I Feel Helpless

"I have bought your ebook and wanted your advice. I spilt from my partner 2 years ago, and my eldest son who is 13 nearly 14 stayed with his dad. The problem I have is our son is out of control, and I feel helpless, as my son is just how you describe, and his dad is exactly how you describe. I do punishments and follow them through, but how can I get his dad to see that him giving our son whatever he wants is the cause for his behaviour -- and is not because his dad and I parted. His dad can say he is grounded, but then lets his friends sleep over. I'm at my wits end with worry and feel so helpless. When I was with my ex, this was always a big problem, because whenever I said no, it would be "I’ll ask dad ...he will let me" -- and yes he would. Any help or advice would be great. Many thanks A."


Hi A.,

There are two things that will happen:

1.Dad (your ex) will be on the same page as you …or
2.Dad will NOT be on the same page as you

If it is likely that dad will read the eBook and follow the same strategies as you, feel free to give him a copy so he can read it.

What I think I hear you saying, however, is that dad will not work with you. Dad wants to be the “good guy,” and has been successful in doing so.

In this case, you need a strategy. And strategy is about what you can control. So we must look at what things you can and cannot control.

Let’s look first at what you cannot control, and let’s be honest about this:

·You cannot control your son (nor can your ex)
·You cannot control your ex (he cannot control you either)
·You cannot control how your ex chooses to parent your son (he cannot control how you choose to parent either)

So the above things cannot be controlled, thus they should not be part of your strategy.

What can you control?

·You can control the things your son enjoys while at your house (e.g., telephones, television, toys, games, freedom for activities, junk food, toiletries, favorite cloths, bedroom doors, furniture, etc).

While your son may not be willing to work for the things you want, he will usually work for the things he wants. By controlling the things he wants, you can motivate him to change unwanted behaviors.

You must be willing to be the “bad guy” for your son’s sake.

So, “let go” of those things you cannot control. Focus instead on those things you can control.

At this point, I’ll need more information about what’s going on between you and your ex before I can offer additional feedback.

Stay in touch,

Mark Hutten, M.A.

Click here for more help:

==> Effective Disciplinary Techniques for Defiant Teens and Preteens 

I Want My Baby Back

My son was just recently diagnosed ODD, although I suspected for quite some time. Is there ever a time where it is too late to begin these techniques? Things are escalating here and there has been some drinking and smoking marijuana. He has disappeared in his car for 8 hrs before and he ran away Friday night -- the police found him after 3 hours and brought him home. He shows no remorse for this and I've found on his website that he almost brags about it -- a badge of honor of sorts.

I am truly at my wits end as I don't know where to go with this behavior. We have contemplated sending him to a residential treatment facility, however, those are very pricey and I would prefer to keep him in the home and "fix" everything. I don't want to be unrealistic, I just want my "baby" back. I need to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!!

Thanks for your help!


Hi C.,

There is NEVER a time where it is too late. By the time I get referrals to my program, the teen is, on average, 17-years-old.

I have to tell you though, you will never get your baby back. You managed nearly every aspect of your son's life for many many years. But at some point, he fired you as the manager and said (in his own words) "I'll take it from here."

You will never be able to manage your son's life again -- BUT -- you can be re-hired as a consultant, and I'll show you how.

The ODD child will never work for what the parent wants, but he will work for what he wants.

Parents with an ODD child cannot control that child, but they can "influence" him to make better choices.

But they must have a plan, and the plan must be somewhat "unconventional" in nature. Unconventional or non-traditional kids need unconventional, non-traditional parenting strategies.

Traditional strategies DO NOT WORK. Instead, they make a bad problem worse.

Please download "My ODD Child" eBook, listen to my ODD seminar, view the power point presentations, email or call me as needed. And I promise you that this nightmare will soon end.


My Asperger's Child: I had to finally exclude him from my family home 10 months ago on police advice...

"My son is soon to be 16 years. I had to finally exclude him from my family home 10 months ago on police advice. My daughter and I had been living in fear of him. We had been subjected to his domestic violence and abuse. I could not protect my daughter and I could not protect myself any longer. He has been living in private foster care near to our home, which I pay for. He is at private school, which I have continued to pay for to 'keep part of his life in order'.

