Things are running more smoothly...

Hi Mark,
It has been a couple of months since I have emailed you. I went back over the e-book and got some clarification. I must admit, though, I feel some things are still not presented clearly. However, in genera, things are running more smoothly. The kids have more jobs to do (nothing for free) and don't complain when I ask them to help out (well, most of the time!). They actually offer to help more now, which I find amazing. For the most part, we have pleasant dinners and car rides now. A couple of weeks ago the kids got a 3 day grounding for a major fight in the car. It took 7 days to work through it, but finally they managed to spend 3 days being pleasant to each other and everyone else. It was the most peaceful, consecutive 3 days we have ever had with our kids! Truly wonderful!
However, my daughter B___ (11) is complaining that we are being grossly unfair when her 3 day groundings start over, so I would like to run this by you. Maybe we are being too harsh. This is the latest scenario. 5 days ago B___ was angry at me regarding something I was going to do with her brother (7 yo) and came into his room while I was there and gave him a full force kick and punch. I sent her to her room to calm down and told her that she was grounded for 3 days. (If the kids just get into a little physical fight they only get 1 day. But this was an unprovoked and brutal attack, I felt). She felt this was grossly unfair, screamed/yelled, clawed/scratched her neck, choked herself, threw something at me etc. I stayed calm, she eventually calmed down but accused me of not caring about her because I let her hurt herself. We didn't give her very much sympathy, just said it must really hurt.
(To get off grounding for physical violence my kids have to 1. get their jobs done on time; 2. no physical/verbal violence to each other; 3. no physical/verbal violence or disrespectful talk to parents and 4. do what they are told. Any infringement is cause for restarting the 3 day grounding. For 2 and 3, I do not give warnings, the grounding just starts over. )
For the past 5 days they have had some small fights which have resulted in Eric getting a couple of one day groundings and B___ having to restart her 3 day grounding. Tonight she had one day left of the 3. Eric was playing on the floor. She walked over and picked up a piece of what he was playing with; he told her to put it back, she did nothing, he started yelling at her and tried to grab it; she still said/did nothing but did not give it to him. He finally started punching her. He got a one day grounding and she started her 3 days over. (I did not give them a warning to stop) B___ said she was doing 'nothing'. They were sent to their rooms to cool off for a few minutes until supper time. 15 minutes later I went to get B for supper, and she told me that to restart her 3 days was very unfair. She said she did nothing wrong. I told her that I understood that she felt that way, but that I disagreed. I asked her if she could think of something that she could have done differently to prevent the blow up. She couldn't. I said that it was a matter of timing. She could have chosen to give the toy back right when Eric first asked for it. I agreed that he did overreact. I said, calmly, that that was the way the rule worked. B___ got very upset, started yelling, pulling her hair out and scratching at her neck. I said I was going to eat and she could come up later and eat after we were done. She accused me of not caring b/c I was leaving her when she was hurt.
I am concerned about this self-mutilation she has started to do. She often threatens to cut herself with scissors but has not. But to be honest, I am wondering if I am being too hard with this grounding. I would appreciate it if you could tell me if any part of the above is unreasonable or unfair, or if I should handle it a different way.
Hi L.,

Re: things are not presented clearly.

If parents read the entire eBook and listen to all the audio files, the strategies are usually fairly clear. If you haven't viewed all the power points and listened to all the audio, you may benefit from doing so.

Please read this page re: cutting ==> click here.

Re: 3-day-discipline. I think these emails from parents with similar questions will help clarify:

How Do They Earn Their Way Off Discipline?

How do you eat an elephant?

I hope this helps. Stay in touch.


I feel like we're leading a secret life...

Hi Mark,

My husband and I have been reading your info online and find it very helpful and educational.

Our son, has been out of school for 2 weeks. We kept him home for one week before he was hospitalized. He was in a depression and had hit his low. This week he checked in to a very nice facility in Pasadena and has been out. He has a teacher, nurse, doctors, support groups etc.

My problem is talking to people to ask where he is or the attendance office at school. My husband and I usually say, "He was under some stress and needed some time off." Last night my husband and I went to our first session with him with his psychologist (Who he likes and listens to). It was a tough but good session.

Tonight is back to school night. My husband will stay home with our 9 year old and I will go and meet his teachers whom we have been in contact with. He is a bright student in the honors program. They move very fast in class. He is a Junior. I have asked for another homework packet for the week for our son to work on while he is not at school. What do I say tonight at the "Back to School Night"?

I did send a letter to his teachers saying: upon his return to school if the teachers would ease him into the schoolwork, so as not to stress or overwhelm him. His water polo coach is the one we will have the most trouble with. We have left 2 messages for him and he has not returned either one. He is going to ride our son upon his return.

They are trying our son on Depacote 250mg. twice a day. With this we need him to exercise. Our son is very good water polo player and need to return for exercise so as not to have a weight gain. He can tend to get a little overweight w/o exercise.
I feel like we're leading a secret life in what to tell people and not to be too honest, for they will judge him or label him later.


Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

D. and C.


This is easier said than done, but don’t try to cover-up anything. I’m concerned that will create more problems than it prevents. And do NOT attempt to get teachers to pamper your son. This too may cause more problems than it solves.

Are you taking on too much responsibility for your son, and are you trying to save him from uncomfortable emotions? If so, this goes against the grain of the parenting program you are currently working.


Online Parent Support

Dealing with Violent Behavior in Kids & Teens

"My son sucker punched me. I'm not violent, and to say the least, it really surprised and hurt me (emotionally, he didn't hit hard enough to hurt) ...he is 13." 
==> Click here for help with violent behavior in your child...

