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

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

Dealing with Oppositional Defiant Behavior (ODD)

ODD is a pattern of disobedient, hostile, and defiant behavior toward authority figures. This disorder is more common in males than in females. Some studies have shown that it affects 20% of school-age kids. However, most experts believe this figure is high due to changing definitions of normal childhood behavior, and possible racial, cultural, and gender biases. This behavior typically starts by age 8, but it may start as early as the preschool years. This disorder is thought to be caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors.

Symptoms include:

• Touchy or easily annoyed
• Spiteful or seeks revenge
• Loses temper
• Is in constant trouble in school
• Has few or no friends or has lost friends
• Blames others for own mistakes
• Argues with adults
• Angry and resentful of others
• Actively does not follow adults' requests

To fit this diagnosis, the pattern must last for at least 6 months and must be more than normal childhood misbehavior. The pattern of behaviors must be different from those of other kids around the same age and developmental level. The behavior must lead to significant problems in school or social activities.

Kids with symptoms of this disorder should be evaluated by a psychiatrist or psychologist. In kids and teens, the following conditions can cause similar behavior problems and should be considered as possibilities:

• Substance abuse disorders
• Learning disorders
• Depression
• Bipolar disorder
• Attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• Anxiety disorders

The best treatment for the youngster is to talk with a mental health professional in individual and possibly family therapy. Moms and dads should also learn how to manage the youngster's behavior. Medications may also be helpful, especially if the behaviors occur as part of another condition (e.g., depression, childhood psychosis, ADHD). Some kids respond well to treatment, while others do not. In many cases, kids with ODD grow up to have conduct disorder as teens or adults. In some cases kids may grow up to have antisocial personality disorder.

Call your health care provider if you have concerns about your youngster's development or behavior. Be consistent about rules and consequences at home. Don't make punishments too harsh or inconsistent. Model the right behaviors for your youngster. Abuse and neglect increase the chances that this condition will occur.

My Out-of-Control Child: Parenting Children with Oppositional Defiance

How To Stop Your Teen From Sneaking Out At Night

"Our 14 year old keeps sneaking out in the middle of the night. We've screwed the windows shut, called police. She says she sorry...but she can't be that sorry if she keeps doing it. What is the best way to handle this? We've told her it is a safety issue more than anything else."

You and your husband need to have a series of sit-down discussions with her. What needs to happen is that you end up with an agreement whereby she agrees she will not sneak out and you will allow some dating or other privilege. There are rules that are important to you; there are behaviors and freedoms important to her. You and she have to discuss these until you reach an agreement. You don't want her running away or sneaking out. At the same time, you want to keep a relationship with her. Things should be discussed until you can reach a compromise that as parents you can live with, and as a teenage girl she can live with the final agreement as well. Things may need to be written down. Maybe a written contract will result.

These kinds of situations are difficult -- and delicate. Parents feel they should be able to dictate rules. But teens have a lot of power -- and mobility -- so a compromise is necessary. The goal is to come up with a workable solution that allows everyone to continue living together without hostilities and threats.

In the meantime, here are some concrete tips:

1. Be sure to explain the dangers of what she is doing. If possible the best thing you can do is to have an alarm system on your home and to be sure before you go to bed that all windows and doors are closed and the alarm is set.

2. Hang bells on the door high enough to make it hard to quietly remove them. Also place screws in the screen to prevent the child from leaving through the window.

3. If you have a girl, keep her make-up in your bathroom. Chances are if she is sneaking out she will be going somewhere and will want to look her best. Most teenage girls won't be caught dead around friends without her face on!

4. If you have an alarm, install alarm codes. You can assign codes to different people in your house and it will record when they arm and disarm the alarm. It will also send you a text message or let you check online to see when the person is logging on or off of the alarm. You can use this data to prove that you know the exact times your daughter has been outside of the house at night!

