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

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File Charges Against Your Own Daughter?!

Hi,

I am just getting started with your program. Thanks for all the work you have put into it. I plan to put my work into it!

Five days ago I found several receipts where my 17 yo daughter (will be 18 in 3 mos.) has used my debit card to take money from our bank account. I also found a check where she forged my husband’s name. She admitted to it. We told her we were either going to send her away to get help for this and all the other problems she is involved in OR that we were going to file charges against her.

She emailed us after the confrontation (where we both remained poker faced). She begged not to be sent away, acknowledged that she needed to changed, and took verbal responsibility for her actions and apologized for blaming us for her behavior. Yeah, very heartwarming, but as you say, and as I already know: THEY LIE.

Now my husband has changed his mind and does not want to follow thru with filing charges. He does not want to get involved in the "system". My heart does not want to put her thru the ordeal of filing charges etc., but my intellect says she must face the consequences and that it is better to face them now as a juvenile rather than LATER as an adult.

SO.......is getting involved with the "system" the best consequence or should we do a 3 day grounding and have her work at home to pay us back for the money she spent (~$100)....or both?......or something else? (By the way....last night she took my husband’s cell phone---she currently has no cell phone privileges---and she ran up 50 text messages...and of course WE pay for that service so that is AGAIN what I consider stealing)

Thanks you in advance for your advice and direction.

S.

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

Hi S.,

Unfortunately, deciding to not file charges is just another form of over-indulgence. You want to set up a system where you model for your child how the “real world” operates -- and in the “real world,” when you steal and get caught – there are legal ramifications (in this case, it would be a felony if she were an adult). I would follow through and file charges. Short-term mild pain now will be much better than long-term major pain later. If she were truly sorry, she wouldn’t have taken your husband’s cell phone after getting busted the first time.

I'm sure she's sorry, though (sorry she got caught).

Mark

My Out-of-Control Daughter

Interview with Mark Hutten, M.A. [Parents Magazine]

Interview with Mark Hutten, M.A. [Excerpts from Parents Magazine: American’s leading family magazine for parents offering proven tips, sure-fire techniques and straightforward advice from America’s foremost childcare experts]: 

Question 1: 

In what way do parenting and parent-child relationships differ from late childhood (age 10-11 years) through mid-adolescence (15 years)?

Although moms are less involved in kid's school activity as they grow older, kids feel their parents continue to provide school support in other ways. Moms & dads of older kids do not report different parenting practices than parents of younger kids. Nonetheless, as they grow older, kids feel the quality of their relationship with parents declines. Older kids report that their moms & dads understand them less and that they argue with parents significantly more. Older kids feel their moms & dads are less warm and more rejecting, and feel less at ease confiding in their moms and their dads than younger kids. 

Question 2: 

How do child adjustment and social relationships change over this period?

Age changes in social relationships were consistent across the two samples. Smoking, alcohol use and affiliation with peers who use drugs increase with age whereas self-esteem decreases. Older kids are less likely to use helmets and seat belts than younger kids. The quality of sibling relationships remains stable, but older kids have more positive relationships with friends than younger kids. Older kids are less victimized by others and feel safer around school than younger kids. 

Question 3: 

Do parenting practices, parent-child relationships and child adjustment differ for males and females during this period of development?

Moms & dads report similar practices in parenting sons and daughters. Nonetheless, females perceive their moms & dads as less rejecting and warmer than males. Males and females are equally at ease confiding in their moms, but females confide less in their dads than males. 

Question 4: 

Do effective parenting practices contribute to a positive parent-child relationship and, in turn, to healthy child development?

Harsher parenting (more yelling and use of physical punishment, less reasoning) leads kids to feel their moms & dads are more rejecting and cold toward them. How kids perceive their relationship with their moms & dads is related to child adjustment. Kids who enjoy a more positive relationship with their moms & dads are more likely to invest in school, to use seat belts and helmets, and to experience fewer serious injuries. They have higher self-esteem, feel less depressed and are less anxious. Kids who perceive their moms & dads as more rejecting are more likely to smoke and use alcohol; they are more aggressive, bully others more, commit more property offenses and affiliate more with deviant friends. They are also more likely to be victimized by others. 

