How to Say "No" to Children and Teens

Saying “no” to your child isn't easy. “Everybody else is doing it, why can’t I?” they cry. How can you have the boundary for “no means no” without being the “bad guy”?

When saying "no" to your kids, remember that an explanation is definitely required, and your answer ought to be in line with your other behaviors. Whenever your adolescent asks why she can’t go to the party, tell her the truth. “I know when I was your age, I went to an event where there was lots of alcohol drinking, and I told my mom there was no alcohol there.”

Experience demonstrates to your children that you DO understand, as long as you inform them about the consequences. “I came home drunk and threw up all night, and it really wasn’t worth it.” For younger children, make certain your explanation is within the realm of their comprehension - they usually don’t possess reasoning skills yet, so an answer of “because you might get hurt” will do until they are old enough to understand.

For older children, always pay attention to their side of the disagreement. “Listening” means:
  • keeping quiet while your youngster states what he needs to state
  • maintaining eye-to-eye contact
  • providing positive facial expressions
  • sitting close

Acknowledge why you are saying “no” and what he might be able to do to get a “yes” from you the next time, or at what age you feel their request is appropriate, and why. You might be amazed at your kid's understanding and maturation. Treating him with respect teaches him respect.

To ensure you aren't viewed as simply the “bad guy,” make certain your relationship is open and make yourself available. Few parents today invest actual time with their kids, and this lack of quality time can be the source of teenage anxiety and rebellion!

Motivate your kids by spending quantity and quality time with them. Motivate them not to take themselves so seriously. Lighten up. Have family fun, chuckle, tease, and act silly. When you are both their mentor and their mother or father, you are able to set healthy limits with your kids, and as a result, they’ll feel that your relationship is based on trust and honesty, not “yes” and “no’s”.

Whenever a youngster is disciplined successfully, it gives her a real sense of security in the world that you might not realize as you cope with the guilt of having to put a sad face on your sweet little girl. Kids who are not allowed to "run the show" possess a sense of knowing they're cared for and that absolutely nothing bad is going to be permitted to happen to them, despite the fact that they might still do bad things every once in awhile.

Kids with inadequate discipline are often scared by the sense of control they have over the world. Though it may seem hard to believe, kids don't want to be the ones in control …the world is a frightening place to them, and they need their mothers and fathers to guide them and be their inner strength and security.

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

My parental rights were terminated. Can this decision be turned around?

In most U.S. States, there isn't any provision for revoking or reversing the termination of parental rights other than under specific situations such as fraud, duress, coercion, etc. Because termination is really a legal concern decided by the court, you might want to talk to and/or retain the services of a competent lawyer who's educated in family law matters where you live to examine the legal court action taken to end your parental rights. If you want help in finding and/or paying for a lawyer, the American Bar Association supplies a lawyer referral service at and the Consumers' Guide to Legal Help at provides pro bono attorney referrals and more.

Should you believe that your rights may have been violated in the termination of parental rights case against you, you may want to inquire if the agency has an appeals process or an ombudsman. Numerous agencies have ombudsmen to assist clients resolve differences with the agency. The names of these offices vary and may include “Ombudsperson,” “Ombudsman,” “Ombuds Specialist,” or the Child Welfare Complaints Office. If the agency doesn't have an appeals process or an ombudsman, you might choose to contact your State Adoption Program Manager/Specialist. If you'd like to take your issues to this level, you'll find contact info for all of the States’ Adoption Program Managers/Specialists in the related organizations listing at It is best to contact the agency Adoption Program Manager/Specialist only after other ways have been tried to resolve the problem at the local agency level.

The Federal government doesn't have the legal right to get involved in individual child welfare issues. State and local agencies and courts make the judgments regarding issues such as child custody, child removal from the home, child placement in foster care, and the termination of parental rights in each State according to State law.

Should you believe that your rights may have been violated in the termination of parental rights case against you, here are a few specific instructions that may help you get your rights back:

1. Get in touch with your local referral service in your area to help you to get a lawyer. This referral service will be able to suggest lawyers who would be ideal for your circumstance.

2. Examine the attorney’s previous cases, and speak with others about his/her trustworthiness within the field. Be sure you have a discussion with the lawyer about your circumstances.

3. Employ the lawyer whom you believe would best fully handle your case as well as your interest in the court system. Be sure you understand what his/her costs will be, and also have him/her clarify other costs related to his/her representation.

4. Provide the lawyer all the details you can about your reasons for wanting to get your parental rights reinstated. Make certain you aren't holding back any essential info or evidence that may help support your cause.

5. Fill out all the required paperwork. Do as instructed on the paperwork, and make sure you get the info completed by the given deadline.

6. Have the lawyer sit down with you prior to the court date, and have him/her let you know exactly what you have to say and do once you are in front of the judge.

7. Appear at court early enough to be able to register. Reasonably, you need to arrive about a half-hour to an hour early.

8. Adhere to courtroom protocol. Allow the lawyer to navigate through the proceedings. Talk only if the judge addresses you, and do so based on the standards that the lawyer should have told you.

9. Wait for the judge's ruling. Occasionally judges will not come to a decision based on one hearing. Don't display frustration or aggravation if the ruling is against your wants. Have your attorney debrief you following the proceedings, and if there's another court date, be sure you have your lawyer show you what's going to occur next.

More info on parental rights issues: Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights with Legal Forms

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights (relinquishment): Releases a father or mother from all parental responsibilities, including child support. Full instructions & Forms are included.

Tips for Single Mothers Raising Sons

In this post, we will look at some important tips for single moms raising boys:

1. Accept your child's differences.

2. As your son matures, investigate local boys groups or clubs that he could join such as Cub Scouts. Don't be intimidated by such sponsored events as father-child boat races or picnics. Let the troop leader know that with the number of single parent families, you would be comfortable if the den would acknowledge parent-child events. But the biggest benefit of scouting that should be experienced by all males is that initiation ritual that welcomes them into the pack.

3. Be a little creative in helping your son learn guy stuff. For instance, many single moms report concern over their child's using the potty while sitting, or playing with their makeup. Chances are your son won't spend the rest of his life peeing sitting down while wearing mascara. Homosexuality doesn't exist because you didn't monitor the morning makeup sessions! But if you want to get a head start on defining the differences between secondary sex characteristics between males and females, try this: Set out a little basket just for your son. Fill it with a mock razor, gentle shaving cream, watered-down cologne, his toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb. Let your son know this is what most men do every morning to their faces.

4. Enjoy your time with your child by not worrying about whether he is missing out on anything by not having "dad" around. At the same time, try not to avoid "daddy stuff" totally. Even though many kid's books feature animal families raised only by mom, its okay to read stories about all kinds of families to your son. Place a high value on man-woman relationships in order to give your son a realistic perspective.

5. If your little guy is really active, get a chinning bar for his room for rainy days. Exercise is critical for all kids, but in cases where males can't seem to center themselves as comfortably as females, they might need other means of releasing excessive energy. Check out your local store for an expandable closet bar, the kind that has suction cups on the ends. Install between the door jambs of his room, and when he gets rowdy, have your son "do ten." Make sure you tighten the bar so it safely stays in place and show your child the correct way to grip so he doesn't loosen it from the doorway. Start low, but raise the bar as your child grows.

6. Never make your son the “man of the house.” True, you do want to teach your son to grow to be man, but there is a distinction between being the "little man" and being responsible for things that adults are supposed to do. Your son is not your confidant, your knight in shining armor or your rescuer. Especially important for the newly widowed or divorced, correct people if they suggest that now your child "is the man around the house," or that he should "take care of Mommy."

7. Point out the positive qualities in males you see on a day to day basis. This means that even if you're buying your child baseball shoes and the salesman is especially attentive or friendly, point this trait out by mentioning what a helpful person he is, or "Isn't this guy very nice?"