Now we find ourselves in another prediciment...

Mark, I am not sure if you remember me but my name is D___ and my husband and I build Target Stores across the country and currently we are building one in Michigan. I talked to you last year about my then 15 year old step-daughter who had called CPS on us, NUMEROUS TIMES, and you were beyond helpful. We did get and read your wonderful E-book. Did we DO it??? Well, we tried to, meant to, wanted to... but no we did not. Now we find ourselves in another prediciment with L__ and I am literally ready to pack my bags and walk out of here and I need some back-up desperately.

I do not want to leave but I need my husband on-board here and helping with L__, who is now 16. Due to his lack of involvement over the past 9 HORRID years of marriage and MY raising L__ alone, he does not get it! I am very strict! DO I think too strict? No. L__ is out to kill us, at least me, mentally. She does the most subversive things and I cannot believe he does not see it! He then will see her fake tears, that FLOW ALL THE TIME, and he then shows some sign of "poor thing" and I swear I want to SCREAM! And Do!

L__ is horrible, uncontrollable, I cannot do my job because she cannot be trusted anywhere in the house! So my job suffers and his flourishes! I protect him from her like I am the posterchild for co-dependency and then hate myself. It appears to be a no-win. Maybe it is. She does not care about anyone but her! Period. My other children...She could care less!

Last night she walked to Burger King and decided to stop at a creek and sit in the middle of it and take glass and barely carve her wrist (ex nursing background) and then comes back home, wet, crying and saying "I did something really bad". Hell, I thought she stole something, AGAIN. I was working at my home office but she proceed to throw a "attention-cide" fit like the ones we have seen MANY times before. When we asked her why, she says "because she cannot take her consquences".

Her wrist was nothing. I have scratched myself on worse while walking the dogs! It was the WHOLE earlier part of the day where she had decided she must have some mental dis-order because she cannot do what is right and demanded to go a shrink. When we said we had NO mental health coverage and that she had tapped us out last time, she was furious! Also, C___ and I know her pattern. She was playing us with her wrist (and admitted it later) to "get" to a shrink" to get her FIX of plundering US!

Now here we are! Today. Ruined! Another day of MY work lost! I am losing it! Please, what can we do? We would gladly pay for your time on a phone call if possible. Anyhow... I am sorry to write and unload. I have just had it. Take Care, D.


Hi D.,

Yes, I remember you well.

I think you'll have to detach emotionally. It seems to me that you are (a) taking on too much responsibility, (b) taking your daughter's behavior too personally, and (c) taking life too seriously [the life of a co-dependent].

I would suggest that you get busy taking care of YOU, and put other people's problems in God's hands. The less responsibility you take for others, the more responsibility they will take for themselves. The more you can lighten-up, the more others will lighten-up.

Co-dependence is a condition of lost self-hood. It is defined as any suffering that is associated with, or results from, focusing on the needs and behavior of others. It can mimic, be associated with, aggravate, and even lead to many of the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual conditions that befall us in daily life.

We become co-dependent when we turn our responsibility for our life and happiness over to other people. Co-dependents become so pre-occupied with others that they neglect their true self - who they really are.

When we focus so much outside of ourselves, we lose touch with what is inside of us: our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, decisions, choices, experiences, wants, needs, sensations, intuitions, unconscious experiences, and even indicators of our physical functioning, such as heart rate and respiratory rate.

Co-dependence is the most common of all addictions: the addiction to looking elsewhere. We believe that something outside of ourselves - that is, outside of our true self - can give us happiness and fulfillment. The "elsewhere" may be people, places, things, behaviors, or experiences. Whatever it is, we may neglect our own selves for it.

Self-neglect alone is no fun, so we must get a payoff of some sort from focusing outward. The payoff is usually a reduction in painful feelings or a temporary increase in joyful feelings. This feeling or mood alteration is predicated principally upon something or someone else, and not on our own authentic desires and requirements.

One of our reasons for ‘being’ is to get to know ourselves in a deeper, richer, and more profound way. We can do that only if we are truly in relationship with ourselves.



My son has achieved the impossible...

Just to say that with patience and tolerance we appear to have won the battle. My son dropped out of school before the end of year 10. Didn't take any GCSE's. This last month my son has achieved the impossible. He has applied for a got one of the best engineering apprenticeships in the country, beating over 120 other candidates. He is the youngest apprentice on the course. He loves it and is attending college.

Hopefully the corner has been turned.

Just thought you might like to hear of some success.


Online Parent Support

He has already missed 10 days of school...


I have a really bad situation here and need you.

My child is a SR on probation for 6 months -due to Being under the Influence. He lost his license due to many points. He has had numerous wrecks. He has ADHD but won't take his Rx. He has not done well in school but is very capable and scores off the charts with testing. PSAT score was 1100.

He has already missed 10 days of school and now wants to drop out of school. HELP ME! There is an alternative school that is a possibility. The Jr. College he wants to go to will accept him with a GED and not even taking his SAT's.

I am afraid he will regret this and I am also scared he may go to jail.

Thank you so so much,



Hi P.,

Just FYI, most of my juvenile clients have withdrawn from regular school and are either attending an alternative school or preparing for their GED – based on my recommendation. This is due to the fact that these kids fail miserably in regular school, but do very well in an alternative setting. I’m sure this will be the case with your son.


Online Parent Support

I see this sad, lonely alone young man...

Hi Mark,

I bought the book some time ago, and it has helped tremendously. However, I still don't know what else to do.

