In the content below, the parent's comments and questions are italicized ...
Hello Mark. To begin, my name is Sara and I just wanted to say that I joined your online program a few days ago and it has already been so helpful. There seems to be an ample supply of resources in my community for parenting young children, but haven't come across much for parenting the pre-teen and teen ages. I've been studying the materials and started implementing the strategies therein. Which has now brought about a couple of questions I could use some support on.
==> Help for parents with out-of-control teens...
My comments [Mark Hutten, M.A.] are bold...
First, a few days ago I removed my daughter's computer privilege for the 3 day time frame. I didn't engage in the power struggle, simply explained the consequence, and stated I wasn't going to argue. The first day went surprisingly well. She did say my rules were dumb and asked for clarification about how long and when she would get computer time back. I told her if there were no more occurrences of the specific behavior she would have her computer time back on Saturday (3 days).
Hi Sara. You are doing a wonderful job. Go MOM!
The second day however, wasn't as smooth. She attempted to argue with me about it and I stated I wasn't going to argue. Then she tried to manipulate the issue and say she ONLY wanted to put music on her ipod and wouldn't use the computer for anything else. I said she could download her music on Saturday. I was on the phone with a friend at the time, and had already put the call on hold once to tell her I wasn't going to argue and restate the time frame. I went back to my phone call and she started mumbling unpleasentries and even throwing some things around the living room. I ignored, then she started yelling get off the phone and eventually, inappropriate things to my friend on the phone.
At this point, the parent should assert [with a poker face], “If you choose to continue to interrupt me while I’m on the phone, you will choose the consequence, which is the 3-day-discipline will re-start.” If she interrupts again, then follow through with the consequence.
I continued to talk in hopes that my friend wouldn't hear and did not end my telephone conversation immediately. That is absolutely inappropriate, but I was so lost as to what to do or how to address. On one hand if I got off the phone ... then, I allowed her to control the situation ... on the other hand, my friend should not be verbally attacked by my 13 year old daughter? What is your suggestion for an appropriate response in that situation. I know she needs attention and approval and I am making sure to spend time with her, ask about her day, give positive feedback for good things I notice, etc. I did nothing during or after that to address it. Do you go back and talk about it after the situation is calm? I'm confused ... I don’t want to engage in a power struggle, but there are certain boundaries she shouldn't cross isn't there? When I was off the phone, she then asked if I would download the music for her. I said yes, I could download the songs if she made a list (not sure if that was right).
Unfortunately, this was a form of retracting your established consequence – you just got manipulated again!
She then decided she would wait until Saturday and do it herself. This is so confusing and hard because it seems that every situation perpetuates another?
If you find that “one problem is creating another,” you simply state that if she chooses to introduce a new problem, she will choose the consequence, which is the 3-day-discipline will be started over.
Let’s use an example: Daughter has been issued a 3-day-discipline (i.e., no computer privileges) for getting on Facebook when she was warned not to. On day 2, daughter wants to get on the computer to download music. Mom says “no” (one time) …gives her reason for saying “no” (one time) …and tells her daughter that when the 3-day-discipline is completed, the privilege will be reinstated.
The daughter begins to have an inappropriate temper tantrum as a result. Thus, mom states, “If you choose to continue to argue with me, you will choose the consequence, which is the 3 days starts over.” Daughter continues to argue. Mom now says, “Because you chose to continue to argue, you chose the consequence, which is the 3 days starts over -- as soon as you calm down.” When the daughter chooses to stop yelling/arguing, mom looks at her watch and re-starts the 3-day-discipline.
Also, I know I need to accept and validate her feelings about things ... how/when do you do that?
You do that when she is calm; when she is behaving appropriately. Validation is not part of the equation during the period of time you are issuing a consequence.
At the moment the situation occurs I'm not arguing about it or showing emotion or engaging in any power struggle. But, I also want to be careful not to totally disregard her. After a blow up do you go back and discuss what happened?
This is optional. If the employment of “Fair Fighting” (see the section on Fair Fighting in the eBook) works in her case, then yes, discuss and problem solve. Otherwise, just let the execution of the consequence be the teacher.
Best of luck,
==> Help for parents with out-of-control teens...