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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It's time for daughter to move out...


Dear Mark,

HELP!! LOL!!

I just wanted to talk with you about some stuff; I am hoping you can email me as soon as you can!! Thanks for always responding so promptly, it has been a world of help!

I have emailed you plenty of times about our daughter. She is now graduated …thank heavens. We told you about the party she had in our house, and all the alcohol we found. She still won’t admit to it, but we know she did. I had emailed you before about her screaming and yelling on the phone with her boyfriend in our home and how we have asked her to stop it and it is breaking rules in our house when she does this. You suggested that she was in an addictive relationship and needed to move out for her sake as well.

She has done it two more times since; the last one scared my youngest daughter so much that she called me at work. I spoke with our oldest daughter about the situation and said it is time for her to move out, that she won’t respect our wishes and or our rules. She wasn’t sorry for her behavior; she just said she was upset. In addition over the weekend she received a ticket from a police officer for a minor in possession of marijuana and seems to think that it is the problem with society, not her.

The ticket is over a $1,000 dollars. She has a place to go and doesn’t want to go there. It is a friend of ours, who has a spare room, just blocks from the college that she will be attending in the fall. We have offered to pay 2 months rent up front, so she won’t have to worry about it right away and we have told her she has 2 weeks to go and we will move her there. She wouldn’t hear of a studio, or a dorm or a room for rent with a bunch of students and all of her friends are either staying with their parents or are going away for college. We really have no options.

She says she doesn’t want to go and that we can’t make her. I said well you won’t stick to the rules and it is just time for you to get out on your own. We offered to move her stuff.

I think she is going to make this hard and I am trying to take control of my home. She has said terrible things about us to her grandmother, who has taken her side and also thinks we are terrible for making her leave as well.

I am at my wits end. Does this sound on track? I always want to make sure I am doing the right thing.

Thanks, P.

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Hi P.,

Yes …you are definitely on track. Let me share a story that occurred last spring with one of the mother’s of Online Parent Support who was going through the same thing with her daughter. And yes…it does seem heartless at first:

Mother wanted daughter out …daughter didn’t want to leave …but she did want to basically harass her mother on a daily basis. Finally mom mustered the courage to follow my recommendation. Here’s what she did:

One day while the daughter was at summer school, mom and friends got a U-Haul truck and packed up all of the daughter’s things, moved them to a studio apartment …then to put the icing on the cake, mom confiscated her daughter’s garage door opener and changed the lock on the front door.

She had warned her daughter up front to be out of the house by a certain date, or she would take these measures. The daughter called her bluff and lost.

Long story short …this mother has kept me posted over the year. Her daughter has since moved into a larger apartment and is continuing to do fine at college. Mother and daughter have a fairly civilized relationship now (you know, absence makes the heart grow fonder kinda thing).

Mark Hutten, M.A.

Daughter is Hanging-out with a Bad Crowd

"Can u give me some guidance? I feel my daughter is hanging out with a bad crowd and have been trying to get her to see that but have had no success. She took some of these friends to one of her "good" friends sweet 16th birthday party with parent chaperones. The kids were dressed gothic and thought they could just go in with their cigarettes and all and thought nothing of it. I have tried to stop her from seeing them but she continues to do so."


First of all, it sounds like you are trying to “reason with” your daughter (a traditional parenting strategy that doesn’t work – and too often makes a bad problem worse).

We, as parents of strong-willed, out of control kids, must pick our battles very carefully. Which battles do we fight? The ones in which we have an element of control. Unfortunately, you will not be able to control who your daughter associates with (unless you ground her for the entire year).

Your daughter wants to be liked, to fit in, and she worries that other kids may make fun of her if she doesn’t go along with the group. Also, she is curious to try something new that others are doing. The idea that "everyone's doing it" (whatever “it” is) may influence some kids to leave their better judgment, or common sense, behind.

We have to prepare our kids for peer pressure when they are very young (prevention strategies rather than intervention ones). Thus, when kids are younger, we want to do the following:

1. We want to develop a close relationship with our kids. Kids who have close relationships with their parents are more likely to identify with - and try to please - their parents by doing the right things, and they are much more likely to go to their parents when they are in trouble or are having problems.

2. We want to figure out the reasons our kids are giving into peer pressure and address them immediately. Kids give into peer pressure for many different reasons (e.g., lack of self-confidence or self-discipline). We should try to find the reasons and then attempt to solve the problem.

3. We want to teach our kids to say “NO”. It is tough to be the only one saying NO, but we can tell our kids they can do it. Paying attention to their own feelings and beliefs about what is right or wrong will help them do the proper thing.

These suggestions may not be a big help to you now, but I had to mention that (a) parent’s strategies for helping kids deal with peer pressure need to be implemented early, and (b) once they are teenagers, we have to “let go” and trust that we did something right while we were guiding them through their childhood and preteen years.

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

Take Care of Your Mental Health: Tips for Distraught Parents of ODD Teens

"Is it normal for parents to experience a lot of depression as they deal with their oppositional defiant teenagers? My daughter's behavior is negatively affecting both my work and my marriage now. I feel like such a failure as a parent."


Yes... absolutely!

Here are some of the other feelings and thoughts that occur when parents have to live with a strong-willed, out of control teenager:

  • Ambivalence toward the defiant child (“I love her, but when her mindset causes her to be cruel, I also wish she'd go away.”)
  • Anger and jealousy (“Her siblings resent all the attention I have to give her.”)
  • Anxiety (“I’m afraid to leave her alone or hurt her feelings.”)
  • Bitterness (“Why did this happen to us?”)
  • Blaming self and each other (“If only I had been a better parent... If you would only listen...”)
  • Concern for the future (“What's going to happen after I’m gone? Who will take care of her?)
  • Denial of the severity of the issue (“This is only a phase ...it will pass”.)
  • Depression (“I can't even talk about it without crying.”)
  • Divorce (“It tore our family apart.”)
  • Excessive searching for possible explanations (“Was it something I did?”)
  • Fear (“Will she harm himself or others?”)
  • Feelings of isolation (“No one understands.”)
  • Inability to think or talk about anything but family issues (“All our lives revolve around her behavior-problems.”)
  • Increased use of alcohol or tranquilizers (“My evening drink turned into three or four.”)
  • Marital discord (“Our relationship became cold. I felt dead inside.”)
  • Preoccupation with moving away (“Maybe if we lived somewhere else, things would be better.”)
  • Shame and guilt (“Am I to blame? What will people think?”)
  • Sleeplessness (“I've aged double time in the last 3 years.”)
  • Sorrow (“I feel like I've lost my child”.)
  •  Total denial of the issues (“This can't be happening in our family.”)
  • Weight loss (“I've been through the mill, and it shows in my health.”)
  • Withdrawal from social activities (“We don't attend family get-togethers anymore.”)

