Where's Brian?

Brian Sullivan, 19, of Chili, NY has been missing since July 8. Has anyone seen him!?

Online Parent Support

My Out-of-Control Teen


You have given us so much relief by responding to our questions. Thank you very, very much. Your ebook is great, and we can't tell you how much we appreciate your dedication to teaching parents how to deal with difficult kids, like the one we have!

B. & B.

Will your Online Parent Support be of any assistance?

Dear Mark,

I live in Sydney Australia, and I have teenage grandchildren. Currently one granddaughter is causing great concern with her self-destructive behaviour. She is being secretive, meeting 18-year-old boys, [she is 14] lying to her mother, and showing no remorse regarding defiance, loss of personal standards, flaunting house rules, petty theft, and smoking. Will your Online Parent Support be of any assistance? She comes from a family of high achievers, with a strong Christian background, and a strong community commitment. Will your product help my daughter? She is a beautiful girl, who is always done well at school, but has turned into someone with no conscience, or sense of self-preservation. I would appreciate your feedback, & will willingly purchase your product, as this young girl is precious to us, & refuses counselling.




Hi H.,

I have to ask:

· Do you dread what your child will do next?
· Do you often feel like you are failing as a parent?
· Do you feel helpless to correct your child’s behavior?
· Does his/her attitude make you wish YOU could run away from home?

The problems are not going to get better by themselves, and your child is not going to “grow out of it.” If the behavior problems are bothering you now, what will it be like a year from now?

If your child’s defiant behavior is running you ragged and straining your marriage …if you lie in bed at night dreading tomorrow's fighting and screaming …if your home is like a battlefield, then please don’t wait another minute to get started with my program.

The strategies in my eBook are universal, so it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, this program will work for you.

Online Parent Support

P.S. As hard as it is to believe, your teenager actually wants to make you happy …wants your love …needs your guidance …and wants you to be proud of him/her. I’m ready to show you how to regain respect and cooperation, but you will be the one who will have to do the work.

The money wasn’t returned so I cut his cell phone...

Hi Mark,

I would like to ask for some advice. This is just the tip of the iceberg but this is my crisis as of now.
My son no.2 took his older brother's money. As a consequence I told him to give back the money by the end of the day or I will cut his cell phone. He did not return the money and denied getting it. His friends told my son no.1 that they went to the mall and son no 2 had money. He doesn't have money because he doesn’t have a job yet.

The money wasn’t returned so I cut his cell phone. Since then he is not talking to me and always give me an angry face whenever I talk to him. He even whisper "shut up" which really infuriates me, but I try to control myself from being angry. But I am sure you know how it feels.

He is 18 years old. His friends tell him that he can leave whenever he wants to. He leaves the house and sometimes comes home at 1AM. I get so worried. I talked to him and told him that if he will continue to come home after 10PM, he'd not rather stay in our house.

I love my son and I want to guide him until he finishes school, because I can see that he can’t make good decision, particularly in choosing the right friends. I know that there's no quick fix... my question is what will I do to slowly make him mellow and take that angry look everytime I look at him and start to talk to me in a respectful way.

I want to tell him that if he will be able to pay back his brother and change his ways he can have his phone back. But I am scared that he might do something wrong again to get money some money. Please help. I am a single mother and my sons have no older man model to look up to right now. BTW, it's been 3 weeks since this started.

Thank you in advance. ~ V.


Hi V.,

You’ve mentioned 2 issues here: anger and theft. Here are few pointers--

1. Apply consequences. Parents should decide what the specific consequences are for stealing, and apply them every time stealing occurs. Parents should inform their children of these consequences before they are used. Consistency is very important.

2. Apply natural consequences. After correcting the behavior, consequences should be applied. Having to do extra chores around the house to earn the money to pay for a stolen item is an example of a natural consequence. Another example is not allowing the child who stole the candy bar to have sweets for a certain period of time.

3. Confront quickly. Just as it's important for parents not to overreact, it is also important that parents don't under-react. When parents find out that their child is stealing, they should confront and deal with the stealing immediately. The longer stealing is allowed to continue uncorrected, the more difficult it is to correct later on.
==> JOIN Online Parent Support

4. Correct the behavior. Correcting means making some kind of restitution. For example, if a child takes a candy bar from a store, correcting would involve requiring the child to return to the store and return the candy bar (if it isn't half-eaten), or if the candy bar can't be returned, paying for the candy bar.

