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

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Daughter Runs Away To Las Vegas

Hi Mark (this is S. from El Paso),

I think I told you about K____'s friend, J____, who is the mother of a 1 yr old child. J_____ is somehow influencing K____ and if I say anything negative about J_____, K____ becomes a yelling maniac!

K____ asked me a couple of weeks ago if her attitude changes when she's around J_____ and I told her, Yes - I DID notice a change in her and even K____ admits to it, too!

It seems that if I don't let J_____ spend the night with us, then she and K____ both leave the house in K____'s car and I have no idea where they run off too. Is there anyway (besides hiring an investigator to follow them) that I can somehow keep track of where she goes?

>>>>>>>>>>> Wait a minute …whose supposed to be in charge here – you or your daughter!? If your daughter is under 18, and if this is an on-going problem, you should call the police and file a runaway charge. If your daughter is 18, but does not want to abide by your rules, she can live somewhere else.

She always tells me she's going to a "friend's house" but she never tells me where her "friend" lives. Also, she and J_____ communicate with a young man who's in and out of jail and who's involved with a gang (he's supposedly J_____'s boyfriend - but J_____ has "several" boyfriends).

How can I find out what his real name is and where he lives without letting K____ know this?????

>>>>>>>>>> It’s not your job to track your daughter or to investigate her friends. It’s your daughter’s job to abide by your house rules. You are taking on too much responsibility – and the more responsibility you take on, the less your daughter will take on.

I feel that if I don't keep tabs on my daughter, I'm so afraid that something bad will happen to her. Also, how can I keep J_____ away from my daughter? Should I take a bench warrant out on her?? I don't want my daughter to be around this awful girl.

>>>>>>>>> Get a restraining order.

I also need to tell you that K____ and I had another argument but it was over something stupid, however, I DID NOT RAISE MY VOICE but K____ was yelling and cursing at me (using the "F"word and other vulgar cuss words). I hope she's not doing drugs because when my brother was using Cocaine, he would yell just like her!!!

Mark, what can I do at this point??

I know I must take away her car - first thing. But then what?

>>>>>>>>> Yes …take it away, but do so in the fashion described in my ebook.

Can I send her to a juvenile center (she's 17 now but she'll be 18 this July)?

>>>>>>>> Yes, but you have to be willing to file charges first.

I also feel that I must tell her father about her behavior and his parents (who also care lot about her). If I can get her away from these other "bad" kids, maybe she'll "see the light".

>>>>>>>>> She’s not going to be interested in seeing ‘the light.’ She’s only going to be interested in getting her freedom and stuff back once it has been taken away.

J_____ told K____ that her parents were locking her out of their house but I found out after talking with her parents that if they lock the doors at night (for safety, obviously!) then they always provide her with a key to the house. But you can't convince K____ that J_____'s lying. K____ says, "You only believe her parents because you're a parent and you never believe me!"

Since our "argument" tonight, I haven't heard from K____. I'm so worried that she's driving off to Las Vegas because this J_____ wants to go there! It's now 10:30pm (Friday) and I haven't heard from K____ at all. She also won't answer her cell phone.

Please tell me what to do!!! I'm so lost, Mark!

>>>>>>>>> Please don’t be upset with me when I say this: This is exactly what happens with over-indulgent parenting. The tail has wagged the dog for so long that it thinks it is the head. You, dear parent, are going to have to muster up some tuff love, or your daughter may end up ‘God only knows where.’

>>>>>>>>>Please …please …please … no more half measures! Please re-read the ebook and listen to all the audio files. You’ll pick up on so much more the second time around.

Keep me posted,

Mark Hutten, M.A.


Small Behavioral Problems Get Small Consequences

Hi Mark, I have a few quick ones for you.

1. I asked my 15 year old to pass me an empty cup and plate that is on the other side of the room. He ignored me so I asked him again. Then he grunted that it was not his but his brother's (which could be true) and kept playing his game.

I am trying not to escalate things and become aggressive. Also trying to pick my I ignored him but did stay calm and walked away. Let me know if this is right?

>>>>>>>>>> Small problems get small consequences. The next time you request that your son do something, but he refuses, say, “If you choose not to do what I asked, you’ll choose the consequence, which is __________” (pick something small and relevant).

>>>>>>> In the case of not helping with a small chore related to eating, maybe take away all snacks for one evening (i.e., no chips, cookies, etc.).

