I’ve answered below where you see these arrows >>>>>>>>>>
My 13-year old son is acting out again. I've set rules. He signed a contract for school and home behavior. Of course he now knows he is grounded. It started this way.
My high school reunion was held in my city. I've planned for my children to meet with my close friends at a dinner held at a friend's house. D___, my 13-year old is fully aware of this. On the day of the occasion he made excuses not to go. He doesn't know anyone there …he'll be totally out of place, etc. He made things so difficult. He brought his pillow and blanket in the car threatening he won't go out of the car at all. I told him we already made this plan and there's no changing it at the last minute. I refused to be drawn into an argument because he is good at this. He made true his threat. His brother in college later on stopped by to join the group, came up to the car to talk to D___ but to no avail. He stood his ground.
>>>>>>>>>>> This falls into the “pick your battles carefully” category. You have bigger fish to fry than getting your son to meet your high school friends. Don’t go lookin’ for trouble with an out-of-control teen (unless you have a lot of time & energy to fight every battle that comes down the pike).
We went home. I haven't spoken to him yet but neither did I do anything. I unplugged the Wii Nintendo he loved playing. Because I still have to be with friends, I left him home telling him he cannot go out to join his friends nor will he go to his sports activity. He is a very stubborn kid who only wants to do what pleases him. I tell him to do his chores. He says yes but ended up not doing them. I thought I was following your book's recommendation. What did I miss here?
>>>>>>>>>>> I’m glad you asked. That tells me you are an invested parent. I think what happened is that you set up a situation in which there was no pay off for your son. He had nothing to gain by going to the reunion.
>>>>>>>>>>> I’m not sure I would have asked him to go in the first place (easy for me to say after the fact). In the future, when it’s important that he go with you to a particular function, but he decides not to join in the festivities, just allow him to experience a natural consequence (i.e., he sits in the car the whole time – how boring is that? – quite boring!). Alternatively, you could promise a reward if he chooses to join in (e.g., “if you go to this party with me, you can have a friend spend the night and we’ll order a pizza).