8. Role models are important and will be found in every aspect of your child's life. Boys need men, but not necessarily dads. Just because a dad lives at home does not mean a child is being "fathered."

9. Teach your son your values, but let him express them uniquely. He's a male and will respond to emotional situations somewhat differently than you might.

10. Try not to have negative attitudes toward males, even if you became a single mom out of the most excruciating circumstances.

11. When you look at your son and see his dad's face, it's okay to get a little emotional. After all, if your ex-husband gave you anything of value, you're looking at it. Let your child know how important he is to you.

==> My Out-of-Control Child: Help for Parents with Oppositional Children

Best Parenting Tips for Raising Daughters

Here are some parenting strategies to help fathers and mothers raise daughters who will be successful in all aspects of their life:

Moms and dads strive to raise daughters who will be independent, confident, and self-reliant. In a society where it can be more difficult to achieve success as a woman than a man, parents often feel the need to start their girls on the right path at a very young age.

1. Allow your child to be her own person.

2. Allow your child to see fully who you are.

3. Always know where your child is, who she is with, and what she is doing. Know her friends and the moms and dads of those friends. Have regular check-in times.

4. As a parent, try to be a coach – not a judge. Coaches encourage, have high expectations, praise, criticize, and set limits, but kids accept coaching because they believe coaches are in an alliance with them and on the same team. Judging parents direct their efforts at finding misdoings and punishing appropriately. Moms and dads who are continuously judgmental alienate their kids because kids feel like they are against them.

5. Attend your child's school events and recreational activities. It will make your teen feel loved, help her maintain good grades and increase her enjoyment of school.

6. Be a Good Example. Whether we like it or not, kids learn from what we do, not from what we say. Dads should treat all women with respect and equality and moms should demand the same from men. It is also important for moms to show their daughters that they are proud to be a woman and embrace imperfections (that means no derogatory comments when you look in the mirror). Being in a healthy, loving relationship yourself will help your child to expect the same when it's her turn to select a partner.

7. Be an active role model for learning and developing your own career. However, regardless of how busy you are, preserve time to talk with and listen to your children daily.

8. Be determined for both of you to think outside the box.

9. Be opened-minded about your child's career path, whether it is traditional or nontraditional.

10. Bring them down a bit. While there are certainly many times when going with the flow will, in the long run, do more good than harm, I think it’s also important to keep them grounded in reality. Obvious ways to do this are through chores, rules, enforcing manners and holding her accountable for her actions. You can also do this through fun methods that can show her that her Old Man is still a force to be reckoned with. Activities like beating her at a video game; teaching her something new that will blow her mind like Chess; and, playing sports with her are all good examples. If they’re always handed a win or get their way all the time, they’ll never learn how to deal with the unexpected.

11. Consider traveling with your children—the whole family, mother-child, or father-child excursions. By high school, encourage independent trips with school groups. Travel provides a spirit of adventure, enrichment, family bonding, and self-confidence.

12. Demand equality for your child. Certainly, the United States has come a long way in terms of women’s rights, but there is still much work to be done. Demonstrate to your child your belief that females should be treated the same as males by showing her. Work to end violence against women and media sexualization of females by making your opinion known. Talk with your child about how you feel about abuse toward females and the unfair images the media uses to make females feel insecure about their bodies. Your child may or may not act like she’s listening – but be assured, she is!

13. Do not show up at Parents’ Night in slippers.

14. Don’t assume that just because you’re both female you and your child will be twinsies. Early on, I made the mistake of assuming that – just because she was a girl – my child would be a mini-me. I thought we’d share similar interests, personalities, and coping strategies. Boy, was I wrong!

15. Don't let birth order get in the way of giving each of your children leadership opportunities, responsibilities, and some of your time alone.

16. Don't pressure your children to fit in socially. Many females feel different during adolescence. Help them to feel comfortable with their differences and redirect their energies toward positive activities like music, drama, debate, science, sports, or religious activities.

17. Emphasize intelligence, hard work, independence, sensitivity, and perseverance in your children. De-emphasize the importance of appearance. Relationships that are appearance-based fade as may pretty appearances. Relationships based on shared interests and values have much more potential for depth.

18. Encourage competitive activities.

19. Encourage her to seek leadership opportunities.

20. Encourage Independence. Although it can be hard for moms and dads to let their little females go, it will inevitably happen. Prepare your child to be able to handle whatever life throws at her so that you won't have to worry about her 24/7 (although you probably will anyway).

21. Encourage Interests. The only way for kids to learn what they are passionate about in life is to try different things. Encourage your child to participate in different activities and let her decide what it is that she likes. Don't limit her to traditional "girly" toys and activities. If she wants to try skateboarding or football, let her go for it.

22. Encourage your child to be realistic about her strengths and weaknesses.

23. Encourage your child to develop an identity based on her talents and interests; downplay appearance and weight, and tell her a beautiful body is a healthy and strong one.

24. Encourage your child to develop dreams, focusing primarily on those that are obtainable.

25. Encourage your child to select a mate who will respect her choices.

26. Encourage your child to speak up for herself and not let her back off from difficulties.

27. Encourage your daughters to be involved in all-girl activities like Girl Scouts, and consider all-girl classes or schools if males cause them to lose confidence or distract from their learning.

28. Encourage your children to read stories about successful women. The successful women in the study found such stories inspiring. Help females to be comfortable with math from preschool on including counting, measuring, and scoring. Teach spatial skills through puzzles, games, and building activities.

29. Enjoy her for the person she is. Just so you don’t think all my interactions with my child are combative (they aren’t – not by a long shot), today’s final tip is just to enjoy your little girl for who she is. Let go of your preconceptions. Pull away the veil of assumptions. See your child for the unique and amazing individual that she is. Revel in her differences and cherish her independent spirit. Though you may be raising her, she will teach you a great deal along the way – about being a mother and about being a girl.

30. Fake it till you make it. As dads, we usually don’t “get” what the big deal is with things like pony tails, accessories or that one “pretty” outfit.

31. Find ways to connect while she’s still young. “They grow up so fast.” As a mom, you hear those words constantly, but until you’ve experienced 0-to-sixteen for yourself, you don’t get it. I’m still riding the rollercoaster up the hill, but I’ve already watched so much come and go in her personality. I try to find things we can do together – ways to build connections and memories that will, hopefully, provide a solid foundation for our future relationship. I can’t see over the top of the track to the plunge that lies ahead, but I figure the closer we are now, the easier that ride will be.

32. Get involved in your child’s activities whatever they may be. Whether it’s carpooling, volunteering at your child’s school, or coaching – females need their father’s to “lead the way” by role modeling and showing an interest in their lives. Dads who are actively involved in their child’s lives enjoy sharing unique experiences with them and demonstrate that they care about what their child says and does.

33. Get your child familiar with the three important words – honest, honesty and honestly.

34. Help her feel pretty. Even if she can do things on her own, sitting down with her and helping her brush her hair, paint her nails and helping her pick out better matching outfits will not only help her feel good about herself, but it will also show her that it really is okay for men to do those things with/for them.

35. Help her to bounce back after the unexpected.

36. Help her to develop traits that are considered primarily masculine traits—assertiveness and proficiency in math and science—that will help her in life.

37. Help your child to discover the things she likes to do, wants to try to do, and doesn't like to do.

38. Help your child to remain strong and happy through the period of adolescence by holding onto a strong self-image.

39. Help your child to see the value in creativity, challenges, and contributions.

40. Hold your ground. Once you choose to take a stand on something, never give in. I repeat – Never. Give. In. Sometimes, raising a child is like playing a game of chicken. If you flinch, if you even blink, she’s going to see your weakness and go in for the proverbial kill.

41. Introduce many and varied activities into your child's life and help her learn to balance them.

42. Let her feel pretty. I’ll be the first one in line to put my foot down about not wanting my little girl dolled up like a streetwalker, but sometimes, when you stop to think about it, does it really matter if she wants to get decked out once in a while?