2. We loved your idea of a chore a week. Our kids right now has virtually no chores! So we wanted to start really slow...and said...2 times a day you have to put your clothes, towels, dirty sports thing in your hamper if you want to go out or have friends come over on the weekend. His siblings did EXCELLENT with this but Ryan the 15 year old did OK not great. He usually did better with gentle coaxing. One day I noticed that he did not do I left him a reminder note. I came home 2 hours later and saw the note gone but he still had not complied? What should I do?

>>>>>>>>>>> Put on your poker face and follow through with the consequence: he doesn’t go anywhere that evening.

>>>>>>>>>>>Allow him to make mistakes (i.e., poor choices) – it’s how he will learn to make better choices. Don’t attempt save him from “non-compliance.” (The ‘reminder note’ is a good idea, but it doesn’t matter what he does with the note, after all, it’s his note).


Discipline for Teen Ranting & Raving


I finally found my poker face but now my husband is having a hard time. We are having a hard time remembering the program when we are mad. It seems that once we have been pushed to the breaking point we resort back to old habits. I was not able to get my sons other 2 parents on board, so we are doing this on our own, which means every other weekend and every Tuesday for 3 hours my son is not following the program.

The hard part is if he gets him self grounded for 3 days and it falls in some of his fathers visitation the grounding ends up lasting longer than 3 days. But we are managing, I think. So, my new question to you is: I know that the discipline does not start until the ranting and raving is over, but what do you do when it starts back up in the middle of the 3 days? Do you start the discipline over again?

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Yes. When he stops ranting, look at your watch and start the clock again (write the day/time down somewhere so you don’t forget).

I think ‘no’ but I also don't think it's OK to let him get away with it? My husband I thought maybe a ‘yucky chore jar’ might be the trick to this? So, this idea is that we make up a bunch of yucky chores such as washing the toilet with a tooth brush or cleaning up dog poop or dusting the hole house, put them in a jar, and every time he mouths off about the grounding after it has started or mouths off in general he picks a chore for him to do. If he continues or complains about the chore he gets another one.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> This sounded good until the part where ‘he gets another one.” You don’t want to set up a situation where he keeps digging himself in a hole. He’ll never get out. If restrictions pile up, the kid will see no light at the end of the tunnel and will say, “Screw it.”

We love your program and think it works, but are finding some gray areas and we are trying to keep in mind that our son is only 10. Or is this just us feeling sorry for him?

>>>>>>>>>> There is a lot of gray area, and it’s good that you are differentiating between gray areas versus ‘black & white’ areas. You are only human, so of course you feel sorry for him from time to time. But catch yourself “feeling sorry for him,” and then get back on track with both nurturing and discipline.

Also, we know that when he is being disciplined he is to loose everything including wrestling practice. We are not sure that is good for our son because of his ADHD? PLEASE help us. Any answers you give are appreciated.

>>>>>>>>>>> I think we’re in one of those gray areas now. If you feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when you do NOT incorporate “wrestling practice” into the bag of “privileges withheld” during discipline times, then go ahead and allow him to do practice even when he’s on discipline.

Thank you so much,


==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Parenting Program

Son Refuses to Move with Family to a New City

We are facing some challenging times ahead and I would like some advice on how to handle this with our 16 year old son. We moved to the town we are in now in the U.S. about 2.5 years ago from Canada. At the time our son had just started Grade 9. We had some rough times with him refusing to do school work, not caring about school and just being very angry. Things had just turned around with him recently when his Dad's company decided to close down without much warning. His Dad won't have any trouble finding a new job but we likely will need to move again.

As you can imagine, this prospect is not going over well with our son. He is saying he wants to stay here to finish high school. Unfortunately with his past academic efforts or lack of them, he isn't doing great at school. He is in his Junior year but he is a few credits shy of graduating on schedule as he has failed a couple of semesters in 2 courses.

Also, he does not have a job and he isn't driving. How do we handle this?? Do we just insist that he come with us as he is not ready to live on his own? Do I stay behind with him until he graduates and have his Dad commute on weekends for this time?

The issue I have with this is that if our son decides to not make a real effort to pass at school he could drag out the moving indefinitely.

Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this???


Re: “…he does not have a job and he isn't driving. How do we handle this??”

>>>>>>>>>>> If he doesn’t want to work or drive, whose problem is it? Yours or his? We know the answer: ‘his’. So if he doesn’t want to make money and be able to drive, this is his choice.

Re: “Do we just insist that he come with us as he is not ready to live on his own?”

>>>>>>>>>>> I would think so, unless he can stay with another family member or friend.

Re: “Do I stay behind with him until he graduates and have his Dad commute on weekends for this time?”