5. Develop a close, open relationship with children. Parents should make every effort to communicate effectively with their children. Children who are close to their parents are much more likely to take on their beliefs and values than children who don't have a close relationship with their parents.

6. Discuss and explain why stealing is wrong. Parents should make sure that their children know why stealing is wrong. Parents can point out that stealing means taking something that rightfully belongs to someone else.

7. Don't interrogate children or force them to self-incriminate. Parents should not force their children to admit to stealing. Children often lie to protect themselves. If parents aren't pretty sure that their child has stolen something, they probably should not apply consequences. Instead, they should let their child know that they are skeptical, and express hope that their child will be honest with them.

8. Don't shame children for stealing. Parents should try not to make their children feel guilty for stealing. They should also try not to call their children names, for example a thief or a liar. Such tactics can be very damaging to children's self-esteem. Instead, parents should let their children know that they are disappointed in their children's behavior, but this does not mean that they are bad people.

9. Help children find ways of earning their own money. Parents should make sure that their children have some sort of regular income. If children have money of their own to spend as they wish, they will be more likely to buy what they want instead of stealing it. Children can earn money by doing chores around the house, etc.

10. Label the behavior. It is very important that parents call the behavior exactly what it is. For example, parents shouldn't call taking (without permission) what doesn't belong to one's self as "borrowing." Children who are able to understand the concept of ownership should be told that they are "stealing" when they take something that does not belong to them.

11. Model appropriate behavior. Parents should set a good example for their children by asking before they borrow things, by not taking things that don't belong to them, and by being open and honest.

12. Praise and reward honest behavior. Parents should make every attempt to praise their children for being honest. The more parents praise their children's honesty, the more likely they will continue to be honest in the future.
==> JOIN Online Parent Support

13. Provide adequate supervision. Parents should make sure that they know what their children are up to. Children who are not monitored closely by their parents tend to be more likely to steal and to engage in other problem behaviors.

14. Remain calm. When parents discover that their child has stolen something it is very important that they don't overreact. Parents should keep in mind that all children take things that don't belong to them at one time or another.

15. Teach appropriate ways of getting what one wants. Parents should teach their children how to get what they want without stealing. For example, parents can suggest that children ask for things they want, save up their money to buy the things they want, etc.

16. Teach ownership. While children are very young it is a good idea for parents to begin teaching their children what ownership means. Parents can explain that people have a right to their own property, and that it is wrong to take something that belongs to someone else.

17. Understand why the behavior occurred. Different children steal for different reasons. Because of this, it is important for parents to try to find out why their children steal. Asking a child why he or she has stolen something will probably not give parents the answers they need.

Hope this helps...


Stop The Bully

In a recent national survey of students in grades 6 to 10, 13 percent reported bullying others, 11 percent reported being the target of bullies, and another 6 percent said they bullied others and were bullied themselves. Surveys indicate that as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10% are bullied on a regular basis.

The librarians are naturally placid people...

Hello Mark,

I have just visited your website and see that the advice is for parents of angry teens. I have a client who runs a public library and therefore has a problem with other peoples' teens! A group of teenagers come into the library on a daily basis. They are noisy, obnoxious to other library users, and refuse to leave when asked. They take up all the computers and will not let anyone else use them. People are now starting to stay away from the library and it is getting a reputation for 'being the place NOT to go to'. The librarians are naturally placid people and it is upsetting them very much. They do not want to resort to security guards or the police. Do you have any suggestions that might help them?


Would it be possible for the library to come up with a set of "house rules" (i.e., post a set of rules re: time limit on computers, noise level, etc.)? When visitors violate a rule, they get one warning. If the warning is ignored, they receive a fine (50 cents - 1 dollar). If they refuse to pay the fine, they are not allowed in the library until the fine is paid. ==> Here's where the library will have to involve authorities. Involving the authorities WILL happen sooner or later - probably by default – they’ll lose business otherwise.

Recommendation: Get a retiree to work part time as a security guard (e.g., after school).

…welcome to the 21st century,


Online Parent Support

Older Son Sexually Assaults Younger Brother

"Can you please help me out? My ex called me last week and told me that my older son has sexually assaulted my younger son. The older one is 12 and the younger on is 8. I have been looking online today for some help and what I need to do about it. Yes, on Monday I am going to call for some counseling for him. Can you please help me out? I just need to know what to do and how to talk with him. Just to let you know, the boys do not live together. The younger son lives with mom and the older lives with me. I don’t want anything bad to happen to my kids and this is very hard to deal with."

