent his time in the previous week. Occasionally the officer requires merely a telephone call once per week to determine how the juvenile is doing.

After showing that he can stay out of trouble, the adolescent’s probation is lifted and life returns to normalcy (hopefully). When the adolescent gets in trouble once again during probation, the issue is generally taken to court so a Judge can order that the adolescent be taken to a juvenile hall. Juvenile halls are a kind of jail for young, repeat offenders. They're confined in barracks and provided counseling while working to keep the hall in order. This may include cooking food, cleaning, washing bathrooms or mowing and trimming grass. Discipline is stiff, but the adolescent can earn merits towards being released with good conduct.

If your child has been charged with a crime, you definitely need a criminal law lawyer. The lawyer you retain should be one that is specifically experienced with juvenile law because juvenile law and the process of handling juveniles is a lot different than the adult criminal system.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Understanding the Strong-Willed, Out-of-Control Child

Can you help me make sense of my teenage son's "bad" behavior?

Click ==> Podcast Excerpt: Understanding the Strong-Willed, Out-of-Control Child

Dealing with Strong-Willed Children and Teens

Parenting presents challenges no matter what the temperament of your youngster. However, when your youngster displays behaviors that are intense, persistent and oppositional, parenting becomes even more challenging. These kids often are identified as strong-willed.

Strong-willed kids usually think they know best, and they often are unwilling to cooperate or compromise with moms and dads or others. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help you maintain your sanity while guiding your strong-willed youngster on his journey through childhood.

A strong-willed youngster is one who tries to gain power over any situation he finds himself in. He pushes boundaries and will not take "no" for an answer. The most important action is being consistent in the way you enforce your disciplinary techniques. Make sure you also direct your strong-willed youngster's powerful energy toward positive goals, so that you don't dampen his spirit.

Here are the top 10 parenting strategies for strong-willed, out-of-control children and teens:

1. The first and hardest lesson to learn is patience. A strong-willed child loves to agitate and antagonize, creating a heated debate, an angry home or any other unpleasant social environment. This is his goal, and usually, he succeeds. Patience means (a) hold back angry outbursts, and (b) use an understanding, calm approach to each tense situation.

2. Accept your youngster unconditionally. Loving your youngster unconditionally, no matter how often he misbehaves or frustrates you, is essential for the well-being of all kids. The behaviors of a strong-willed youngster often make him "unlikable," but he must know that he will always have your love and support.

3. Always be true to your word. Understand that your strong-willed youngster can take advantage of you if you do not do this because you are too busy or too tired to follow through on what you have previously stated. If, for example, you have said that you will not allow your youngster to watch television if he does not cooperate, then you must take this privilege away from him for some time.

4. Avoid nagging, blaming or shaming. As your youngster challenges you with misbehavior, excessive energy and resistance, it is easy to fall into a habit of yelling and blaming him. However, this only creates anger and fuels the power struggle between the two of you. Similarly, nagging your youngster creates added frustration for both of you. Instead, parent with love and rely on the clear rules and boundaries you have already set. Rather than nagging or yelling, speak calmly and clearly; make sure to maintain consistency.

5. Channel his behaviors. Rather than trying to rid your youngster of his challenging behaviors, try to channel those behaviors into constructive activities. For example, strong-willed kids tend to have a lot of energy that can be channeled into hobbies such as sports, art or musical endeavors. Direct your strong-willed youngster's energy into constructive activities like volunteering in the community or playing on sports teams.

6. Do your best to exercise patience in the midst of conflicts with your strong-willed youngster. Recognize the fact that your screaming will only add fuel to his fire. Stand firm without provoking your youngster to fight against you.

7. Leave the room when your strong-willed youngster will not stop throwing a tantrum, as long as he is not in danger of being harmed if you do so. Understand that once your youngster realizes that his screaming, crying and fussing do not affect you, he will eventually stop this behavior on his own.

8. Look your strong-willed youngster right in the eye when you speak to him to block out any surrounding distractions. Do this whether you are disciplining him or engaging in a normal conversation. Understand that your youngster needs to know he has your full attention (as strong-willed kids are often just looking for attention when employing their willful nature).

9. Praise your youngster. Focus on positive rather than negative messages. Let your youngster know that you believe in his ability to make correct decisions, and praise him for doing so.

10. Set clear limits, and follow through with consequences. A strong-willed youngster needs to know what you expect of her. Set clear rules and limits, and discuss these with your youngster. But do not create a rule for every behavior. Too many rules and limits will exhaust you as you try to enforce every one and will also frustrate your youngster. When you have discussed the rules with your youngster, let him know what the consequence will be for not following rules, and consistently follow through with the consequences. If you discipline inconsistently, your youngster will continue to test the limits. Understand that strong-willed kids need to experience the consequences of their actions (instead of simply listening to your reasoning). Figure out what matters the most to your youngster to create the most appropriate consequences for him when his behavior gets out of control.