>>>>>>>>>> If you did, it would be just another form of over-indulgence. I’m getting the impression that you may be ‘feeling sorry for him’ due to the moves. This WILL make a bad problem worse – I promise.

Re: “Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this???”

>>>>>>>>>>It's common for teens to actively rebel against a move. Your son has probably invested considerable energy in a particular social group and may be involved in a romantic relationship. A move may mean that he will miss a long-awaited event, like a prom.

>>>>>>>>>>>It's particularly important to let you son know that you want to hear about his or her concerns and that you respect them. While blanket assurances may sound flippant, it's legitimate to suggest that the move can serve as rehearsal for future changes, like college or a new job. After the move, consider planning a visit back to the old neighborhood periodically -- if it's feasible.

>>>>>>>>>>>If he is strongly resistant to the move, you might want to consider letting him remain with a friend or relative -- if that's an option. This may be particularly helpful if you're moving midway through the school year.

>>>>>>>>>>>After the move, try to get his room in order before turning your attention to the rest of the house. Also, try to maintain your regular schedule for meals and family activities to give him a sense of familiarity.

>>>>>>>>>>When he starts school, you may want to go along to meet as many teachers as possible or to introduce him to the principal, dean, etc.

>>>>>>>>>Set realistic expectations about his transition. Generally, teachers expect new kids to feel somewhat comfortable in their classes in about 6 weeks. Some kids may take less time; some may need more.

>>>>>>>>>Keep me posted,

Mark Hutten, M.A.


What to Do When Teen-Behavior Problems Begin to Pile Up

In the content below, the parent's comments and questions are italicized ...

My comments [Mark Hutten, M.A.] are bold...

Hello Mark. To begin, my name is Sara and I just wanted to say that I joined your online program a few days ago and it has already been so helpful. There seems to be an ample supply of resources in my community for parenting young children, but haven't come across much for parenting the pre-teen and teen ages. I've been studying the materials and started implementing the strategies therein. Which has now brought about a couple of questions I could use some support on.

First, a few days ago I removed my daughter's computer privilege for the 3 day time frame. I didn't engage in the power struggle, simply explained the consequence, and stated I wasn't going to argue. The first day went surprisingly well. She did say my rules were dumb and asked for clarification about how long and when she would get computer time back. I told her if there were no more occurrences of the specific behavior she would have her computer time back on Saturday (3 days).

Hi Sara. You are doing a wonderful job. Go MOM!

The second day however, wasn't as smooth. She attempted to argue with me about it and I stated I wasn't going to argue. Then she tried to manipulate the issue and say she ONLY wanted to put music on her ipod and wouldn't use the computer for anything else. I said she could download her music on Saturday. I was on the phone with a friend at the time, and had already put the call on hold once to tell her I wasn't going to argue and restate the time frame. I went back to my phone call and she started mumbling unpleasentries and even throwing some things around the living room. I ignored, then she started yelling get off the phone and eventually, inappropriate things to my friend on the phone.

At this point, the parent should assert [with a poker face], “If you choose to continue to interrupt me while I’m on the phone, you will choose the consequence, which is the 3-day-discipline will re-start.” If she interrupts again, then follow through with the consequence.

I continued to talk in hopes that my friend wouldn't hear and did not end my telephone conversation immediately. That is absolutely inappropriate, but I was so lost as to what to do or how to address. On one hand if I got off the phone ... then, I allowed her to control the situation ... on the other hand, my friend should not be verbally attacked by my 13 year old daughter? What is your suggestion for an appropriate response in that situation. I know she needs attention and approval and I am making sure to spend time with her, ask about her day, give positive feedback for good things I notice, etc. I did nothing during or after that to address it. Do you go back and talk about it after the situation is calm? I'm confused ... I don’t want to engage in a power struggle, but there are certain boundaries she shouldn't cross isn't there? When I was off the phone, she then asked if I would download the music for her. I said yes, I could download the songs if she made a list (not sure if that was right).

Unfortunately, this was a form of retracting your established consequence – you just got manipulated again!

She then decided she would wait until Saturday and do it herself. This is so confusing and hard because it seems that every situation perpetuates another?

If you find that “one problem is creating another,” you simply state that if she chooses to introduce a new problem, she will choose the consequence, which is the 3-day-discipline will be started over.

Let’s use an example: Daughter has been issued a 3-day-discipline (i.e., no computer privileges) for getting on Facebook when she was warned not to. On day 2, daughter wants to get on the computer to download music. Mom says “no” (one time) …gives her reason for saying “no” (one time) …and tells her daughter that when the 3-day-discipline is completed, the privilege will be reinstated.