This is why it is so terribly important for us, as parents, to take care of ourselves. If we don't make a concerted effort to nurture our physical and mental health, we will become stressed to the point of ruining our immune system, which WILL result in some kind of disease process (e.g., cancer, heart disease, joint problems, etc.).

Take care of yourself before it's too late!!!

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

Aversion Therapy = Pullin' Weeds

"I’m raising my grandson who was suspended from school (year 8) for the past week for swearing at a teacher. He was told that he would get 2 weeks next time. He now has the attitude that if I send him back to school he will see to it that he is sent home again and again. I did do the 3 days behaviour in his room and I do notice that he is getting bored, but he seems to have the attitude that boredom is better then school. So now what?!"


So he just hangs-out in his room? How difficult is that? Not very!

In this situation, “staying at home” must be more uncomfortable to him than “going to school.” Rather than telling you what you “should” do here, I’ll just tell you what I did:

When my son (now 32) got suspended from school (at age 9) for back-talking a teacher, I made life at home pretty damn miserable for him (just short of ‘pure hell’):
  • He could NOT sleep in
  • He could NOT take naps
  • He could NOT stay up past 9:00 (he either went to sleep or looked at the ceiling all night)
  • He could NOT access any games, music, t.v., etc.
  • He was grounded FROM his room rather than TO his room (due to the fact that he liked to hide in there when he was mad)
  • He was required to do extra chores throughout the day (about 4 hours every day)

Was he bored? Nope. Tired? YES!

Now... I won’t say he was excited about getting back to school after the suspension, but – let’s put it this way – he preferred sitting at a desk at school rather than picking weeds and scrubbing oils spots off the driveway at home (a little dose of aversion therapy).

It didn't matter to me whether or not he was doing the chores perfectly ...I had bigger fish to fry. The only thing that mattered was that he was spending a lot of time and energy performing tasks he had no interest in.

He never got suspended again (although he thought about it a few times). Was this luck? I don’t think so.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

"She has been playing games with me....."

My daughter's status right now is - Grounded during the week until school is over (she was gone every night before). She does have her weekends.

Question: How should I go about implementing the 3 day discipline. Should I explain to her what the 3 day plan is??

>>>>>>>>>>>1. Clearly state your expectation.

"Be sure to wash the dishes." "It's time for you to get the trash out." "I need you to pick up your dirty laundry."

2. If your child does what she is told to do, reward her with acknowledgment and praise.

"You did a great job of doing the dishes." "Thank you for getting to bed on time." "I appreciate that you picked up your dirty clothes."

Note: "Rewards" such as hugs, kisses, and high-fives increase your children's motivation to do what you ask them to do.

3. If your child refuses or ignores your request, then a clear warning (with your best poker face) should be given immediately in the form of a simple "If/Then" statement.

"If you choose to ignore my request, then you choose the consequence, which will be ________ " (pick the least restrictive consequence first, such as no phone privileges for one evening).

4. If the warning is ignored, then quickly follow through with the discipline.

"Because you chose to ignore my request, you also chose the consequence which is no phone tonight."

5. If your child refuses to accept the consequence ( e.g., she gets on the phone anyway), take everything away (or at least her "favorite" stuff and/or activities) and ground her for 3 days. If she has a rage-attack when she finds out she is grounded for 3 days, the 3-day-discipline does not start until she calms down. If she violates the 3-day-discipline at any point, merely re-start the 3 days rather than making it 7 days or longer.

6. Tell your child exactly she/he can do to EARN her way off discipline.

"If you do the dishes tonight and tomorrow, then you will be off discipline in 3 days." "If you get the trash out every night, you'll be off ground in 3 days."

Also, she has been playing games with me, like calling (at work) from school asking if she could go to her friends house, telling me I could pick her up on my way home so that would only be a few hours. She told me she didn't have any homework (still getting 2 E's and 2 D's). I let her, but then she called me and said they were going with another friend, then she ended up hanging out in a park.....give an inch, take a mile! And I fell for it.

>>>>>>>>>>>> What did she do to earn this privilege (i.e., going to friend's house)?

After she called me from the park, I told her to get home and this was not the deal! She came home. She was very mouthy to me and said she is so sick of me! Then I found homework that she had and didn't do! She totally lied to me! Of course she said she "she forgot".

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Please refer to my recommendation on poor academic performance here =>
Click Here

Ugh, I had to leave the house because I was going to blow. I went for a short ride. When I got back she was very "nice" to me, and the homework was sitting on the table....done.

There was no more discipline given for these actions???? I did praise her for the homework being done.

So what should I do when she tries this again??? Should I warn her first?  

>>>>>YES

Should I bring up this past when she asked again. She uses this against me "you didn't ground me last time". Help me with this manipulation!

Never retract a consequence once instated ...and try to be consistent with consequences across time and across situations ( i.e., behavior "x" always gets consequence "y").

Mark Hutten, M.A.

==> MyOutOfControlTeen.com

Boyfriend Problem is a Romeo and Juliet Phenomenon

Hi Mark, Here's the big question (at least for now). What to do about the boyfriend? I thought that, after the prom night fiasco, this relationship should end, but I offered the compromise of letting her see him with my supervision. Daughter says she won't accept that. If she goes off with him without my permission, should I call the police immediately, or is there any other consequence I could impose?

>>>>>>>>>>Calling the police would only be a temporary fix …but it will drive them closer together in the long run too.

I've thought of telling her that she cannot take JROTC next year if she goes off - I was against it this year because I don't think it belongs in schools and I don't want to feed her military obsession, but let her have her choice. I think that would fit the crime because she met the boyfriend and this older group that drinks and smokes pot through JROTC.