Question 5:

 Do parenting practices influence child adjustment differently for females versus males or for younger versus older kids?

Overall, females are less aggressive, commit fewer property offenses, bully others less and are less often victimized by others than males. Moreover, although females have lower self-esteem and more internalizing problems, they have better relationships with friends, are more pro-social and are more involved in school than males. Nonetheless, the impact of parenting practices on females and males is similar. Parenting is also associated with adjustment in younger and older kids in similar ways. That is, for both females and males of all ages, angry, arbitrary parenting (i.e. low use of reasoning) is associated with a poorer parent-child relationship (i.e. child perceptions of moms & dads as less warm and more rejecting) which in turn is associated with poor child adjustment. 

Question 6: 

Do the influences of parenting and/or the quality of the parent-child relationship differ in social contexts traditionally thought to put kids at risk for maladjustment?

Although few social contexts (i.e. maternal education, family income, maternal employment and single-parent family) directly affect child adjustment, some influence the quality of parent-child relationships. Kids of moms with less education and kids in families with lower income tend to perceive their relationships with their moms & dads more negatively. These negative perceptions in turn are associated with poorer adjustment. Maternal employment and single-parent status do not affect child adjustment independent of parenting and the parent-child relationship. 

Question 7: 

Is there evidence that relationships with moms and dads differ in their contribution to adjustment?

Daughters and sons feel equally at ease confiding in their moms, but daughters confide less in their dads than sons. Kids who feel comfortable confiding in their dads are better adjusted in a number of ways. 

Question 8: 

Is adolescence naturally a period of strife and storm?

A vulnerability to negative health outcomes increases between late childhood and mid-adolescence. Adolescence is a challenging developmental period. Transition to high school is frequently associated with increased vulnerability to low self-esteem and feelings of incompetence, combined with greater risk for depression and antisocial behavior. Engagement in some types of delinquent activity is normative during adolescence and may be related to adolescent exploration of social rules and norms. Social pressures on teens to conform to peer group expectations also contribute to engagement in delinquent activity.

Most teens do not suffer from significant negative health outcomes. The quality of parent-child relationships plays an important role in adolescent adjustment. Secure attachment is important in providing a safe haven during times of stress and in promoting exploration during times of growth. Evidence shows that secure attachment buffers teens from the stress associated with transitions such as high school entry. Teens benefit from parental accessibility for emotional support, structure and monitoring regarding their engagement in delinquent behavior and their association with peers who support this behavior. 

Question 9: 

In what ways do moms & dads contribute to healthy adolescent development?

Parenting practices are an important determinant of adjustment in late childhood and adolescence. Moms & dads who use harsh discipline are perceived by their kids as cold and more rejecting. Kids who perceive their moms & dads as cold and more rejecting suffer from a wide range of poorer adjustment outcomes, including aggression, bullying, property offenses, smoking and alcohol use.

Teens need to feel that their moms & dads are engaged and supportive of them. Teens are more independent than kids in many aspects of their lives. Nonetheless, parents should support their teens by remaining psychologically available to them while, at the same time, fostering their autonomy. Specific parenting skills include warmth, acceptance of individuality, active listening, behavior monitoring, limit setting and negotiation. 

Question 10: 

Do moms and dads each play important roles in promoting healthy child adjustment?

The data limited how deeply we could investigate the unique roles of moms and dads in determining the adjustment of their kids. Nonetheless, our findings point out that dads play an important role in child adjustment, but that females find it harder than males to confide in their dads. If families can take steps to support the relationship between dads and daughters, females may benefit from this. 