For the past 3 years my son believed that he had to 'teach me a lesson' which was to threaten his family group with violence, aggression and irrational control. At 13 he decided that he wanted a life on 'the streets', which does not fit with the civilised culture he was raised with.

But he got his way and despite numerous initiatives to address his defiance and abuse, he continued to pursue his desires. I have engaged, worked with, researched and despaired with police, psychologists, mentors, psychiatrists, youth workers, advisors, mental health advocates, teachers, peer associates, close family friends, and NLP specialists who work with teens. I employed a skilled educational psychologist last year that diagnosed ODD, ADD and Asperger Syndrome, as my son has always failed to reach potential at school. He is a skilled, confident and manipulative communicator.

My son was raised in a loving, non-aggressive and safe home. I am an advocate for children who have been subjected to bullying, and a teacher of young children specialising in dance and drama. I am a creative, honest and dependable human being that my son has transcribed as being mentally sick, worthless and unstable. These are his reasons for believing that his actions, which have now destroyed our family life, were justified.

He courts danger and then expects the trusted adults around him to bail him out and continue to support him, without question. I live in England. I have found telephone support from charities such as Young Minds, but within the mental health system and children's social care, there is no support for parents who are being abused by their own children.

These organisations only comprehend that children are being abused and therefore consider the parents to be at fault. I have researched and become educated within many areas associated with mental health, adolescent behaviours and education etc. I continue to read, but so far I have been unable to find a way of reasoning with my son. He blocks every avenue that I have resourced or tried. I am responsible for a human who has reneged on all of his family values. There was another visit from the police today. Can you forward some further information onto me regarding your guidance? I am unable to access all the info on your website. Can your book help me and help his foster parents try and bring this wayward young person back to a place of rational or responsible behaviour? Thanks for any comments/advice you may be able to provide. ~ A."

Hi A.,

You may believe that your situation is dire relative to other parents’ situations. But with all due respect, your story sounds just like all the other stories I hear. Thus, take heart that you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of parents who are experiencing similar difficulties with their children.

My job necessarily involves working with children who are experiencing emotional and behavioral problems associated with various mental disorders. For example:

· Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
· Conduct Disorder (CD)
· Depression (Major Depressive Disorder or Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood)
· Bipolar Disorder
· Asperger's Disorder
· Generalized Anxiety Disorder
· Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

I also work with the parents of these children.

The last Asperger’s child I worked with is now making the honor role at his alternative school and has been declared the “group leader” by his teachers. His mother and I had a long conversation last Friday (10/13/2006), and she described numerous improvements in his behavior both at home and school – and she did it, not me! I showed her how to be the therapist.

How many times have you told someone, “Nothing works with this kid”? I hear it all the time.

If your child truly suffers from Asperger’s, then you have an intense child. He enjoys intensity. He seeks intensity from you too (e.g., your being animated, arguing, lecturing, getting angry, etc.).

Unfortunately, he has discovered that you are much more interesting and animated when he behaves inappropriately (e.g., when he bullies, threatens, intimidates, etc.). If an intense child believes he can get a greater payoff for negative behaviors, he will repeat the pattern over an over again. This is the cycle your son is in currently.

Intense children are not out to get us as parents. They are out to get our energy. They want us to be exciting to them. What you may view as punishment or discipline may actually be rewards to your child. He literally has an addiction to negative reactions.

You can’t really stop Asperger’s children from breaking the rules. They already know what the rules are, and it gets old trying to convince them not to break rules. But you can deliver a consequence in a way that doesn’t accidentally reward them for negative behavior. And you can give your child your energy when things are going right rather than when they are going wrong.

I find that when parents have a few simple tools in dealing with a high-intensity child, they actually do a much better job of influencing him to change his behavior than a judge, counselor, therapist, psychologist, police officer, etc.

Can I give you an idea real quick? A change agent is someone who influences another person to make some improvements in his behavior.