2 years now, and my 18 year old son refuses to socialise, refuses to get a job (we are now in a foreign country, so he has a point), refuses any kind of help, refuses to get involved in any activities, whether they are lone activities or not,....his anger problem is a bit better, but still out of control.........better because of your book and my different re-action........

I see this sad, lonely alone young man, and it breaks my heart. 2 years now, and I'm his only contact. His Dad doesn't bother, and all our family have passed away. I just don't know what else to do. Over the years I've tried everything, and I mean everything, and everyone. Including giving him his own time and space, but nothing different happens. I get off his back. He is happy watching tv. using the computer and playing video games.

How can I help him, if he doesn't want to be helped? But I don't want to live like this anymore.

Please help me,

Anne Jackson


You are living with a young adult who is emotionally/socially under-developed. Many factors have contributed to this, but to look at causes will be of little benefit.

I think it's possible that you feel sorry for him, and as such, are not implementing the "tough love" concept to it's fullest intent. Until you truly get on board with the program (i.e., follow the recommendations in the Online Version of the eBook, specifically the section in the Anger Management Chapter entitled "When You Want Something From Your Kid"), then you will be living with a 28-year-old man ten years from now.

I would suggest "getting ON his back" rather than off. Give him a deadline in which he will either have to be working full time or attending school full time - or some combination thereof.

Online Parent Support

I feel I am heading in a new direction...

Hello Mark,

Thank you for your email. I believe things happen for a reason.

I have been looking for the guidance on how to handle my oldest son for a few years now. I was actually on line looking for a website for information on boot camps etc...when I came across your website just last night. This of course was in the midst of him refusing to come home and telling me he will come home when he wanted to....maybe 1,2,3:00 in the morning whatever he dediced and on top of that not knowing where my other son even was! Ugggh!

I have tried so many things and he has just got worse. youngest son 14 is riding on his brothers coat tails and beginning the same behavior. I so want to harness their behavior so it doesn't continue and wasn't only looking at them, but also at me and what could I change. Just this week I was looking at my parenting (single parent) and what I was doing to fuel the fire and not sure how/what to change. I did recognize a few things and made a start with those but when I read your website I realized I had found the right tools to guide me in my parenting. Your website described me & my teens to the "T"!! It was incredible to read what I have so far! I couldn't wait to get up this morning and start reading some more!

One of the things I learned so far from your website is...I have been doing some things right but still have a lot of work to do to change the way I parent my two boys. Also, what I have learned so far about why teens act/re-act they way they do has given me a better understanding of them and that they/we are not alone.

Thank you for creating your website and proving the guidance and information to help me through! In less than 24 hours I feel I am heading in a new direction. I am ready to face what comes our way.

Warmest Regards,


Online Parent Support

Tackle Only One Problem At A Time

Mark, Exactly right about the punishments, as I have read, re-read your program over and over! My problem though is M______ is refusing most things.

1) Right now he is supposed to be doing his on laundry (as a consequence) and actually has done some of it, but won't fold it or put it away. I even offered to help fold while we watched a baseball game last night, but he refused.

2) He recently got back his "designer" clothes (dad gave back, did not "earn" back). I asked him to put them away (they are in a big hockey bag), again they are still in the bag in the middle of the bedroom floor.

3) He made a grilled cheese sandwich, burned the pan, left it on the stove, directed to clean it, he made a half-hearted attempt said he would "clean it when I get home from work", then never did (I needed it for dinner last night, so I ended up cleaning it).

4) was refusing to go see his counselor Friday, eventually did go, but ended up sitting in the waiting room.

5) is refusing to mow the lawn (which had been a paid job to help work off some of his debt)

6) said he was going "tanning" yesterday afternoon (at the end of our block), but part of his bond is to stay at home, was told no, he started walking, I went with him, he did return home, I did drive him and waited in the car.

7) he has missed his bus every morning for school, inconveniencing me and his little brother.

8) trying to talk on the phone EVERY chance he can possibly find. We have told him if he went to school on the bus every day, stayed off the phone, kept up with his laundry, kept his room tidy, did his other chores, did not swear at us, he could earn back the privilege of driving to/from school (to start). He has done none of these things.

SO WHAT CAN WE OFFER? I am finding things positive, having open conversations and saying "I love you" daily. This is what I'm struggling with. Thanks, J___

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



 Re: SO WHAT CAN WE OFFER? I am finding things positive, having open conversations and saying "I love you" daily. This is what I'm struggling with. 

O.K. Great question! Earning things back simply entails not repeating the offense in question. For example, your son violates curfew after he was given a warning that he will be grounded for 3 days without computer privileges. Two days go by and he returns home late again. So you restart the 3 days. If he makes it through the 3 days without missing his curfew, then he gets off ground and can get on the computer.

Notice in this example he didn't have to "earn" his way off discipline by doing laundry or mowing the grass. Also, in this example, you only tackled one problem rather than multiple problems. 

Judy, check out this blog entry ==> click here. I think this may be helpful in ironing out some minor details for you. Do not get discouraged, because you are greatly on track.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

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

She goes into orbit...

I have a grand daughter 7 who is ripping the heart out of my daughter. H___ is 7 and for the past 2 weeks she has had these psychotic attacks. She turned on my daughter, scratched , kicked, bit , pulled her hair …hurt her ...all because she didn't get her way. The Dr thinks she may have ODD and ADHD daughter asked me to come help her so I am leaving tomorrow for HI. You can't tell her no ...when she does not get her way she goes into orbit. The day she went after my daughter was because she wanted to jump off a cliff ...please let me know what you think. Thank you.


I'm going to be brief.

If you don't have the strategies outlined in my eBook, then you are in for one long, frustrating venture with your grand daughter.