5. Motion sensor lights can be a good way to catch her and potential friends sneaking around the house. The drawback here is that it might catch other night crawlers like possums. Couple the motion sensor lights with an alarm system for a sure-fire way to catch your teenager if she’s climbing out the windows or unlocking doors late at night. If the teenager does try to sneak out, the piercing sound of the security system will quickly alert everyone in the house (and neighborhood!) that the girl is trying to sneak out. Alarm systems protect the whole family and provide the additional safety of making sure your teenager is spending the whole night where she belongs – in bed!

6. Perhaps the most important step in preventing your child from sneaking out is to expect they will. So many parents think their child won't, but chances are they will. Next, leave your bedroom door open at night while you are sleeping.

7. Set an alarm to check on her at odd hours throughout the night. With any luck, you’ll catch her gone & be sitting calmly on her bed when she comes back. The shock of being caught will not only put the bad behavior out on the table, you’ll also be able to immediately tell if she’s high on drugs, alcohol or just seen the boyfriend.

8. Talk with her. Just acknowledging that you know she is sneaking out is a big step towards getting everything out in the open. Tell her why it’s not safe to sneak out and explain what can happen to her late at night. If she’s meeting up with friends or a boyfriend, expand your talk to explain the dangerous of drug use, late-night partying, having sex too young and more. After the talk, punish her. You need to show her that this behavior is not acceptable in your house.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Teens Who Refuse To Get Out Of Bed In The Morning

"What is done in a case where my teenage son (16 years old) will not get out of bed for either school or work without a huge fight everyday?"

Adolescents are notorious for staying up late at night and being hard to awaken in the morning. Your adolescent is probably no exception, but it's not necessarily because he is lazy or contrary. This behavior pattern actually has a physical cause — and there are ways to help mesh your adolescent's sleep schedule with that of the rest of the world.

Everyone has an internal clock that influences body temperature, sleep cycles, appetite and hormonal changes. The biological and psychological processes that follow the cycle of this 24-hour internal clock are called circadian rhythms. Before adolescence, these circadian rhythms direct most kids to naturally fall asleep around 8 or 9 p.m. But puberty changes an adolescent's internal clock, delaying the time he or she starts feeling sleepy — often until 11 p.m. or later. Staying up late to study or socialize can disrupt an adolescent's internal clock even more.

Most adolescents need about nine hours of sleep a night — and sometimes more — to maintain optimal daytime alertness. But few adolescents actually get that much sleep regularly, thanks to part-time jobs, homework, extracurricular activities, social demands and early-morning classes. More than 90 percent of adolescents in a recent study reported sleeping less than the recommended nine hours a night. In the same study, 10 percent of adolescents reported sleeping less than six hours a night.

Irritability aside, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences. Daytime sleepiness makes it difficult to concentrate and learn, or even stay awake in class. Too little sleep may contribute to mood swings and behavioral problems. And sleepy adolescents who get behind the wheel may cause serious — even deadly — accidents.

Catching up on sleep during the weekends seems like a logical solution to adolescent sleep problems, but it doesn't help much. In fact, sleeping in can confuse your adolescent's internal clock even more. A forced early bedtime may backfire, too. If your adolescent goes to bed too early, he may only lie awake for hours.

So what can you do? Don't assume that your adolescent is at the mercy of his internal clock. Take action tonight!
  • Stick to a schedule. Tough as it may be, encourage your adolescent to go to bed and get up at the same time every day — even on weekends. Prioritize extracurricular activities and curb late-night social time as needed. If your adolescent has a job, limit working hours to no more than 16 to 20 hours a week.
  • Nix long naps. If your adolescent is drowsy during the day, a 30-minute nap after school may be refreshing. But too much daytime shut-eye may only make it harder to fall asleep at night.
  • Keep it calm. Encourage your adolescent to wind down at night with a warm shower, a book or other relaxing activities — and avoid vigorous exercise, loud music, video games, text messaging, Web surfing and other stimulating activities shortly before bedtime. Take the TV out of your adolescent's room, or keep it off at night. The same goes for your adolescent's cell phone and computer.
  • Curb the caffeine. A jolt of caffeine may help your adolescent stay awake during class, but the effects are fleeting. And too much caffeine can interfere with a good night's sleep.
  • Adjust the lighting. As bedtime approaches, dim the lights. Turn the lights off during sleep. In the morning, expose your adolescent to bright light. These simple cues can help signal when it's time to sleep and when it's time to wake up.

