I have read through all your information. I feel inspired. My 14 year old son has anger rages when things do not go his way. He says he wants to help himself but he doesn't know how. Your information is wonderful in how to help us parents but how can he help himself?
When your son feels better about himself, he will begin to help himself.
Your child is like a computer, and you are the computer programmer. He takes your disapproval/criticism as instruction. For example, if the parent says to the child, “You’re such a slob,” the criticism downloads in the child’s unconscious mind as “I am a slob” and he ‘acts-out’ the criticism as if it were instruction to be sloppy.
The good news is that your son takes your compliments and encouragement as instruction as well.
For example, the parent’s compliment, “You do such a great job of not blowing-up when your younger brother annoys you” downloads in the child’s unconscious mind as “I am in control of my strong emotions,” and he acts on the compliment as if it were instruction to be calm even we he is annoyed.
Also, catch your child in the act of doing something right at least once each day – accuse him/her of being successful!!!
“I noticed you picked your jacket up off the floor …I appreciate that!”
“I see that you’re doing your chore without having to be asked …thank you!”
“You got home by curfew …that’s you being responsible!”
“Your sister annoyed you and you walked away …that’s good self-control!”
“I see that you’re upset, and I appreciate that you’re handling your strong feelings well.”
“I see that you’re frustrated with the assignment and that you’re sticking with it."
“I like that you were honest when it would have been easy to lie …that’s respectful!”
“You’ve been using much more self-control when you’re mad.”
“You did what I asked right away …you followed directions beautifully!”
The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen
The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.
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