Question 11: 

Is the influence of parenting on child adjustment the same in high- versus low-risk contexts? Do some factors like poverty and maternal employment cause poor child adjustment independent of what moms & dads do?

Many moms & dads worry that their child may suffer because of low family income or maternal employment. Our findings show that the impact of risk factors like low income and low maternal education on child adjustment is related in large part to how these risk factors influence parenting practices. 

Question 12: 

Are females or males more vulnerable during adolescence? Do moms & dads need to use different strategies in parenting their daughters versus their sons?

Some differences in child adjustment were observed between females and males. Nonetheless, the impact of parenting was similar for females and males. Effective parenting produces positive outcomes for both females and males alike.

Parenting is important for adjustment in adolescence. A common misperception in society is that adolescence is a time of moving toward detachment from moms & dads. Many moms & dads believe that because the amount of time that teens spend with their families decreases dramatically, parents no longer matter and have little effect on how their teens function. Our findings show that although parent-child relationships undergo transformation during adolescence, the adjustment of teens depends in good measure on the quality of their relationships with their moms & dads. Moms & dads need to recognize the continued importance of their relationship with their teens, despite the changes that occur in the nature of their interactions.

Recommendations for parents:
  • Teens need to feel that their moms & dads are engaged and supportive of them. Teens are more independent than kids in many aspects of their lives. Nonetheless, they require ongoing parental support in terms of moms & dads remaining open to communication and responsive if help is needed, while, at the same time, fostering adolescent autonomy. Specific parenting skills include warmth, acceptance of individuality, active listening, behavior monitoring, limit setting and negotiation.
  • Kids are more vulnerable to adjustment problems in adolescence than in childhood. Moms & dads need to anticipate that their adolescent requires increased support during periods of transition, such as entry into high school.
  • Obviously, adolescent adjustment is also determined by factors outside the family and the parent-child relationship. Even though moms & dads may only indirectly affect how peers, romantic partners and other social influences determine the adjustment of their kids, moms & dads' support through the stressful challenges of adolescence remains important.
  • Moms & dads need to recognize the continued importance of their relationship with their teens. Although the parent-child relationship undergoes transformation during adolescence, the adjustment of teens depends in good measure on the quality of their relationship with their moms & dads.
  • Parents need to recognize the special role of dads in supporting the well-being of their kids. Dads' increased psychological support of daughters may be particularly beneficial to them.
  •  
    My Out-of-Control Teen

    A quote from an interview with Mark Hutten [Psychology Today]

    “Strong-willed, out-of-control children will rehabilitate themselves when they are ready, and not a minute sooner. They will change their behavior when – and only when – they choose to. The job of parents is not to get children to obey. It is to simply teach them that responsible behavior results in one sort of consequence while irresponsible behavior results in quite another. Oppositional, defiant kids refuse to accept this fundamental reality until they are forced to experience a significant degree of discomfort related to their poor choices. Discomfort comes from parents’ implementation of tough love – and unfortunately, tough love is often tougher on the parent than the child, especially if the parent has adopted an over-indulgent parenting style over the years.” 

    My Out-of-Control Teen

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    After 20 years of performing home-based family therapy, Mark set out to understand the mind of the strong-willed, out-of-control teen in order to help parents create a better relationship with their teenagers. Not only did he get answers, he got results.

    Mark’s eBook entitled “My Out-of-Control Teen” is the all time best selling eBook in ClickBank, and his "live" seminars are widely acclaimed.

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    The Difference Between "Punishment" and "Discipline"

    "You talk about discipline is better than punishment. What’s the difference?"