Right now our worst fights are over the boyfriend. Before she met him, the main "battles" were over the internet. I've had the pregnancy/ STD talks with her, but of course she thinks she's immune. Yesterday we had the worst one yet when I wouldn't let her go out. Ironically enough, he didn't even ask her out! (I'm praying that, like so many teenage romances, this one will die a natural death).

There will be another fight over the boyfriend today, I'm sure. One of the house rules is no dating on school nights (today would be the first day off the two weeks grounding, but if I let her date on a school night once, then she will expect that all the time).

>>>>>>>>>>> Two weeks is about 11 days too long.

>>>>>>>> You have a Romeo & 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 daughter will make the right decision all on her 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 reasonable limits. For example:

· 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)

· 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)

· 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”)

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.


I've let her go to a friend's on a school night, but these are friends I know, not this older group she wants to associate with. She doesn't see that going to a friend's on a school night is different from dating.

Re: the internet: So far all she's done to earn computer privileges is to make honor roll.

I take computer privileges for one day if she stays on it too long. The problem now is that she often has homework (and now has two research projects) for which she needs the computer, and I've given in and let her use it to get her homework done.

>>>>>>>>>>> Computer use is still a privilege, not a right. Out of control kids often use the excuse of needing to do research or homework in order to get the parent to reinstate computer privileges. You’ve just been punked – again!

What she's been doing is multitasking, doing some homework but mostly IM'ing her friends or wasting time on MySpace. So I guess I should keep her off the internet, homework or not. Should I use the 3 day grounding rather than just taking the computer for one day?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This is covered in the strategy entitled “When You Want Something From Your Kid.”

She says she doesn't care about school, but it did bother her last time when she missed honor roll for the first time (all A's and a C in Algebra II).

Re: suicide threats: Thanks for your answer; it relieves many of my worries. Next time she does it, I'll put on the "poker face" and as you said, keep an eye on it. I'm just worried about her if the boyfriend breaks up with her, as she's quite impulsive.

Re: living situation: There's a maximum one-year time frame for staying here. I'm due to finish my PhD dissertation by May (passed all exams and have most of the research done), and I'm going on the academic job market, which will mean moving to wherever I can find a tenure-track job. My mother's health is getting worse, but she says she'd rather move to a retirement home than come with me.

Actually, although my mother owns the house, she is dependent on me because she cannot maintain it or even do her own grocery shopping. For now, after daughter had the worst tantrum yet when I wouldn't let her see the boyfriend (she's still on the two weeks grounding for prom night), Grandma has agreed not to interfere when I discipline daughter. There's something of a Catch 22 - total self-reliance with a low paying full time job now could also give her the message of quitting the degree when things get difficult (full time work would mean no time for the
diss; I've tried).

>>>>>>>>>>> I agree …it is a catch 22. You have to weigh everything together and pick the lesser of the two “evils” so to speak (i.e., which course of action will be less problematic).

I used the statement you suggested - admitting I made mistakes parenting, apologizing, making amends, letting her know there will be some changes. And I also admitted I was wrong to yell back at her. Reading the ebook, I think the biggest mistake I've been making is to let the arguing escalate. I'm ashamed to admit this, but all too often I yell back at her and get extremely angry at her. For example, a few days ago when she screamed "I hate it here" I yelled back "OK, if you want to go to foster care, you can" and she cried "my family doesn't want me." We both have said very hurtful things to one another. I've apologized and own my part, but she continues to blame me for everything.

I see my major task for Week 1 as practicing the "poker face", breathing deeply, and saying "I'm not going to argue with you" no matter what she says, and enforcing the rules re: the boyfriend and internet. Does this sound about right to you?

>>>>>>>>> Here’s the bottom line: If those two want to see each other, nothing will be able to stop it. The more attention you give it, and the more intensity you provide when “things are going wrong” (i.e., the two of you fighting over this boyfriend), the more those two will bond.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

Detective Mom


Mark, Thanks for the previous advice. Your methods do seem to be working. We had a beautiful FSS (thanks!). My husband thinks I'm crazy for how "lenient" he feels I'm being, but he has not interfered for 1 week! My 16 yr old son is in a relationship with a 16 yr old girl (~1 1/2 yrs now) that I feel is not good. I have not said anything negative about her in ~1 month. I have let them see each other in supervised settings. Her parents have no rules whatsoever and tell him we're wrong, but I do try to deal with this.

I would like your advice on the following: My son went out after Lacrosse practice last night (I do feel this is part of school and a GOOD thing for him as it helps keep him busy and I know where he is at) which I was OK with since he has been earning this right by following all of our rules. I did get a "bad vibe" later that he was not where he said--can't prove it. He would not answer his phone, ended up at his girlfriends (this was not OK'd, but probably would have been if I knew beforehand and parents were home), and when he called was 15 minutes late and I ended up picking him up. He still swears he went where he said.

I did tell him he was to stay home tonight after his game (lost privilege of going out) and he would not get his phone back until this evening. This was because he did not answer his phone, was late, and was not where we agreed upon. He was NOT happy, but did not argue much, only threatening me he can't call me if to pick him up earlier (game may be canceled because of predicted storm heading our way) since I took his phone. I let this pass, "not arguing".

I did check his phone text-messaging today while he is at school, and it appears he may have intended/or did have a fight with a boy over his girlfriend. He was accusing this girl of "cheating" on him and "F*****" someone else. He did end up at her house later in the evening), don't know if they made up or not, and he says he did not get there until 8:30 but his text to her indicates he was arriving at 7pm. He did have some calls to a boy whose name I don't know.

Another friend text him today with "did you fight or not?" He also did speak with another girl last night, which he has not done before (could be starting to break-up with current girlfriend?).

My husband and I would LOVE for this relationship to end. How would you handle this? Confront him about the calls/text? He would know I check his phone and I am trying to build back trust. It can't be proven (where he was or if the fight did happen). If you could guide me in what step(s) to take with this, and what the consequences should be, I would very much appreciate it!!! Thanks again!

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Re: How would you handle this? You already handled it the way you should (i.e., ground with no cell privileges).

Re: Confront him about the calls/text? If it can’t be proven (i.e., where he was or if the fight did happen), then you have nothing to gain by confronting him on this. He’ll just deny that anything happened, and you’ll go fishing for an argument.