43. Let your child be free to make her own solid choices.

44. LISTEN to your child. Many females are verbal by choice and emotional by nature. The beauty of having a child is understanding that she will most likely communicate her dreams, fears, feelings, beliefs, and hopes. That means that dads should pay attention to not only the words that come out of her mouth but also her emotional state. Focus on what your child says to you and, more importantly, what she doesn’t say. Females are notorious for giving cues when they are in trouble, hurting, or hiding something. Watch her body language, behavior, and eye contact. Dads, whether they realize it or not, have a profound influence on how their child views herself. As females get older, body image and self-esteem struggles are weighty on her mind. When dads take the time to genuinely value their child for who she is, it gives her confidence to face the world and the knowledge that a man she loves accepts her inner and outer beauty.

45. Make education a high priority and stress the need for her to stay academically challenged.

46. Make special time each week to talk and enjoy each other's company.

47. Make sure you give your child as much direction and time as are given to sons.

48. Make sure your child stays productive, not idle and wasteful of time.

49. Never criticize “the boyfriend”.

50. Never diminish a broken heart.

51. Participate in sports with her. Dads and daughters can often find “common ground” by participating in sports together. Play a game of softball with your child or, better yet, volunteer to coach her soccer team. Females who have dads who are actively involved in their sports are more likely to stick with it and less likely to act-out sexually (per research that females who participate in sports are less likely to be sexually active than females who do not). In addition, physically active females are less likely to drop out of school, get pregnant, or tolerate abuse. Females, like males, are often more likely to open up to their dads when playing a game of catch. You’ll be amazed at the things she’s willing to share with you!

52. Pick your battles wisely. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but perhaps they’ve never encountered a girl who didn’t get her way. The trick to surviving what can often feel like a never-ending series of parries and thrusts is to learn when to engage and when to walk away. Think carefully, for example, about whether you really want to invest your time in a battle over whether she can wear her princess Halloween costume to summer camp … for the third day in a row. It may be an affront to your personal fashion sense, but if it’s not doing her irreparable harm, you may want to save your energies for another day.

53. Practice your anger-management techniques. You’re going to need them. All kids like to push buttons, but little females are especially adept at pushing their moms’ buttons. You may find that the Lamaze breathing techniques you learned for childbirth come in handy more often after your child is born. You see, what people really mean when they say that females mature more quickly than males is that females are first to get a handle on emotional warfare. While males are still expressing their feelings physically and directly, females are experimenting with guilt, jealousy, passive-aggression, and the fine arts of selective hearing and misinterpretation.

54. Praise your child as often as possible. Show love, warmth and interest in your teen, but set clear “no-drug” rules, limit time spent watching TV and using the Internet.

55. Promote healthy activities, such as exercising or doing community service. Teenagers enjoy giving to others, but they need your support.

56. Promote Self-Worth. Show your child that she is special and unique. Applaud good grades and success in sports and activities and don't focus on failures. Remember that all kids are different and your child's interests and accomplishments may be completely unlike what you had envisioned when she was a baby.

57. Provide a healthy example.

58. Provide Good Role Models. It's important for females to have other women to look up to. Help her to find strong, successful women whom she admires (in addition to her mom, of course).

59. Provide meaningful roles for your child in the family. Treat your child as a unique individual, distinct from siblings or stereotypes.

60. Really listen to what your child is saying. Make the time to ask your child about her school, friends and activities and interests.

61. Reinforce how wonderful and worthy your child is of her own life.

62. Resist the urge to say, “I told you so.” They may taste momentarily delicious coming off your tongue, but those four little words can sever the lines of communication between mother and child faster than you can trip over the pile of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor. I don’t have a perfect record in this department (sometimes, the opportunity is just too good to resist), but I’m working on it.

63. Respect your child’s uniqueness and teach her to love her body. From a young age the media and society bombard females with images that make them feel insignificant and often insecure about their bodies. As females get older they are flooded with messages that “thin is in” and beauty is what you see on the outside that counts. Dads, even more so than moms, have the ability to combat these unhealthy and unrealistic images in the media. Research has shown that females listen to their dads more than moms when it comes to body image issues so make sure you pay attention to teach her to praise her body for what it can do, not how it looks.

64. Set as high expectations for your daughters as for your sons. Expect post-high school education whether or not you attended college. The American Dream is real for women too.

65. Set Educational Expectations. Make it clear from a young age that you expect your child to attend college. Make learning a priority and try to make education something fun rather than boring. At the same time, be prepared to accept that your child's career choice may not be traditional. That is okay, as long as she's motivated.

66. Set high educational expectations.

67. Set positive examples on how to cope with stress, such as setting realistic goals, learning to prioritize, getting enough sleep and engaging in physical activity.

68. Show your child that you are proud to be a woman.

69. Spend Quality Time. Make sure that each parent spends solo time with your child. This gives you a chance to bond and gives her the opportunity to talk about anything that she wants to talk about without worry of her little brother or sister butting into the conversation. It can also help you get to know her better and recognize the things that make her unique.

70. Stress the unimportance of popularity and the value of independence from peers.

71. Talk to your child about tough issues, such as the dangers of drug and alcohol use.

72. Teach healthy competition. Encourage the exhilaration of winning, but don't always let females win. Winning builds confidence; losing builds character.

73. Teach your child it's possible to be smart without being the smartest.

74. Teach your child money management. Help your child learn to manage her money when she gets a job and open a checking account before it’s time to leave for college. Finance is another area where dads can really have a big impact on their children. Teaching your child to be “smart and savvy” with her money is a lesson that will serve her well throughout her life. Raising a youngster is never “easy” but it is a unique and wonderful journey that father’s get to take with their children.

75. Teach your child skills to handle negative peer pressure, such as how to say no.

76. Teach your child to familiarize herself with women who are active, productive contributors.

77. Teach your child to find the value in qualities that separate her from others or make her different.

78. Teach your daughters that sports are a good thing.

79. Try to focus on her strengths, intelligence, and problem-solving ability; don't dwell on her inadequacies.

80. When in doubt, ask her mother. Not only will she have your child’s best interests in mind, but she’ll hopefully be able to give you honest, straight-forward answers.

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

Is your teenager using codes to text or chat about drugs or sex?

A few questions for you mom: Would you rather be the recipient of 459 or 182? Would you be concerned if your child texted someone LMIRL? Are you a MOS? The questions may seem like a foreign language because NALOPKT.

Texting has become so common among teenagers, it's almost rare to see one not typing out a text-message on a cell phone, but moms and dads may have more reason for concern than just the cell phone bill. Those texts could contain coded drug messages.

As a mother or father, it's hard to keep up with lingo. If you find a text on your teen's cell that says, "I want a burrito"...normally, that wouldn't be cause for alarm. But what if we told you that is text code for ecstasy? And a message that says, "Has anyone seen Tina" …that's code for meth. "I’m fixin a BLT" …that means rolling a blunt. "I want a quart of Ben and Jerry's" actually refers to the drug Ice.

Sounds strange – I know.

Police first started noticing coded messages among drug dealers and college students as far back as 2006. Law enforcement has to keep up with the changes in technology to stay on top of it – and the parents do also. There are a number of online resources for parents to learn the slang being used, but it's important to remember that there's no one dictionary. What the teens use in Indiana is not going to be the same as the ones they use in New York.

The most important thing is to look for something that doesn't fit – especially if it goes along with other signs like changes in appearance, behavior, academic progress or friends.

If you find text using a code that references drugs, be honest with your teenager and say, “I found this …I’m worried …what does this mean.” Talk to them, and if you don't get a good answer that makes a lot of sense to you or a straight answer, then continue to pursue and find out. Stand up and just say no. If you get that feeling in your stomach and you feel like there's a red flag and they're doing something, cut off the text-messaging. Don't be their friend – be their parent.