First of all, don't panic. Adolescent sex offenders are considered to be more responsive to treatment than adult offenders and do not appear to continue re-offending into adulthood, especially when provided with appropriate treatment. But, they need to be subjected to the normal juvenile probation supervision requirements.

Adolescent sex offenders sometimes attempt to copy scenes they have seen in pornography media and usually use verbal coercion rather than violence and aggression to obtain compliance of their victims. Treatment centers for youthful sex offenders have mushroomed (both inpatient and outpatient). The rising incidence of sexual crimes by children against children is no longer America's best-kept family secret.

Typically sex offenders are lonely and socially isolated from peers; they prefer the company of younger children; they are naive and lack suitable sex education; and they frequently experience disturbed family relations. This lack of stability and consistency, confusion about one's own sexual identity, and a real sense of powerlessness in the family combine to cause real problems.

If you don’t report this incident to authorities, your ‘cover-up’ WILL create more problems than it solves – guaranteed. So, please consult your juvenile probation - today!

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

I am so tired of his games...


Well, M______ was home with husband, and 2 other children (19 and 9 yr old sons) yesterday. 16yr old would not do anything. When I came home from work, I told him, take as long as you would like, but he would not have use of the car (lost this privilege) and we would not be driving him until XYZ was all done. Well, he acted as if he wasn't going to do it, put it into high gear, and left on time. He kept whining how I shouldn't use "his" (the car we own but allow him to drive) car, "his" gas, etc. This met deaf ears. Also had to listen to similar stuff on the way home from work.

He got on the phone almost immediately when home. Told he was not to use the phone as part of his punishment (also is NOT allowed to call ex/?now current again girlfriend until girl's mother calls us to give permission as she threatened us in June about keeping him away). Well, I picked up extension and it was this girl. Unplugged the phone. He then started his usual tantrum--changing out TV channel, increasing the volume, etc. His TV (shares room with a brother--9 who was trying to sleep) was taken out of the bedroom. He acts like he's leaving so I call the police to file runaway (did this about 10 days ago). He then sneaks back into the garage a few minutes later. I call 911 back to cancel. He goes out the back door, husband locks it, and now he's banging door with rocks to come in, calling me a "b_____". I tell him if he's to come in, he's to go straight to his room. Husband goes into our bedroom with me, is angry, and says something like "I'm ready to kill him I'm so mad". M______ finds a phone and HE calls 911 that he heard a gun, he feels threatened, etc. Police come, talk to him and us, and realize he's doing this for attention and leave. He is told his punishment will start when he starts to follow our "grounding". Tell him in the morning he is not to leave our house/yard.

I come home from work mid-morning to take him to school to pick up his schedule, ID photo, etc. and find him riding his 9yr old brothers bike down the main 5 lane road. I pull in, and load up the bike and drive him home. He is not talking. He says he's not going to the school. I tell him, I will give him 5 minutes, will wait in the car, and start to charge him my missed wages and the gas to come all the way home. He is demanding his "designer" clothes (for the picture I'm guessing). I refuse, saying he has not yet yearned them back. He does come out within the five minutes, and we complete the school errand. I have my lunch and go back to work. I remind him he is to stay home. He does stay home, but he has been calling the girlfriend when told NOT TO!!! We will tell him tonight we will start the consequences all over again and when he goes without calling her, he can earn his privileges back. I am so tired of his games, I really could scream!!

He is under the impression that once he turns 17 we can no longer call the police when he leaves and he will be free to come and go as he pleases. I know we can withhold things he desires, but do you know what the laws are for 17 yr olds in Michigan?

Thanks for the support and insight!



First of all, I want you to know – in no uncertain terms – that you are working the program as it was intended. I’m very, very proud of you for getting down in the trenches and getting dirty. Most parents ‘wimp-out’ about now. Result: the child wins! And the parent now has to spend a lot of time trying to re-gain ground. This is the tough work that WILL (and at some level IS) deliver a payoff.

Now …several really important points here:

You MUST develop a “support system”. I’m part of that, but you need to have more of it. Find individuals who will listen to you, help you, encourage you, pray for you, etc. This can be your husband (of course), a pastor, friend, family member, therapist, etc. You have come toooooooo far to wave the white flag.