Also, you have nothing to gain by telling him you checked his calls/text. If you do tell him, he will just find other ways to communicate with friends (or make sure everything is erased before you confiscate it again).

I’d let this be your secret. Thus, when you take away the cell in future disciplines, you’ll have a potential investigation tool (i.e., cell). Depending on the seriousness of future texts/calls, you may or may not decide to confront at that time. In the meantime, I would keep my ear to the ground regarding tension between your son and that other kid.

Great ‘undercover’ work,

Mark Hutten, M.A.

Mom Refuses To Allow Her 'Education Buttons' To Get Pushed

Dear parent: I’ve responded where you see these arrows.

Just as you predicted, we are having some good days as well as bad. My 16 yr old sophomore just got caught skipping a class (chemistry) 2 days in a row this week--his girlfriend turned him in as they were arguing/breaking up (I think they are back together now). He was in the lunchroom. He was given 2 detentions. He now is saying he "may not serve" them. I kept my composure but it is really hard.

We also got his progress report in the mail yesterday and as he has been telling us (for several weeks) his grades are lower. I truly thought he was doing this to get a response out of me, and he didn't. He is getting a C- in chemistry (was a B+) and a D in advanced algebra (was a C). I did tell him (as I have been for the several weeks now) that it is his responsibility/future etc. and I cannot MAKE him get better grades. I did try to engage him in a non-biased discussion about how did he feel about it, why did he feel his grades were dropping, what he could do to improve them. He said he felt they were ok, he didn't care anymore, school is boring, etc. Is the correct action to do NOTHING?

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Close to nothing.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> I would ask to see his report card. And I would reassure him periodically that he is “more than capable of making all A’s and B’s.”

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Remember, we provide intensity (i.e., acknowledgment and praise) when things are going right (i.e., kid making C’s, B’s, A’s), and provide no intensity (i.e., getting angry, arguing, lecturing, threatening, allowing our ‘education buttons’ to get pushed) when things are going wrong (i.e., kid making bad grades). School is your kid’s job. Bad grades do NOT fall into the “chore” category -- nor the “behavioral problem” category.

This is harder for me to accept than I thought it would be. I did tell him to bring his books home for the next few days and spend some time with them open and I would still take him to part 2 of driver's training, as he has not been violent, misusing his phone, etc. This would only be a piece of paper getting closer to obtaining his license, but I'm not ready to let him get it yet.

>>>>>>>>>>> To allow a kid to get his driver’s license is to “foster the development of self-reliance.” This is what we, as parents, are always shooting for.

I should also mention that our 19yr old son has been a poor student since the 8th grade. He has been tested and was found to be perfectly capable of doing the work. We forced him to go to summer school twice and to a tutor (all of which he paid for) but his grades never improved.

>>>>>>>>>> More evidence that when parents allow their ‘education buttons’ to get pushed, they ultimately ‘lose the war’ on ‘bad grades’.

He would scan his report card into our computer and then change the grades/comments. He would try this over and over again. I had to go get them directly from the school myself. We waited until the last week before he graduated to know for sure whether he would or not.

He did attend college this year and we just found out he is not academically eligible to come back. I found this letter in the outside trash. He once again was trying to change the grade for us (his parents) to see. This was in the trash also. He was paying for college on his own with the understanding that we would reimburse a % based on the grade he received.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> I REALLY like this idea …now you’re thinkin’.

Since he is of age, he does have some choices to make (attend community college, work full-time and pay all of his own bills in his name and live at home and pay rent, or move out and pay all of his own bills). We have given him until the weekend to tell us of his plans. He also will hardly talk to us about this. I now know we handled it wrong, but this occurred long ago.

>>>>>>>>>> I think the “living at home” arrangement (pays rent) will work for a while, but remember – “self-reliance is key.” He really should be OUT by age 20 if you want to be consistent with this model.

My husband is having a terrible time with this method, but he is at least listening to me most of the time and trying to just not be part of it and letting me handle the behaviours/consequences.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Good. I’m glad he stays out of your way.

I feel I am an emotional wreck as my boys (especially 16 yr old) test me over and over. I just need clarification to simply let the grades go down with no action/consequence/discipline. I did read the book (over and over) and listen to the on-line (over and over), but still feel so much better when you respond with your e-mail. I do feel this is the way you intend us parents to handle it.

>>>>>>>>>> You are on track! Now …stay on that track.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

You Are Not Your Teenager's "Buddy"

Mark …I have a simple question: I try to be my daughter’s friend, because her father is not involved at all in her life. Is this good or bad? Signed, Single Mom
_________________

I regularly see a lot of evidence that today’s teens are trying to act older while today’s parents are trying to act younger. So you've got kids trying to be adults, and adults trying to be kids. It makes for a weird dynamic – and confuses the teenager as to who's the role model.

In those cases where the parent is a ‘buddy,’ the parent-child relationship tends to be a love-hate relationship.

I understand that the family unit itself has changed (e.g., more single parents, gay parents, parents who are dating, etc.). And I also know it’s hard for the single parent to be both a “friend” and a “disciplinarian.” But you have to pick one or the other – and your pick should be the one who employs “tough love.”

“Tough love” has 2 components though: (1) the tough part and (2) the nurturing part. It’s very possible to provide a steady diet of ‘tough’ and still have plenty of moments for ‘love’ (i.e., moments where you and your teenager are emotionally close, united and bonded).

In any event, you are not a buddy! She has other buddies, but she has only one parent – you. If she really needs an “adult” buddy, hook her up with an aunt, a Big Sister (from Big Brothers/Big Sisters Org.), or one of your trusted female adult friends.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

Daughter Refuses to Take Meds for Depression

"How do you get a teen to go back to the dr and stay on meds for depression? She is 18 and we went to the psychiatrist one time and she refuses to go back. He won't prescribe without seeing her again. All she does is cry and then tell me she hates me. I am her punching bag. I get called every name in the book. Her dad used to abuse her so I know she has baggage but I can't live this way anymore :(   ...I took away her car last night because she blew curfew by 3 hours. Then she tells me she won't be able to get to school. I almost made my life worse by punishing her!"


Unfortunately, you can't get her to take her meds! Do yourself a big favor and get out of the business of playing psychiatrist. The more you take responsibility for your daughter's mental health, the less responsibility she will take.