The daughter begins to have an inappropriate temper tantrum as a result. Thus, mom states, “If you choose to continue to argue with me, you will choose the consequence, which is the 3 days starts over.” Daughter continues to argue. Mom now says, “Because you chose to continue to argue, you chose the consequence, which is the 3 days starts over -- as soon as you calm down.” When the daughter chooses to stop yelling/arguing, mom looks at her watch and re-starts the 3-day-discipline.

Also, I know I need to accept and validate her feelings about things ... how/when do you do that?

You do that when she is calm; when she is behaving appropriately. Validation is not part of the equation during the period of time you are issuing a consequence.

At the moment the situation occurs I'm not arguing about it or showing emotion or engaging in any power struggle. But, I also want to be careful not to totally disregard her. After a blow up do you go back and discuss what happened?

This is optional. If the employment of “Fair Fighting” (see the section on Fair Fighting in the eBook) works in her case, then yes, discuss and problem solve. Otherwise, just let the execution of the consequence be the teacher.

Best of luck,


==> Help for parents with out-of-control teens...

Daughter Goes To Juvenile Detention


I subscribed to your ebook because we fit most of the descriptions of parents of out of control teens. I didn't even get to the bottom of the first session and our daughter has gotten much worse. As I write this she is in juvenile detention. She was arrested at our home last night after she scratched my husband’s arms when he tried to get her from spraying peroxide around our bathroom. In the last week she has become more angry and has had threatening behavior brought on by a “no” answer from us for demanding behavior on her part.

Last night, she demanded in a rude manner that we go shopping at 8 o'clock last night for a new outfit for school today. When told that we weren't going at 8pm but we could go in the next couple of days, she began to slam things in her room. It sounded like furniture breaking. It deteriorated from there and 911 was called because I was scared of her behavior. I was looking for crisis intervention, not the cops. 911 didn't answer, so I hung up and tried to call her therapist. 911 tried to call back and the line was busy so the cops came to our house. When we relayed the story, they said that she would have to either be admitted to the hospital or be arrested and sent to juvenile detention. I don't know if you can help or if this falls within your parent-coaching offer. I don't know what to do next. I don't know what to do when she comes home. 



Hi J.,

First of all, as I mentioned in the program material, it is very common for things to get worse before they get better. A child who may have been over-indulged most of her life has great difficulty – initially – in adjusting to the parent’s more assertive parenting approach.

Second, it’s good that the police arrived at your doorstep after your daughter engaged in “battery” (scratching is indeed “battery” in the legal sense).

I think it was a blessing in disguise that the cops came out to your house. If you had your way about it, you would have talked to some crisis counselor over the phone – which would have been a total waste of everybody’s time. You were about to employ a “half-measure” – but fortunately, this was not in the cards (so to speak).

So, in spite of yourself, you are on track. Your daughter will sit in detention for a few days, then she’ll have a court date soon, then she’ll come home – at which point you simply continue to work the program as outlined.

She got a wonderful “life-lesson” (i.e., battery has legal consequences).

Mark Hutten, M.A.

Grounding Teens "From" Their Bedroom

"My situation is this... We live in rural small town USA. My son does not have even one neighborhood friend that he hangs out with. He comes home everyday from school, eats a bunch of food and goes to his room to read or nap or whatever to keep away from the family. And if he is out with the family, he is bossing everyone around, bullying his little sister, etc. It's a real treat, let me tell ya. Besides the "grounding thing" being difficult (because there isn't much to ground from) ...since our ipod ordeal last Saturday, he has NOT spoken a word to anyone since then. He is unbelievably stubborn. I even told him on Wed. that if he wanted his cell phone back, all he had to do is say "please". No response. He won't crack. I've tried talking to him in his room ...he tells me "get out!!" He doesn't even look me in the face. My sister says he needs an "exorcism". I'm not entirely sure she is wrong. HELP ME!! PLEASE."

You can always find leverage (i.e., some privilege or material item to withhold as a consequence).

I currently have a parent in my parent group whose situation is similar to yours. She said, "My son doesn't go anywhere or do anything -- I've got nothing to take away, and there's no sense in grounding him because he's a home-body."

I asked what he does with his time. She said he just goes to his room and naps. Ahhhhh! Then she really does have something she can use as a bargaining tool. Coming home and napping is a privilege -- not a right. She doesn't run a flop-house.