Also, you will want to work on the business of “healthy emotional-detachment” (which can only come about in the context of a strong support system). Emotional detachment is simply developing the skill of removing as much of your “internal negative emotions” from the equation as possible (e.g., feelings of anger, frustration, weariness, etc.). This is difficult, but with a little practice is highly possible. You begin to cultivate detachment “one day at a time” – one episode at a time. At first, you have to “fake it” (i.e., you “act as if” you’re not getting upset and discouraged). Then, after a few episodes of “faking it,” you begin to see that you are – in fact – not getting as upset/discouraged/etc.

In addition, you will want to TAKE CARE OF YOU (e.g., pamper yourself, find time to relax, pray, meditate, play, recreate …get a massage, have a glass of wine and a really nice dinner at a fancy restaurant one a week or so, etc.).

And if you’re not doing so, be sure to “catch your son doing things right” – or “not doing things wrong.” Don’t forget to reward with “acknowledgment and praise” (I’m sure he is doing at least one thing right each day).

Re: Juvenile Code for Michigan. Let’s not worry about that right now. You will have legal recourse options (e.g., emancipation, juvenile probation, etc.). But just continue working the program, and this shouldn’t be necessary.

Stay the course, and follow the recommendations listed above.


Things are shaping up...

Dear Mark,

I don't know if you remember me, but I am the one who sings and sent you some songs. I never did get to open your music. If there is a way you could send it again, I would like to hear it.

The reason I am writing is to say thank you for all the hours you put into this e-book on line. The support when we parents need it and all the info that is available. It has helped my situation. I at first didn't know about you or your ways of dealing with things, but I stayed the course and things are looking up.

My 17 year old has done many foolish things, but as we work things out together and I keep my poker face, things are shaping up. We have a few miles to go, but I am trusting the Lord and I keep reading all I can from the info you send.

THANK YOU so much and keep sending material that helps us parents get through these tuff years.

Blessings to you,


Online Parent Support

Has anyone else felt this way?

Hi All - I just found out my 15yo daughter 'was' seeing a 21yo young man. I was so blown away cause I thought kids went thru a bit of a 'naughty' build up before the big stuff, but boy was I wrong. Not only was she 'seeing' him she has also slept with him. We are off to the docs tomorrow for the test and to discuss birth control. We sat down & talked about it and I was surprised by how calm I was (she is my only child & I am a single parent). It is weird but I am not angry with her. A little upset maybe but I can't get it out of my head that although she (they) have done the wrong thing, she is 15 and hormonal. Has anyone else felt this way? I mean I didn't want this to happen but now that it has, I have to accept it & deal with it. Is there something wrong with me?



I know exactly how you feel -- and no, it's not wrong to feel this way.

Our 23 year old daughter just called in yesterday to tell us she had some news…

She'd just landed her first job having graduated from university and was in a steady relationship. She told us that she got too drunk at a party, slept with a chap she didn't know and found she was pregnant. She explained that she'd visited a pregnancy crisis centre in the London area and spoken to someone who had talked with her about her options.

She wanted to know what I thought as her mother. So I told her how I felt about the baby being my first grandchild, but that I would stand by her and support her whatever decision she made. She chose to continue with the pregnancy, and her son is now 6 years old: a delight and challenge to all!

Her boyfriend was so upset that he ended the relationship. Single parenthood is not easy; particularly as she has never had any support from the father and one day she's going to have to face difficult questions from her son. I think she has chosen a very brave option.

Online Parent Support

Monitor Your Child's Activities On The Computer

Parents, upon seeing the kinds of places and things their kids are getting into on the ever-growing Internet, have been very thankful that they started using parental control software.

Long Road

Hi Mark:

I cannot believe how quickly we have begun to turn things around in our house -- THANK YOU!! We have a long road to travel, but I think you have given me some very important tools to work with.




Online Parent Support

Christine Vents Her Spleen

Online Parent Support

This is all so bizarre...


I had an incident with my daughter last night.

She is 16 and dating a 19 year old, I am not happy about this, they were dating two months before we knew about him. She was lying and saying she was out with friends.

My husband, G___, who has been emailing you, MOVED OUT AND LEFT THE KIDS AND I LETTERS JUNE 13th. He has only seen our children a few times since. He is in the midst of an affair. He has NEVER been on the same page about any of this.

A___ came home late again from being with the boyfriend two nights in a row. I want her home at 11:00. Last night it was 11:30 when I called her and said they had been swimming in the common pool in her boyfriend's subdivision and they lost track of time. This whole thing disturbed me as most pools like that close at 10:00, no supervision, showers and dressing rooms unsupervised etc. She then walks in at 12:00 with an attitude, wet hair and Wendy's french fries, no biggie that she is late.