The problem is an ownership problem. Let go of ownership of your daughter's mental health. No more nagging about taking meds. No more asking her to make and keep a doctor’s appointment. This problem belongs to your daughter.

When you give up ownership, your daughter will have to make a choice - she'll have to decide if she will or will not accept ownership of her treatment for depression. And she'll lose the power of pushing your mental health buttons, to frustrate and worry you.

Out-of-control teens intentionally refuse to take their meds (for ADHD, Bipolar, depression, etc.) to push their parents’ buttons. Often parents are in a never-ending cycle of their teen’s sabotage. Since parents are continuously telling their kids how important it is to get to the doctor, to get on some form of medication, and take it regularly - their teens use this information to anger them.

The more parents try, the less out-of-control teens comply.

Get rid of the fear that your daughter is going to end up killing herself due to depression. I’m not saying you should take ‘threats of suicide’ with a grain of salt however.


"Machiavellian" Behavior in Out-of-Control Teens

My 14 year-old son has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADD, sensory integration dysfunction, other processing disorders and is a genius. Things have been manageable until recently when I began to date an old college boyfriend. I am a 47 year old single parent twice divorced with 1 son from each marriage. My 14 year old lives with me 365 days of the year and his 10 year old half-brother lives with us about 40% of the time. I am a full time trial lawyer for a local government agency and help with my aging parents.

Recently my 14 year old has ramped up the rude and disrespectful behavior, like calling me a bitch and being rude to his brother. My boyfriend will not come to my home- which pleases my son greatly. Implementing consequences for the name-calling has been met with intense response--like stating he will turn his brother against me and convince him to never come to our home. Mean, horrible things like that. He rages and his incredibly intense, always has been. His psychiatrist thinks he may need residential treatment--I hate to think it has come to that. Any suggestions to eliminate the threats and Machiavellian behavior? Thank you for any input, M.H.

-----------------------------------

Hi M.,

A couple points:

1. Clearly he doesn’t want to share you with a boyfriend. But (a) you should be able to have a social life and (b) your son needs to learn the lesson that you are not his slave (i.e., not someone who pours all her time and energy into one person). Don’t let him manipulate you out of a relationship with a boyfriend.

2. A kid’s emotional and behavioral problems happen for a variety of reasons. There’s never just one simple cause. The current problems could be due to something at home or school, something that happened in the past, bio-chemical changes that occur as the child develops, etc. (you did mention that he is 14-years-old now …kids usually fire their caretakers as managers around this age and say, ”I take it from here”). In any event, it wouldn’t be a good use of time and energy to speculate about the cause. All we can do is address issues today.

You mentioned “things have been manageable until recently.” I find that when parents were experiencing an improvement in their child’s behavior, and then things got worse again, it is nearly always the case that the parent has neglected some of her strategies. The method discussed in my ebook consists of a ‘set of strategies’ that must be used ‘in combination’ with one another. If any part of the method is overlooked, the entire system fails.

Consider all the individual components in the transmission of your car. If just one tiny part (e.g., a check ball or a little spring) is lose or broken, the entire transmission stops working. The same is true with these parenting strategies.

Let me provide you with a check-list. If you answer “no” to any of these statements, you may have discovered a potential problem in your parenting transmission:

1. After issuing a consequence, I never retract it.

2. I allow my out-of-control kid to make wrong choices, which gives him wisdom; experience is a great teacher.

3. I am able to differentiate between my kid’s wants and her/his needs.

4. I don’t nag – I simply follow through with the consequence.

5. I don’t try to save my kid from negative consequences and painful emotions associated with poor choices.

6. I expect my out-of-control kid to resist my new parenting strategies.

7. I give equal love to all my kids, but parent them differently.

8. I give only one warning -- then I follow through with the consequence.

9. I give my kid at least five chores to do each week.

10. When I slip into a rage against my kid, I apologize, but I don’t try to compensate by over-indulging him/her.

11. I keep an eye out for my kid’s guilt-trips.

12. I know that a weaker parenting-strategy supported by both parents is better than a stronger strategy supported by only one, and I adjust accordingly.

13. I have learned to say “no”-- and to stick with “no” when it is my answer.

14. I only give my kid gifts on birthdays, Christmas and graduation.

15. I understand that over-indulged kids are too comfortable and that they need some discomfort before they will change.

16. I understand that parenting is not a popularity contest – I am not a "buddy"!

17. I respond to my kid’s anger with a poker face.

18. When taking away privileges, I take away the privilege for a short period (3 days works best; if it lasts too long, resentment builds, my kid forgets the infraction, and the lesson is lost).

19. When I catch myself feeling sorry for my kid, I know it is a sign that I am – once again – taking on too much responsibility.

20. When my kid needs to be cheered-up, I do so with active listening, empathy, paraphrasing, validation, and hugs rather than giving her/him stuff or freedom (e.g., unearned privileges, food, gifts, fun activities, etc.).

21. I do not dabble with these non-traditional parenting strategies – I am consistent!

22. I regularly use “The Art Of Saying Yes” when my answer is yes (covered in the ebook).

23. I regularly use “The Art Of Saying No” when my answer is no (covered in the ebook).

24. I regularly use the strategy “When You Want Something From Your Kid” whenever I want my kid to do as requested (covered in the ebook).

25. I avoid power struggles at all cost.

26. I have the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and I have the wisdom to know the difference.

Do a quick tune-up on your parenting transmission, and things should become manageable again. And of course, let your son know that you have plenty of love to go around; you won’t love him any less or spend any less time with him just because you have a boyfriend.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

==> MyOutOfControlTeen.com

The Marriage First - Kids Second

My husband and I have been in a battle about priorities with children, we set guidelines and I end up having to be the one to follow up and he usually wears out in the middle of it and 'wants to have some fun with the kids' resulting in him stating I am too tough with the kids. We took his daughter in 5 years ago, split up over her playing him which ended up with him having to verify EVERYTHING I stated with his 9 year old daughter at that time, before it could be valid, meaning I was not valid unless his daughter stated it. We split up and I went back, yes, it was my choice but I thought he made changes and he did but we are at the same point again. His daughter and I have a wonderful relationship now and mainly because we all made changes.