==> Help for Parents with Strong-Willed, Out-of-Control Teens

How to Mediate Sibling Rivalry

The nice thing about having more than one youngster is that two or more can entertain each other. The bad thing is they tend to fight amongst themselves.

The guidelines in this post will help you step back and remove yourself from some of their conflict. Taking a neutral role may force them to learn how manage differences and get along.

If you find yourself spending a lot of time interceding in your kid's arguments, then the following tips might save you a few headaches:

1. Teach older kids to respect other views. Help them learn to be good listeners and be sure they understand what the other person wants to say before expressing their own opinions. Emphasize the value of compromise or a win-win approach so that everyone comes away from a dispute feeling respected if not gratified. Model a similar technique in your own conflicts at home or in public so that kids can learn from your example.

2. Mediate stalemates. When you discern that the children are having trouble resolving disagreements, you may want to become a moderator, which is somewhat different from refereeing. A moderator allows all parties to take turns voicing concerns, and then asks questions or makes statements to help the group accept and consider the others' views. Occasionally the process is time-consuming, depending on the age of the children, but it is more likely to be over in a matter of minutes as the children grow tired of negotiations and look for something more fun to do. Even a little bit of round robin communication can introduce them to fair-minded conflict resolution, a skill of vital importance to adults.

3. Keep your ears open. Even when you decide not to get involved, listen from a distance to find out how they are dealing with tensions. If one threatens or bullies the other, you may need to step in after all. But if they decide to forget it or negotiate to find common ground, even when you don't completely agree with the outcome, stay out of it. Children will learn from failed consequences as much as they do from effective ones.

4. Divert young kids. Preschoolers who frequently tussle may not be able to discuss much of anything with each other or you, especially when tired or ill. But they can be separated from each other. Sometimes redirecting them to another activity, like a video, can solve the problem instantly.

5. Distinguish between the merely annoying and the truly alarming conflicts. Most children bicker frequently, and moms/dads generally know when it's serious or not. When you hear screeching voices and crashing items, you know it's time to get involved. Otherwise, you may want to bite your tongue and let your kids begin to learn how to manage their own disputes. While you have to oversee most young kid’s fights, you gradually can maintain some distance and perspective as kids grow older.

Argument is an essential part of communication, for it allows us to explore other viewpoints and reconsider our own. As your kids mature, give them increasing responsibility for managing differences with others while you, as mother/father, continue to maintain a watchful eye on the proceedings.

My Out-of-Control Child: Help for Parents with Oppositional Children

Parenting a Child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder [ODD]

One of the most important things a parent of an ODD child can do is to (a) admit that outside assistance is needed (e.g., from a counselor, pastor, relative, etc.) and (b) seek and obtain such assistance.

Click ==> Podcast Excerpt: Parenting an ODD Child

How to Say "No" to Children and Teens

Saying “no” to your child isn't easy. “Everybody else is doing it, why can’t I?” they cry. How can you have the boundary for “no means no” without being the “bad guy”?

When saying "no" to your kids, remember that an explanation is definitely required, and your answer ought to be in line with your other behaviors. Whenever your adolescent asks why she can’t go to the party, tell her the truth. “I know when I was your age, I went to an event where there was lots of alcohol drinking, and I told my mom there was no alcohol there.” Experience demonstrates to your children that you DO understand, as long as you inform them about the consequences. “I came home drunk and threw up all night, and it really wasn’t worth it.” For younger children, make certain your explanation is within the realm of their comprehension - they usually don’t possess reasoning skills yet, so an answer of “because you might get hurt” will do until they are old enough to understand.

For older children, always pay attention to their side of the disagreement. “Listening” means:
  • keeping quiet while your youngster states what he needs to state
  • maintaining eye-to-eye contact
  • providing positive facial expressions
  • sitting close

Acknowledge why you are saying “no” and what he might be able to do to get a “yes” from you the next time, or at what age you feel their request is appropriate, and why. You might be amazed at your kid's understanding and maturation. Treating him with respect teaches him respect.

To ensure you aren't viewed as simply the “bad guy,” make certain your relationship is open and make yourself available. Few parents today invest actual time with their kids, and this lack of quality time can be the source of teenage anxiety and rebellion! Motivate your kids by spending quantity and quality time with them. Motivate them not to take themselves so seriously. Lighten up. Have family fun, chuckle, tease, and act silly. When you are both their mentor and their mother or father, you are able to set healthy limits with your kids, and as a result, they’ll feel that your relationship is based on trust and honesty, not “yes” and “no’s”.