If you lived near me, we could meet one-on-one (me, you and your son), and I’d be the change agent. But I would only see the two of you about 10 to 20 times (10 to 20 hours).

But I’d rather show you how to be the change agent, and you’ll do a much better job because you’re the child’s parent, and you will see him every day as long as he continues to live at home (thousands of hours).

See if you are willing to take a step of faith. Whether you download my eBook or not, you may continue to email me. I believe I can help you make a difference in your son’s life.

Your child doesn’t need counseling. If you’ve already tried counseling, you found that it was just another failed attempt at changing your son’s unwanted behavior. What he does need, however, is for you to use the parenting strategies I discuss in my eBook.

Why do I sound so confident? Well, I’m 50 years old and have worked with children who have emotional/behavioral problems and their parents for nearly 20 years. You learn a few things along the way. I’m sure you understand.


How Can Your Program Help?


I came upon your site when searching for support group for parents of bipolar children. I have 2 sons 12 & 15. They are running over me because I just do not know what else to do. I am ready to give up. They fight constantly. I am a single parent & HAVE ACTUALLY THOUGHT OF RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME! How can your program help!?

Hi Kim,

My program is an online parent support group with several additional components.

In my day job, I work with teens and pre-teens who are experiencing emotional and behavioral problems associated with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, ADHD and Bipolar Disorder. I also work with their parents.

When parents of these children use a specific set of unique parenting strategies (which I talk about in my book), they are quite successful at helping their child behave appropriately both at home and school.

You may download my book here: myoutofcontrolteen.com

You get an online version and a printable, hard-copy version.

Here a just a few of the additional benefits of joining Online Parent Support. You'll have access to:

---Live Audio Recordings of the entire parent-program I conduct at Madison Superior Court

---Power Point Presentations shown during the program

---Online Parent Support Website (updated daily with many additional parenting resources)

This website is ranked #1 in MSN for parenting "out of control" teens.

---Bonus eBook Site (I obtain re-distribution rights to other parenting eBooks and offer them FOR FREE to members; currently there are 22 additional eBooks for download - $418. value)

---Bi-weekly Newsletter (provides additional resources for parenting today's teens and pre-teens)

---Access to me via phone, email, or Chat Room (always feel free to contact me as often as needed while you begin to implement your new parenting strategies)

---100% Money Back Guarantee

--- and much more...

Yes it costs only $29. But if you can find another program as good or better than mine for under 30 bucks -- you better take it.

Here's to a better home environment,


Son Is Bitter and Angry


Thanks so much for your comments. I have shared these with my husband and do agree with much of your advice and opinion.

We have tried in this past week to do as you advised about having me be more of the disciplinarian and my husband take more of a quieter role. He is so bitter and angry all the time. I have had more conversation with my son about him moving out and I did discover it's not just from our home he wants to move from it is from the area we live in. He hasn't told me what exactly is going on but he has shared that he wants a clean start to get away from the problems he has in Green Bay.

I have told him that running away from the problems won't solve anything and they eventually will just catch up to him. He likes to blame us for a lot of his problems but I think he is just angry with himself and it comes across like he is angry at us.

I found some medication missing in our cabinet and I asked him about this and he said he didn't know anything about it. Later he left his back pack sitting around unattended and I looked inside to see if he had these and I found them along with other medication he had taken from us. He asked me later if I took something from his back pack and I said I hadn't. He thinks it was stolen from school at this point. I don't know what he was doing with these.

He did tell me later that one of his friends had him holding a couple of pills for him and now he is mad at him because he doesn't believe that they were stolen. I haven't told my son that I have them, and I'm not sure I will. We just can't trust anything he tells us.

We started giving him some money as of last week. We did this because we thought maybe he was selling them because he didn't have any money. All we asked was that he work on giving us some respect, by talking more nicely and following the rules of the house, i.e. curfew, bed time, being polite. Which curfew is about the only one of them that he is following. On Wednesday's is when he is due to get some more cash for the week and I told him before he will get this we want to sit and talk about how this is going, he said no, he wont' talk to us and just wants to move out.