We had a disagreement about the kids again, I was too tough on them, and I told him in hurt and anger that he has the wrong priorities, he needed to put me first and the way he treats me is wrong. Of course he disagreed on that and I told him he needed to start asking others around us, after asking who, I told him he could start with his daughter. He was silent and then angry stating he will take it up with her, making remarks about how her father handles anything. I told him she would tell him the same I do, which he replied to that he would ask her, if she stated he had an issue, he would have to review his actions and make changes, this was a repeat of what he used to do to me before. I asked him if he meant that he would validate her statement but not mine and he replied that was exactly it, since all I wanted to do was to control things and if she would see his actions as an issue, then there would be something to work on.

Needless to say, that felt like a knife in my back and I told him that he needed to handle the children as he felt correct. I called his daughter and told her about the conversation and told her that if she did not want to be confronted, I did not expect her to admit making that statement before, which is what she did. Everyone fears my husband's wrath and since it was me that opened my mouth, I did not want her to have to reap the consequences.

My question is, do we put our child's statement before our spouse? Is following up on responsibilities and consequences with children a control issue?

----------------------

Re: My question is, do we put our child's statement before our spouse?

No. I regularly tell parents not to believe anything their kids say (as in 0%), because strong-willed, out-of-control kids rarely speak the truth. They routinely try to convince the father that the mother is mistreating them …try to convince the mother that the father is unfair …try convince the parents that the teachers are cruel and unjust …try to convince the teachers that the parents are abusive …and so on.

The marriage is the foundation of the entire family, and if the foundation is weak, the entire structure fails.

Analogy: Think of the marriage as the foundation of a house, and the children as the roof. If the foundation is cracked and sagging, it’s not long before the roof begins to buckle. Eventually, it’s not even safe to be in the house at all due to the impending collapse of the roof, which could result in and death or injury. Because the foundation problems were not repaired at the first sign of trouble, the entire house must be demolished for safety reasons.

Similarly, if the marital-foundation is weak and goes without repair for several months (i.e., parents choosing not to be united an bonded on most issues), the family-unit will fail, and family members will have to find a safer environment to live in.

Re: Is following up on responsibilities and consequences with children a control issue?

No. It’s called assertive parenting (as opposed to passive, over-indulgent, or authoritarian parenting).

Mark Hutten,M.A.

==> MyOutOfControlTeen.com

When You Have to Constantly Remind Your Child to Do Chores

We started laying down the law to my son Ryan who will be 16 in few weeks and have tried to make him more accountable. He and his siblings are expected to put their clothes in the hamper twice a day, to make their bed each morning and pick up items on their floors before they leave. The rule is that if you want to have friends over/go out over the weekend that you will comply. The younger 2 do this almost without reminder. It is working well. Ryan needs to be reminded.

Today he was running late and looking for his baseball hat. He, per usual...asked for help in trying to find it. Because he asked nicer than his usual accusatory tone I did try to help a bit. In the process of trying to find it he ended up pulling out many clothes, which are now all over the floor. He did find the hat under his own bed.

As Ryan was preparing to wait for the bus, I reminded him of the need to pick up his room. He curtly replied that he did not have time as the bus was coming (which was mostly true and honestly I did not want to drive him if he missed it.) and that he would do it when he came home later that night.

Now I have a cleaning woman in today who will end up picking it all up for him by the time he gets home. I let him go and did not say anything. Thoughts?

1. I probably should have left the cleaning woman a note NOT to pick up his room??

2. I could have pushed it and made him miss his bus but figured this was a case of pick your battles.

3. I did not like though that he TOLD me what he was doing vs asking ...but at his age what is a reasonable expectation. He was not terribly disrespectful ...but he was assertive.

Let me know how you would have handled this.

-----------------------

You are greatly on target. It would have been appropriate for the cleaning lady to bypass his room. And I agree that “not making him miss the bus” was a good call. It sounds like you will have to remind him about chores, however.

Should you have to remind your son to do chores? You'd better plan on it unless you want to feel frustrated. Teens are certainly capable of remembering a schedule of things that are important to them. However, chores are just not that important to them. Furthermore, they don't feel responsible for them. After all, it's your house, not theirs!

They don't feel the same level of "ownership" in the way the house looks. This explains why they can sometimes show impressive cleaning skills when their friends are coming over or they're left at home for the weekend, but don't remember the chores at other times. For regular chores, save yourself the hassle and remind them.

Some teens bristle at this reminder, however, because they think that they don't need the reminder. To avoid this resentment, you might include the reminder in a general review of everyone's schedule and responsibilities for the day, or make a reminder/check-off sheet for everyone's chores (including your own). Then you can present the list as a reminder for yourself, also.

Another strategy is to ask your teen to monitor the compliance with chores for the family, including your compliance. They feel more investment in the tasks, and you may share more empathy with your teen when you experience their reminders to do your chores.

Given the arguments and the supervision that are sometimes required to get some teens to finish chores, many parents ask, "Why bother?" Be assured that the effort is, indeed, worthwhile. Accomplishment of chores are especially important for teens because they teach basic domestic "survival skills" that will help the teens to successfully and competently live separately from their parents when that time comes.

This competence also adds to their sense of self-reliance – AND REMEMBER: SELF-RELIANCE IS KEY! It can also foster self-discipline and order, which are foundations for successful employment. And, chores help the teens to prepare to be responsible roommates, the first step in being responsible and helpful community members.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

==> MyOutOfControlTeen.com

Juvenile Probation Officer is Recommending DOC

Hi, Mark,

My son, K___, is almost 16. He was diagnosed as bipolar, adhd & odd in Oct. 2016. Shortly after being placed on meds we had to call the police to help with him. We were to take him to the ER where they transferred him to the psychiatric hosp. Later they sent him to the state hospital to stabilize his moods and meds.

Last Sept. they released him. He was not complying with his treatment plan and interfering with others. We contacted the State's Att. office to see what we could do. We were afraid of him. He was suicidal and homicidal. We were encouraged to file a CHINS (children in need of supervision) petition. For the past 1 1/2 yrs. he has been on probation. Not "breaking" the law but not doing well either.

We had an in-home counselor referred (in addition to the private counselor). Recently my son was caught smoking, which of course, is a probation violation. Soon we will go to court (Nov. 5th) for Probation Revocation. His Probation Officer is recommending DOC ...boot camp.