Anyway, now she sees to it that her son does not have access to his room whenever he needs a consequence -- that's right -- she took away his room. Get it?

My recommendation would be to ground your son FROM his room -- not TO his room -- for one 24-hour day (with the exception being that he can sleep in there at night). The 24-hour discipline does not start until he calms down (if he is having a temper tantrum). If he mistreats anyone during that 24-hour period, merely re-start the 24 hours.

I know this will be difficult, but you can do it. I've got faith in you.

"Thanks for the prompt reply... Yeah I get it...sounds so easy...UGH! I guess, in reality, I am afraid of the confrontation with him. He really has me over a barrel, and he definitely knows it. I am afraid of him, plain and simple. He and I had an argument about a year ago that went radically wrong and he broke my hand. And his dad is not a lot of help...he either does nothing or flies off the hook and there is a physical altercation. D___ stands right up to everyone. In the past, when I say "time out", he just sits there and defies me. He is really good at defiance. I know I sound whimpy and difficult...I’m sorry."

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Daughter Frequently Tells Mom "I Hate You"

"I know there are lots of changes going on and my daughter is going to react, but I need some support on another issue. She asked this morning if her friend could come over after school (chores had been done) so I said yes, but asked her to please call me and let me know if her friend was coming or not this afternoon (it was kinda up in the air awaiting approval from the other child's parents). My daughter called, as I requested, but left a vm on my work phone saying this: "Hi Mom, Mallory is coming over, I hate you, Goodbye." This for some reason annoys me to no end. I have no idea why, but I'm both infuriated and want to cry. Do I address it or not ... and if so, how?"

When your daughter says, “I hate you,” what she means is “I hate some of the things you say and do.”

Your daughter obviously knows that she can get a reaction out of you when she pushes your “I hate you” button (which is, in reality, a “rejection” button). Ignoring misbehavior is an over-rated parenting strategy, but in this case, I would totally ignore it.

Here’s why:

As long as she knows you will react strongly to her sarcasm, she will continue to use it as a way to get your energy and intensity. If you ignore her sarcasm (i.e., “act as if” it doesn’t bother you), then she will no longer get any kind of “payoff” and will eventually stop saying these things.

If she were saying “F___ you”, or calling you a “B____”, or any other more inappropriate comments, that would need a consequence.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Daughter Ran Away and Moved In with 21-year-old Boyfriend

Hi Sad Mom,

Several points:

When she tells people she was kicked-out, she is attempting to garner their sympathy. I’m guessing she has done a great job of pulling this one over on you too. Do you feel guilty? Do you occasionally – or frequently – feel sorry for her? Do you “beat up on herself” sometimes because of the mother-daughter conflict? If so, then she has successfully manipulated your emotions. If she is like the other juveniles I work with, she is an expert manipulator. This doesn’t make her a “bad kid,” she’s just a good ‘con artist’ (which is a strength or a weakness depending on how she uses it).

You said that your daughter “acts like she could care less if she ever sees” you. The operative word here is “acts.” I’m sure she is “acting” like she doesn’t care. This too is a manipulation that apparently you have fallen for. She DOES care; she’s just attempting to push your “abandonment” buttons (i.e., she wants you to feel bad/rejected because she’s mad).

You SHOULD “distant yourself” from her. And she should distant herself from you. I’m talking about ‘healthy detachment’ here. This is O.K. This is a good thing, because she needs to separate in order to grow. I know this is painful for you at some level, but when she feels fully emancipated, she’ll be done with the business of trying to make you feel miserable. There is light at the end of this tunnel whether you see it or not.

I would let some time go by before you contact your daughter again (maybe a month). You really have only one job now, and that is to ‘check-in’ with her every month or two to say, “I was thinking about you …how are things going.” And it doesn’t matter how she responds. Let me repeat this: It doesn’t matter how she responds.

With occasional “check-ins,” you will be sending a clear verbal message that (a) you will not be manipulated into feeling sorry for her, (b) you will not allow her to push your guilt or anger or rejection buttons, and (c) you have not returned the disfavor by rejecting/abandoning her.

Hang in there …you are doing fine in spite of your opinion about the present circumstances.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

==> More help:

Son Vandalizes Mother's Residence

"Last night my apartment was broken into and my car was stolen. I am sad to say that I think it was my 13-year-old son and some of his friends. My son has recently been directed to reside with his father. He is not happy with this decision and keeps running away. He is has been taken into custody a few times recently and in court he agrees to go to his fathers then runs. I was away working for a couple of days and came home to a broken kitchen window and remains of a party in the living area. My car keys and house keys have been taken. I woke up later last night someone was in the apartment when they realised I was there, they left quickly, and then I realised my car was no longer parked outside. I have reported it to the you have any advice?"