Mom Is In For The Long Haul


Well, just to keep you up to date. M______ had his prelim hearing on Tuesday. The attorney for "our" side (who we had never met and had never spoken to) told the referee we were unwilling to take him home. We did tell the ref. we would take him home with some restrictions. He told M______ he would be having another hearing and would he be willing to go home with his parents until then. He never once turned around to acknowledge us at all and said to the referee "How long would that be for?" Obviously this killed us, but he did not see our reaction, nor do I believe we showed one.

The ref. found out if would be 30 days, and he went through the restrictions, and M______ said he would go home. We picked him up from the Juv. center. He did not speak to us. We went to pick up the 9 yr old from our friends. It was only then that he finally started to talk to him. By the end of the night, he was at least talking to us. It was very strained to say the least. He is denying what happened. He is saying his court appointed attorney (that we have to pay for) that he can bring charges against us for 1. child abuse, 2. sexual harassment 3. he can plead innocent. We tried to explain to him that he could go ahead and try, but his record compared to ours speaks for itself and we as his parents would not do something like this to our own child unless it were true.

Just for your info (if you don't know) we are required to pay for each day he is housed at the youth home at $170.00 per day. We pay 100% because of our income. The 4 day stay alone is $680.00 plus the $300.00 attorney fee--go ahead and add up the 30 days they were contemplating!! No wonder more parents don't seek out the police/legal recourse.

We do feel our son needs help, but not to be put in the youth home. He came home with all kinds of stories of other boys with murder charges, armed robbery, etc. and he is a runaway and domestic assault (never punched, more of pushed/shoved but still caused bruising).

Anyway, we did change his school. He "wasn't going" that first day, was 10 minutes late, and tried every ploy/plead for me to change my mind at the last minute (after we had done the paperwork). At one point he did say "I didn't think you would really do it," which was an eye-opener to me. He blames parents for taking away both being at same school as his girlfriend and no lacrosse at the current school. I keep putting this back onto him as the one who chose it. He has not made the bus one day yet. We are working on this, and I'm sure he feels like a baby since most 11th graders drive. We have dangled the carrot of driving to school in several weeks if he "earns" it back.

He has asked for the phone (which he uses when we're not home). I'm sure, internet privilege, and to go to a football game, go tanning, and spend the night at a friend's all with NO answers as he is limited to his home, school (for school only, no extracurriculars), and work as part of his probation. He did give me a difficult time with this but did stay home. His girlfriend is also "off limits" as far as ANY contact--phone, internet, etc. but I know he is talking with her. I have yet to reach her parents to tell them about the terms of his probation (they did come over on Monday with the girl to discuss the relationship and agree it is a destructive one and would try to keep them separated at least for a while).

His counselor has not helped (as you predicted) and feels his behavior is escalating, and he may be having mood swings. M______ had an appt. last night, was "not going", told him to be mature and do the right thing, he eventually went with me but only saw the counselor for about 5 minutes. He sees the probation officer Wednesday and has a court ordered psych eval on 10/2. Court date is 10/4.

I hope we have "peaked" and things will get better. What is your opinion? What other incentives do you think may help? (No phone or internet as this has been the ongoing issue). He actually seems to be OK with the school (did attend K-8th grade in this district so he knows quite a few of the kids). Dad is out of town for the w/e and we did go out to dinner yesterday and then out for ice cream. I am waiting for him to do his chores sometime this weekend (hopefully will) and he is currently at work. I need to keep him busy. Any ideas would be great. Thanks, and I'll keep you informed.

Oh, by the way, husband sees dollar signs and is ready to let M______ run wild rather than con't our struggle with the juve. system due to the outrageous financial burden. I however, am determined to con't so M______ knows we mean what we say. I have told husband I would get a second job, etc. but I was determined to cont the fight as I feel we haven't "lost" M______ yet.




Hi J.,

Re: I hope we have "peaked" and things will get better. What is your opinion? What other incentives do you think may help?

Results from the psych eval should provide some valuable info that will dictate a course of action.

Keep in mind that consequences need to be immediate -- but short-term (no more than 7 days, and 3 days works best). You want your son to be able to see light at the end of the tunnel.


My Out-of-Control Teen

I am better today...


It was a Godsend to speak to you, and again -- I thank you!

I am better today. Lia is home. I tried your the technique you teach of "give some praise through a wired shut by anger mouth"... :-) ..., yesterday on Lia. She DID the dishes, 1st time out and good.

After she finished them I said "TTTttttttthhhhhhaaannnnnkkkkk (aaarrrgggggggaAAaag) Yyyyyoooouuuu. You did the dishes great and even put them away without being asked. Want to help with dinner?"...

I swear she stood frozen, like a deer cemented in headlights, and eventually said "sure". So today is a new day. A thankful while hopeful day for the ONE day of peace I had yesterday and for the hope of adding another day today. It is at least a start. Thank you!"

Take Care,


Online Parent Support

Cruel & Unusual Punishment


Earlier today I overheard some parents talking about how traditional punishments stopped working for today’s teens and it got me thinking. Sending a teen to their bedroom really isn’t much of a punishment. They have so much to do in there that it’s fun - and making them stay home isn’t much of a discouragement either as many teens prefer to stay home.

Here are some creative punishments that will get you results when used as a threat or an actual punishment:

* Completely block their Internet access for a x days using your router.

* Delete all their MP3s off their computers and iPod.

* Delete their saved games off of their Xbox, PlayStation, etc.

* Delete all their ringtones and contacts off their cell phone.

* Delete their porn collection on their computer. Yes, even your child has one.

