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?

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

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

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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.

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?

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The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen

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

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