    Here are some characteristics and results of using a “punishment-based” parenting style (rather than “discipline-based”):
    • Children learn that they better not get caught when misbehaving, and if they don’t get caught there will be no punishment.
    • Children who are usually punished have a hard time trusting. They may react with anger and isolate themselves from their parents.
    • Consequences are inconsistent and unpredictable. As a child, my wife was never sure if she would get into trouble for a certain behavior. As a result, she took the risk, because in her words, she had a 50-50 chance of getting away with it. When she was caught, the punishment was often severe - or not enforced at all. A week grounding usually only lasted two days before her parents forget or grew tired of her being around the house and sent her off to play.
    • In punishment-based parenting, few words of explanation are given by the parent, often leaving children confused and unsure of the behavior that warranted the punishment.
    • Parents do not recognize the difference between mistakes and misbehavior. Both receive punishment.
    • Punishment is given out of anger or frustration. It is often excessive - and the parent is not in control.

    And now here are some characteristics and results of using a discipline-based parenting style:
    • Children learn values that are generalized to other situations. For example, treating a sibling nicely at home carries over to classmates at school.
    • Discipline-based parents realize the difference between mistakes and misbehavior or challenges to their authority. Mistakes are not disciplined. For example, a child should not be punished for accidentally spilling food on the floor or tracking mud in the house.
    • Parents and children communicate. When the child misbehaves, the parent explains why the child is being punished and asks for a reason why the child misbehaves.
    • Parents are consistent. When a child misbehaves, he always receive consequences for his behavior. When possible, the consequences are pre-determined and match the misbehavior.
    • The results of discipline-based parenting include closeness and trust between parent and child.
    • When a parent disciplines, they are still in control of their emotions. I remember being spanked by my dad as a child. He would take me in the living room and calmly explain why I was being spanked. Then he would lay me over his knee and swat me on the rear. Then he would tell me he loved me. He was always in control.

    Hope that clarifies!

    My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

    How Parents Can Help With Teen Depression

    Depression is very damaging when left untreated, so don’t wait and hope that the symptoms will go away. Even if you’re unsure that depression is the issue, the troublesome behaviors and emotions you’re seeing in your adolescent are signs of a problem. Whether or not that problem turns out to be depression, it still needs to be addressed—the sooner the better.

    The first thing you should do if you suspect depression is to talk to your adolescent about it. In a loving and non-judgmental way, share your concerns with your adolescent. Let her know what specific signs of depression you’ve noticed and why they worry you. Then encourage your child to open up about what she is going through.

    Here are some very specific steps to follow:

    • Avoid the blame game. It can be easy to blame yourself or another family member for your adolescent’s depression, but it only adds to an already stressful situation. Furthermore, depression is normally caused by a number of factors, so it’s unlikely—except in the case of abuse or neglect—that any loved one is “responsible”.

    • Be open with the family. Don’t tiptoe around the issue of adolescent depression in an attempt to “protect” the other kids. Children know when something is wrong. When left in the dark, their imaginations will often jump to far worse conclusions. Be open about what is going on and invite your kids to ask questions and share their feelings.

    • Be understanding. Living with a depressed adolescent can be difficult and draining. At times, you may experience exhaustion, rejection, despair, aggravation, or any other number of negative emotions. During this trying time, it’s important to remember that your child is not being difficult on purpose. Your adolescent is suffering, so do your best to be patient and understanding.

    • Don’t give up if your adolescent shuts you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for adolescents. Be respectful of your child’s comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.

    • Don’t try to talk adolescents out of their depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear silly or irrational to you. Simply acknowledge the pain and sadness they are feeling. If you don’t, they will feel like you don’t take their emotions seriously.

    • Encourage physical activity. Encourage your adolescent to stay active. Exercise can go a long way toward relieving the symptoms of depression, so find ways to incorporate it into your adolescent’s day. Something as simple as walking the dog or going on a bike ride can be beneficial.

    • Encourage social activity. Isolation only makes depression worse, so encourage your adolescent to see friends and praise efforts to socialize. Offer to take your adolescent out with friends or suggest social activities that might be of interest, such as sports, after-school clubs, or an art class.

    • Learn about depression. Just like you would if your child had a disease you knew very little about, read up on depression so that you can be your own “expert.” The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to help your depressed adolescent. Encourage your adolescent to learn more about depression as well. Reading up on their condition can help depressed adolescents realize that they’re not alone and give them a better understanding of what they’re going through.

