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Pick Your Battles Carefully

Hi Mark,

Its been quite a while since I emailed in crisis! The good news is that I’m not emailing in crisis just thought I’d update you & ask for a steer on a couple of things!

So update:

After Danielle was away from home for 6 weeks, she asked to return home (she’s now been home for 2 months) & as guided by you we welcomed her back on the proviso that she sign up to a really clear home rules contract – she did & the benefits & consequences are crystal clear!

She’s got herself a job which is great & is paying $25 rent a week, she hasn’t missed a curfew & when we say no she seems to accept it much quicker than she has in the passed – plus the yelling & screaming matches have stopped. She’s dropped out of mainstream school but is doing an alternative school program and hasn’t missed a day – its not what we wanted for her but we are fully supporting this as a respectful, self reliant young adult is preferred – when & if she realises she needs a higher grade of education she can do that in her time.

I am waiting for it to all go south but fingers crossed we are seeing a turn around, we did notice a difference when she started seeing a boy but we had a conversation about the changes we were seeing in a calm way & she seems to have responded well.

We have a happier a much happier home at the moment – my question is around family participation – pretty much there is none – Danielle spends 100% of her time with her friends (they are not really our choice of friends!!) she is pleasant at home & is doing the chores she’s been allocated – we do invite her to do things with the rest of the family but 9 out of 10 times we get a no. This upsets my husband.

My view is that she’s turning 16 in a month, she’s following the rules, the fighting between us & her in negligible & she’s a teenager who wants to spend time with her friends – this is normal behaviour & we should just keep on inviting her to participate in family life & accept that 9/10 times the answer will be no! Correct?

I know I’ve said it before but thank God for you & your program, we’ve had a hellish year (I’ve lost many pounds!!!) but we are at a status quo – one that I hope will last & we are prepared with a strategy that if God forbid it all goes wrong again (fingers crossed that doesn’t happen).

Again many, many thanks – we’ve just got to tackle her just turned 5 & 7 year old brothers now!

Rach

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Hi Rach,

Re: My view is that she’s turning 16 in a month, she’s following the rules, the fighting between us & her in negligible & she’s a teenager who wants to spend time with her friends – this is normal behaviour & we should just keep on inviting her to participate in family life & accept that 9/10 times the answer will be no! Correct?

You are 100% correct. Pick your battles carefully. If her participation is such a big issue - then give her some incentive (e.g., "If you'll come to the cookout, we'll go to the Mall and get you a new shirt afterwards"). Her presence in these family get-togethers is your privilege - not your right! If she is doing well in all (or most) other areas, then a reward for family participation is justified.

Mark

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