* Sell their iPod, game consoles, and/or camera on eBay and use the cash to buy something for yourself that they won’t enjoy.

* Sell their car and make them ride a bicycle, or worse, public transportation.

* Edit their MySpace profile and put Mom, Dad, Grandparents, and all their siblings in their Top 8. Delete all other friends except maybe ugly/unpopular ones. Then change their password so they can’t switch it back.

* When their friends call, pretend you’re getting them, then say, “___ said s/he will call you back after s/he’s finished watching his/her favorite 7th Heaven episode for the third time today.”

* Take all their favorite clothes and donate them to the Salvation Army, leaving them only with uncool dress clothes.

I didn’t list these in any particular order, but some should be reserved for more serious infractions.

My Out-of-Control Teen

Is age a factor?

Dear Mr. Hutten,

I have an 8-year-old child that was recently diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Just before his third birthday he was diagnosed as having autism. He had severe speech delay, cognitive issues, major behavioral problems and low social interaction.

With a combination of ABA, occupational and speech therapy, he is vastly improved. He now tests "normal" in cognitive tests, although he does continue to be a bit behind his peers.

His behavior, however, is horrific.

I tell people it's like living with a surly teenager. He lashes out if he doesn't get his way. At school he routinely hits other children if they frustrate/upset him in any way. He blames others for everything, even going so far as to say that his victims *told* him to do it. He has every single out of control behavior on the ODD list (with the exception of swearing because there is no swearing at all in our home).

Because he's routinely seen for autism, the doctors told us that his progress made is such that they don't consider him to be autistic and say he probably never was. So we had him reevaluated because if he's not autistic, then I wanted to know what we were dealing with.

He has a tentative diagnosis of ODD - the psychotherapist who evaluated him has gone on maternity leave.

We have all sorts of positive behavior modification programs in place, but nothing seems to work. Punishment and discipline only seems to exacerbate the situation.

We are quite literally at our wit's end. I'm wondering whether your program could help us. I see that it is geared towards teenagers, and I didn't know if it would work with someone as young as my son.

Thank you,



Hi S.,

Age is not a factor. There are a few age-specific strategies, but these are outlined in the eBook.

The parents I work with have tried very hard to address their child’s emotional and behavioral problems on their own, but with little or no success. And it seems the harder they try, the worse it gets.

Every Monday night at Madison Superior Court [Div. 2], I meet with a group of parents who are at a loss on what to do or how to help. We meet for 1 hour each session for 4 Mondays.

During our brief time together, I show the parent how to use some highly effective “unconventional” parenting strategies to use with their out-of-control, “unconventional” child.

I follow up with these parents weeks and months after they complete the program to track their success, and 80% - 90% of them report back to me that problems in the home have reduced in frequency and severity, and that the parent-child conflict is finally manageable.

Now I want to show YOU what I show them. I want to teach YOU how to approach your child -- in spite of all the emotional and behavioral problems.

There is no need for you to continue living as a frustrated, stressed-out parent. I will help you resolve most of the behavioral problems, but I can’t do it for you!

If you will read my eBook, listen to my talks, view my videos and power point presentations, and email me with specific questions as you go along – you WILL get the problems turned around. If you will take a step of faith here, you WILL experience the same success that thousands of other parents are now enjoying.

After years of dealing with strong-willed, defiant children, many parents feel so defeated that they believe nothing or nobody will be able to help them – they think it’s simply “too late.” But I promise you – it is NOT too late!!

If you’re tired of disrespect, dishonesty, arguments, hot tempers, etc., and if things are steadily getting worse as time goes by, then you may want to get started with these parenting strategies today.

I'm not a “miracle worker,” but you don't need a miracle to get your kid on a good track behaviorally and emotionally -- you just need the right combination of these “unconventional” parenting strategies I’d like to show you.

I’m here for you should you decide to Join Online Parent Support…

Mark Hutten, M.A.
Online Parent Support, LLC

==> CLICK HERE to join Online Parent Support.

RAD Child


Thank you for the quick email. My wife C___ and I are starting to go through the material now.

One question (I think I know the answer, but figured I would check), I am assuming these strategies have been successful on children with a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder as well as ODD. Our son C___ is 15 years old and exhibiting most of the issues you describe. He is extremely confrontational and defiant at this time, but not violent. He is insisting upon control of his life than making very poor decisions with that control. C___ was removed from his biological mother at 18 months and his father was already incarcerated by that time for sexually molesting one of C___'s sisters. Ended up, he later admitted to sexually molesting three of C___'s sisters (none were the father's biological children). The six children were all in foster care for a minimum of 7 years prior to being adopted.

We adopted C___ just before his 10th birthday. He had lived with us for approximately 10 months prior to the adoption. While there were always minor behavioral issues, the out of control teenager aspect has completely taken over since last January, providing us with truly 9 months of hell. While never a great student, he has lost ALL interest in school. He does attend, but is disruptive and refuses to do any work. Despite doing decently for the first two 10 week marking periods last year (mid to high 70's, some 80's), he ended up failing both math and english basically for not doing his work. Due to his behavior, the school is very close to filing a PINS (person in need of supervision) application with the courts.

C___ and I will be completing the article over the next two days and we are starting to try to put some of the strategies into play. We are definitely saying our prayers on this one. C___ is a good kid who was dealt a very poor hand early in his life.



Hi R.,

It seems to me [going on what you’ve told me] that a main issue currently is poor academic performance. Please be sure to read the recommendation for this on the page entitled “Emails From Exasperated Parents” [online version of the eBook].


Have children evaluated...