    • Let depressed adolescents know that you’re there for them, fully and unconditionally. Hold back from asking a lot of questions (adolescents don’t like to feel patronized or crowded), but make it clear that you’re ready and willing to provide whatever support they need.

    • Reach out for support. Get the emotional support you need. Reach out to friends, join a support group, or see a therapist of your own. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless, or angry. The important thing is to talk about how your adolescent’s depression is affecting you, rather than bottling up your emotions.

    • Remember the siblings. Depression in one child can cause stress or anxiety in other family members, so make sure “healthy” kids are not ignored. Siblings may need special individual attention or professional help of their own to handle their feelings about the situation.

    • Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment once your adolescent begins to talk. The important thing is that your child is communicating. Avoid offering unsolicited advice or ultimatums as well.

    • Stay involved in treatment. Make sure your adolescent is following all treatment instructions and going to therapy. It’s especially important that your child takes any prescribed medication as instructed. Track changes in your adolescent’s condition, and call the doctor if depression symptoms seem to be getting worse.

    • Take care of yourself. In order to help a depressed adolescent, you need to stay healthy and positive yourself, so don’t ignore your own needs. The stress of the situation can affect your own moods and emotions, so cultivate your well–being by eating right, getting enough sleep, and making time for things you enjoy.

    If your adolescent claims nothing is wrong, but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. Remember that denial is a strong emotion. Furthermore, adolescents may not believe that what they’re experiencing is the result of depression. If you see depression’s warning signs, seek professional help. Neither you nor your adolescent is qualified to either diagnosis depression or rule it out, so see a doctor or psychologist who can.

    Children and Head-Banging

    "Help, my son is 2, he has been head banging since he was 1,we first tried to associate it with his teething, and earaches, after he got tubes he started doing better, but the past 2weeks have been horrible, we go into the bank and he bangs his head on the glass door until I’m scared it’ll break, we go to the grocery store and he bangs his mouth on the buggy until he busts his lip, he’s got a fat lip and a huge knot on the side of his head from just today, I’m very worried, he’s is also very under-active and he lays around most of the day."

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

    My firstborn son would bang his head quite often and not just during a tantrum. When he was tired he would sit on the couch and bang his head against the back of the couch in a rocking motion. I became concerned and spoke with the doctor. He told me it was just a nervous habit and there was nothing to worry about. He also told me that my son would grow out of it. Well he didn't, at least not completely. Even as an adult, he sometimes sleeps on his stomach and bangs his head during his sleep.

    There are moments in a youngster's development that engender fear in her moms and dads: those weeks before she was born when we wonder if she will really be okay, those moments after you have handed her car keys and she drives off with her boyfriend. For moms and dads whose kids develop head banging, this is one of those moments.

    Every week someone mentions this concern to me (usually in an off-hand way) and then watches to see if I am alarmed. The unspoken fear: autism.

    Up to 20 percent of healthy kids are head-bangers for a time. Head-banging appears in the latter half of the first year of life and generally ends spontaneously by four years of age. Boys are three or four times more likely to be head-bangers than girls.

    The youngster seems compelled to rhythmically move his head against a solid object such as a wall or the side of a crib. Often he rocks his entire body. For most kids it occurs at sleepy times or when upset (often as part of tantrums). This behavior can last for minutes at a time -- or sometimes for hours. It can even continue once the youngster has fallen asleep.

    Moms and dads' fear of autism makes sense. Head-banging, head-rolling, and body rocking are each far more common in autistic kids. But these rhythmic motor activities are also normal behaviors in healthy infants and young kids (and young monkeys for that matter!). This behavior is abnormal, though, if it persists beyond the early years. Any youngster who is still head-banging beyond three years of age deserves further evaluation.

    How can one tell if the head-banging is a part of normal development or an early sign of autism?

