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My husband and I are psychotic...

First of all, my son refused to sit down. I asked him to do so twice, and it made for a very uncomfortable situation. But, on we went anyways. We are all given choices in life. And it is up to each of us to face the consequences of whatever those choices may be. For example, if I choose to drive my car too fast, I may or may not get caught, but if I do get caught, I am sure that I will get a speeding ticket, and I have no one to blame buy myself. That is responsibility. Freedom comes with responsibility. That is the price of freedom. Do you agree?

When Dad and I told you that you could not go to Ray's party, (because you lied (your choice) you decided to act out. You decided to destroy your bedroom, after I had it fixed up and painted. You decided to punish us? Do you agree? Well, you thought you painted us into a corner…If anyone is painted into a corner, the first thing they do is to try to find a way out? Do you agree?

Well, as a consequence of your behavior, Dad and I chose to go to District Court and apply for a CHINS. It is a court hearing for teenagers who choose to be rebellious. On Tuesday we will be going to speak with a judge in regards to your choice to be rebellious. This is only a hearing. If you choose to come with us and cooperate, the judge will speak to you and explain consequences to rebellious behavior, such as destroying our property. If you choose not to go, you will have to be escorted/ and /or arrested. This is very serious.

The outcome of the conversation is that my husband and I are psychotic. The biggest thing that we can take away from him, is his opportunity to get his permit. Why should we give him his license or permit when he can't be trusted. This is the consequence of his behavior. His attitude and lack of respect for either of us is a real issue here. So, we are letting the dust settle this evening. He can earn it back if he changes his attitude.

So, we decided to go to court, just so he will sit down and listen to us, and what we have to say. If he would have sat down this evening, I would not have had to go this far. Consequences to poor behavior. Please let me know what you think? Your opinion is very valuable during this process. 
Sincerely, Catherine


Hi C.,

Wonderful job.

I do have a couple comments.

At one point, you said, "He can earn it back if he changes his attitude." This is fairly vague. You need to be more specific when conveying to your son exactly what he must do to earn his permit.

If I were to videotape him having a "change of attitude," what would I see? Would I see that he's not using profanity ...not raising his voice in anger ...not tearing up furniture ...what?

Whatever it is, state it. Be very specific. For example, "You will be allowed to get your permit in 7 days if you (a) get home by curfew, (b) avoid calling me names, and (c) do not damage any property."

I'm just using the above statement as an example. You'll come up with something that actually applies to your particular circumstances.

Re: sitting down.

This is turning into a power struggle. If he wants to stand, let him.

Pick your battles carefully. You have bigger fish to fry than whether or not he is sitting.

My last point is this: We as parents want to foster the development of self-reliance in our children. Thus, the question becomes, "If I do not allow my son to get his permit, will this foster the development of self-reliance - or inhibit such development?"

Clearly, it will inhibit self-reliance. As such, I strongly recommend that do not lengthen the consequence (i.e., no permit) beyond a 7-day time limit. If the consequence goes longer than 7 days, your son will not be able to see light at the end of the tunnel and will likely feel as though he has nothing else to lose (a dangerous frame of mind to be in).


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Thank you so much for your input. I am listening to you and implementing your ideas. So, rest assured you have an open ear with me.

It was difficult to talk last night, because he would not sit down.

Last night, after the conversation, he was angry. I reminded him that I loved him very much, and that this court thing had to be taken care of. We were not sure if we could cancel it, and that he had to know what was coming.

He felt it was stupid. What did he do?

I remained calm when he called me psychotic, and told him he was entitled to his opinion, but that I knew that I was not psychotic. The fizz went out of the battle.

My husband was able to cancel the CHINS appointment, and I would rather have it that way. I don't want an intermediary.

I will get more specific on "change of attitude". Also, the permit issue. I understand what you are saying …will get more specific.

Thanks so much for your time.

I love your book, and your input, ideas, etc. 
~ Catherine

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