Whenever a youngster is disciplined successfully, it gives her a real sense of security in the world that you might not realize as you cope with the guilt of having to put a sad face on your sweet little girl. Kids who are not allowed to "run the show" possess a sense of knowing they're cared for and that absolutely nothing bad is going to be permitted to happen to them, despite the fact that they might still do bad things every once in awhile.

Kids with inadequate discipline are often scared by the sense of control they have over the world. Though it may seem hard to believe, kids don't want to be the ones in control …the world is a frightening place to them, and they need their mothers and fathers to guide them and be their inner strength and security.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

My parental rights were terminated. Can this decision be turned around?

In most U.S. States, there isn't any provision for revoking or reversing the termination of parental rights other than under specific situations such as fraud, duress, coercion, etc. Because termination is really a legal concern decided by the court, you might want to talk to and/or retain the services of a competent lawyer who's educated in family law matters where you live to examine the legal court action taken to end your parental rights. If you want help in finding and/or paying for a lawyer, the American Bar Association supplies a lawyer referral service at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lris/directory/home.html and the Consumers' Guide to Legal Help at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm provides pro bono attorney referrals and more.

Should you believe that your rights may have been violated in the termination of parental rights case against you, you may want to inquire if the agency has an appeals process or an ombudsman. Numerous agencies have ombudsmen to assist clients resolve differences with the agency. The names of these offices vary and may include “Ombudsperson,” “Ombudsman,” “Ombuds Specialist,” or the Child Welfare Complaints Office. If the agency doesn't have an appeals process or an ombudsman, you might choose to contact your State Adoption Program Manager/Specialist. If you'd like to take your issues to this level, you'll find contact info for all of the States’ Adoption Program Managers/Specialists in the related organizations listing at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?rs_id=14&rate_chno=AZ-0007E. It is best to contact the agency Adoption Program Manager/Specialist only after other ways have been tried to resolve the problem at the local agency level.

The Federal government doesn't have the legal right to get involved in individual child welfare issues. State and local agencies and courts make the judgments regarding issues such as child custody, child removal from the home, child placement in foster care, and the termination of parental rights in each State according to State law.

Should you believe that your rights may have been violated in the termination of parental rights case against you, here are a few specific instructions that may help you get your rights back:

1. Get in touch with your local referral service in your area to help you to get a lawyer. This referral service will be able to suggest lawyers who would be ideal for your circumstance.

2. Examine the attorney’s previous cases, and speak with others about his/her trustworthiness within the field. Be sure you have a discussion with the lawyer about your circumstances.

3. Employ the lawyer whom you believe would best fully handle your case as well as your interest in the court system. Be sure you understand what his/her costs will be, and also have him/her clarify other costs related to his/her representation.

4. Provide the lawyer all the details you can about your reasons for wanting to get your parental rights reinstated. Make certain you aren't holding back any essential info or evidence that may help support your cause.

5. Fill out all the required paperwork. Do as instructed on the paperwork, and make sure you get the info completed by the given deadline.

6. Have the lawyer sit down with you prior to the court date, and have him/her let you know exactly what you have to say and do once you are in front of the judge.

7. Appear at court early enough to be able to register. Reasonably, you need to arrive about a half-hour to an hour early.

8. Adhere to courtroom protocol. Allow the lawyer to navigate through the proceedings. Talk only if the judge addresses you, and do so based on the standards that the lawyer should have told you.

9. Wait for the judge's ruling. Occasionally judges will not come to a decision based on one hearing. Don't display frustration or aggravation if the ruling is against your wants. Have your attorney debrief you following the proceedings, and if there's another court date, be sure you have your lawyer show you what's going to occur next.

For more info on parental rights issues, click here... 

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights with Legal Forms

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights (relinquishment): Releases a father or mother from all parental responsibilities, including child support. Full instructions & Forms are included.

Tips for Single Mothers Raising Sons

In this post, we will look at some important tips for single moms raising boys:

1. Accept your child's differences.

2. As your son matures, investigate local boys groups or clubs that he could join such as Cub Scouts. Don't be intimidated by such sponsored events as father-child boat races or picnics. Let the troop leader know that with the number of single parent families, you would be comfortable if the den would acknowledge parent-child events. But the biggest benefit of scouting that should be experienced by all males is that initiation ritual that welcomes them into the pack.

3. Be a little creative in helping your son learn guy stuff. For instance, many single moms report concern over their child's using the potty while sitting, or playing with their makeup. Chances are your son won't spend the rest of his life peeing sitting down while wearing mascara. Homosexuality doesn't exist because you didn't monitor the morning makeup sessions! But if you want to get a head start on defining the differences between secondary sex characteristics between males and females, try this: Set out a little basket just for your son. Fill it with a mock razor, gentle shaving cream, watered-down cologne, his toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb. Let your son know this is what most men do every morning to their faces.