I confronted her about the inappropriateness of being alone at that hour, her lack of respect for me or the rules. I took her cell phone away and she went nuts. She was cursing at me, F FF FFF and when I went to SPANK her butt, she grabbed my arm, bruised me arm and spit her french fry "chew" in my face.

I then told her to get into the car that I was "taking her in" …it is now about 12:20 A.M. A few miles down the road, a sheriff's deputy was next to me at the traffic light and I rolled down the window and said that I had an "out-of-control" teen in my car and I wanted him to speak to her.

We pulled over at the next available moment. He talked to me alone, then her. She copped an attitude with him and readily confessed that she spat at me and bruised me. He handcuffed her and put in the patrol car and talked to me. We have a zero tolerance for domestic violence. She is at JUVY overnight.

I had mixed feeling about pressing charges, but she has pulled stuff like this many times before. G___ never backed me up on anything and is very non-confrontal. We have TWO very out-of-control teens.

My daughter has:

-seen four different therapists and walked out of most of their offices

-she was taking Prozac for depression and stopped taking it on her own last fall when she "felt" better

-she is very bright, STATE TEST SCORES ARE HIGH, but the grades are very poor

-she pulled a knife on me in eighth grade because she bought a shirt with a big skeleton on it and I did not want her to have it. We had the police at the house and I did not press charges.

-April 12th this year, she snuck out of the house in the middle of the night, she took her Father's vehicle without permission (she had her license, but we had not let her drive alone yet nor was she insured yet) …said she was picking up a friend of hers who was drunk at the friend's cousins house. At 5:00 A.M., this was a school night/morning, she came in our room fully dressed and said she did something terribly. She had taken the vehicle, parked it precariously hanging out of someone's driveway at a carriage home, it was towed for $200.00 and she had taken a cab home. She was grounded for two months, cell phone gone, she paid for the towing out her job earnings. Mind you this was grand theft auto and a major curfew violation.

-a few weeks later on a school day I went to wake her up. She was not in bed, called her cell, she was around the corner in our subdivision, said she could not sleep and a girlfriend I do not know picked her up. She then was escorted to the alternative schools and talked to by the deputy.

In eighth grade, almost three years ago, she had a major hatred for the school bus driver and many run-ins with him. He told her to sit in the front as she had been harassing a girl over her buckteeth, etc. She refused to move before departing school. An administrator was called in to get her to move, she did, but as soon as the bus pulled away, she said ‘F You’ to the bus driver and went to the back with her friends. Upon departing the bus at her stop, as she walked past the bus driver, she ripped his sunglasses off his face and threw them outside. He did not press charges for battery but she did get punished at school with out of school, alternative school suspension and 50 hours of community service.

One day this spring, between the two car incidents, she and I got into it about her behavior. She came after me and bit me threw my clothes, on the upper arms and my upper breasts. I had bruises all over and I told the last therapist that she walked out of.

Several years ago, she did not get her way about something and proceeded to have a tantrum in the car and bit her inner arm at the wrist in attempts to manipulate me and possible injure herself. I drove her directly to The David Lawrence Mental Health Center and she spoke to a counselor about her "poor life and how she could not do anything."

It is a mess Mark and perhaps the overnight experience last night will bring about change …school starts tomorrow. Being a single parent now, I have to get these kids in line.

Our 15 year old has similar issues.

HELP …please. I will talk with you today or tomorrow. I was a middle school history teacher before I had her and this is all so bizarre, I don't even know where to begin.

Thank you!



Online Parent Coaching

Parent states: "I've been the worst parent..."

Hi Mark…I am SO upset with myself...major slipback. A month or so ago, my son asked if he and a friend could come to my house for the night (he had been living with his dad for several weeks) and "thrilled" that he wanted to come here, of course I said yes!! Well, from that point on, he has had as many as 5 kids here for the night and one has actually moved in with us. Here is what has happened.

I caught my son and the "live-in" sleeping with 2 girls. I had gone out of town twice and didn't get back ‘till the next morning. Yesterday, my son got very mad at me and started throwing my stuff around, breaking things, calling me names and basically attacked my whole being. He also threw something at me and hit me. This all happened in front of 2 friends who cleaned up after him. I told him to get out, which he did and is now back at his father's. I called the police but didn't get much satisfaction, I didn't really want to press charges but basically scare him. I really don't think he has mental issues but more behavioural.