Sleeping pills and other medications generally aren't recommended for adolescents.

In some cases, excessive daytime sleepiness can be a sign of something more than a problem with your adolescent's internal clock. Other problems can include:
  • Depression: Sleeping too much or too little is a common sign of depression.
  • Insomnia or biological clock disturbance. If your adolescent has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, he or she is likely to struggle with daytime sleepiness.
  • Medication side effects: Many medications — including over-the-counter cold and allergy medications and prescription medications to treat depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — can affect sleep.
  • Narcolepsy: Sudden daytime sleep, usually for only short periods of time, can be a sign of narcolepsy. Narcoleptic episodes can occur at any time — even in the middle of a conversation. Sudden attacks of muscle weakness in response to emotions such as laughter, anger or surprise are possible, too.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: When throat muscles fall slack during sleep, they stop air from moving freely through the nose and windpipe. This can interfere with breathing and disrupt sleep.
  • Restless legs syndrome: This condition causes a "creepy" sensation in the legs and an irresistible urge to move the legs, usually shortly after going to bed. The discomfort and movement can interrupt sleep.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Home Drug-Testing Your Teenager

"What are your thoughts on testing a teen suspected of using drugs through the use of a home drug-testing kit that can be purchased online?"

Home drug-testing kits sold on the Internet may not be the best way to determine if a teen is or is not using drugs, because it is not easy for moms and dads to know which test to choose, how to collect a urine or hair sample for testing, or understand the limits of test results. Parents who are anxious to know whether their kids are using drugs have easy access to kits sold on the Internet, but home drug testing is not consistent with the guidelines of professional medical organizations. The mother or father using these kits may be reassured by a "false negative," or mistakenly accuse their youngster of using drugs because of a "false positive".

I recommend that the parent who suspects that her youngster is using drugs seek a professional assessment rather than conduct a drug test at home. I want to caution you about the limitations and potential risks of home drug-testing products. Testing for drug use at home, with or without the consent of the teen, can also seriously undermine the parent-child relationship.

Moms and dads who are concerned that their youngster is using drugs may not know exactly which drug the youngster is using, and using the wrong test may delay the correct diagnosis of a serious substance abuse disorder. There are several types of tests for alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines and other drugs common among teens.

Laboratory testing for drugs of abuse is a technically challenging procedure, even for medical professionals, and tests performed at home by an untrained  parent may have higher rates of error than professional tests. I have cited one study in which a certified laboratory had false negative tests between 6% and 40%, depending on the drug detected.

False positives are also a problem as in the case of amphetamines, especially if the youngster is using high doses of caffeine or cold medications containing pseudoephedrine or theophylline. Similarly, poppy seeds contained in bagels and other foods may result in a false positive for morphine.

Collecting a urine or hair sample is not an easy task for a parent. The standard protocol for collecting urine samples requires "observation" to avoid adulteration or dilution with water, and teenagers are quite adept at beating the tests. In addition, teens can purchase products from the Internet that "clean" urine by interfering with standard drug tests. But, observing the collection of a urine sample would not be acceptable to most families -- and is not advisable. The Web sites we reviewed did not address these issues, nor did they offer any details about how to collect a hair sample.

Coerced home drug testing by parents may be perceived by teens as invasive and a violation of their rights, potentially damaging the parent-child relationship. Only one of the eight Web sites viewed gave clear advice on testing a youngster against his or her will.

Many of the claims of benefits of home drug testing made by the Web sites are "unsubstantiated." Seven of the eight sites claimed that random drug testing prevented drug use by reducing peer pressure, but I can’t find any studies to substantiate that claim.