It seems in this entire process that there is something missing ...Like resources to get him the help he really needs. His PO is so frustrated that he tells K___ NOT to do something and he DOES. Doesn't it seem that money would be better spent to have something for the kids who fall into the category of Mental illnesses instead of looking having punitive consequences?

I live in South Dakota ...I don't know if there is something in other states that acknowledge that these kids need help ...just in a different way. We are hoping that the Judge will look at residential care rather than Boot Camp. What are your thoughts on this? How can I help make a change to the system?

We've been to court and will go again for a dispositional hearing ...we'll have results from a recent Psychological Eval by then. What are statistics like for kids going in to and coming out of DOC?

Thanks,

L.F.

=================================================

Hi L.,

Three things determine how we turn out: (1) genetics, (2) environment, and (3) personal choice.

Your son can’t do anything about his genetics (bipolar has a strong genetic link, so someone else in your family probably has or had bipolar, perhaps a great grandfather for example).

He can’t do anything about his environment (i.e., parental influence in his nuclear family). I’m not blaming you, but I need to say something here, so don’t take this the wrong way:

I work with parents that are in the same boat as you. And these parents have over-indulged their kids for many, many years (basically the whole kid’s life), and unfortunately they are now reaping the consequences of their over-indulgent parenting style.

However, your son can do something about his personal choices. And he simply hasn’t learned how to make better choices yet. As you may have read in my ebook, he (as the result of over-indulgence) is emotionally more like a 9-year-old, even though chronologically he is 16. So, consider this:

A “normal” kid (whatever that means) matures at about the age of 21 (the brain is fully developed around that age). Because your son is approximately 9-years-old (again, I’m going on the assumption that he was over-indulged most of his life, which may or may not be the case), he will not likely be fully developed emotionally for another 10 - 12 years. I don’t mean to shock you here, but this means he will be about 26 to 28-years-old before he will arrive at a point where he is capable of making “grown-up” choices.

DOC has its advantages and disadvantages (too many pros and cons to list here). The main advantage is that the DOC environment will help him mature. The disadvantage is he will likely become a better “criminally-minded” individual (strange example: if you hang around the “Mud People” long enough, it won’t be long before you’re all muddy).

Re: “What are statistics like for kids going in to and coming out of DOC?”

Dozens of studies exist on this topic. In one study, the goal was to evaluate the practical effect of alternative programs for juvenile delinquents, which have been championed for the last decade as a way to reform rather than punish juveniles for delinquent behavior. To the surprise and disappointment of many, the vast majority of alternative programs did not reduce recidivism, and in fact, those that participated in alternative programs had a higher recidivism rate.

This particular study, compared the recidivism rates of 600 juveniles adjudicated in the years 1994 and 1999. It determined that delinquents in 1999 who completed the alternative programs were more likely to commit crimes after being released than delinquents who were in the juvenile justice system in 1994, before the alternative programs began.

Juveniles were compared at 6-, 12- and 18-month intervals after release and those that took part in alternative programs in 1999, had higher recidivism rates.

Another key finding of the report was the failure of current programs to help juveniles in the areas of substance abuse, negative peer pressure and the needs of dysfunctional families. The study sampled 22 of 100 alternative programs and found that only two were able to significantly lower recidivism rates for juveniles. Of the 22 programs studied, 4 are administered by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the others by the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division. Recommendations included a focus on the need to increase parental accountability through the courts and the expansion of aftercare services for juveniles when they are returned to the community (this is what I do at my day job; I provide aftercare services for kids coming home after a stint at DOC).

I know that it seems like there is no hope here. But, if parents will dig their heels in and stick to the strategies outlined in my ebook, they will greatly improve the odds that the ‘maturation process’ will be expedited (i.e., their kid’s emotional age will, sooner than later, approximate his/her chronological age). Nonetheless, you’ll have to play a game of “catch-up” for a while yet.

Be patient with the process. If you had smoked for 16 years, you wouldn’t expect your lungs to heal-up over night. In the same way, it’s going to take some time for your son to recover from a history of “poor-choice-making.”

Mark Hutten, M.A.

=================================================

Mark,

I appreciate your e-mail. We are not beyond examining our over-indulgence towards our son. He is after all an only child (maybe that explains a lot???). I always thought we were a little on the stingy side ...after all we've never rushed out to buy him the newest ...whatever. But he has never lacked for anything either.

You mentioned that perhaps it seemed as if there wasn't much hope. Actually I find it to be a very hopeful situation. There are two things out of three that we CAN do something about ...providing that he cooperates in making better choices, and let's not rule out the power of prayer. I mentioned all of this to our pastor's wife (a very close friend of mine) and she did say, "well he IS an only child." So from here, we will pursue something different, so he can be different ...and though he will most likely be placed in DOC custody I am hopeful that THERE he will find the tools that he will need to make the better choices.

I have a great respect for those in authority over us, and though we do not have a fool-proof system, I do believe that God will use this time in K___'s life to change him. And in the process we will be changed.

Thanks again for taking the time to chat about this. I'm sure you have a very demanding job in addition to maintaining the web-site and all of the responses from that. My prayer is that God will bless you in and through this!

L.

How to Deal with "Empty-Nest Syndrome"

"I feel that there is no help for parents or their teenagers in this world, or am I just seeing all the kids that are out of control …it seems like there is more of them then there is good ‘in control’ teens. My daughter has been gone for three weeks, although my home is a lot more peaceful and happy. When my hubby and I fight, she is always brought up. I don’t like it, and I find myself crying at nights. People keep telling me that she will come home, but how come I don’t believe it? She is 16 yrs old and lives with her boyfriend and his mom. My other daughter who is now 19 hasn’t come home yet and moved out when she was 15. My brother still thinks that both of my girls will come home sooner or later ...he says they always do ...somehow I don’t believe him ...ok maybe I’m just letting out my hurt and pain in this email, but I just needed to get it out of my brain ...even if it just for two minutes."

Your task is to take care of yourself now - especially your mental health. You've been a good parent, but now is the season for "empty-nest syndrome."

It is quite normal for a mother to feel some sadness at this time ...it is quite normal to have a little weeping now and again ...and it is even normal to go into the absent child's bedroom and sit there for a bit in an attempt to feel closer to him or her.