Chatting on the Internet--

You finally get a glimpse at your teen’s Facebook page, but you don’t understand what you are reading. Don’t feel alone, there’s a new language evolving, and moms and dads need to learn it. This new language makes it easier for children and teens to text, e-mail, talk in chat rooms, blog or to post things on-line that only those privy to the language can understand.

Parent alert codes:

• @@@ or PAL = Parent alert
• 9 = Parent watching
• 99 = Parent stopped watching
• MA = Mom Alert
• PAW = Parents are watching
• PIR = Parent in room
• PLOS = Parents looking over shoulder
• POS = Parents over shoulder
• PRW = Parents are watching.

There are other codes children and teens use as well, and as parents figure out what the codes mean, they will probably change them.

Often times when children or teens are typing, they use emoticons. These are supposed to represent how the writer is feeling, and they are basically pictures made out of text. Some examples are:

:) = happy
:(:) = pig
:-) = tongue-in-cheek

A great site is Here you can actually translate by typing in the complete acronyms you are trying to figure out. They also have a page of the top 25 Internet slang terms that all moms and dads should know. Some of the acronyms are alarming – and rightfully so. All parents need to be up to speed on this new language our kids are speaking.

Don’t be disheartened if you do find your children or teenagers speaking the language …it’s simply how they communicate these days. And all acronyms are not bad …in fact many of them represent good things. But if you do find your youngster using acronyms that contain explicit meanings, you should step in. How you stop the behavior is up to you, but it does need to be dealt with. Sometimes children are talking to people they don’t know in chat rooms where child predators pose as teenagers or young kids.

Some other common codes are:

• 143 – I love you
• 182 – I hate you
• 420 – Marijuana
• 8 – Oral sex
• ADR – Address
• AEAP - As Early As Possible
• ALAP - As Late As Possible
• ASL – Age, sex and location
• ASL - Age/Sex/Location
• Banana – Penis
• CD9 - Code 9 - it means parents are around
• C-P – Sleepy
• D46 - Do you want to have sex?
• F2F - Face-to-Face
• GNOC - Get Naked On Cam
• GNOC - Get naked on camera
• GYPO - Get Your Pants Off
• HAK - Hugs And Kisses
• ILU - I Love You
• IWSN - I Want Sex Now
• J/O - Jerking Off
• KFY -or- K4Y - Kiss For You
• KOTL - Kiss On The Lips
• KPC - Keeping Parents Clueless
• LG6 - Let's have sex
• LMIRL - Let's meet in real life
• LMIRL - Let's Meet In Real Life
• MOOS - Member Of The Opposite Sex
• MorF - Male or Female
• MOS - Mom Over Shoulder
• MOSS - Member(s) Of The Same Sex
• MPFB - My Personal F*** Buddy
• NALOPKT - Not A Lot Of People Know That
• NIFOC - Nude in front of the computer
• NIFOC - Nude In Front Of The Computer
• NMU - Not Much, You?
• P911 - Parent Alert
• PAL - Parents Are Listening
• PAW - Parents Are Watching
• PIR - Parent In Room
• POS - Parent over shoulder
• POS - Parent Over Shoulder -or- Piece Of Shit
• pron – porn
• Q2C - Quick To Cum
• RU/18 - Are You Over 18?
• RUH - Are You Horny?
• RUMORF - Are You Male OR Female?
• S2R - Send To Receive
• SorG - Straight or Gay
• TDTM - Talk dirty to me
• TDTM - Talk Dirty To Me
• WTF - What The Fuck
• WUF - Where You From
• WYCM - Will You Call Me
• WYRN - What's Your Real Name?
• zerg - To gang up on someone


Best Comment:

Hi Mark,

I continue to enjoy your e-mails and newsletters.

Perhaps you might want to pass along some information to readers about other warning signs that their child is using drugs. I wish I had known more about this myself. Now, I find myself able to help other parents -- I am a school teacher, when they have concerns.

There are simple things to be alert for, although I am uncertain about the use of some of the items:
  • pencils with missing erasers 
  • hollow pens -- the ink park has been taken out 
  • missing aluminum foil 
  • lighters 
  • small amounts of cash seem to be missing from wallet or purse 
  • burnt paper of any kind 
  • packets of zigzag paper 
  • incense burning 
  • pipes 
  • pipes made from aluminum foil 
  • cigarettes 
  • matches -- especially wooden kitchen matches 
  • candles 
  • missing matches and candles 
  • items of value (video games etc.) have been "given to a friend" -- they were usually sold
If parents suspect any sort of drug use, they should search the child's room. Drug using teens tend to be careless.

Many parents, like myself, do not realize how important it is to lock up ALL medicine, even if they think their children are not using anything. My son was stealing some of my medicine to sell. At first I had a strong box, but then he found the spare key. I looked around for small digital safes. There is a key override, but I have the key at a friend's house.

I knew I needed to lock up my medicines, but no one told me how to do so -- that would be very easy and convenient. I keep the small safe on the floor in my bathroom. When I searched the internet, I was able to find something very small and relatively light -- and easy to use.

Marijuana is definitely a gateway drug for many teens. And it is easier to obtain than alcohol. Once they are using marijuana, other drugs like Ecstasy can be next.

If I had this information early on, it would have been useful. The sooner parents know the signs, the more of a chance they have to deal with it. Parents need to be careful about giving cash to their child -- and cut off allowances if they confirm drug use.

Finally, parents who are very concerned can purchase phones with tracking devices. Sprint's family locator works well. The tracking device in the phone cannot be turned off once it is activated. The only way the teen can stop the tracking is to turn the phone off -- which they don't do very often. If a teen is out all night, the parent can at least see where they are. I didn't go pick my son up or confront him at the location -- it just gave me peace of mind to know where he was, and that I could go get him the next day if need be, or how to find him if I got a distress call from him or someone else. It has an alert feature, and I programmed it for every half hour -- like 8:20, 8:33 etc. That way I really didn't have to go in a check it all the time. I could just go in once a day and click on history to see where he had been roaming around to. It was useful.

How to Discipline Overly-Rebellious Adolescents

By the time they are adolescents, your kids should have a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of parental goals and behavior limits. But even the well-trained youngster may be tempted to push boundaries or be led astray by friends to do something he shouldn't.

When that happens, a mother or father cannot afford to sit back and pretend that nothing has happened, hoping that it never occur again. Instead, you must be vigilant and take action to reinforce all that you have taught your children already from the time they were toddlers. Don't give in to their wheedling or your own time constraints. Take the necessary time now to train your adolescents properly, and that will mean issuing appropriate discipline.

The art of adolescent discipline falls into three categories:

The first is training or guidance. We discipline our children when we set household rules, place limits on their behavior (such as curfews), and monitor their social activities with friends. Moms and dads who fail to provide these boundaries and guidelines are not doing their duty by their kids. Children need to know what they can and cannot do, and most appreciate the security of parents who keep watch and respond accordingly. That is why you must know what your children do, when, and with whom. Until they turn eighteen, adolescents remain their parents' responsibility.

The second category involves incentives and rewards. Teens enjoy challenges and meeting goals; sometimes they see the opportunity to perform for a reward as a form of competition with themselves or with siblings or peers. When they do well in school, in sports, or in bypassing a temptation, moms and dads need to notice and congratulate them, as well as occasionally issue an affectionate acknowledgement of the adolescent's success. This may take the form of verbal praise, a home-made or purchased certificate of congratulations, or a tangible reward involving a gift or cash bonus. Research shows that anyone who receives rewards for doing well is more likely to continue doing so.

The third part of discipline centers on punishments or natural consequences. When adolescents fail to do their homework, they may not be able to pass a test, thus earning a natural negative consequence of the chosen action. Or if they stay up late, they may miss the school bus and end up with a tardy or absence on their record. But some behaviors are not so cut and dried in terms of consequences. For example, if an adolescent smokes a cigarette, he will not get lung cancer the next day. Or if he gets drunk with friends, he may not get caught.