I don't know why he is so angry, I suspect he has made some poor choices and is having problems with friends, school, alcohol or other bad influences that he feels he is tainted or cast in a bad light with others that he wants to just run away from everything. Do you have any advice in light of this new information? Thank you so much.


Hi D.,

Thanks for waiting for me to find time to get back with you. I want to be able to spend some time on this email.

Allow me to share with you what I see in those cases where parents seem to have difficulty getting 'off the ground' with these parenting techniques:

Some parents have always been indecisive about what course of action to try with their child. They jump from one parenting technique to the other without giving any one technique enough time to be effective, or they try a new parenting technique once and then give up in frustration because it didn't work fast enough.

Some parents will say, "We've tried everything and nothing works with this kid." On rare occasion, this may be true. What I usually see is parents drifting from one parenting tool to another without refining their parenting tools.

Here are several ways to refine:

---Realize the same discipline may not work for all children, because of the unique features of different children

---Try to blend a combination of several parenting tools to create a more effective discipline

---Don't believe it when your children seem unaffected by discipline. Children often pretend discipline doesn't bother them. Continue to be persistent with your planned discipline, and consider yourself successful by keeping your parenting plan in place. When children pretend a discipline doesn't bother them, parents often give up on a discipline, which reinforces the child's disobedience. Remember, you can only control your actions, not your children's reactions.

Let's trouble shoot...

Below is a summary of all the assignments I gave you in My Out-of-Control Teen eBook. If parents do not implement ALL of these assignments, it will be the "kiss of failure." For example, the transmission in your car has hundreds of parts, but if just one little tiny part is not working -- the whole transmission does not work. The same is true with this "parent program." Omit just one strategy, and the whole plan falls through the floor.

1. Are you asking your son at least one question each day that cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or a "no" to demonstrate that you are interested in what is going on in his/her life? (page 20 of the printable version of eBook)

2. Are you saying to your child "I love you" everyday and expecting nothing in return? (page 20)

3. Are you eating dinner together at least one evening each week -- either at home or out? (page 20)

4. Do you use "The Art of Saying Yes" whenever your answer is yes? (page 25)

5. Do you use "The The Art of Saying - and Sticking With - No" whenever your answer is no? (page 25)

6. Do you catch your son in the act of doing something right at least once each day? (page 25)

7. Do you use the "When You Want Something From Your Kid" approach as needed? (page 31)

8. Do you give your child at least one chore each day? (page 31)

9. Do you find something fun to do with your teen each week? (page 54)

10. Do you use the "I noticed ...I felt ...Listen" approach when something unexpected pops-up? (bottom of page 50)

11. When you are undecided about what to say or do in any particular situation, are you asking yourself the following question: "Will this promote the development of self-reliance in my child, or will this inhibit the development of self-reliance?"

If it is supportive of self-reliance, say it or do it. If it is not supportive, don't!

12. Is your son EARNING ALL of his stuff and freedom? (see "Self-Reliance Cycle" - page 19)

If you answered "no" to any of the above, you are missing some important pieces to the puzzle. Most parents DO miss a few pieces initially -- you can't be expected to remember everything! But don't get frustrated and give up. We must be willing to hang in there for the long haul.

I'm talking about refinement here. Refinement is a necessary tool to use in order to truly be successful with these parenting strategies.

HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: Parents who refine are, on average, 95% - 100% successful at getting the parent-child difficulties reduced in intensity and severity (i.e., the problems are easily managed).

The same can be true in your case. Keep up the good work. Please continue to refine by emailing me again. Refinement is a process, not a one-time event.

Here's to a better home environment,


Click for more help ==>   www.MyOutOfControlTeen.com

Show No Emotion When Your Teenager Is Acting-Out: Tips for Parents



Hi T.,

I respectfully disagree with you when you say you cannot keep a "poker face" (i.e., showing no expressions of being upset or angry, because if you do, you are showing a sign of weakness to your teenager - and then he will know he has you in the palm of his hand).

But you are not alone with this belief. Many people believe that wearing a poker face is impossible (i.e., showing no emotion when things are going wrong). But those same people have already done it!