Here are five ways that adolescents may try to cheat drug tests. They're all described elsewhere on the Internet, so you should be aware of them:

1. Popping vitamins: Perhaps this works because niacin (aka vitamin B3) is known to aid metabolism, or perhaps it's because Scientologists are said to take it in excess to flush their bodies of toxins. Whatever the reasons, some adolescents got the idea that extreme doses of this vitamin would erase any trace of their illicit drug use. Instead, it almost cost them their lives. In two separate incidents, emergency physician Manoj Mittal of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has found adolescents who downed at least 150 times the daily recommended dose of niacin (15 mg) to cheat drug tests. Both kids were vomiting, had low blood sugar, and had "significant" liver toxicity when they arrived at the ER. And the niacin didn't even do what they'd intended; both tested positive for illicit drugs. People might think that since niacin is a vitamin it's harmless. But these cases suggest that our bodies have limits.

2. Swapping urine samples: Whether they use a friend's clean urine, synthetic pee, or even freeze-dried urine purchased online, some adolescents try to pass off foreign samples as their own. The biggest tip-off is temperature. Anything significantly lower than body temperature is suspicious, which is why some have tried to shuttle samples in armpits or taped to thighs to keep them warm. Possibly the oddest trick of all is a device marketed to those trying to beat witnessed drug collections: a sort of prosthetic penis called the "Whizzinator" that claims to come equipped with clean urine "guaranteed" to remain at body temperature for hours, with the help of special heat pads. Believe it or not, the prosthesis comes in different colors.

3. Switching drugs: Perhaps most alarming is that adolescents bent on defeating drug tests will sometimes switch their drug of choice to an undetectable (or harder to detect) substance that's considerably more hazardous. Inhalants, for example, include numerous types of chemical vapors that typically produce brief, intoxicating effects. You don't excrete inhalants in your urine, but inhaling is acutely more dangerous than marijuana. Indeed, inhalants can trigger the lethal heart problem known as sudden sniffing death in otherwise healthy adolescents, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

4. Tampering: A sprinkle of salt or a splash of bleach, vinegar, detergent, or drain cleaner is all that's needed to muck up a urine specimen. These and other household substances are all too often smuggled into the bathroom and used to alter the composition of urine, making the presence of some illegal substances undetectable. Same goes for chemical concoctions sold all over the Internet. Sometimes these additives or "adulterants" will cloud or discolor urine, easily casting suspicion on the specimen, but others leave the sample looking normal. Laboratory toxicologists employ simple tests to catch these cheats. For example, a few drops of hydrogen peroxide will turn urine brown if it's been mixed with pyridinium chlorochromate, an otherwise-imperceptible chemical designed to foil drug tests.

5. Water-loading: Gulping fluids before providing urine, a long-standing tactic, is still the most common way that adolescents try to beat tests. Whether cheats use salty solutions to induce thirst, flushing agents that increase urine output, or just plain old H2O, their aim is to water down drugs so they can't be detected. Some testing facilities may check urine for dilution and deem overly watery samples "unfit for testing." But consuming too much fluid too quickly can occasionally have dire consequences. 

As I stated earlier, the best way to drug test your adolescent is to have a professional (e.g., doctor) do it.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

How can I get her to get up in the mornings...

Hi Mark,

I continue to have struggles with my 17 year old. She has not gone to school for this past semester as she was supposed to be taking her classes by correspondence. Unless I stood over and watched her do the courses, she wouldn't do them. I wasn't about to do that as she needs to learn to be responsible. So, needless to say, she is now behind 3 classes in order to graduate next year. She is going to register for regular school for September as this other method does not work for her. She is not motivated at all.

My one big problem with her is that she will not get out of bed in the morning. She has a part-time job that she is supposed to be at 3 days a week. She maybe goes to it 2 times a week if lucky because she just won't get out of bed. She calls in sick so she can sleep in. She will end up losing this job soon. I know she will be exactly the same way once school starts again. She refuses to get out of bed. Then when she does, she thinks she can just go out and hang out with her boyfriend in the evening. Even if we say no, she will leave and go anyways. I am so upset and frustrated by all of this as it has me so stressed out all the time. I dread mornings as I know the hassles we will have. I know that there are "natural consequences" of her actions and she has to be the one that has to live them but we are all living them. Plus, I don't want her to be a high school drop-out and still living at home once she turns 18.