    Researchers at Cambridge University have found an easy and early way to detect autism. Three hallmark behaviors are the key signs:

    1. Lack of gaze-following -- by fourteen months, infants will often turn to look in the same direction an adult is looking.

    2. Lack of pointing -- by fourteen months of age most kids will point at objects in order to get another person to look.

    3. Lack of pretend play -- by fourteen months kids will begin to play using object substitution, e.g. pretending to comb the hair with a block.

    All three behaviors are typically absent in kids with autism.

    If a youngster begins even one of these three behaviors by 18 months, the chances of ever developing true autism are vanishingly small.

    Why do children without autism bang their heads?

    Many theories have been put forward to explain this common behavior. Perhaps the rocking and even the head-banging provide a form of pleasure related to the movement. This joy in movement is called our kinesthetic drive. All infants are rocked by their mothers when they are carried about in utero. Later on, they enjoy being held and rocked in moms and dads' arms. Movement activities continue as children grow: the pleasure of jump rope, swings, slides, amusement park rides (bumper cars!) and dancing. These activities all engage the vestibular system of the brain.

    The amount and type of movement that provides pleasure varies from youngster to youngster.

    Children who are under-stimulated (those who are blind, deaf, bored, or lonely) head bang for stimulation. But kids who are over-stimulated (in an overwhelming environment) find these rhythmic movements soothing. These are some of the reasons why we see more head banging in children with developmental delays or neglect.

    For some kids, head-banging is a way to release tension and prepare for sleep. Some children head-bang for relief when they are teething or have an ear infection. Some children bang their heads out of frustration or anger, as in a temper tantrum. Head-banging is an effective attention-seeking maneuver. The more reaction kids get from moms and dads or other adults, the more likely they are to continue this habit.

    Generally, healthy kids do not head-bang in order to injure themselves.

    Will they hurt themselves?

    Little ones don't seriously injure themselves from this habit. Pain prevents them from banging too hard, but even if it didn't, kids under 3 don't generate enough force to cause brain damage or neurologic problems. The front or front/side of the head is the most frequently struck. Child heads are built to take all of the minor head trauma that is a normal part of learning to walk and climb. Healthy infants and children who are head-bangers grow up to be coordinated and completely normal kids.

    How can you get head-banging to stop?

    Most kids will outgrow the habit on their own. You can speed up this process by reacting to it in a matter-of-fact way. Pretend not to notice. And if it is part of a tantrum, do not give her whatever she threw the tantrum to get. When you notice her head-banging, you might be able to get her to stop for the moment by distracting her or engaging her in a different activity. By decreasing the amount of time she spends in this habitual activity, she will outgrow it more quickly.

    Will it affect their development?

    Curiously, one large study of this habit in 525 healthy kids found head-bangers to be measurably advanced in their gross motor development compared to their peers. Specifically, this study of kids who body-rock, head-bang, and head-roll found that body-rocking and head-banging behavior was associated with a statistically significant difference in gross motor development. For kids who head-bang, the study showed they were able to hold their head up without support and walk without support earlier than kids who do not head-bang. So, the very behavior that was frightening could be a sign of something positive.

    Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that teaching our kids to head-bang will make them smarter! But this study reminds us that stimulating our kid’s bodies and minds from an early age can have a profound impact on their development.

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    84. Positive Coaching: Coach-Parent Partnership
    85. Positive Coaching Alliance
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    88. positiveparentcoaching.com
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    90. Priceless Parenting classes - online parenting class with ...
    91. Pro-Active Parent Coaching www.pro-activeparentcoaching.com
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    96. Ria Sharon | Parent Coach - LinkedIn
    97. Scott Noelle - Parenting Coach and Writer
    98. Suzy DeYoung - Peace of Mind Parent Coaching
    99. Teen Help, Teen Defiance, Teen Boot Camp, eCounseling, Online
    100. The Parent Coaching Academy

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    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?

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    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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