When a mother or father finds out that a youngster has overstepped his boundaries, betrayed a parent's trust, or disregarded a household rule, it is the adult's responsibility to issue a consequence. Grounding works well for many adolescents. This can take the form of losing the privilege of going out with friends for a few days or a week or two. Or it can mean that the adolescent loses the right to use family appliances like the television, the telephone, the computer, or the VCR for a period of time. Moms and dads should impose a limit that as closely as possible fits the infraction, although this is not always possible.

Don't fail to follow up on your adolescent's good and bad behaviors. They depend on parents to be there and be aware. Without authoritative guidance, they will continue to make needless mistakes, some of which can be life-altering. So let them know you care by instituting fair-minded discipline to bring out their best qualities and help them develop character.

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

Hyper-texting and Hyper-networking Linked to Drug/Alcohol Abuse

Research reveals that teenagers who text 120 times a day or more (which many teens do nowadays) are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than teens who don't send as many messages.

The study is not suggesting that "hyper-texting" leads to sex, drinking or drugs, but it's shocking to see an apparent link between excessive messaging and this kind of risk-taking behavior. The study asserts that a significant number of teenagers are very susceptible to peer-pressure – and also have permissive or absent parents.

The study was conducted at 20 public high schools in the Cleveland area, and is based on confidential paper surveys of more than 4,200 high school students. It found that about 1 in 5 students were hyper-texters (i.e, those who text more than 120 times a day) and about 1 in 9 are hyper-networkers (i.e., those who spend 3 or more hours a day on Facebook and other social networking websites). About 1 in 25 are both hyper-texters and hyper-networkers.

Hyper-texting and hyper-networking were more common among (a) females, (b) minorities, (c) children whose mothers/fathers have less education, and (d) children from a single-mother household.

The study found that those who text at least 120 times a day are nearly 3½ more likely to have had sex than their friends who don't text that much. Hyper-texters were also more likely to:

• use illegal drugs
• take medication without a prescription
• binge drink
• engage in physical fights

Compared to the hyper-texters, the hyper-networkers were not as likely to have had sex, but were more likely to have been involved in other risky behaviors like drinking or fighting.

Other studies have found that:
  • about one-quarter of teenagers have "sexted" (i.e., shared sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone or online)
  • about one-third of 16- and 17-year-olds send texts while driving
  • approximately half of children ages 8 to 18 send text messages on a cell phone in a typical day and average 118 texts per day
  • only 14 % of children have a parent that sets rules limiting texting

Teens Abuse of Cough Medicine on the Rise

Gulping cough syrup for an instant "buzz" certainly is not a new thing for adolescents that have raided the medicine cabinet for a quick, cheap, and legal high. But unfortunately, this dangerous and potentially deadly practice is on the rise.

So it's important for moms and dads to understand the risks and know how to prevent their children from intentionally overdosing on cough and cold medicine.

Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) replaced the narcotic codeine with DXM as an over-the-counter (OTC) cough suppressant in the 1970s, adolescents were simply guzzling down cough syrup for a quick buzz.

Over the years, adolescents discovered that they still could get high by taking large doses of any OTC medicine containing DEXTROMETHORPHAN (also called DXM).

DXM-containing products — tablets, capsules, gel caps, lozenges, and syrups — are labeled DM, cough suppressant, or Tuss (or contain "tuss" in the title).

Medicines containing DXM are easy to find, affordable for cash-strapped adolescents, and perfectly legal. Getting access to the dangerous drug is often as easy as walking into the local drugstore with a few dollars or raiding the family medicine cabinet. And because it's found in over-the-counter medicines, many adolescents naively assume that DEXTROMETHORPHAN can't be dangerous.

DEXTROMETHORPHAN abuse is on the rise, according to recent studies, and easy access to OTC medications in stores and over the Internet could be contributing to the increase.

The major difference between current abuse of cough and cold medicines and that in years past is that adolescents now use the Internet to not only buy DEXTROMETHORPHAN in pure powder form, but to learn how to abuse it. Because drinking large volumes of cough syrup causes vomiting, the drug is being extracted from cough syrups and sold on the Internet in a tablet that can be swallowed or a powder that can be snorted. Online dosing calculators even teach abusers how much they'll need to take for their weight to get high.

One way adolescents get their DEXTROMETHORPHAN fixes is by taking "Triple-C" — Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold — which contains 30 mg of DEXTROMETHORPHAN in little red tablets. Users taking large volumes of Triple-C run additional health risks because it contains an antihistamine as well.

The list of other ingredients — decongestants, expectorants, and pain relievers — contained in other Coricidin products and OTC cough and cold preparations compound the risks associated with DEXTROMETHORPHAN and could lead to a serious drug overdose.

Besides Triple-C, other street names for DEXTROMETHORPHAN include: Candy, C-C-C, DXM, DM, Drex, Red Devils, Robo, Rojo, Skittles, Tussin, Velvet, and Vitamin D. Users are sometimes called "syrup heads" and the act of abusing DEXTROMETHORPHAN is often called "DXMing," "robotripping," or "robodosing" (because users chug Robitussin or another cough syrup to achieve their desired high).

Although DEXTROMETHORPHAN can be safely taken in 15- to 30-milligram doses to suppress a cough, abusers tend to consume as much as 360 milligrams or more. Taking mass quantities of products containing DEXTROMETHORPHAN can cause hallucinations, loss of motor control, and "out-of-body" (disassociative) sensations.

Other possible side effects of DEXTROMETHORPHAN abuse include: confusion, impaired judgment, blurred vision, dizziness, paranoia, excessive sweating, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, headache, lethargy, numbness of fingers and toes, facial redness, dry and itchy skin, loss of consciousness, seizures, brain damage, and even death.

When consumed in large quantities, DEXTROMETHORPHAN can also cause hyperthermia, or high fever. This is a real concern for adolescents who take DEXTROMETHORPHAN while in a hot environment or while exerting themselves at a rave or dance club, where DEXTROMETHORPHAN is often sold and passed off as similar-looking drugs like PCP. And the situation becomes even more dangerous if these substances are used with alcohol or another drug.

You can help prevent your adolescent from abusing over-the-counter medicines. Here's how:

• Avoid stockpiling OTC medicines. Having too many at your adolescent's disposal could make abusing them more tempting.
• Keep an eye out not only for traditional-looking cough and cold remedies in your adolescent's room, but also strange-looking tablets (DEXTROMETHORPHAN is often sold on the Internet and on the street in its pure form in various shapes and colors).
• Keep track of how much is in each bottle or container in your medicine cabinet.
• Lock your medicine cabinet or keep those OTC medicines that could potentially be abused in a less accessible place.
• Monitor your youngster's Internet usage. Be on the lookout for suspicious websites and emails that seem to be promoting the abuse of DEXTROMETHORPHAN or other drugs, both legal and illegal.
• Watch out for the possible warning signs of DEXTROMETHORPHAN abuse listed above.

Above all, talk to your children about drug abuse and explain that even though taking lots of a cough or cold medicine seems harmless, it's not. Even when it comes from inside the family medicine cabinet or the corner drugstore, when taken in large amounts DEXTROMETHORPHAN is a drug that can be just as deadly as any sold on a seedy street corner. And even if you don't think your adolescents are doing it, chances are they know children who are.

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

Tips to Break the Cycle of Aggressive Parenting

"How can I make sure my children understand the seriousness of certain situations (e.g., using drugs, talking to strangers on the internet, etc.) without yelling and coming on so strong and aggressive that I damage their self-esteem."

When your youngster's safety is at risk — whether he's run into the street, reached for an open flame, or gotten dangerously close to a pool — yelling, screaming, or crying out is a perfectly normal – and appropriate – response. At that moment, you would do anything possible to get your youngster's attention and get him out of harm's way.