I know of one very successful, busy and confident woman (a member of Online Parent Support) who confessed to going into her son's bedroom to sniff his T-shirt shortly after he left to go to college for the first time. So don't be ashamed of your feelings - they are natural.

O.K. …your daughters have left home. You'll obviously want to keep in touch with them. But don't try and do this excessively. Be sensitive to the fact that they are trying to take a big, significant step in life, which doesn't actually have much to do with you.

Your daughters will need your support, but they will not want to feel suffocated. The more you cling or show that you're upset, the less likelihood there is of them contacting you in the future.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

I want my husband and I to both be on the same page...

Hi Mark,

Want my husband and I to both be on the same page so from now on as I email these quick scenarios and questions to you I will copy him. If you would be so kind as to reply all that would be great!!

Wanted to run this one by you.

1. I called Ryan down for lunch. He proceeded to take his plate into the family room and to march over and turn the TV show off that his younger sister was watching and of course she screamed.

2. I told him to please bring the food into the kitchen. (We have had a SOFT rule on this but have been flexible...) To which he replied no and proceeded to watch his show.

I again said …you both need to come out for lunch. You can watch TV in the kitchen. I was very calm.

>>>>>>>>> You may want to consider having only one t.v. in the house (not one in the kitchen however).

Ryan began to whine ..."come on ...give me a break ...I eat neatly ...I promise I wont get any food on the floor and I can only watch this show here due to the fact it was recorded."

In an effort to pick my battles I said. OK. Ryan. If you had merely explained that and asked please this may have gone very differently. Similarly rather than just switch the TV off you should have asked please to your sister to see if she would be ok with your choice. To wit...he mumbled under his breath..."please."

>>>>>>>>> O.K. I have to stop reading here. I can see where this is heading.

You just engaged in a form of over-indulgence (albeit mild). Please follow the strategy “When You Want Something From Your Kid” [Anger Management chapter of the ONLINE VERSION of the ebook].

I said ...ok. IF you would just set up snack tables for you and your sister, you can both eat in here. Again he turned up the remote and said NO. "I don’t need a table and I am NOT doing ANYTHING for HER. She can do it. I am not doing it". I said...calmly...I understand that you may not agree with this but that is not your call. I gave you a way to get what you want. If you don’t do this by the count of 3 ...you will lose all electronics for 3 days.

>>>>>>>>>> You are attempting to “reason with” your son here – you are appealing to his “rational mind” – which is a “traditional” parenting strategy that has little or no positive outcome.

Also, when you said “by the count of 3” – you unintentionally effected a power struggle.

A better approach would be to say, “WHEN you set up snack tables, you can eat and watch t.v. in the family room – take all the time you need” (confiscate the remote and withhold food until the snack table is set up …if it never gets set up, he doesn’t eat …unless he wants to eat in the kitchen).

Again he told me....NO. So I calmly said...ok. You have chosen your consequence and I left the room and calmly removed his cell phone, laptop and PSP and came back down and had my daughter eat her lunch in the kitchen.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Good.

He proceeded to watch TV and eat his lunch. At one point he called in ... I need my computer for school. So YOU need to give it back to me anyway. I said ...you should have thought of that before. He shouted that it will be YOUR fault if I don’t hand in my paper. I did not respond...assuming that if he TRULY needed to do schoolwork he could borrow my computer.

>>>>>>>>>>> Good. He was trying to push your ‘worry button’ here.

He then went on to tease his sister. Each time he would do something ...I would walk in and he would stop. This was so distracting I had to hang up my phone call and then he left the room calling back ...

>>>>>>>>> Teasing his sister is a different issue. You have to pick which battle you’re going to fight. Things are starting to pile up here [you’re in a power struggle again].

Make note of the additional behavioral problems and address them at a later date. Otherwise, your son will be successful at keeping you distracted – you’ll be running from one problem to the next, which will wear you out …plus he will win the struggle. Don’t get off the subject, which currently is the “eating in the family room” issue.

" I need my cell phone to call back a team mate about something important." I again held tight and said..."you will have to call him on the house phone." He said "I don’t know his number." I said..."oh well. We will get his mom’s number off the team roster."

>>>>>>>>> Good. You’re on track again.

He then mumbled and left the house to go out and play hoops.

Now...I was thinking this was SOMEWHAT successful and then I went upstairs to find his room was a mess. Now the irony is that He HAD picked up his room and made his bed earlier in the AM that day....the ONE thing we had seen SOME improvement in since we have started. After he left I realized that he had gone in and re messed up his bed...clothes were strewn all over the floor.

>>>>>>>>> Re-messing up his room is a separate issue. Make a note to address this later. You are allowing him to keep you distracted [which will be over-whelming and will interfere with your dealing with the original problem].

I am ASSUMING that again we restate the expectation around his room and make him clean it. This is the way that Ryan has ALWAYS been.

>>>>>>>>> Yes …but later.

If he feels like he blew it and is in trouble anyway...there is NO value in being good. So...please help? If we keep adding 3 days for each time now he mouths off/screws up...we will be back to the 2 month groundings that we are trying to avoid?

>>>>>>>>>>> Start with just one day with no cell …then if you have to, go 2 days with no cell or laptop …then go for the 3-day discipline and withhold all “toys”.

But the more important issue here is this: You must first disengage from the power struggle you are currently in with him. I can see that your relationship with him is one of “battle-of-the-wills.” And he’s winning (and always has).

To that end we are now thinking that if we say ...we have a big yard project to do today. If you do so without complaining or causing trouble you can earn back the electronics. You are doing the work either way.

>>>>>>>>> This is another traditional parenting strategy. I’m NOT saying, “don’t try it.” Go ahead and see if this works.

But, I think chores should be used for those occasions when the child is EARNING stuff and freedom – and should NOT be used as a way for him to make up for past sins.

He should be doing chores anyway. And to reward him (by retracting a consequence) for doing what he’s suppose to be doing anyway is, in effect, retracting the original consequence.

I know all this seems complicated, but you are greatly on track. But, again, you’ve got to get out of the power struggle. Follow the alternatives I’ve offered in this email to begin the process of disengagement.

More help here: ==> MyOutOfControlTeen.com

The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen

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

Click here for the full article...

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