I'm so sorry that I dropped the ball because it made ME feel good to have him and his friends want to be around here. I couldn't even see what was really going on and now what??? He'll be 16 next month and honestly I'm so afraid for him. Last week he was punched by a person driving his vehicle and I'm sure that he provoked it somehow by being a smart-ass even though all of his friends said he didn't do anything. It was wrong of the person to assault him but one of these days, I'm afraid it won't be just a punch. I've been the worst parent Mark.  ~ T.


Hi T.,

Wrong! ...you haven't been a bad parent -- quite the opposite. You're TOO good. But being TOO nice and TOO good doesn't make you a bad parent - you're just an easy push-over.

When parents are TOO nice, they get nothing but disrespect. As I said in my eBook, "free hand-outs of stuff and freedom create disrespect."

You should strongly consider filing a battery charge so that you do not send the wrong message to your son ( i.e., if you intimidate, threaten, and cause property damage as well as personal injury, then people will be afraid of you and you will not receive a consequence). This is a bad message!

Do not beat up on yourself over this one, but I hope you don't let him off the hook. Receiving no legal consequence over this matter may cause him a good deal of problems in the long run (e.g., he may feel like he can bully whoever he wants and someday run into someone who beats the crap right out of him).



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

How can i tackle this phone issue?


My 17-year-old has girl friend that i have never met. He talks on the phone to her anything from 3 - 6 hours a day at any one time. He will call her around 10 pm - 11 pm and they will talk until 5.00 am in the morning. We have told him that is not acceptable. He will sleep most of the day. He is so disrespectful when we confront him about this and defiant. He does not see that there is a problem. How can i tackle this phone issue?



This is an eternal problem in all families, it seems. I have tried limiting calls to certain hours -- say between 8 and 9 PM (wouldn't *that* be great?) Nothing has been particularly successful in my household; all curbing of this problem seems to involve monitoring on the parents' part.

I have chosen not to provide my daughter with her own phone because (aside from the extra expense, which I can do without) that just gives her unlimited telephoning freedom and I don't see that as a solution to the problem. She does use the cordless phone in her room and when that gets out of hand, I disconnect it by taking the handset to the office for a while. This works quite well since under those circumstances her privacy is reduced.

Placing a "phone restriction" is sometimes helpful but again implies that I monitor it. During phone restriction she is not allowed to talk on the phone at all. If this rule is violated, I take away a privilege, like TV watching or getting together with her friends.



My daughter is alone three hours after school. After her 1 chore (one for each day of the week-listed on calendar) and homework is done she can talk on the phone until bedtime. I am not a phone person nor do I get calls. This didn't work. Grades went down, etc. I now take the phone with me to work. If there is a problem she can go to 3 neighbors. Callers have complained that I must have "daughters" because the phone is always busy. My daughter's solution is to pay for call waiting. Not! She needs to spend more time studying. I have also limited her calls to 30 min. with 1-hour wait between calls. I let the answer machine pick up the call. We need more family time together and I am working hard at it. The phone is a barrier.

Online Parent Support

Dealing with Out-of-Control Teenagers

How much longer will you tolerate dishonesty and disrespect?

How many more temper tantrums and arguments will you endure?

Have you wasted a lot of time and energy trying to make your child change?

If so, then this may be the most important article you'll ever read.

Click here for full article...

I’m the bad guy...

My 16 year old son has diagnoses of A.D.D. and O.D.D. His resentment of expectations at home, i.e. chores, rules, and discipline is being used to justify an attempt to change custody. Dad is promising him a driver’s license, car, and job (to pay $15-$17 per hour) while I told him that he needed to be getting passing grades in school to be permitted to get those things. Because I restricted him and Dad is willing to permit him, I’m the bad guy. Help! The court date is THIS Wednesday.


Hi N.,

First of all, I know you are a good mother, so let's not waste anytime debating this.

Second of all, if you read my eBook, you discovered that the main focus revolves around fostering the development of self-reliance in our kids. Withholding a driver's license and employment will foster dependency -- not self-reliance.

Re: the car. If your son goes to live with his father, I think getting him a car is O.K., but only if he earns it by making money to pay for at least half.

Lastly, you said he needed to get passing grades in school to be permitted to get these things. This tells me that he has been making failing grades, in which case you and your son's father will do well to follow my recommendation for "poor academic performance" in the Emails From Worried & Exasperated Parents [Online Version of the eBook].


Online Parent Support

I’m going out of my mind...