How can I get her to get up in the mornings and to understand that she needs to be more responsible and motivated or she will get nowhere in life?

Thanks,

P.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Adolescents are notorious for staying up late at night and being hard to awaken in the morning. Your adolescent is probably no exception, but it's not necessarily because he or she is lazy or contrary. This behavior pattern actually has a physical cause — and there are ways to help mesh your adolescent's sleep schedule with that of the rest of the world.

Everyone has an internal clock that influences body temperature, sleep cycles, appetite and hormonal changes. The biological and psychological processes that follow the cycle of this 24-hour internal clock are called circadian rhythms. Before adolescence, these circadian rhythms direct most children to naturally fall asleep around 8 or 9 p.m. But puberty changes an adolescent's internal clock, delaying the time he or she starts feeling sleepy — often until 11 p.m. or later. Staying up late to study or socialize can disrupt an teen's internal clock even more.

Most adolescents need about nine hours of sleep a night — and sometimes more — to maintain optimal daytime alertness. But few adolescents actually get that much sleep regularly, thanks to part-time jobs, homework, extracurricular activities, social demands and early-morning classes. More than 90 percent of adolescents in a recent study reported sleeping less than the recommended nine hours a night. In the same study, 10 percent of adolescents reported sleeping less than six hours a night.

Big deal? Yes. Irritability aside, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences. Daytime sleepiness makes it difficult to concentrate and learn, or even stay awake in class. Too little sleep may contribute to mood swings and behavioral problems. And sleepy adolescents who get behind the wheel may cause serious — even deadly — accidents.

Catching up on sleep during the weekends seems like a logical solution to adolescent sleep problems, but it doesn't help much. In fact, sleeping in can confuse your adolescent's internal clock even more. A forced early bedtime may backfire, too. If your adolescent goes to bed too early, he or she may only lie awake for hours.

So what can you do? Don't assume that your adolescent is at the mercy of his or her internal clock. Take action tonight!

• Stick to a schedule. Tough as it may be, encourage your adolescent to go to bed and get up at the same time every day — even on weekends. Prioritize extracurricular activities and curb late-night social time as needed. If your adolescent has a job, limit working hours to no more than 16 to 20 hours a week.

• Nix long naps. If your adolescent is drowsy during the day, a 30-minute nap after school may be refreshing. But too much daytime shut-eye may only make it harder to fall asleep at night.

• Keep it calm. Encourage your adolescent to wind down at night with a warm shower, a book or other relaxing activities — and avoid vigorous exercise, loud music, video games, text messaging, Web surfing and other stimulating activities shortly before bedtime. Take the TV out of your adolescent's room, or keep it off at night. The same goes for your adolescent's cell phone and computer.

• Curb the caffeine. A jolt of caffeine may help your adolescent stay awake during class, but the effects are fleeting. And too much caffeine can interfere with a good night's sleep.

• Adjust the lighting. As bedtime approaches, dim the lights. Turn the lights off during sleep. In the morning, expose your adolescent to bright light. These simple cues can help signal when it's time to sleep and when it's time to wake up.

Sleeping pills and other medications generally aren't recommended for adolescents.

Online Parent Support

My child is aggressive. How can I prevent this type of behavior?

The best way to prevent aggressive behavior is to give your youngster a stable, secure home life with firm, loving discipline and full-time supervision during the toddler and preschool years. Everyone who cares for your youngster should be a good role model and agree on the rules he’s expected to observe as well as the response to use if he disobeys. Whenever he breaks an important rule, he should be reprimanded immediately so that he understands exactly what he’s done wrong.