For example:

Many people have received terrible service at a restaurant. But when the waiter asked, “How was your dinner,” they put on a poker face and said “fine.”

Many people have been pulled over by a police officer and received a speeding ticket even though they knew they were not speeding. But instead of cussing out the cop and telling him to “go to hell,” they put on their poker face, said “yes sir,” signed their signature on the ticket and went on about their business.

You get the idea. It’s not a question of whether or not you can wear a poker face – you’ve already done it more times than you realize.

So, you too can wear a poker face – and you MUST wear a poker face for these strategies to work for you -- especially if your teens have a propensity for slipping into rage.

Try very hard not to show any emotion when reacting to the behaviors of your teens. The worst thing to do is to react strongly and emotionally. This will just make them push you that same way again.

Also, you do not want them to figure out what really bugs you. You want to try to remain as cool as possible while they are trying to drive you over the edge. This is not easy. But once you know what you are going to ignore and what will be addressed, it will be far easier not to let your feelings get the best of you.

I’m NOT asking you to NOT be afraid. I’m NOT asking you to NOT get angry. But I am asking you to "act as if" you are not afraid -- "act as if" you are not angry. This is a “fake it until you make it” approach.

Practice doing it -- then practice some more -- then practice doing it again.

Eventually, wearing a poker face will come as easily as “getting very, very upset.”

Hope this helps ...stay in touch,

Mark Hutten, M.A.


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

Daughter Problems


My daughter is 16 years old. I have had a lot of problems with her. She thinks she's her own boss. She goes in and out of the house without permission. Finally, after a lot of things that I have tried with her, I told her that if she was going to do whatever she wants, do not ask me for nothing. She kept on doing the same behavior.

Last night, I called her at 2:30 am, first she told me she was on her way to the house. I called again around 3:00 and she said she was going at a friend's house that she will be home in 30 more minutes.

I got so mad, I told her that I was going to close the doors. She said, “fine I’ll sleep at one of my friend's house.” I said ok but it will be forever. When she asked why, I said “because you don't listen to me,” and I hung up the phone.

This morning I disconnected her cell. When I came back from work, she was here grabbing her clothes. This is not the first time that she leaves the house. I am so tired of her attitude. So, she left the house.

What do you think I should do next? This has been going on for almost 6 months now. I think I had tried everything, but she won't listen to nobody.


It sounds like you and your daughter are in a power struggle. Power struggles can create frustration, anger and resentment on the part of the parent and the child. Resentment can cause a further breakdown of communication until it seems as if all you do is argue.

In order to end such arguments, it must be the parent that begins to take charge in a positive way. However, the most effective step, to simply stop arguing, can also be the most difficult. It sounds quite simple, just stop arguing, but in reality, it takes discipline and effort to change the pattern of behavior. By refusing to participate in the argument, the power of the out-of-control child disappears. She only continues to have power over you if you allow her to.

To stop the power struggle, prepare yourself ahead of time. Sit down, after your daughter is in bed for the night and it is quiet, and make a list of the times that you most often argue. Is it getting ready for school, doing homework, completing chores, getting home on time, etc? For each situation, determine a few choices that you can give your kid.

When preparing the choices, make sure to list only those that you are willing to carry out. If you are not willing to pick up your daughter and bring her to school in her pajamas, don’t threaten to or she will know that she still has control of the situation.

Once you have decided on the choices you will give your out-of-control daughter, stick to them and practice your self-control to not yell. Walk away, leave the room, and wait outside if you have to. But an argument can only happen if there is more than one person. With just one person, it is simply a temper tantrum.

==> Effective Disciplinary Techniques for Defiant Teens and Preteens

RE: "Our son does improve for a while, but then all of the sudden he will get back into this rebellious stage..."

Hi D,

I'm going to respond to your email point-by-point. Please look for these arrows: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Our son does improve for a while, but then all of the sudden he will get back into this rebellious stage. He has a really hard time communicating and getting along with his father.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Is father a lot like son with respect to temperament? Does father use an authoritarian mode (i.e., my way or the highway approach) in relating to your son ?