Dear Mark,

I think your "my out of control teen" site is extremely rich in content with so many links and avenues for reader participation. The information on camps and schools and the even the links to blogs offers such a variety of help.

That you repeat often the advice to have children evaluated is so important. When my husband's nephew at age 12 began to sleep more and lost interest in after-school activities, a few weeks passed with his parents worrying about depression and what might be happening at school before they thought to take him to the doctor. It was leukemia.

I think missing important medical clues with children will worsen with fewer families able to afford general health care and more destitute families using emergency rooms instead of family physicians.


Online Parent Support

I am not a person who normally seeks outside support...


I am very interested in your eBook and would like to make the purchase. I am not a person who normally seeks outside support or help for my family. But my 18 year old son is just out of control, I cant seem to get a handle on him.

I have three other children, 1 out of college, 1 in college, 1 in Junior high. My other three children are good students and are very respectful to themselves and others. My 18 year old son Kurt is the one that I need help with. The friends he hangs out with, the breaking of his curfew, not being able to keep a job, anger issues, Pot & Alcohol, and poor grades in school.

I can go on..................

Can you help with him?

Is your $29 fee only for the eBook, you mention videos and PowerPoint's?

Please advise. Thanks again.




As a member of Online Parent Support, you get the following:

· My Out-Of-Control Teen eBook which contains the text version of the parent -program -- you'll get the online version and the printable hard-copy version

· Live audio recordings you can listen to online

· Power Point Presentations and Videos you can view online

· Full access to OPS Website

· Full access to Bonus eBooks Site

· Parent Forum where a community of parents support each other

· OPS Bi-weekly Newsletter

· On-going & easy access to your own personal parenting-coach via phone, email correspondence, or OPS Chat Room

· No hassle money-back guarantee

If for any reason, you are not satisfied with this package, you can call me or email with your refund request and I'll see to it that you get an immediate 100% refund - no questions asked.

You may join here whenever you're ready to get started...



I see many signs...

Thank you for sending me information on ODD and CD. It is very interesting, and quite scary to read as a parent, as I see many signs in my 13 year old son.

After years of frustration in school (and difficulties with behavior at home), I finally broke down about two years ago (after an absolute last resort) and my son was put on Concerta. It seemed to help with his concentration, but he didn't like the feeling it gave him and it became a battle for him to take his meds towards the end of last year. He doesn't want to take it this year either. It was used strictly for school - never weekends or school holidays. I told him that this would have to be re-examined again once school starts (tomorrow).

Last year, I provided the junior high school my son attended with forms to complete to have him tested at a clinic that deals exclusively with behavioral problems. This was after doing much research. The school's recommendation was to have the testing done at the school first (funding for special needs??). I just now received a copy of the report and I am concerned with some of the comments in the report which are not accurate, and some embellished information, all of which are on his permanent school record. After a one hour consultation with my son, and review of forms completed by myself, his teacher, and a review of his school file, the psychologist diagnosed him as ADHD (no surprise), severe ODD (the severe was a surprise) and CD (very much a surprise but not many symptoms). Would this allow for an accurate assessment? There were some suggestions for improvements, although in my view, rather vague ones.

My son is funny, athletic (has played hockey competitively since age 4 always at high levels) social (sometimes too much so!), loving, sincere and gentle (especially to animals and the elderly and to anyone he loves that he feels he hurt), and has a smile that could melt any heart. He can also be difficult, demanding, defiant, impulsive and frustrating. He struggles with academics in school - not because he's not bright, but because he gets behind and frustrated. I want to do whatever I can to help him be the successful person that I know he can be.

I am reading your Ebook and thank you so very much for the information in it. It IS making a difference. I am very concerned right now about his schooling. I have just enrolled him in grade 8 in an academy that provides an excellent hockey program. This leaves academics in the morning (when he has better concentration) and nothing but physical activities and hockey in the afternoon.

Is medication the only thing that will help an ADHD/ODD succeed? What other options do I have? Would you recommend a more thorough evaluation?

Thanks for reading this rather long request....

Very concerned mom,


Hi concerned mom,

Medication may be recommended for ADHD depending on the severity of symptoms; however, medication for ODD is not recommended. Parent Education Training [PET] is the standard course of action for ODD, and if you downloaded my eBook, you now have that training.

My Out-of-Control Teen eBook

I hope we are doing the right thing...


I hope we are doing the right thing with our son, and feel sad about what has happened, but no guilt, which is an improvement. We were leaving for vacation (only 1 1/4hrs away) last Saturday at noon. M______ has known about this for several weeks and we even told each child they could bring a friend (M______ still had not been able to find someone to go). We had rented a house on Lake Huron. I would be able to commute to work on Wed, Thur, and Fri. Fifteen minutes before we are to leave (both cars packed up and we only need to pick up 9yr olds friend) he starts with his "I'm not going". He takes his bike and leaves. I file "runaway".

Four hours later, we leave. It was the hardest thing to do--leave without him. We did have both cars packed and it was not fair for the 9yr old and his friend (also pretty close to home). Oldest son (at home due to working) call us about 1:30am to say the bathroom window is broken open and screen is cut, and front door unlocked. We know M______has been home. About 2:40am contacted by a neighboring police department (1/2hr from home) they have our son. Stopped for speeding, out past curfew, and doesn't have a license on him (we had taken it away). It was not his vehicle, the person who owned it was in the car, and had been drinking (our son blew a 0). Car was impounded. Go get him, pick up bike where he ditched it, went home, made him pack, and left for the lake house. Get back at 7:00am.