Kids don’t know the rules of the house until they’re taught them, so that is one of your important parenting responsibilities. Toddlers are normally interested in touching and exploring, so if there are valuables you don’t want them to handle, hide or remove them. Consider setting up a separate portion of your home where he can play with books and toys.

For discipline to be most effective, it should take place on an ongoing basis, not just when your youngster misbehaves. In fact, it begins with moms and dads smiling at their smiling baby, and it continues with praise and genuine affection for all positive and appropriate behaviors. Over time, if your youngster feels encouraged and respected, rather than demeaned and embarrassed, he is more likely to listen, learn, and change when necessary. It is always more effective to positively reinforce desired behaviors and to teach kids alternative behaviors rather than just say, “Stop it or else.”

While teaching him other ways to respond, there’s also nothing wrong with distracting him at times, or trying another approach. As long as you’re not “bribing” him to behave differently by offering him sweet snacks, for example, there’s nothing wrong with intentionally changing his focus.

Remember, your youngster has little natural self-control. He needs you to teach him not to kick, hit, or bite when he is angry, but instead to express his feelings through words. It’s important for him to learn the difference between real and imagined insults and between appropriately standing up for his rights and attacking out of anger. The best way to teach these lessons is to supervise your youngster carefully when he’s involved in disputes with his playmates. As long as a disagreement is minor, you can keep your distance and let the kids solve it on their own. However, you must intervene when kids get into a physical fight that continues even after they’re told to stop, or when one youngster seems to be in an uncontrollable rage and is assaulting or biting the other. Pull the kids apart and keep them separate until they have calmed down. If the fight is extremely violent, you may have to end the play session. Make it clear that it doesn’t matter who “started it.” There is no excuse for trying to hurt each other.

To avoid or minimize “high-risk” situations, teach your youngster ways to deal with his anger without resorting to aggressive behavior. Teach him to say “no” in a firm tone of voice, to turn his back, or to find compromises instead of fighting with his body. Through example, teach him that settling differences with words is more effective—and more civilized—than with physical violence. Praise him on his appropriate behavior and help explain to him how “grown-up” he is acting whenever he uses these tactics instead of hitting, kicking, or biting. And always reinforce and praise his behavior when he is demonstrating kindness and gentleness.

There’s also nothing wrong with using a time-out when his behavior is inappropriate, and it can be used in kids as young as one year old. These time-outs should be a last resort, however. Have him sit in a chair or go to a “boring” place where there are no distractions; in essence, you’re separating him from his misbehavior, and giving him time to cool off. Briefly explain to your youngster what you’re doing and why—but no long lectures. Initially, when kids are young, time-out is over as soon as they have calmed down and are “quiet and still.” Ending time-out once they are quiet and still reinforces this behavior, so your youngster learns that time out means “quiet and still.” Once they have learned to calm themselves (to be quiet and still), a good rule of thumb is one minute of a timeout for each year in your youngster’s age—thus, a three-year-old should have a three-minute time-out. When the time-out is over, there needs to be a time-in, while giving him plenty of positive attention when doing the right thing.

Always watch your own behavior around your youngster. One of the best ways to teach him appropriate behavior is to control your own temper. If you express your anger in quiet, peaceful ways, he probably will follow your example. If you must discipline him, do not feel guilty about it and certainly don’t apologize. If he senses your mixed feelings, he may convince himself that he was in the right all along and you are the “bad” one. Although disciplining your youngster is never pleasant, it is a necessary part of parenthood, and there is no reason to feel guilty about it. Your youngster needs to understand when he is in the wrong so that he will take responsibility for his actions and be willing to accept the consequences.

When to seek medical help—

If your youngster seems to be unusually aggressive for longer than a few weeks, and you cannot cope with his behavior on your own, consult your doctor. Other warning signs include:

• Attacks on you or other adults
• Being sent home or barred from play by neighbors or school
• Physical injury to himself or others (teeth marks, bruises, head injuries)
• Your own fear for the safety of those around him

The most important warning sign is the frequency of outbursts. Sometimes kids with conduct disorders will go for several days or a week or two without incident, and may even act quite charming during this time, but few can go an entire month without getting into trouble at least once.