We all live in the same household, but now he says he wants to move out. He is 16 and will be 17 in December. He is a Junior in high school and does very good in sports.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think it would be good to begin having regular conversations with your son about how exciting his future is going to be. Begin the conversations with questions to your son like: "Are you thinking about college?" "If so, where do you think you might like to attend?" "What career field sounds interesting to you?" "When you get a full-time job and can afford it, what kind of car are you going to get?" ...and so on.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>The idea is put a positive spin on this idea he has to move out on his own. You may even want to spend some afternoon with him shopping for an apartment ( e.g., call some landlords, meet with the landlord at the apartment so you and your son can see it and can talk about how much it will cost HIM to live there).

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Play along ...as though "moving out" is a viable option. Begin building his confidence in being out of the "nest," because sooner rather than later, he will need to be "out on his own."

He was abused by a baby-sitter when he was about 5 yrs old and just recently told us when he was going to a counselor. We made a terrible mistake and one weekend when he was out of control and didn't come home all weekend, I was very distraught and forced him to go to counseling with his father and I. This pushed him over the edge and now has refused to go to counseling anymore.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Counseling is just another "traditional" or "conventional" parenting strategy that has virtually no "bang for the buck." If your son is truly suffering from post-traumatic stress, counseling would be a good thing. Otherwise, counseling is not recommended (and you're hearing this from a counselor by the way -- me).

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Your son probably feels a lot of shame about the abuse. But he may also feel as though he's being punished (in the form of counseling) for something someone else did ( i.e., the abuser). All your son really needs to understand is this:

(a) the abuse was not his fault,
(b) the abuse did not turn him into a "gay" person (if the abuser was male),
(c) the abuser is mentally ill and needs help, and
(d) sex abusers don't stop with one victim -- he most likely abused others too.

Our son has ADD and at times refuses to use his medication. He is a very nice looking young man, he's a good athlete. He has to work as his school work but is a very smart kid.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>Please review the sections of the Ebook on ADHD. I'm not a big proponent for medication for ADHD. As you will discover, ADHD kids grow up to be highly functioning adults -- more so than the average adult -- because they have a lot of energy and drive.

He now says he can't live in our home with his father. His Dad is more of the disciplinarian but has tried to back off and let me be more in control because of our son's attitude towards him.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>If dad would "lighten-up" a bit -- and if you, dear mother, would "toughen-up" a bit, you and your husband will be more on the same page, and your son will not easily play one against the other (which sounds like what's going on here).

He also has talked about suicide so I am afraid of pushing him too far.

>>>>>>>>>>>This is 90% manipulation, 8% feeling sorry for himself, and 2% depression. Don't be fooled.

I'm very concerned about him and don't want him to move out and I have even offered to move out of the house myself and get a different place to live for him and I and his sister.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>You're allowing the tail to wag the dog here. If you move out, YOU will soon become the "bad guy" (instead of your husband) and your son will continue to manipulate you with threats of running away and suicide. Moving out will solve EVERYTHING for about 2 weeks ...then the problems will be worse than ever.

Any help or advice you could give me would be so appreciated. I just don't know what else to do.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Before you or your husband make any decisions about anything, the two of you should discuss it first and decide collectively what to do. A weaker plan by both parents will be 10 times better than a stronger plan made by only one parent.

>>>>>>>>>>>Put a positive spin on everything. Review the section on ADHD in the Ebook. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated. Toughen-up a bit (i.e., don't be afraid to impose consequences for your son's poor choices).

>>>>>>Please keep me posted ...Thank you.

Mark Hutten, M.A.