After a parent’s “screaming-yelling” episode, it's natural for children to get upset — and for you to want to apologize. But the truth is this: your children are getting upset in response to the fear and urgency in your voice, not because you've been "too strict." At times like these, you should comfort them, but without apologizing. Give your youngster a hug and say something like, "I know you're upset. But what you did was dangerous, and I was scared that you were going to get hurt. You must never do that again." Disciplining children after an event like this is usually not necessary, since they've probably learned their lesson.

On the other hand, there are times when being too strict — like yelling regularly for minor offences — can backfire. Children can become immune to your exaggerated reactions and fail to take them seriously. If you feel yourself getting into this habit, take a deep breath before responding to your youngster's behavior and ask yourself, "Am I about to over-respond?" If so, walk away for a few minutes and come back when you've calmed down.

Researchers are studying how harsh parenting can impact the emotional development of a youngster. It is believed that harsh parenting methods may lead to anxiety disorders such as social phobia, separation anxiety and panic attacks. We know that common practices such as spanking or excessive punishment do not instill a strong discipline. Quite the opposite, they have a lasting psychological impact on kids.

Many studies have suggested that a parent’s aggression can affect their kid’s own social problem-solving proficiency, leading them to use aggression as a solution to disagreements that arise with their siblings and peers. This reliance on aggression can have potential long-term effects, including the development of antisocial behavior and juvenile delinquency.

Consider these facts, all backed-up by research:
  • Constant yelling and screaming erodes trust between a parent and a child and increases the risk of child abuse – because it doesn’t decrease bad behavior, parent aggression may increase in an attempt to solve the problem.
  • Kids who are screamed at regularly are more likely to cheat or lie, act up at school and bully other kids. They also do less well academically.
  • Kids whose parents use aggression to control antisocial behavior show more antisocial behavior themselves over time.
  • The more a child is slapped, the more likely it is that they’ll grow up to slap their children, spouse or friends.
  • Yelling and screaming increases the probability of your child assaulting you in retaliation as they grow older.

Being an aggressive parent will only be a short term solution to controlling your kids, and it will lead to long term problems for them as they grow up trying to function in the adult world. Aggressive moms and dads can cause their youngster to develop one of two different personality types: being the victim because it was their assigned role in the family, or becoming abusive because it was role modeled for them.

The alternative to an aggressive parenting style is the “assertive style.” These moms and dads tend to see good behavior from their kids due to setting clear expectations as well as direct explanations of those expectations and they do so without the use of intimidation or threats. These parents listen to their kids, but do not allow themselves to be talked out of what they feel is right. They do not blur the lines between who the parent is and who the youngster is, who is actually in charge is never called into question, and the lack of aggressiveness does not contribute to the youngster being unsure of who the senior family member is.

Most often, when this parenting style is used, it tends to produce kids who:
  1. are able to comply with expectations and respect their parents due to feeling listened to and respected by them as opposed to fearing them
  2. are better prepared to give and receive love through genuine and reciprocating ways during their adult lives
  3. learn to listen to their parents as well as be able to actively listen to directives while waiting for the next opportunity to engage

There’s no getting away from the fact that no matter what you say to a youngster, the model of behavior you display to them will be the most potent influence on their development. “Do as I say, not as I do” has never worked and will never work. Before a mother or father can place the expectation on their youngster of what they want them to “be” – they first have to “be” it!

We, as parents, are role models whether we like it or not. To behave boorishly, antisocially or abusively in front of kids does more harm than most moms and dads realize. It’s destructive, it’s detrimental, and it’s bad parenting. Talk is cheap, and we get what we give in this world.

Follow these tips to break the cycle of aggressive parenting:

1. Get their input when it comes to the rules— When you’re working out your house rules, involve your children in deciding what they should be and what the consequences are for breaking them. This will give them a sense of control and empowerment and help them get into the habit of listening to their conscience and managing their own behavior.

2. Let practice make perfect— Don’t always jump-in to solve disputes that arise between your youngster and his siblings or friends, because whatever you say, someone is likely to resent your decision. Put the problem to your kid in plain terms and let him work out a peaceful resolution: “OK, so both you and Jack want to use the computer. How can we sort this out in a fair way so you each get to use it?” In this way you’re guiding your kid towards negotiating a compromise without laying down the law yourself.

3. Model patience— Let your youngster see you listening to other people’s problems, empathizing with their feelings and co-operating with them to find a solution to any differences of opinion.

4. Set age-appropriate limits— Think about what your kid is capable of according to his age and developmental stage. Yes, a preschooler is old enough to listen when you tell him not to touch something dangerous – but a toddler isn’t. Where younger children are concerned, adequate childproofing can remove temptation and do away with the need to constantly discipline them for touching things they shouldn’t.

5. Teach conflict resolution skills— Show your youngster how listening, verbalizing his/her needs and feelings, accepting differences and negotiating agreements can stop a situation from descending into conflict and aggression.

==> Parenting Children and Teens with Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Disruptive Behavior Disorder is an expression used to describe a set of externalizing negativistic behaviors that co-occur during childhood and which are referred to collectively in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) as: "Attention-Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders".

There are three subgroups of externalizing behaviors:

• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
• Conduct Disorder (CD)
• Oppositional Defiant disorder (ODD)

Treatment for Oppositional Defiant disorder and CD at the clinic is based on the premise that these behaviors are the result of a combination of a metabolic dysfunction and environmental factors. We approach treatment in a similar way to our treatment of kids and teens with ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER. There is however an added emphasis on Counseling and Behavior Modification techniques. Please read our treatment model for ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder—

Oppositional Defiant Disorder consists of a pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following behaviors are present:

• Is often angry and resentful
• Is often spiteful or vindictive
• Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
• Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
• Often argues with adults
• Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
• Often deliberately annoys people
• Often loses temper

Each of the above is only considered diagnostic if the behavior occurs more frequently than is typically observed in kids of comparable age and developmental level and if the behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

Oppositional Defiant disorder is not diagnosed if the behaviors occur exclusively during the course of a Psychotic or Mood Disorder or if CD is diagnosed.

Conduct Disorder (CD)—

CD is very common among kids and teens in our society. This disorder not only affects the individual, but his or her family and surrounding environment. CD appears in various forms, and a combination of factors appears to contribute to its development and maintenance. A variety of interventions have been put forward to reduce the prevalence and incidence of CD. The optimum method appears to be an integrated approach that considers both the youngster and the family, within a variety of contexts throughout the developmental stages of the youngster and family's life.

The DSM-IV categorizes CD behaviors into four main groupings:

1. aggressive conduct that causes or threatens physical harm to other people or animals
2. non- aggressive conduct that causes property loss or damage
3. deceitfulness or theft
4. serious violations of rules

CD consists of a repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviors in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate norms or rules of society are violated. Typically there would have been three or more of the following behaviors in the past 12 months, with at least one in the past 6 months:

Aggression to people and animals:
• has been physically cruel to animals
• has been physically cruel to people
• has forced someone into sexual activity
• has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery)
• has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)
• Often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others
• Often initiates physical fights

Destruction of property:
• has deliberately destroyed others' property (other than by fire setting)
• has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage

Deceitfulness or theft:
• has broken into someone else's house, building, or car
• has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)
• Often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., "cons" others)

Serious violations of rules:
• has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period)
• is often truant from school, beginning before age 13 years
• Often stays out at night despite parental prohibitions, beginning before age 13 years

Subtypes of Conduct Disorder (CD)—

There are two subtypes of CD outlined in DSM-IV, and their diagnosis differs primarily according to the nature of the presenting problems and the course of their development.