4. Enjoy your time with your child by not worrying about whether he is missing out on anything by not having "dad" around. At the same time, try not to avoid "daddy stuff" totally. Even though many kid's books feature animal families raised only by mom, its okay to read stories about all kinds of families to your son. Place a high value on man-woman relationships in order to give your son a realistic perspective.

5. If your little guy is really active, get a chinning bar for his room for rainy days. Exercise is critical for all kids, but in cases where males can't seem to center themselves as comfortably as females, they might need other means of releasing excessive energy. Check out your local store for an expandable closet bar, the kind that has suction cups on the ends. Install between the door jambs of his room, and when he gets rowdy, have your son "do ten." Make sure you tighten the bar so it safely stays in place and show your child the correct way to grip so he doesn't loosen it from the doorway. Start low, but raise the bar as your child grows.

6. Never make your son the “man of the house.” True, you do want to teach your son to grow to be man, but there is a distinction between being the "little man" and being responsible for things that adults are supposed to do. Your son is not your confidant, your knight in shining armor or your rescuer. Especially important for the newly widowed or divorced, correct people if they suggest that now your child "is the man around the house," or that he should "take care of Mommy."

7. Point out the positive qualities in males you see on a day to day basis. This means that even if you're buying your child baseball shoes and the salesman is especially attentive or friendly, point this trait out by mentioning what a helpful person he is, or "Isn't this guy very nice?"

8. Role models are important and will be found in every aspect of your child's life. Boys need men, but not necessarily dads. Just because a dad lives at home does not mean a child is being "fathered."

9. Teach your son your values, but let him express them uniquely. He's a male and will respond to emotional situations somewhat differently than you might.

10. Try not to have negative attitudes toward males, even if you became a single mom out of the most excruciating circumstances.

11. When you look at your son and see his dad's face, it's okay to get a little emotional. After all, if your ex-husband gave you anything of value, you're looking at it. Let your child know how important he is to you.

My Out-of-Control Child: Help for Parents with Oppositional Children

Best Parenting Tips for Raising Daughters

Here are some parenting strategies to help fathers and mothers raise daughters who will be successful in all aspects of their life:

Moms and dads strive to raise daughters who will be independent, confident, and self-reliant. In a society where it can be more difficult to achieve success as a woman than a man, parents often feel the need to start their girls on the right path at a very young age.

1. Allow your child to be her own person.

2. Allow your child to see fully who you are.

3. Always know where your child is, who she is with, and what she is doing. Know her friends and the moms and dads of those friends. Have regular check-in times.

4. As a parent, try to be a coach – not a judge. Coaches encourage, have high expectations, praise, criticize, and set limits, but kids accept coaching because they believe coaches are in an alliance with them and on the same team. Judging parents direct their efforts at finding misdoings and punishing appropriately. Moms and dads who are continuously judgmental alienate their kids because kids feel like they are against them.

5. Attend your child's school events and recreational activities. It will make your teen feel loved, help her maintain good grades and increase her enjoyment of school.

6. Be a Good Example. Whether we like it or not, kids learn from what we do, not from what we say. Dads should treat all women with respect and equality and moms should demand the same from men. It is also important for moms to show their daughters that they are proud to be a woman and embrace imperfections (that means no derogatory comments when you look in the mirror). Being in a healthy, loving relationship yourself will help your child to expect the same when it's her turn to select a partner.

7. Be an active role model for learning and developing your own career. However, regardless of how busy you are, preserve time to talk with and listen to your children daily.

8. Be determined for both of you to think outside the box.

9. Be opened-minded about your child's career path, whether it is traditional or nontraditional.

10. Bring them down a bit. While there are certainly many times when going with the flow will, in the long run, do more good than harm, I think it’s also important to keep them grounded in reality. Obvious ways to do this are through chores, rules, enforcing manners and holding her accountable for her actions. You can also do this through fun methods that can show her that her Old Man is still a force to be reckoned with. Activities like beating her at a video game; teaching her something new that will blow her mind like Chess; and, playing sports with her are all good examples. If they’re always handed a win or get their way all the time, they’ll never learn how to deal with the unexpected.

11. Consider traveling with your children—the whole family, mother-child, or father-child excursions. By high school, encourage independent trips with school groups. Travel provides a spirit of adventure, enrichment, family bonding, and self-confidence.

12. Demand equality for your child. Certainly, the United States has come a long way in terms of women’s rights, but there is still much work to be done. Demonstrate to your child your belief that females should be treated the same as males by showing her. Work to end violence against women and media sexualization of females by making your opinion known. Talk with your child about how you feel about abuse toward females and the unfair images the media uses to make females feel insecure about their bodies. Your child may or may not act like she’s listening – but be assured, she is!