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


I just wanted to share some wonderful emails from members of Online Parent Support:

“OPS is very thorough and has helped me and my family immensely. My husband and I have a better understanding now! Since completing the program, my son Jonathon has brought his grades up 35%, and he is getting praise from teachers. The Assistant Principal wrote a letter describing improvements in Jonathan’s behavior and gave it to me at the parent-teacher conference.”
“We thank everyone involved with this program. We are using the techniques we have learned on ALL of our children, not just the one we were having trouble with.”
“I found OPS very helpful, even though our child was already in placement at a juvenile facility. Wish we had taken this course years ago.”
“I looked forward to each session. It was my support to get through the week. Plus I looked forward to what new things to learn to help with my child. Thanks for your help. Thanks for being there."
“Everything was helpful. I wish I had known about this class 3 years ago. I hope we haven’t waited too long to try these parenting techniques.”
"I am very pleased to know I have somewhere I can come for help -- and I thank you for your help!"
“OPS was straight forward and concise. It was good to see another approach. I wish we had started using these techniques earlier."
“This program should be mandatory for some parents!"
"I remember feeling so helpless, like I couldn't do anything about the chaos and drama in my home. I told myself, 'If you haven't got the power, there is nothing you can do about your situation' ...Seeing myself as helpless insured paralysis and provided a powerful rationale for doing nothing. But now I feel empowered -- because most of the things I'm trying actually work."
"I pretended that things were getting better on their own, but this pretending took the place of the effort required to bring about real change. That's all over now. I'm taking responsibility for my part of the problem, and my daughter is accepting here part as well."
"I think my biggest problem was that I didn't change the things that weren't working I kept using the same parenting strategies and hoped for different results. This turned out to be almost as big a problem as not trying to fix problems in the first place. For example, I thought that threatening to do this or that was an effective form of discipline -- but since I had to use it each day to correct the same problem, it should have been obvious that it was not a good strategy. I have better tools in my parenting toolbox now. Thanks for all your help."
"I realized I was very good at allowing my children to be independent, but I was not very good at setting clear and firm limits for behavior. My children easily discovered rules that could be broken if their protests were long and loud enough ...Often times, I just wanted to avoid the hassle of a conflict. It was easier for me to let the rules slide than to deal with the fuss. Also, it was sometimes hard to refuse my children anything, because I didn't want them to be unhappy. I thought "unhappy children" equals "bad parents." And I guess at some level I was afraid my children would become angry and hate me if I set boundaries. Now I know that children want to know that their parents are in charge; they need structure and limits. This concept alone is helping me immensely."
"Just a short note to say thanks. We are now well into your assignments and things are going well. As you predicted, things got a lot worse to begin with, but the three kids and both parents are starting to settle well. We are getting into a routine, and now “no” is beginning to mean “no,” consequences to actions are beginning to be recognized, and your method of getting them to do something is very effective. Many thanks. I hope it's still o.k. to write with any questions as they come along, as I feel we are only part way through. And as they get older, new things are going to appear. Thanks again."
"Thanks for the accommodations. You are a big help. I started some of the pointers that we've talked about, and I see some good effects. It's very hard to switch emotions, but I'm trying my best. I think I will be sending you a lot of thanks for this book and for the warm accommodation on the first phone consultation. I know I got the right help now. I wish God will give you more time to accommodate parents like me."
"Today, I spoke to my son's former counselor (whom I was asking for a referral for another counseling, which I did before I found your ebook). I told her, “I think I don't need it for now,” because I found your site. I gave her your site and told her to spread the word about your ebook, since her job deals with parents and kids of
similar problems."
"In a week's time, I've seen a great change. Now my 2nd son (AJ) asks permission before he goes out of the house and calls me when he can't come home on the agreed time. I can also see some smiles on his face little by little. Thanks again for all the help!"
"In reading your book, I realized that there are others out there that have exactly the same problems as I do, and who are making exactly the same mistakes as I was -- and that there are people like yourself that advocate what I believed in. This has helped me gain the strength I needed to tackle the onslaught. And let me tell you that this is exactly what it has been the last 3 weeks."
"I put the expectations and responsibilities with the earning or loss of privileges on paper, and when I handed it to my son and wanted to discuss it with him – well, almighty hell broke loose! And this continued for a whole week –constant swearing and telling me he will not adhere to it and I will not control him."
"Although battered and bruised by the emotional experience, I am proud of myself -- I did it! I put my poker face on and stuck to my guns. A week later, although he is still not earning any pocket money (as he refuses to do what I have put on the list), he did come to me and ask what he needed to do to get his computer back. We are now at the un-grounding point (and the 'get the computer back' point) as he has managed to go a whole week without loosing his temper and swearing. He still does have the attitude that he will not do what’s on the list, but I am watching him carefully -- and have been able to keep the discipline in place for the relevant things I put on the list."
"I am an Officer in the Canadian Forces Reserve (CIC) and my Branch of the CF deals with youth training (ages 12 to 19). I currently command my own unit. I am always dealing with youth who are either out-of-control, or have a tendency to get out-of-control. I also work with a Special Needs camp for teens with behavioral problems, and melt-downs are not uncommon. I have found your e-book and power point presentations an excellent source of information at opening up the line of communication with these kids."
"My own children are 4 and 6. They are not out-of-control teens, but I feel that the information you have given me will allow me to set the ground rules to allow for a great "teen experience". I am fully aware of "inclusion," and I empower my kids now to behave well for me by allowing them to set the limits in a task, trip, or outing, so they feel like it's there work paying off. I know at age 6 the concept may be lost, but I feel what they learn from it will allow me to understand how to keep those lines of communication open down the road."
"I would like to thank you for such great material. I hope I can change the lives of many more teens, as I have done much so far. However, it is only those who really want to change their lives that I have been able to help. They must make that decision as they under go their own journey."
"I will tell you that I've done the first two steps and I'm still reading, but I wanted to have a copy handy electronically to build a cheat sheet and mold my mantras."
"Thanks so much for writing this, I was a little hesitant at first when I was browsing your site...but in the end, I was more like...it can't hurt and if it teaches me one thing...then for that I will be a better parent."
"Your statement you make in the first step "I have an obligation to you, my child, as a parent to..." That statement alone made me a better parent. I've said it to my son and I've said to others in my life who would like to be a bigger priority in my life. This statement has made things even more clear to me...as a single parent and for that I'll always be grateful."
"Thanks again. Sign me "an obligated parent who gladly accepts the honor of releasing into this world (eventually) an upstanding, independent, responsible, young, adult male."
"I have worked for the school for over twenty years in various positions including therapist, Director of Residential Life, Dean of Counseling, Dean of Students. Recently we have established the position of Parent Liaison to assist parents with the challenges of having their son in a boarding school and I have moved into this role. In addition to being a mentor for the parents, I will also be conducting parenting workshops through the year.