The first, childhood-onset type is defined by the onset of one criterion characteristic of CD before age 10. Kids with childhood-onset CD are usually male, and frequently display physical aggression; they usually have disturbed peer relationships, and may have had oppositional defiant disorder during early childhood. These kids usually meet the full criteria for CD before puberty, they are more likely to have persistent CD, and are more likely to develop adult antisocial personality disorder than those with the teen-onset type (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

The second, the teen-onset type, is defined by the absence of CD prior to age 10. Compared to individuals with the childhood-onset type, they are less likely to display aggressive behaviors. These individuals tend to have more normal peer relationships, and are less likely to have persistent CDs or to develop adult antisocial personality disorder. The ratio of males to females is also lower than for the childhood-onset type (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

Severity of symptoms—

CD is classified as "mild" if there are few, if any, conduct problems in excess of those required for diagnosis and if these cause only minor harm to others (e.g., lying, truancy and breaking parental rules). A classification of "moderate" is applied when the number of conduct problems and effect on others are intermediate between "mild" and "severe". The "severe" classification is justified when many conduct problems exist which are in excess of those required for diagnosis, or the conduct problems cause considerable harm to others or property (e.g., rape, assault, mugging, breaking and entering) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

Co-morbidities and associated disorders—

Kids with CD are part of a population within which there are higher incidences of a number of disorders than in a normal population. The literature abounds with studies indicating the co morbid relationships between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, CD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Learning Difficulties, Mood Disorders, Depressive symptoms, Anxiety Disorders, Communication Disorders, and Tourettes Disorder. (American Psychiatric Association, 1994; Biederman, Newcorn, & Sprich, 1991). A high level of co-morbidity (almost 95%) was found among 236 ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER kids (aged 6-16 yrs) with CD, OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER and other related categories (Bird, Gould, & Staghezza Jaramillo, 1994). In an 8 year follow-up study, Barklay and colleagues (1990) found that 80% of the kids with ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER were still hyperactive as teens and that 60% of them had developed Oppositional Defiant or CD.

Prevalence of Conduct Disorder (CD)—

According to research cited in Phelps & McClintock (1994), 6% of kids in the United States may have CD. The incidence of the disorder is thought to vary demographically, with some areas being worse than others. For example, in a New York sample, 12% had moderate level CD and 4% had severe CD. Since prevalence estimates are based primarily upon referral rates, and since many kids and teens are never referred for mental health services, the actual incidences may well be higher (Phelps & McClintock, 1994).

Course of Conduct Disorder (CD)—

The onset of CD may occur as early as age 5 or 6, but more usually occurs in late childhood or early adolescence; onset after the age of 16 years is rare (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). The results of research into childhood aggression have indicated that externalizing problems are relatively stable over time. Richman and colleagues for example, found that 67% of kids who displayed externalizing problems at age 3 were still aggressive at age 8 (Richman, Stevenson, & Graham, 1982). Other studies have found stability rates of 50-70%. However, these stability rates may be higher due to the belief that the problems are episodic, situational, and likely to change in character (Loeber, 1991).

Age of onset of OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER seems to be associated with the development of severe problems later in life, including aggressiveness and antisocial behavior. However, not all CD kids have a poor prognosis. Studies suggest that less than 50% of the most severe cases become antisocial as adults. Nevertheless, the fact that this disorder continues into adulthood for many people conveys that it is a serious and life-long dysfunction (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995).

While not all OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER kids develop CD, and not all CD kids become antisocial adults there are certain risk factors that have been shown to contribute to the continuation of the disorder. The risk factors identified include; an early age of onset (preschool years), the spread of antisocial behaviors across settings, the frequency and intensity of antisocial behaviors, the forms that the antisocial behaviors take, having covert behaviors at an early age and also particular parent and family characteristics. However, these risk factors do not fully explain the complex interaction of variables involved in understanding the continuation of CD in any one individual.

Causes of Conduct Disorder (CD)—

There is evidence from research into causes of CDs that indicates that several biological and environmental factors may contribute to the development of the disorder.

Neurological Dysregulation:

The high co-morbidity rate of CD with ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER, Tourettes syndrome and other disorders known to be due to neurological dysregulation suggests that CD may be a co-manifestation of the same underlying dysregulation. Although there are no studies to our knowledge, which have directly investigated the neurological basis for CD, there is ample clinical evidence indicating that when treating ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER with Neurotherapy, and Nutrient supplementation, CD abates. It appears that Neurotherapy may address the underlying dysregulation and facilitate clinical treatment using cognitive and behavioral interventions. More research is needed in this area to determine whether Neurotherapy is directly responsible for this abatement or whether the resultant improvement in attention and reduction in hyperactivity promotes better self image which in turn improves behavior.

Child Biological Factors:

Considerable research has been carried out into the role of child temperament, the tendency to respond in predictable ways to events, as a predictor of conduct problems. Aspects of the personality such as activity levels displayed by a youngster, emotional responsiveness, quality of mood and social adaptability are part of his or her temperament. Longitudinal studies have found that although there is a relationship between early patterns of temperament, and adjustment during adulthood, the longer the time span the weaker this relationship becomes.

A more important determinant of whether or not temperamental qualities persist has been shown to be the manner in which moms and dads respond to their kids. "Difficult" infants have been shown to be especially likely to display behavior problems later in life if their parents are impatient, inconsistent, and demanding. On the other hand "difficult" infants, whose parents give them time to adjust to new experiences, learn to master new situations effectively. In a favorable family context a "difficult" infant is not at risk of displaying disruptive behavior disorder at 4 years old.

Cognitions may also influence the development of CD. Kids with CD have been found to misinterpret or distort social cues during interactions with peers. For example, a neutral situation may be construed as having hostile intent. Further, kids who are aggressive have been shown to seek fewer cues or facts when interpreting the intent of others. Kids with CD experience deficits in social problem solving skills. As a result they generate fewer alternate solutions to social problems, seek less information, see problems as having a hostile basis, and anticipate fewer consequences than kids who do not have a CD (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995).

School-Related Factors:

A bidirectional relationship exists between academic performance and CD. Frequently kids with CD exhibit low intellectual functioning and low academic achievement from the outset of their school years. In particular, reading disabilities have been associated with this disorder, with one study finding that kids with CD were at a reading level 28 months behind normal peers (Rutter, Tizard, Yule, Graham, & Whitmore, 1976).

In addition, delinquency rates and academic performance have been shown to be related to characteristics of the school setting itself. Such factors as physical attributes of the school, teacher availability, teacher use of praise, the amount of emphasis placed on individual responsibility, emphasis on academic work, and the student teacher ratio have been implicated (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995).

Parent Psychological Factors:

It is known that a youngster's risk of developing CD is increased in the event of parent psychopathology. Maternal depression, paternal alcoholism and/or criminal and antisocial behavior in either parent have been specifically linked to the disorder.

There are two views as to why maternal depression has this effect. The first considers that moms who are depressed misperceive their youngster's behavior as maladjusted or inappropriate. The second considers the influence depression can have on the way a parent reacts toward misbehavior. Depressed moms have been shown to direct a higher number of commands and criticisms towards their kids, who in turn respond with increased noncompliance and deviant child behavior. Webster-Stratton and Dahl suggested that depressed and irritable moms indirectly cause behavior problems in their kids through inconsistent limit setting, emotional unavailability, and reinforcement of inappropriate behaviors through negative attention (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995).

Familial Contributions--

Divorce, Marital Distress, and Violence:

The inter-parental conflicts surrounding divorce have been associated with the development of CD. However, it has been noted that although some single parents and their kids become chronically depressed and report increased stress levels after separation, others do relatively well. Forgatch suggested that for some single parents, the events surrounding separation and divorce set off a period of increased depression and irritability which leads to loss of support and friendship, setting in place the risk of more irritability, ineffective discipline, and poor problem solving outcomes. The ineffective problem solving can result in more depression, while the increase in irritable behavior may simultaneously lead the youngster to become antisocial.

More detailed studies into the effects of parental separation and divorce on child behavior have revealed that the intensity of conflict and discord between the parents, rather than divorce itself, is the significant factor. Kids of divorced moms and dads whose homes are free from conflict have been found to be less likely to have problems than kids whose moms and dads remained together but engaged in a great deal of conflict, or those who continued to have conflict after divorce. Webster noted that half of all those kids referred to their clinic with conduct problems were from families with a history of marital spouse abuse and violence.