13. Do not show up at Parents’ Night in slippers.

14. Don’t assume that just because you’re both female you and your child will be twinsies. Early on, I made the mistake of assuming that – just because she was a girl – my child would be a mini-me. I thought we’d share similar interests, personalities, and coping strategies. Boy, was I wrong!

15. Don't let birth order get in the way of giving each of your children leadership opportunities, responsibilities, and some of your time alone.

16. Don't pressure your children to fit in socially. Many females feel different during adolescence. Help them to feel comfortable with their differences and redirect their energies toward positive activities like music, drama, debate, science, sports, or religious activities.

17. Emphasize intelligence, hard work, independence, sensitivity, and perseverance in your children. De-emphasize the importance of appearance. Relationships that are appearance-based fade as may pretty appearances. Relationships based on shared interests and values have much more potential for depth.

18. Encourage competitive activities.

19. Encourage her to seek leadership opportunities.

20. Encourage Independence. Although it can be hard for moms and dads to let their little females go, it will inevitably happen. Prepare your child to be able to handle whatever life throws at her so that you won't have to worry about her 24/7 (although you probably will anyway).

21. Encourage Interests. The only way for kids to learn what they are passionate about in life is to try different things. Encourage your child to participate in different activities and let her decide what it is that she likes. Don't limit her to traditional "girly" toys and activities. If she wants to try skateboarding or football, let her go for it.

22. Encourage your child to be realistic about her strengths and weaknesses.

23. Encourage your child to develop an identity based on her talents and interests; downplay appearance and weight, and tell her a beautiful body is a healthy and strong one.

24. Encourage your child to develop dreams, focusing primarily on those that are obtainable.

25. Encourage your child to select a mate who will respect her choices.

26. Encourage your child to speak up for herself and not let her back off from difficulties.

27. Encourage your daughters to be involved in all-girl activities like Girl Scouts, and consider all-girl classes or schools if males cause them to lose confidence or distract from their learning.

28. Encourage your children to read stories about successful women. The successful women in the study found such stories inspiring. Help females to be comfortable with math from preschool on including counting, measuring, and scoring. Teach spatial skills through puzzles, games, and building activities.

29. Enjoy her for the person she is. Just so you don’t think all my interactions with my child are combative (they aren’t – not by a long shot), today’s final tip is just to enjoy your little girl for who she is. Let go of your preconceptions. Pull away the veil of assumptions. See your child for the unique and amazing individual that she is. Revel in her differences and cherish her independent spirit. Though you may be raising her, she will teach you a great deal along the way – about being a mother and about being a girl.

30. Fake it till you make it. As dads, we usually don’t “get” what the big deal is with things like pony tails, accessories or that one “pretty” outfit.

31. Find ways to connect while she’s still young. “They grow up so fast.” As a mom, you hear those words constantly, but until you’ve experienced 0-to-sixteen for yourself, you don’t get it. I’m still riding the rollercoaster up the hill, but I’ve already watched so much come and go in her personality. I try to find things we can do together – ways to build connections and memories that will, hopefully, provide a solid foundation for our future relationship. I can’t see over the top of the track to the plunge that lies ahead, but I figure the closer we are now, the easier that ride will be.

32. Get involved in your child’s activities whatever they may be. Whether it’s carpooling, volunteering at your child’s school, or coaching – females need their father’s to “lead the way” by role modeling and showing an interest in their lives. Dads who are actively involved in their child’s lives enjoy sharing unique experiences with them and demonstrate that they care about what their child says and does.

33. Get your child familiar with the three important words – honest, honesty and honestly.

34. Help her feel pretty. Even if she can do things on her own, sitting down with her and helping her brush her hair, paint her nails and helping her pick out better matching outfits will not only help her feel good about herself, but it will also show her that it really is okay for men to do those things with/for them.

35. Help her to bounce back after the unexpected.

36. Help her to develop traits that are considered primarily masculine traits—assertiveness and proficiency in math and science—that will help her in life.

37. Help your child to discover the things she likes to do, wants to try to do, and doesn't like to do.

38. Help your child to remain strong and happy through the period of adolescence by holding onto a strong self-image.

39. Help your child to see the value in creativity, challenges, and contributions.

40. Hold your ground. Once you choose to take a stand on something, never give in. I repeat – Never. Give. In. Sometimes, raising a child is like playing a game of chicken. If you flinch, if you even blink, she’s going to see your weakness and go in for the proverbial kill.

41. Introduce many and varied activities into your child's life and help her learn to balance them.

42. Let her feel pretty. I’ll be the first one in line to put my foot down about not wanting my little girl dolled up like a streetwalker, but sometimes, when you stop to think about it, does it really matter if she wants to get decked out once in a while?

