I’ve responded throughout your email below:
Hi, overall my 15 year old daughter is following the rules. The assertive parenting techniques definitely help. However, we have had a long running disagreement about body piercing. She wants to pierce her lips and I said "no piercing". We had come to a compromise - I would pay for her hair care (that can get expensive!) and she wouldn't do any piercings.
== > Body piercings (not tattoos though) fall into the “pick-your-battles-carefully” category. I’m sure you have bigger fish to fry than worrying about a piercing. Save your energy for the more important issues.
Well, last night I came home and lo and behold she had pierced her bottom lip! I told her to take them out and she refused.
So, I grounded her - indefinitely until she takes the piercings out. Her response was that I couldn't force to stay home - she would come and go as she pleases.
== > Are you sure you went through all the material? We never ground indefinitely. Grounding procedures are covered in Sessions #2 and #3 [online version of the eBook].
This is true, I can't force her. However, my reply was that while I couldn't force her to stay home I could start taking things away from her - anything I had paid for I could take away. No comment from her. I guess she thought about it for awhile and emailed her reply.
Her reply was that she had been cutting herself because she had been depressed and discovered that piercing was a more acceptable way of feeling the pain than cutting.
== > This was a good line of bullshit from your daughter.
Now, she had been seeing a therapist for depression and the therapist thought she had gotten past that. My response was to call her bluff - make an appt. with the therapist and hang tough with the 'no piercings' rule. Am I on the right track?
== > Calling her bluff is good. However, I think you are in a power struggle that you will not win. A body piercing is not really a behavioral issue per say (such as skipping school, violating curfew, drinking alcohol, etc.). As long as it is not done excessively (we can talk about what would be excessive some other time), a piercing should be allowed for a 15-year-old -- but it should be earned!
Why a piercing but not a tattoo? Because a child can simply remove the ring or stud if she does not want to wear it anymore. But a tattoo is permanent. If a child wants a tattoo, she can get one when she turns 18.
Online Parent Support
The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen
The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.
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