Hi Mark,

Hope you can help me with this matter, I’m going out of my mind...I've had legal guardianship of our granddaughter since she was 6yrs old, she's now 14. The last year has been pure hell - she's now into drinking and smoking pot. Her friends are the be all and end all to her and she'll make any excuse to be with them.

She has failed her first year of high school, its not that she can't do the work - her teachers have said she's perfectly capable. Her Mom lives in another province and she has gone to stay with her for a while - she now tells me she wants to stay and go to school there.

Now I don't know if her Mom is discussing these problems with her or not, or how she's going to handle them. I hate to see her like this and think we should do all we can to set her on the right path. I've told her she would have to change schools, of course she said no I’m not going to.

She hasn't really shown any respect to me in a long time -- my god what can a person do besides locking them up.




Hi M.,

Re: drinking and smoking pot. Please refer to the recommendations on the Q & A page in the online version of the eBook.

Re: failed her first year of high school. The Q & A page also has the recommendation for dealing with poor academic performance.

Re: she now tells me she wants to stay and go to school there. I’d let her try it. It will give you a break from her. Plus, if she and her mother can work on their relationship, it might be a better arrangement for your granddaughter anyway. However, if she asks to come back at some point in the future, you should tell her what the house rules are - as well as the consequences for violating any house rules (which may include her having to return to her mother’s).


Online Parent Support

Will the program work for a 19-year-old?

Hello Mark,

I stumbled across your website today after I googled: living with difficult teenagers. Your site looks promising to me, but I am wondering if it is appropriate for our situation.

My husband and I are married 27 years. We have 2 boys, both out of the house. One is soaring (age 23), and one is really struggling. He is 19, and out of the house about 5 months ago. In a nutshell: depression, counseling, barely finished high school, lacking direction and motivation, four months in a work release program, sleep issues, enrolled at community college, but never attended, always short on money. Biggest issue for us: when we interact with him, it is often because he is short on money and there is usually deception involved. It creates a really tense relationship.

Are we a fit for your program, even though we have a son who is 19 and out of the house?




Hi C.,

Ideally, parents should implement these strategies while the teenager is still living at home. But, few things in life unfold in an ideal fashion. So yes, you'll benefit from the information in the ebook. Most of these strategies are not age-specific, and "it's never too late" in spite of what others may say.

If you're not satisfied with the material - for any reason - just email me for a 100%, unconditional refund. You don't have anything to lose here.


41-Year-Old Mother Has Sex With 16-Year-Old


Well as I told you before K___, our now 16 year old ran away and was on probation. He is now in custody and we go back to court on the 2nd of August, for sentencing. We informed probation where he was for 3 months before they finally found him right where we said he was the whole time. Just a few blocks away. The problem is and was that he was at a friend’s house and he was having a relationship with his friend’s 41 year old mother …she has 4 children in her household all from different fathers. The 3 year olds father just turned 22 years old and he has no parents.

She took our son to the emergency room and used her son C___'s med-i-cal card to have K___ treated for an abscess tooth. She also drove 100 miles to steal K___ in the middle of the night from our relatives whom we were visiting to keep K___ safe until court. Five days was all it was. Obviously that didn't work either.

We are very concerned about what has happened to him in the last 3months. She was letting him do anything and everything that he wanted and also brainwashed him against his own family. The lawyer is telling us that they will probably release him into our custody on the 2nd of August just 2 days away. We know that we will not be able to keep him from running right back over to her. Since she knows that it is against his probation and she just doesn't seem to care. It seems as though from the way we see it she has committed a number of offenses and crimes, included rape of a minor. Please give me some input. I am really going crazy and do not know who to turn to for help on this matter.



Hi L.,

See if you can get a restraining order against the lady in question (so she’s not allowed to be around your son without legal ramifications). I’d also file a report with Child Protective Services. If your son returns to her house, file a runaway complaint.

Online Parent Support

I kept my poker face...

Thanks Mark,

Yes the tough reality... I have made lots of mistakes.... But today is a new day and a fresh start.

My son came home last night at 7.35pm after I made it clear that he needs to be home no later than 7pm for dinner...

He tried arguing with me but I kept my poker face and explained that I had said 7pm and that the grounding would start again from now.

With the support of my husband and lots of patience we got through a tough morning.

My son tried everything to get me to give his shoes back, real temper tantrums...he chopped up his old shoes, burnt another pair, carried on, broke a mirror, but I didn't budge. He found another old pair to put on and I told him after the 3 day grounding he could have his shoes back...

Thanks for your support.