Not very sociable in the interim. Sometimes he is playing with the dog, or the younger boys, other times he's in his room, playing PS2. Tuesday, I see he has a cell phone when he's laying down (not his--it was taken away). He denies he has one, rolls over on his stomach, and WILL NOT show me his hands, check pockets, etc. I walk away. Wednesday I'm at work, and husband sees the phone--again in the bedroom. Confronts M______, who again is denying it, husband tries to physically roll him over and son bites him in the arm. I do take a picture of this. Later Wed. M______ friend shows up. Something doesn't seem right, they keep on wanting to leave. We say no. They stay, but are clearly not happy.

Thursday, I'm at work again. Dad does let them go to a nearby mall but to be back at 3:00pm. They leave about noon. They are not back. Friend not answering cell phone. Husband does call this boy's mother who informs him, they are on their way home to have dinner at her house, then plan on attending the football game. Dad tells this mom our son is to return home immediately, friend can take him, or we will pick him up. M______ does get dropped off about 5:15-5:30pm. We are having friends up this day, and they are already here.

Friday I'm at work. They pack up to leave. He seems OK per Dad. When I get home, he will not help unload my car. He proceeds to clip fingernails at kitchen table and leaves nails all over. Won't clean them up (we leave them). Eats cookies later, I ask him to clean up the crumbs, he blows them all over the floor. Dad is taking TV out of room, and he causes Dad to trip and TV goes through the wall. He is claiming "accident" but we know better. We know he still has a phone, but he won't admit to it, or give it up.

By now, he has lost his cell phone, use of internet, use of the car, we are going to rescind his driver's license (Tuesday after the holiday), and we are changing his school (also on Tuesday). These are all things we have told him. Also he is to be financially responsible for any costs incurred--window repair, tickets, court fee, etc. We do tell him, if he completes all chores (defined to him), follows the grounding to the house, goes to/from school everyday for the next week, he would be able to go out on Friday (7 days).

Saturday, he works 9-1. Has lunch, takes a nap, does a load of laundry. Nails still on table. He gets out vacuum. He showers, put on nice clothes and cologne. We tell him he is still grounded until Friday and he is not to leave. He now is openly on the phone, making arrangements for someone to come pick him up. He is laying in his bed. I try to physically take away the phone. Husband comes to assist. M______ is resisting with everything he has. Finally he hits both of us. Dad calls 911. We are trying to keep him in the house (hallway) until police come. He gets out of the house, and is rounding the backyard when police drive up and stop him. They confiscate a phone on him (surprise surprise) and it is his girlfriends. They take him to the youth home. It is a holiday weekend and he is to be there until Tuesday. Court is at 1:30.

We are right, he has had the phone all week. He is texting threatening girlfriend's recent boyfriend (they had broken up for awhile and very recently back together) that he is going to beat him up (he did this once already in June and sent the boy (18yrs old) to the hospital). He had been planning his "escape" from the lake house all week. Now, all of a sudden, the girl's parents want to meet with us to retrieve the phone and to talk. We DO NOT want this girl involved with our son anymore. Almost all of the trouble he's been in has been related with this girl. We are considering asking the magistrate to make this part of his probation (if he gets probation).

Mark, do you think this is realistic? She does not go to the school he will be attending. He will not have a cell phone (that we know of). He has lost so much just to try to be with this girl. How much farther can this go before he "wakes up"? Also, it is hard to talk with him and even to tell him consequences when he walks away from us. I do try to tell him "I love you" every day, and find something positive. Also, I'm interested in learning more about Bi-polar that has very short mood swings. People who know about what is going on have on occasion asked us if we thought he was bi-polar. I have always heard, the highs and lows last for a week at least or more. His can last 15 minutes. He does not exhibit a "high" like I would expect either. Does this sound more like plain defiant teen behavior or more? He has been seeing a counselor for 15 months but as you suggest, I don't think it is helping as M______ is very smart, and is "playing" him and does a complete turnaround even before we are out of the parking lot.

I do feel bad about where he is and wonder what he's doing, thinking, who is around him, etc. but I'm more peaceful this time knowing I have done everything I know how to do (he was in juve. overnight in March 2006 for dom. violence--again over a phone and his girlfriend). Thanks again for the support and insight into this very difficult time in our lives and in our son's life.



Hi J.,

Re: We are considering asking the magistrate to make this part of his probation (if he gets probation) …do you think this is realistic?

Unfortunately ‘NO’. You best efforts have not kept that relationship from surviving. The only way he will have no access to her is while he’s locked up (which is where he should be for now). He will have to learn -- for himself -- whether or not he wants to be with this girl. When they decide to break up, the relationship will end – and not a moment sooner.

==> The more you try to keep them apart, the more determination they will muster. This issue should be put in the “I-Have-No-Control-Over-It” file. But this doesn’t mean you should tolerate the negative-behavioral issues that surround his pursuit of this girl (e.g., having a cell phone when it’s off limits, refusing to follow orders, being disrespectful, etc.).

Re: Does this sound more like plain defiant teen behavior or more?

Not to me. It sounds like Oppositional Defiant Disorder. But you do want to rule-out Bipolar. So, if you haven’t done so already, get him in for a complete psychiatric evaluation …because if he is Bipolar, he’ll need to be on medication for the rest of his life. (If no one else in the family has Bipolar that you are aware of, he’s probably not Bipolar.)


Online Parent Support

Things were out of control...

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your help. I have all of the info now.

I have had your book for only a week and already I see the changes in my daughter and in myself. I had actually made her leave home for a few days before I found your website. Things were out of control for both of us. It has been a great support and I thank you for the time you have invested for us.



Online Parent Support

The drugs are happening...