In addition to the effect of marital conflict on the youngster, conflict can also influence parenting behaviors. Marital conflict has been associated with inconsistent parenting, higher levels of punishment with a concurrent reduction in reasoning and rewards, as well as with moms and dads taking a negative perception of their youngster's adjustment.

Family Adversity and Insularity:

Life stressors such as poverty, unemployment, overcrowding, and ill health are known to have an adverse effect on parenting and to be therefore related to the development of CD. The presence of major life stressors in the lives of families with CD kids has been found to be two to four times greater than in other families.

Moms' perception of the availability of supportive and social contact has also been implicated in child contact disorder. Moms who do not believe supportive social contact is available are termed "insular" and have been found to use more aversive consequences with their kids than non-insular moms (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995)

Parent-Child Interactions:

Research has suggested that moms and dads of kids with CD frequently lack several important parenting skills. Parents have been reported to be more violent and critical in their use of discipline, more inconsistent, erratic, and permissive, less likely to monitor their kids, as well as more likely to punish pro-social behaviors and to reinforce negative behaviors. A coercive process is set in motion during which a youngster escapes or avoids being criticized by his or her parents through producing an increased number of negative behaviors. These behaviors lead to increasingly aversive parental reactions which serve to reinforce the negative behaviors.

Differences in affect have also been noted in CD kids. In general their affect is less positive, they appear to be depressed, and are less reinforcing to their parents. These attributes can set the scene for the cycle of aversive interactions between parents and kids.

Other Family Characteristics:

Birth order and size of the family have both been implicated in the development of CD. Middle kids and male kids from large families have been found to be at an increased risk of delinquency and antisocial behaviors.

Psycho-physiological and Genetic Influences—

Studies have found that neurological abnormalities are inconsistently correlated with CD (Kazdin, 1987). While there has been interest in the implication of the frontal lobe limbic system partnership in the deficits of aggressive kids, these problems may be the consequence of the increased likelihood for kids with CD to experience abuse and subsequent head injuries (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995).

While twin studies have found greater concordance of antisocial behavior among monozygotic rather than dizygotic twins, and adoption studies have shown that criminality in the biological parent increases the likelihood of antisocial behavior in the youngster, genetic factors alone do not account for the development of the disorder.

While the risk factors outlined have been shown to be implicated in the development of CD, it is important to note that not all kids exposed to these factors develop a CD. Rather, the evidence suggests that in those kids who do develop CDs have an etiology comprised of a combination of these factors (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995). There is strong evidence that 75% of ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER kids with hyperactivity develop behavioral problems including 50% CD and 21% antisocial behavior (Klein & Mannuzza, 1991).


A number of interventions have been identified which are useful in reducing the prevalence and incidence of CD. Interventions consist of prevention and treatment, although these should not be considered as separate entities. Prevention addresses the onset of the disorder, although the youngster has not manifested the disorder, and treatment addresses reduction of the severity of the disorder. In mainstream Psychology, prevention and treatment for CD primarily focuses on skill development, not only for the youngster but for others involved with the youngster, including the family and the school environments. As previously discussed there may be clinical advantages in applying nutritional supplementation and Neurotherapy where appropriate with CD clients, if the client appears to respond to this form of neurological intervention, followed by cognitive and behavioral intervention. The following paragraphs considers three interventions, that assist in preventing and treating CD; child training, family training, and school and community interactions.

Child Training:

Child training involves the teaching of new skills to facilitate the youngster's growth, development and adaptive functioning. Research indicates that as a means of preventing child CD there is a need for skill development in the area of child competence. Competence refers to the ability for the youngster to negotiate the course of development including effective interactions with others, successful completion of developmental tasks and contacts with the environment, and use of approaches that increase adaptive functioning (Kazdin, 1990). It has been found that facilitating the development of competence in kids is useful as a preventative measure for kids prior to manifestation of the disorder rather than as a treatment (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995).

Additionally, treatment interventions have been developed to focus on altering the youngster's cognitive processes. This includes teaching the youngster problem solving skills, self control facilitated by self statements and developing pro-social rather than antisocial behaviors. Pro-social skills are developed through the teaching of appropriate play skills, development of friendships and conversational skills. The social development of kids provides them with the necessary skills to interact positively in their environment. A youngster's development of cognitive skills provides a sound basis from which to proceed. However, cognitive development should not be considered in isolation, but as part of a system, which highlights the need to include the family in the training process.

Family Intervention:

A youngster's family system has an important role in the prevention and treatment of CD. The youngster needs to be considered as a component of a system, rather than as a single entity. Research supports the notion that moms and dads of CD kids have underlying deficits in certain fundamental parenting skills. The development of effective parenting skills has been considered as the primary mechanism for change in child CD, through the reduction of the severity, duration and manifestation of the disorder.

A number of parent training programs have been developed to increase parenting skills. Research indicates that the parent training programs have been positive, indicating significant changes in parents' and kid’s behavior and parental perception of child adjustment. Research suggests that parents who have participated in parent training programs are successful in reducing their youngster's level of aggression by 20 - 60 %.

Various training programs have been developed, which focus on increasing parents' skills in managing their youngster's behavior and facilitating social skills development. The skills focused on, include moms and dads learning to assist in administration of appropriate reinforcement and disciplinary techniques, effective communication with the youngster and problem solving and negotiation strategies.

A further component of parental training incorporates behavioral management. This involves providing the family with simple and effective strategies including behavioral contracting, contingency management, and the ability to facilitate generalization and maintenance of their new skills, thus encouraging parents' positive interaction with their youngster.

However, although these interventions assist moms and dads in developing effective parenting skills, a number of families require additional support. There are various characteristics within the family system that can have an impact on parents' ability to cope. This includes depression, life stress and marital distress. Research suggests that family characteristics are associated with fewer treatment gains in parent training programs. As indicated by Webster-Stratton and Dahl (1995), several programs have expanded upon the standard parent training treatment. These programs have incorporated parents' cognitive, psychological, and marital or social adjustment. Through addressing the parent's own issues it assists their ability to manage and interact positively with the youngster.

School and Community Education:

A youngster's' environment plays an active role in the treatment of CD and as a preventative measure. A number of interventions have been developed for schools and the community in relation to CD. The various programs outlined in this paper have a primary focus involving the skill development for the youngster in the areas of problem solving, anger management, social skills, and communication skills.

School based programs:

There are various preventative programs devised which focus on specific cognitive skill development of a youngster. A number of programs developed focus on encouraging the youngster's development in decision making and cognitive process. In addition school based programs have involved teaching the youngster interpersonal problem solving skills, strategies for increasing physiological awareness, and learning to use self talk and self control during problem situations.

In addition to prevention programs, a number of treatment interventions have been developed for kids where CD has manifested. The treatment programs focus on further skill development, including anger management and rewarding appropriate classroom behavior, skill development of the youngster including the understanding of their feelings, problem solving, how to be friendly, how to talk to friends, and how to succeed in school. As Webster and colleagues describe, one school based program has been designed to prevent further adjustment problems, by rewarding appropriate classroom behavior, punctuality, and a reduction in the amount of disciplinary action. In addition, the program provided moms and dads and educators with the opportunity to focus on specific problems of a youngster and for these to be addressed.

Community programs:

Community based interventions have also addressed both treatment and prevention. A number of programs have been developed, and focus on involving the youths in activity programs and providing training for those activities. The kids are rewarded for attendance and participation in the programs.

The treatments discussed are helpful in reducing the prevalence and incidence of CD. In their application it is important to provide an integrated multidisciplinary approach to treatment in multiple settings and by providing relevant nutritional supplements, Neurotherapy and behavior training as appropriate.

==> My Out-of-Control Child: Parenting Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)


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