Kind regards,


Online Parent Support



I wanted to thank you for such a wonderful program. My wife and I have been utilizing the steps with our 18 year old son and have achieved remarkable results.

Recently, a friend of mine told me of his 18 year old daughter who was giving them problems similar to what we experienced with our son. I shared some of your steps and techniques. He had his first "encounter" with his daughter last night. He "put on his poker face" and dealt with the issue unemotionally and factually.

He came in this morning and reported that to his amazement it worked. His daughter returned home with him and they are now working on moving to the next phase of their relationship.

Again, thank you. I tell everyone I know about www.myoutofcontrolteen.com and how well the program works.

Keep up the good work!

Best Regards,


The Program is called FAMILY...

I have four children ranging between the ages of 10 and 13. My two oldest are 13 year old girls. I got your program because I was needing help, help to stop screaming and having an awful day everyday because I couldn't get my kids to do anything that was expected of them. I learned a lot of our Parenting Newsletters, I read them every time the come into my inbox. I do not miss an issue! However, with my kids I needed more. My mother accuses me of being a liberal parent. Which I am sure that most of the parents from my generation are, I'm 33 years old. My father was impossibly hard and my mother was the typical housewife, "Listen to your father and you'll be ok." I swore I would give more to my children, more freedom, more understanding but through it all, I realized that you don't love them more if you give them MORE room to breathe. At times, you are actually hurting them.

The seem to be less confident, wanting to push the rules more because they already get so much. So, I have had to find a new way of parenting. I've gone to therapist after therapist that works with troubled kids and parents that are so lost in parenting. I finally found one that gave me a great idea that helps the children still feel like they have some control over what happens to them, but forces them to have consequences to their chosen actions.

The Program is called FAMILY. The way it works is this:

1. As a family you devise a set of rules that cannot be broken. We came up with about 20 of them. You can have as many as you want. Also a list of chores and due dates/times.

a. do as you are asked immediately

b. no cussing

c. curfew rules

2. Decide on how many cards each violation will cost

a. do as you are asked immediately costs (2)

b. no cussing costs (5)

3. Make 40 Good Habits Cards, 5 Wild Cards and 5 Grace Cards

a. Good habit cards - are things that have to be done around the house but are not normal chores

b. Wild Cards - are whatever you want them to be at the time of drawing them

c. Grace Cards - are get out of jail free cards, they get no extra jobs

4. When the child breaks a specific rule, the already know how many cards they are going to draw

a. the child can do the good habit card immediately or wait

b. if the child chooses to wait, they must wait in their room with NO tv, video games, phone etc (the self ground until the cards are completed)

c. once the card is completed, the punishment is over

5. Three Strikes Rule - these are for serious offenses and are not used lightly (ie running away from home etc)

a. Strike One - 1 week grounding, cannot leave room for any reason other than family meetings, bathroom, eating or school. Cannot play, watch tv, etc but can read a book or sleep for one week.

b. Strike Two - Same as above with 1 additional week of grounding and drawing all 50 good habit cards

c. Strike Three - Goes to a treatment facility

d. Pop-fly - the action is so bad (got caught with drugs or having sex, or running away from home for more than a day) they go directly to treatment facility

e. Bad-hair day - having a bad day and received a warning about to receive a strike

6. Devise a list of rewards

a. give a list of rewards with points required to receive them (such as going to the movies with friends)

7. Handipoints

a. use this website to calculate points received for doing their chores. It's a great site and they can enter their points themselves and then the parents approve them. They can also "purchase" their rewards here.... this is a GREAT site.

8. Finally, make sure that you have 2 additional people to help you. I have my husband (who is away at work but can call him) and if he's unreachable, I have my brother-in-law. They help clarify rules, they help support my parenting. This is a VERY necessary step! Make sure to have at least 1 other person that you trust to help you with this program.

I started this program about 2 month ago and am totally amazed at how much more respect, love and acceptance I've gotten from my children. The first week was terrible, they broke every rule and everyone was drawing cards, but we adjusted and now, the household chores get down without fighting or screaming because they know what will happen if the do not complete the chores. They don't fight as much, we have a family meeting every Sunday. My two oldest that are the same age, they even get along better because they don't want a strike. Which my son has already received and as he will tell you, "That totally sucks and I won't be doing that again!" This program has been a life-saver, have questions? Feel free to contact me.



Online Parent Support

How do I get my over-achieving daughter to slow down?

"I have taken the quiz and surprisingly found that I was a severely over indulgent parent. This angers me because I didn't think...