43. Let your child be free to make her own solid choices.

44. LISTEN to your child. Many females are verbal by choice and emotional by nature. The beauty of having a child is understanding that she will most likely communicate her dreams, fears, feelings, beliefs, and hopes. That means that dads should pay attention to not only the words that come out of her mouth but also her emotional state. Focus on what your child says to you and, more importantly, what she doesn’t say. Females are notorious for giving cues when they are in trouble, hurting, or hiding something. Watch her body language, behavior, and eye contact. Dads, whether they realize it or not, have a profound influence on how their child views herself. As females get older, body image and self-esteem struggles are weighty on her mind. When dads take the time to genuinely value their child for who she is, it gives her confidence to face the world and the knowledge that a man she loves accepts her inner and outer beauty.

45. Make education a high priority and stress the need for her to stay academically challenged.

46. Make special time each week to talk and enjoy each other's company.

47. Make sure you give your child as much direction and time as are given to sons.

48. Make sure your child stays productive, not idle and wasteful of time.

49. Never criticize “the boyfriend”.

50. Never diminish a broken heart.

51. Participate in sports with her. Dads and daughters can often find “common ground” by participating in sports together. Play a game of softball with your child or, better yet, volunteer to coach her soccer team. Females who have dads who are actively involved in their sports are more likely to stick with it and less likely to act-out sexually (per research that females who participate in sports are less likely to be sexually active than females who do not). In addition, physically active females are less likely to drop out of school, get pregnant, or tolerate abuse. Females, like males, are often more likely to open up to their dads when playing a game of catch. You’ll be amazed at the things she’s willing to share with you!

52. Pick your battles wisely. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but perhaps they’ve never encountered a girl who didn’t get her way. The trick to surviving what can often feel like a never-ending series of parries and thrusts is to learn when to engage and when to walk away. Think carefully, for example, about whether you really want to invest your time in a battle over whether she can wear her princess Halloween costume to summer camp … for the third day in a row. It may be an affront to your personal fashion sense, but if it’s not doing her irreparable harm, you may want to save your energies for another day.

53. Practice your anger-management techniques. You’re going to need them. All kids like to push buttons, but little females are especially adept at pushing their moms’ buttons. You may find that the Lamaze breathing techniques you learned for childbirth come in handy more often after your child is born. You see, what people really mean when they say that females mature more quickly than males is that females are first to get a handle on emotional warfare. While males are still expressing their feelings physically and directly, females are experimenting with guilt, jealousy, passive-aggression, and the fine arts of selective hearing and misinterpretation.

54. Praise your child as often as possible. Show love, warmth and interest in your teen, but set clear “no-drug” rules, limit time spent watching TV and using the Internet.

55. Promote healthy activities, such as exercising or doing community service. Teenagers enjoy giving to others, but they need your support.

56. Promote Self-Worth. Show your child that she is special and unique. Applaud good grades and success in sports and activities and don't focus on failures. Remember that all kids are different and your child's interests and accomplishments may be completely unlike what you had envisioned when she was a baby.

57. Provide a healthy example.

58. Provide Good Role Models. It's important for females to have other women to look up to. Help her to find strong, successful women whom she admires (in addition to her mom, of course).

59. Provide meaningful roles for your child in the family. Treat your child as a unique individual, distinct from siblings or stereotypes.

60. Really listen to what your child is saying. Make the time to ask your child about her school, friends and activities and interests.

61. Reinforce how wonderful and worthy your child is of her own life.

62. Resist the urge to say, “I told you so.” They may taste momentarily delicious coming off your tongue, but those four little words can sever the lines of communication between mother and child faster than you can trip over the pile of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor. I don’t have a perfect record in this department (sometimes, the opportunity is just too good to resist), but I’m working on it.

63. Respect your child’s uniqueness and teach her to love her body. From a young age the media and society bombard females with images that make them feel insignificant and often insecure about their bodies. As females get older they are flooded with messages that “thin is in” and beauty is what you see on the outside that counts. Dads, even more so than moms, have the ability to combat these unhealthy and unrealistic images in the media. Research has shown that females listen to their dads more than moms when it comes to body image issues so make sure you pay attention to teach her to praise her body for what it can do, not how it looks.

64. Set as high expectations for your daughters as for your sons. Expect post-high school education whether or not you attended college. The American Dream is real for women too.

65. Set Educational Expectations. Make it clear from a young age that you expect your child to attend college. Make learning a priority and try to make education something fun rather than boring. At the same time, be prepared to accept that your child's career choice may not be traditional. That is okay, as long as she's motivated.

66. Set high educational expectations.

67. Set positive examples on how to cope with stress, such as setting realistic goals, learning to prioritize, getting enough sleep and engaging in physical activity.