Unfortunately, this is a very common experience for parents who have sent their child to live elsewhere, whether at another parent’s house, a relative, or placement in a facility. It’s not uncommon for the child to return home, especially when he knows the parent is away, to help himself to the comforts of his former abode.

Your home should be a safe haven where you are protected from the outside world – even when it’s your own son [who is not supposed to be on the property without your permission]. I know it feels like a shame to have to talk about protecting yourself from your son, but you do what you have to do. I’m going to provide you with some crucial tips below, and it will probably seem ridiculous that one should have to go to these lengths.

In any event, here are 8 things you can do to make your home a safer and more burglar resistant place to live:

1. Doors: Proper doors are an important part of burglar proofing a home. The most common door used in homes is the hinge door. All exterior hinge doors should be solid wood core construction or be metal clad. Never install a door meant for inside use on the outside of a home. These doors are usually hollow inside, or made of inferior materials and are not a proper deterrent to a break in.

Doors made of wood panels, or those with glass panes may be aesthetically appealing, but they are not as safe as solid doors because the panels or glass panes are easily broken.

If the hinges on your door are exposed, and they probably are, non-removable hinge pins should be used to prevent removal of the door. Drill two holes opposite each other in the center of both leaves of the hinge, then insert a headless screw or nail into the leaf on the door frame side. Allow the screw or nail to protrude 1/2". The screw will engage the other hinge leaf when the door is closed.

Sliding Glass doors can be a safety hazard because they are easy to lift off the tracks and remove. To make such a door safer, use track screws, installed in the upper track of the door. The frame or the door should just clear the heads of the screws making it impossible to lift the door up. This leaves the criminal only one option, breaking the glass, which takes time and makes noise and will usually deter the average burglar.

2. The importance of proper locks: No matter what type of door is used, it will not be an effective deterrent to break-ins without a sturdy lock.

The lock on a door knob is simply a privacy device, not an effective lock. Sheriff’s Offices recommend a double-locking dead bolt on the door, one that uses a key on both sides. When someone is at home, the key should be kept either in the lock on the inside, or hanging somewhere nearby to ensure a quick escape in case of fire. Make sure the key does not hang near enough to a window or a pane of glass for a burglar to reach inside and get it.

The only time a double locking dead bolt is not recommended is if there is someone in the house incapable of unlocking it quickly in an emergency, such as a small child or handicapped person.

There are several other features a good dead bolt should have. Look for a one inch throw with a one eighth inch roller pin inside to prevent burglars from cutting through it. The lock should have a free turning cylinder guard around the key hole and one-quarter inch heat treated retaining bolts through the door to hold the lock on.

A 180 degree see-all viewer, commonly known as a peephole, is another safety device to include in a solid door. It will give a full view of anyone coming to the door, even if the person is standing to the side out of the normal line of sight.

3. Outside the home: It is very easy to let a home become overgrown with trees, vines and other plants. This may be a nice way to protect privacy. Unfortunately, this can also increase a home’s risk of burglary.

Allowing bushes and trees to grow on the borders of the property, or in front of windows will not only hide private activities from view, it will hide a burglar’s activities from view as well. Thieves can crouch behind these bushes and easily remove a window pane, gaining access to the inside of the home.

In addition, it makes it very difficult for sheriff’s deputies to check a home’s security while they are on routine patrol. Police officers are constantly driving through neighborhoods day and night and checking for anything unusual, such as signs of a break-in or strangers in the area. Allowing a home to become overgrown will not only provide a hiding place for thieves, but will create an obstruction to these deputies trying to check safety and security.

To make sure bushes and trees are properly trimmed, go out into the street during the day and look at the home as a burglar would. Are all the windows on the front and sides of the home visible? Would a burglar be able to hide from someone driving by the house? If you feel safe with the answer, your yard is properly trimmed.

4. Lighting: Another way to make it difficult for someone to break in your home, and easy for a patrolling officer to check on it, is to install adequate lighting in the yard as well as inside your home. A brightly lit yard at night is an undesirable yard for a stranger to enter if he is planning to break in. A well lit home interior will also discourage a burglar by making him or her think someone is at home.

A home owner can either install outside lighting, or call the local electric company for assistance. The City Electric System will install a street light on private property for a small fee of approximately $7 per month. The electric companies also provide free maintenance for such lights.