Hello Mark,

Grade 11 begins this week. The drugs are happening as we recently took our son's cell phone away and my husband and I looked through his messages last night and found drug deal info.

He already was taken out of school near the end of last year due to drug involvement. Neighbours are friends and also involved with "D" (we think mainly marijuana).

He is currently at a friends home for an overnight and we will be picking him up soon.

It is hard to know what to do next. Could you offer some concrete advice?

Thanks for your time,



Hi K.,

If you'll go to this page ==> Emails From Exasperated Parents'll find my recommendation for dealing with drug abuse.


Son Drinks Hand Sanitizer

"Mark, Your online support has been a great help to me. I have just begun the program with my 13 year old son. Unfortunately, he is in ACJC a juvenile center in Fort Wayne. He drank hand sanitizer before school and had a blood alcohol level of 1.1. He has a history of sneaking alcohol and many behavior issues for his entire school career. Counselors and therapists, doctors all disagree or do not know how to help. I am thinking he may need residential treatment, but as a single mom this is not feasible financial. I am not sure what the court is going to recommend at this point. My question is : do you know of a treatment program that might fit his profile? I have spent many hours searching and can't find what might fit him. Most alcohol programs are for adults or older teens. I also know that the there are many underlying issues, but don't know what to tackle first.....depression, anger, social behavior, alcohol. They are all tied together. Thank you for any input!"

I can tell you that the 'alcohol-abuse problem' will have to be addressed first. It would be easier - and a lot less painful in the long run - to go beat your head against a brick wall than tackle multiple problems before getting the alcohol issue resolved.

If you haven't done so already, get him in to see a psychiatrist for a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. I'm guessing that his father abused drugs and/or alcohol as well. If so, there are special 'addiction-risks' for your son (as evidenced by the bizarre sanitizer episode).

Once he gets a few months of 'clean-and-sober' time under his belt, your son can then begin to work on the other issues. And yes, he may very well need 'in-patient' treatment for awhile, but most facilities will work with you on a sliding scale (i.e., payment commensurate with your income).

Mark Hutten, M.A.

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

We have a challenging teen daughter...


We have a challenging teen daughter (17) who has been in plenty of trouble. I will spare you the laundry list. One of the issues we have currently been dealing with is alcohol consumption. My husband and I have always had a no tolerance rule on alcohol consumption for anyone under age. After all, it is the law. Our daughter tells us that most of the kids in her class drink socially at parties. She tells us that she's going to drink since it's the culture of kids her age. She also wants to be honest with us by telling us which nights she might be drinking and have us transport her and be accepting of this behavior. There are a few parents at our school who have adopted this parenting style which makes my job a little more challenging.

My gut tells me not to compromise our no tolerance rule. Can there be a middle ground/gray area on this issue or does it need to be black and white?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated Mark.


Hi D.,

If you lower your standards (via compromise), you will send a very clear message to your daughter that: (a) if you complain long enough you eventually get your way, (b) if everyone is doing it then it must be the thing to do, and (c) it’s o.k. to break the law depending on the situation. Always follow your gut.

Check out the section in the eBook [online version] entitled “Emails From Exasperated Parents” -- I address alcohol abuse there.

Don’t be fooled: There’s more going on at the party than drinking a couple harmless beers. How would I know? I was a teenager once too, you know.


Online Parent Support


I have a 16 year old that was diagnosed in K-5 she had ODD/ADHD. And nothing worked for her. Then 2 years ago I found out she has ODD/Bipolar instead of ADHD/ODD. The medicine has not worked for her. Her Dr. told me yesterday there is no medicine for ODD. But he has put her on a lot and nothing so far has helped her. She does not want to be told no you can not do that and she gets real mad at me and demands why. I don't know what else to do to help her. We have to drive to Amarillo for her Dr. She does not want to away from me. Do you know if there is medicine for her Bipolar/ODD that would help her. She is in 11th grade. She wants to go to collage and go into medical field. I could use all the info I can get. Thank you.


Re: Meds for Bipolar—

The medication used most often over the years to combat a manic "high" is lithium. It is unusual to find mania without a subsequent or preceding period of depression. Lithium evens out mood swings in both directions, so that it is used not just for acute manic attacks or flare-ups of the illness, but also as an ongoing treatment of bipolar disorder.

Lithium will diminish severe manic symptoms in about 5 to 14 days, but it may be anywhere from days to several months until the condition is fully controlled. Antipsychotic medications are sometimes used in the first several days of treatment to control manic symptoms until the lithium begins to take effect. Likewise, antidepressants may be needed in addition to lithium during the depressive phase of bipolar disorder.

Not all patients with symptoms of mania benefit from lithium. Some have been found to respond to another type of medication, the anticonvulsant medications that are usually used to treat epilepsy. Carbamazepine (Tegretol) is the anticonvulsant that has been most widely used. Individuals with bipolar disorder who cycle rapidly, (changing from mania to depression and back again over the course of hours or days, rather than months) seem to respond particularly well to carbamazepine.

In 1995, the anticonvulsant divalproex sodium (Depakote) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for manic-depressive illness. Clinical trials have shown it to have an effectiveness in controlling manic symptoms equivalent to that of lithium; it is effective in both rapid-cycling and non-rapid-cycling bipolar.

Re: Meds for ODD—

Medication for ODD is not recommended. Rather, Parent Education Training (PET) is the preferred method for dealing with this disorder. And you will get that education in my eBook: My Out-of-Control Teen.

RE: “I have a 16 year old who is failing school and has absolutely no motivation.”

In this article, we will be discussing an important issue that many parents face - when their teenager is failing at school and has no motiv...