68. Show your child that you are proud to be a woman.

69. Spend Quality Time. Make sure that each parent spends solo time with your child. This gives you a chance to bond and gives her the opportunity to talk about anything that she wants to talk about without worry of her little brother or sister butting into the conversation. It can also help you get to know her better and recognize the things that make her unique.

70. Stress the unimportance of popularity and the value of independence from peers.

71. Talk to your child about tough issues, such as the dangers of drug and alcohol use.

72. Teach healthy competition. Encourage the exhilaration of winning, but don't always let females win. Winning builds confidence; losing builds character.

73. Teach your child it's possible to be smart without being the smartest.

74. Teach your child money management. Help your child learn to manage her money when she gets a job and open a checking account before it’s time to leave for college. Finance is another area where dads can really have a big impact on their children. Teaching your child to be “smart and savvy” with her money is a lesson that will serve her well throughout her life. Raising a youngster is never “easy” but it is a unique and wonderful journey that father’s get to take with their children.

75. Teach your child skills to handle negative peer pressure, such as how to say no.

76. Teach your child to familiarize herself with women who are active, productive contributors.

77. Teach your child to find the value in qualities that separate her from others or make her different.

78. Teach your daughters that sports are a good thing.

79. Try to focus on her strengths, intelligence, and problem-solving ability; don't dwell on her inadequacies.

80. When in doubt, ask her mother. Not only will she have your child’s best interests in mind, but she’ll hopefully be able to give you honest, straight-forward answers.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Is your teenager using codes to text or chat about drugs or sex?

A few questions for you mom: Would you rather be the recipient of 459 or 182? Would you be concerned if your child texted someone LMIRL? Are you a MOS? The questions may seem like a foreign language because NALOPKT.

Texting has become so common among teenagers, it's almost rare to see one not typing out a text-message on a cell phone, but moms and dads may have more reason for concern than just the cell phone bill. Those texts could contain coded drug messages.

As a mother or father, it's hard to keep up with lingo. If you find a text on your teen's cell that says, "I want a burrito"...normally, that wouldn't be cause for alarm. But what if we told you that is text code for ecstasy? And a message that says, "Has anyone seen Tina" …that's code for meth. "I’m fixin a BLT" …that means rolling a blunt. "I want a quart of Ben and Jerry's" actually refers to the drug Ice.

Sounds strange – I know.

Police first started noticing coded messages among drug dealers and college students as far back as 2006. Law enforcement has to keep up with the changes in technology to stay on top of it – and the parents do also. There are a number of online resources for parents to learn the slang being used, but it's important to remember that there's no one dictionary. What the teens use in Indiana is not going to be the same as the ones they use in New York.

The most important thing is to look for something that doesn't fit – especially if it goes along with other signs like changes in appearance, behavior, academic progress or friends.

If you find text using a code that references drugs, be honest with your teenager and say, “I found this …I’m worried …what does this mean.” Talk to them, and if you don't get a good answer that makes a lot of sense to you or a straight answer, then continue to pursue and find out. Stand up and just say no. If you get that feeling in your stomach and you feel like there's a red flag and they're doing something, cut off the text-messaging. Don't be their friend – be their parent.

Chatting on the Internet--

You finally get a glimpse at your teen’s Facebook page, but you don’t understand what you are reading. Don’t feel alone, there’s a new language evolving, and moms and dads need to learn it. This new language makes it easier for children and teens to text, e-mail, talk in chat rooms, blog or to post things on-line that only those privy to the language can understand.

Parent alert codes:

• @@@ or PAL = Parent alert
• 9 = Parent watching
• 99 = Parent stopped watching
• MA = Mom Alert
• PAW = Parents are watching
• PIR = Parent in room
• PLOS = Parents looking over shoulder
• POS = Parents over shoulder
• PRW = Parents are watching.

There are other codes children and teens use as well, and as parents figure out what the codes mean, they will probably change them.

Often times when children or teens are typing, they use emoticons. These are supposed to represent how the writer is feeling, and they are basically pictures made out of text. Some examples are:

:) = happy
:(:) = pig
:-) = tongue-in-cheek

A great site is noslang.com. Here you can actually translate by typing in the complete acronyms you are trying to figure out. They also have a page of the top 25 Internet slang terms that all moms and dads should know. Some of the acronyms are alarming – and rightfully so. All parents need to be up to speed on this new language our kids are speaking.

Don’t be disheartened if you do find your children or teenagers speaking the language …it’s simply how they communicate these days. And all acronyms are not bad …in fact many of them represent good things. But if you do find your youngster using acronyms that contain explicit meanings, you should step in. How you stop the behavior is up to you, but it does need to be dealt with. Sometimes children are talking to people they don’t know in chat rooms where child predators pose as teenagers or young kids.