There are many types of yard lights to choose from. Traditional lights are mounted on the outside of a home, or on a pole in the yard. They are manually turned on and off, usually in the morning and the evening. These lights work well, except when a homeowner goes on vacation. Then, they must either be left on or left off either way, it makes it easy for a burglar to tell you aren’t home.

This is where timers for lights come in. It is relatively easy and inexpensive to buy timers for yard lights that will turn them on and off when you aren’t at home. The Sheriff’s Office highly recommends you have timers on your yard lights.

Another option in yard lighting is installing motion detector lights. Motion lights are yard lights that come on when their sensors detect body heat or motion nearby. This can be useful for several reasons: if you come home at night after dark, the lights will automatically come on when you approach; and, if a burglar enters what appears to be a dark yard, the lights will suddenly come on, scaring him or her away.
If you are an energy conscious person, most hardware stores market solar lights for the yard. Most of these lights will store enough energy during the day from the sun to stay lit for up to eight hours during the night.

In any case, lighting your yard is a must for a safe and secure home. Once you get lights installed, turn them on at night and go out to the street. If you can see most areas of your lawn, particularly around the home’s windows, you have a well lighted yard.

5. House numbers: Many people don’t realize how important it is to put visible house numbers on their homes. Posted addresses are not only used by the United States Post Office to deliver the mail, they are also crucial for law enforcement, fire department or ambulance personnel trying to locate a house in an emergency.

It is common to hear people give their official address as, for example, the second from the last house on a certain street. While this may sound quaint, it can make it extremely difficult for someone trying to locate the house in a hurry. If possible, obtain a numerical address for your house by going to the local branch of the United States Post Office and asking the postmaster to provide one.

To make it easy for the sheriff’s office, or other emergency personnel to respond in an emergency, put house numbers in a prominent and visible place. Having house numbers on a mailbox is important, but the mailbox is not always in a good spot for quick viewing.

When purchasing the numbers, make sure they are four to six inches high, and a contrasting color to the background color of the building.

Remember, post office personnel are not the only ones who need to find a house. For safety and security, make sure an ambulance, fire truck, or sheriff’s deputy can respond to the correct location quickly in an emergency.

6. Dogs as a deterrent: There are many things that can make a home structurally more secure against burglars. Alarm systems, secure windows, and top quality dead bolt locks are just a few relatively easy security devices that can be installed for added safety.

One of the most effective deterrents, however, really doesn’t have anything to do with the actual structure of a home. A dog will often scare away even the boldest of thieves. Not many burglars will risk being bitten by a dog and, best of all, a dog will let a home-owner know when strangers approach the house.

There are just a few precautions an owner must take if a dog becomes a part of home security. Make sure the dog is kept safely inside the yard. This can be accomplished by either a fence, or by chaining the dog.

In addition, post your property with a Beware of dog sign to let delivery people and meter readers know of the potential danger of entering the yard.

Dogs are not only a great way to keep a family secure, but they can be a wonderful addition to the family as well. And remember, a local animal shelter has many nice pets just waiting for a good home.

7. Burglar alarm systems: A well-installed, properly utilized electronic security system can result in peace of mind for a family while also making a home highly burglar resistant. It will not, however, make a home burglar proof.

Before buying a system check on the reputation of the manufacturer. It's a good idea to ask for a list of current or recent customers and contact them for their opinion of the company's product.

Find out if the system causes a substantial number of false alarms and make sure it has battery back-up power so it works during power outages. Criminals in general, and burglars in particular, often double their efforts during outages because they are less likely to get caught.

If possible, find out the education and experience of the company's installers. Ask if the company offers assistance in getting reduced insurance premiums, and if there is a warranty and maintenance contract for the system. A reputable company should provide both. Contact at least two or three companies and compare their systems and prices before deciding to purchase one.

8. Don't be an easy target: All the security information and equipment in the world will do no good if a homeowner does not follow several important safety rules:
  • Don't hide a key around your house. A burglar knows where to look, and may find the key no matter where it is hidden. As an alternative, consider giving an extra key to a trusted neighbor.
  • Don't put any personal identification on key rings. This way, if keys are lost or stolen, they cannot be traced to a residence. As an added precaution, if keys are lost or stolen, change the cylinders in the locks immediately.
  • Don't leave windows open when you are not at home, even if you are only leaving for a short while. An open window is an open invitation to a burglar to come in and help himself.
  • Don't leave valuables in the open. This is needless temptation to anyone casing the house for a burglary. It is easy to put valuables away in a drawer or cabinet.
  • Don't leave the doors unlocked or open, even if leaving for just a little while. Again, this is just asking to be burglarized.
  • Make sure all tools, and ladders are put away. Everything should be stored in a locked garage or tool shed. Tools can be worth a considerable amount of money and can be easily taken if not locked up.
  • Tools can also be used to facilitate entry by a burglar. A simple screwdriver or hammer can be used to pry open or break a window or a door. A ladder close at hand makes it easy for a burglar to climb to a second story window, on to a balcony or even the roof where it may be easier to break in.
  • At night, leave yard lights on. A light makes it difficult for someone to break in through doors or windows without being seen by neighbors or deputies patrolling the neighborhood.