I am also working on a school based web site that will offer assistance to our parents, and am pleased to be offering a link to your web site and book.

Your book and web site is an excellent source of guidance and support for all parents, not just those of troubled teens."

Best regards,

Jim Graves, MC
Parent Liaison
St. Paul's Preparatory Academy
Educating Young Men Since 1961
"I downloaded your ebook a while ago, and it is great. I have spoken to you for help along the way. My children's names are E_____ (who has ASD), M_____ (she's 11), and J_____ (he's 13 with some ASD difficulties)."
"I am a Qualified Primary schoolteacher and have been specialising in helping parents and students in the area of 'challenging behaviour'. Recently I changed my job and am now working with a lot of schools around creating safer emotional and physical environments.

This means working with teachers, students, parents and the communities. I was wondering if you have anything in New Zealand as far as training is concerned, as a lot of the difficulties that the parents are coming across would be massively helped with your teachings.

They are surrounded by professionals who are still talking about time-out consequences and behaviour reinforcments. Many of these parents have had years of this, and as you say have 'dipped in and out' often depending on how much they could cope with at the time. Many of them are at the stage of having pre teens with all the new emotional stresses and behaviours.

Many of these parents could not afford to buy your ebook because of the exchange rate -- and they get me for free if it is through the school. Although I have done some private trainings around explosive behaviours, anxiety, stress and visual learning.

I am a qualified N.L.P. trainer and practitioner and was wondering if there was any way we could get this information over to NZ. Anyway, if you could think of any thing that might help please let me know. I would be happy to do some training if that was possible. Many thanks for your time."

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