Hi A. …I’ve responded below. Look for these arrows: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I just found your website and ordered your e-materials and have just read some of your great stuff. It makes sense. We have struggled with my oldest who is now 15 ...almost 16 his entire life! We have 3 children. We both work full time. I own my own business and work from home but travel often. I would guess that all 5 of us are ADD ...so structure and consistency have always been and continues to be a real struggle.
We both grew up with nothing and have very obviously been the over indulging parents.
As I read this I feel good that we have done some things right. We try (despite incredibly busy schedules) to have dinner as a family of 5 at LEAST 5-6 nights a week. We try to attend Church together at least 2 times/month. They are all doing ok in school. My youngest does GREAT! They are all involved in organized sports and school sports and have all done fairly well.
We have really tried to get better over last 6 months. Overall despite all of our imperfections the other 2 kids are warm, happy affectionate and more or less compliant. Yes, they are a bit whiney and lazy as a result of our mistakes but overall when we try all of the good solid tips you recommend they definitely respond and respond well!! So I know this can work.
For some reason our Ryan has always been different. He is very moody. He is very manipulative. He can seem very troubled and depressed which gets us into a horrible cycle of feeling badly for him...etc. He makes ok choices but lately has been faced with a TON of peer pressure. We live in an affluent, highly permissive area where things happen as you mentioned …adult-sanctioned under age drinking, etc.
We have tried to crack down of late but this has led to a HUGE, and LONG power struggle. He has effectively used the Silent Treatment and Withdrawal. Of course this KILLS my husband and myself. We have tried for HOURS (no exaggeration) at a clip calmly asking him to tell us
How he feels…
What is one thing he likes about us/his life…
One thing he would like to see changed…
We have even lobbed possible topics out there...that may be tough for him. I stepped up and did actually admit that I have not been the best mom...but I am trying to change, etc. There was no connection/no empathy/ just disgust. To NO avail! We have tried counseling for a few months now and have seen NO improvement!
I am proud that we have started to do many of the things you mentioned here.
1. We caught him lying about a party he went to...we had discussed this calmly and even put it in writing weeks before...and followed through beautifully. But now I am thinking it was too harsh. WE said 4 weeks grounding. Then we said any disrespect which he does DAILY he would lose his cell, pc, xbox, computer, etc. And again followed through. But I am thinking that the time frames are SO LONG and the punishment so severe (after years of being lax) that this could be causing him to be so despondent and confused?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 3 days works best.
I tried to get him his electronics back earlier by saying …you can earn them back by being respectful for one hour. Do you know he flatly refused?
>>>>>>>>>> “Being respectful for one hour” – what does that mean exactly? If I were to video-tape him being disrespectful, what would I see? Be very specific when telling your son what he has to do to earn his way off discipline.
Digging in and preferring to punish himself over complying and reaping the rewards. Guessing he is at Stage 3?
Q: Is this normal? Is he just adjusting to our new style? Should we follow through on the 4-week deal? We have 2 more to go or give him an option to earn back the privilege?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Yes…very normal. Four weeks is about 3 ½ weeks too long.
2. I realize that I try so hard to stay calm but am in a constant power struggle. I try to be calm but he pushes my buttons all day/every day.
Q: When I say "What do you have going on today? What time is basketball? Any tests today sweetie?" and he does not make eye contact or answer...what should I do? IGNORE him or discipline him?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I would ask one short question …then either listen to his response, or ignore his lack of response.
When he responds with a grunt...same question? When he is going to bed. I say I love you...and he does not answer or leaves the house in the morning without saying good bye back...
>>>>>>>>>>>Pick your battles carefully ...you have bigger fish to fry. It doesn’t matter whether he responds or not. What matters is you are doing the nurturing piece that is so vital to the overall success of these strategies.
I would LOVE to get coaching from you, either on line or via phone. We live in NJ ...not sure if in person is an option.
>>>>>>>>>> Not currently unfortunately.
PLEASE let me know ...how you work/ how fast we can get started/can you address very specific questions like I have outlined here?
Thank you so much!!
Hopeful in NJ