Some other common codes are:

• 143 – I love you
• 182 – I hate you
• 420 – Marijuana
• 8 – Oral sex
• ADR – Address
• AEAP - As Early As Possible
• ALAP - As Late As Possible
• ASL – Age, sex and location
• ASL - Age/Sex/Location
• Banana – Penis
• CD9 - Code 9 - it means parents are around
• C-P – Sleepy
• D46 - Do you want to have sex?
• F2F - Face-to-Face
• GNOC - Get Naked On Cam
• GNOC - Get naked on camera
• GYPO - Get Your Pants Off
• HAK - Hugs And Kisses
• ILU - I Love You
• IWSN - I Want Sex Now
• J/O - Jerking Off
• KFY -or- K4Y - Kiss For You
• KOTL - Kiss On The Lips
• KPC - Keeping Parents Clueless
• LG6 - Let's have sex
• LMIRL - Let's meet in real life
• LMIRL - Let's Meet In Real Life
• MOOS - Member Of The Opposite Sex
• MorF - Male or Female
• MOS - Mom Over Shoulder
• MOSS - Member(s) Of The Same Sex
• MPFB - My Personal F*** Buddy
• NALOPKT - Not A Lot Of People Know That
• NIFOC - Nude in front of the computer
• NIFOC - Nude In Front Of The Computer
• NMU - Not Much, You?
• P911 - Parent Alert
• PAL - Parents Are Listening
• PAW - Parents Are Watching
• PIR - Parent In Room
• POS - Parent over shoulder
• POS - Parent Over Shoulder -or- Piece Of Shit
• pron – porn
• Q2C - Quick To Cum
• RU/18 - Are You Over 18?
• RUH - Are You Horny?
• RUMORF - Are You Male OR Female?
• S2R - Send To Receive
• SorG - Straight or Gay
• TDTM - Talk dirty to me
• TDTM - Talk Dirty To Me
• WTF - What The Fuck
• WUF - Where You From
• WYCM - Will You Call Me
• WYRN - What's Your Real Name?
• zerg - To gang up on someone

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

___________________________________________

Best Comment:

Hi Mark,

I continue to enjoy your e-mails and newsletters.

Perhaps you might want to pass along some information to readers about other warning signs that their child is using drugs. I wish I had known more about this myself. Now, I find myself able to help other parents -- I am a school teacher, when they have concerns.

There are simple things to be alert for, although I am uncertain about the use of some of the items:
  • pencils with missing erasers 
  • hollow pens -- the ink park has been taken out 
  • missing aluminum foil 
  • lighters 
  • small amounts of cash seem to be missing from wallet or purse 
  • burnt paper of any kind 
  • packets of zigzag paper 
  • incense burning 
  • pipes 
  • pipes made from aluminum foil 
  • cigarettes 
  • matches -- especially wooden kitchen matches 
  • candles 
  • missing matches and candles 
  • items of value (video games etc.) have been "given to a friend" -- they were usually sold
If parents suspect any sort of drug use, they should search the child's room. Drug using teens tend to be careless.

Many parents, like myself, do not realize how important it is to lock up ALL medicine, even if they think their children are not using anything. My son was stealing some of my medicine to sell. At first I had a strong box, but then he found the spare key. I looked around for small digital safes. There is a key override, but I have the key at a friend's house.

I knew I needed to lock up my medicines, but no one told me how to do so -- that would be very easy and convenient. I keep the small safe on the floor in my bathroom. When I searched the internet, I was able to find something very small and relatively light -- and easy to use.

Marijuana is definitely a gateway drug for many teens. And it is easier to obtain than alcohol. Once they are using marijuana, other drugs like Ecstasy can be next.

If I had this information early on, it would have been useful. The sooner parents know the signs, the more of a chance they have to deal with it. Parents need to be careful about giving cash to their child -- and cut off allowances if they confirm drug use.

Finally, parents who are very concerned can purchase phones with tracking devices. Sprint's family locator works well. The tracking device in the phone cannot be turned off once it is activated. The only way the teen can stop the tracking is to turn the phone off -- which they don't do very often. If a teen is out all night, the parent can at least see where they are. I didn't go pick my son up or confront him at the location -- it just gave me peace of mind to know where he was, and that I could go get him the next day if need be, or how to find him if I got a distress call from him or someone else. It has an alert feature, and I programmed it for every half hour -- like 8:20, 8:33 etc. That way I really didn't have to go in a check it all the time. I could just go in once a day and click on history to see where he had been roaming around to. It was useful.

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Parenting Rebellious Teens

One day you wake up and find that life has changed forever. Instead of greeting you with a hug, your little boy rolls his eyes when you say "good morning" and shouts, "You're ruining my life!" You may think you've stepped into the Twilight Zone, but you've actually been thrust into your son's teen years.

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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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