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Mother Becomes Discouraged After Implementing New Parenting Strategies

"Hi Mark, I have to admit I am a bit discouraged. I have been following your rules carefully and consistently for a few weeks now. Good news. I have seen some improvement in compliance with house rules. Bad news ...the more compliance I see, the more silent treatment and other anger management stages I see being exhibited. So ...let me know if this progression is normal, and again, assuming that I AM following the rules EXACTLY as you have them laid out long it should take to see SOME improvement in attitude.While I try to remain non-affected ...after weeks and months of saying ‘I love you’ and not having anything said back can get pretty damaging. I feel like I am now getting close to the reciprocal of the silent treatment and emotional numbness so I don’t fly off the handle. Any thoughts?"


Yes …first of all, feeling discouraged is a natural step in the progression of this parenting-model. As change begins to happen, most (if not all) parents experience some “doubt” that this “system” (i.e., this new set of parenting strategies) actually works. Plus, things often get worse before they get better. But don’t get sidetracked just because you’re discouraged. Don’t go on ‘how it feels’ right now, because it always feels a whole lot worse than it actually is.

Re: silent treatment. When kids give parents the silent treatment, it is just another form of seeking intensity/energy from the parent; they want to get a reaction out of you; they are attempting to push your “rejection” buttons. If you are offended by the silent treatment, be sure to give NO indication that you are offended (e.g., in the form of anger or returning the silent treatment).

I find that when “the silent treatment” goes on for a lengthy period of time, it is most often the case that the parent is not “catching the kid in the act of doing something right” enough (I assume you read that part of the eBook – if not, please review). When the parent provides a lot of intensity when things are “going right,” the kid usually get his “intensity fix” and does not turn to more destructive means to get attention.

Re: saying “I love you.”
This is a ‘gift’ that you give your child. Expect nothing in return. If you are offended because your child does not respond positively, then you are too emotionally invested in the relationship (i.e., taking on too much responsibility).

Let me offer a refinement on the “I love you” business. From now on say, “Love ya” once a week as you walk by your child. Don’t look at him/her …don’t stand there waiting for a response …say it quickly, move on to your next task, and detach from the outcome.



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

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