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No excuses – just action!

Dear Mark,

I have been working with the e book but things with my daughter are not good. I am a single parent; her mom has been out of the picture since she was three. The problems I have had are her not honoring her curfew. 10pm on school nights and 2 am on weekends. She does poorly in school, hangs with the wrong crowd, is using marijuana and the list goes on. This month she will turn eighteen and I feel that it would be best for me to just let her leave so I can find some peace. I feel like I don't love her anymore, she has caused me so much pain. She does not respond to any consequences.

I am a teacher so I feel like I have failed my most important student. The damage is done and does not seem reversible.

What happens when she turns eighteen and she feels she has the right to do whatever she wants? How can I enforce anything? She has played all her cards and is on a losing streak? What can be done? Do I just exit with my heath and sanity intact and leave her to her insufficient resources? I am very tired.

Any suggestions?




Hi M.,

Bear with me here, and don’t get upset with me just yet.

If you are allowing your daughter to stay out until 2 AM on weekends and not involving the authorities regarding her drug abuse, then you are clearly not working my program.

Having said this, your most important objectives now are (a) to begin taking care of you, and (b) to begin preparations for her to move out.

You are not a failure, neither as a teacher or a mother. You did the best you could given the circumstances.

I agree that some “damage is done” – but it is reversible. You’ll need to adopt a new perspective now. This new frame of mind will include:

1. Mentally going beyond the problem and projecting yourself to a future time where the problem could not possibly matter anymore.

2. Developing a part of you that serves as an impartial and dispassionate observer of your daughter, regardless of circumstance – which is called “healthy emotional detachment.”

3. Visualizing your daughter as a mother going through her own parent-child conflict.

4. Asking God for guidance, trusting that you will receive that guidance, and detaching from the outcome.

5. Reminding yourself that your daughter is a “work in progress.” She will get her act together eventually. You have done far more good than you are willing to realize today.

6. Letting go and letting God take it from here.

7. Reminding yourself that all things work together for good. It’s likely that something wonderful is emerging from your current situation -- but that you haven’t seen it yet.

What will you do today to take care of you?

What proactive task(s) can you engage in today that will begin the process of helping your daughter move out around the time she turns 18?

No excuses – just action!


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