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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 

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