What happens if, despite all your prevention efforts, you still become a victim of a burglary, or other property related crime?

First, try not to panic. Get to the nearest phone, and immediately call the Sheriff's Office emergency 911 line. It is important for you to remain calm so you can effectively communicate with both Sheriff's dispatchers and with Sheriff's deputies when they arrive.

If you come home to find your home has been vandalized or burglarized, do not go inside or disturb anything on the premises. If you went inside before realizing a crime had been committed, leave immediately and try to remember anything you may have touched or moved inside, and inform deputies of it when they arrive.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Daughter’s boyfriend keeps sneaking in her bedroom at nights...


I am a “bitch” Mark ...can u tell me if I did anything wrong? …let me give u some background ...daughter’s boyfriend keeps sneaking in her bedroom at nights ...I told him not to, but he kept doing it, and one day they sneaked him into her bedroom and hid in the attic closet when I came home and they didn’t expect me.... the closest is right over my living room ...the ceiling didn’t hold my daughter's boyfriend's body weight and it destroyed my ceiling of my living room (cost over $100 to fix it). Well after everything that I told her he was not welcome onto my land anymore. I have warned her many times about him being on my land.

Well today I took her to school and then she asked me if I could pick her up after school ...and I said sure, and then she said that Justin (her b/f) was going to be here and could I give him a ride, and I said no. I wasn’t going to give her friends rides all over the place. Then she said fine I will walk home...

Well she came home about an hour after school with her b/f and he came on my land. I reminded her that he wasn’t welcome on my land and ask her to ask him to leave. Well she did and then he left and stood on the road ....about half hour later. I heard his voice outside my house on my porch. I asked my daughter again to leave and she had two minutes to get him off my land.

She said that she wanted him to come in and I said no again. She said "why not. Its cold outside.” I said ... “I already told u to get him off my land.” Well she started to yell at me. So I warned her to get him off my land. I stayed calm and collect so I didn’t take it out on her. She said well u have to respect that he is my b/f, and I told her that I do respect that but he has to leave. Then she yelled at me and called me a bitch.

Then I said to her. I’m gonna call 911 to have him removed if u don’t have him off in 30 seconds then I went to the door cause she wasn’t listening ...and told him to get off this land. He said to me “your funny” ...and walked away ...then she said to me ...u bitch …then I am leaving and am going to Justin’s and she left. And now I’m sitting here feeling guilty, hurt and sad about it all that has happened ...I don’t want her mad or hating me.


I want to compliment you. This is a great example of (a) refusing to be manipulated, (b) stating a house rule, (c) stating the consequence for breaking the rule and being prepared to follow through with the consequence, and (d) keeping your cool through the whole thing.

Good job! Now your daughter knows you mean business.

Now let’s trouble shoot: You have a Romeo and Juliet phenomenon on your hands that will need to be diffused (if not, they will continue to work harder at sneaking their rendezvous behind your back).

Unfortunately, if your daughter wants to be with someone, she'll find a way -- no matter what you say or do. Parents can only guide their children in the right direction and hope for the best. If they do a good job, their daughters will make the right decision all on their own.

Since you will not be successful at keeping those two apart, you must adopt a philosophy of if you can’t beat ‘em - join ‘em. In other words, they should be able to see one another within limits, and you decide what those limits are. Maybe your limits will look something like this:
  • They can be together at your house only during those times that you are home and can monitor their behavior (if not, he has to leave)
  • Or you could schedule some activity for them in which you would be a distant chaperon (e.g., take them to a shopping plaza and tell them to meet you back at the coffee shop in exactly one hour)
  • Or your daughter is allowed to go over to her boyfriend’s house for a designated time period (if she violates the time limit, there is a consequence that is commensurate with the “crime”)

Dear Mother: You will not win this battle. Figure out a way for your daughter to see her boyfriend in a way that will keep her safe. This is the best you will be able to do.

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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