Your doctor can suggest ways to discipline your youngster and will help you determine if he has a true conduct disorder. If this is the problem, you probably will not be able to resolve it on your own, and your doctor will advise appropriate mental health intervention.

The doctor or other mental health specialist will interview both you and your youngster and may observe your youngster in different situations (home, preschool, with adults and other kids). A behavior-management program will be outlined. Not all methods work on all kids, so there will be a certain amount of trial and reassessment.

Once several effective ways are found to reward good behavior and discourage bad, they can be used in establishing an approach that works both at home and away. The progress may be slow, but such programs usually are successful if started when the disorder is just beginning to develop.

My Out-of-Control Child

There is no way of taking away this privilege without a physical conflict...

Hi Mark,

We are into week 2 of what is supposed to have been a 3 day grounding with my 16 year old. He is still skipping school regularly and although he is generally pleasant enough when he is home, he is non-compliant with his grounding. We have taken away his cell phone, i-pod, computer time and tv. He just simply goes out whenever he wants and stays out as late as he wants to. The only thing that he currently does as a privilege is when he gets home he takes food to his room to eat. He is 6'3" and there is no way of taking away this privilege without a physical conflict, so we don't know what else to do except to try and wait out his defiance until he complies with grounding. If you have a specific suggestion in this regard it would be appreciated. It seems to us that the point of your program is to decrease the intensity of the interactions with him, so again, we are searching for ways to reduce this privilege without a physical interaction.

Also, on June 22 he is going to his Dad's for 1 month. If he hasn't complied with his grounding with us before that date, does he go away for a month without his phone and i-pod? If so, when he gets back do we try and start the 3 day grounding again or wait until he makes a mistake?

We certainly appreciate that you are a very busy man, however, we really need some expert personal input from you, beyond what we have seen in the e-book and reference material. We take parenting extremely seriously and have searched again, and again through the material but cannot find answers to our particular questions.

Thank you.

T. & D.

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Hi T.,

The program’s main goal is to “foster the development of self-reliance” in your child – not to avoid conflict. Conflict is inevitable. Please continue with sessions #3 and #4.

There is no refusing grounding without serious consequences. If your son leaves, call the police and let them know that you have a runaway. Meanwhile remove every single form of entertainment in his room. Tell him that since he left, he is now on lockdown for twice as long as before. Take his phone, and call all of his friend’s parents and let them know that he is grounded, so if he shows up at their house, they should call you immediately.

It sounds like you are afraid of your son. Let him know that if he engages in violence towards you, you WILL call the police and file battery charges.

This is no joke! And these strategies will separate the girls from the women.

I know this is a very tough assignment for you! Can you handle these “tough love” measures? If not, I (unfortunately) may not be able to help you.

Children will still be in charge of the household if parents continue with a passive style of parenting based on fear of the child. Where does that leave the child? It sets him up for failure, because quite honestly, the world will kick his ass if he acts this way later in life. In the real world, you cannot do whatever you want to – and then threaten people when you don’t get your way. Is this the message you want to send your son? I doubt it.

No half measures,

Mark

My Out-of-Control Teen

Articles

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.

During adolescence, teens start to break away from parents and become "their own person." Some talk back, ignore rules and slack off at school. Others may sneak out or break curfew. Still others experiment with alcohol, tobacco or drugs. So how can you tell the difference between normal teen rebellion versus dangerous behavior? And what's the best way for a parent to respond?

Click here for full article...

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Many families of defiant children live in a home that has become a battleground. In the beginning, the daily struggles can be expected. After all, we knew that problems would occur. Initially, stress can be so subtle that we lose sight of a war, which others do not realize is occurring. We honestly believe that we can work through the problems.

Outbursts, rages, and strife become a way of life (an emotionally unhealthy way of life). We set aside our own needs and focus on the needs of our children. But what does it cost us?

Click here for the full article...

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.

Click here for the full article...

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