We have been plugging along since M got out of the youth home 12/3/18. He is in intensive probation and meets with PO every week either @ school or @ our home. Also can't to go to counseling once per week. He is supposed to meet with the referee once per month also--more like every 6 wks though. He does have a court date May 6 for the fighting incident (btw, was charged with "robbery armed" since one on the boys picked up money off the ground that belonged to someone else. We decided to obtain the services of an atty for this, as we are fine with "assault with a weapon" or similar, but not robbery armed, which also is not dropped when an adult. This is his last assistance, as he was 16 at the time--[now 17 and considered an adult in MI] and we can feel good knowing we gave him every opportunity to try to turn his life around). He has not missed school (was late 2x I believe about 10minutes) and is now pulling 5 A's and 1 B+. Has a girlfriend that we like well enough, still has a job, and is usually home on time (if late usually less than 10 minutes). As you know and have taught us, we have good days/weeks and not so good days/weeks.
We have taken away his cell phone, computer, use of the car for misuse of these. This is when he still tries to bully us/swear/negotiate/threaten etc. but for the most part we have been very firm. He did sign a "contract" for both the phone and car use.
What I need help with though are the "get to it later" stuff and the not so major stuff. Examples:
1) swearing--I am getting VERY tired of the "F______ B____" used when he gets angry and now any profanity mixed in conversation. I would say this is increasing since we have not been reacting to it. We have a 10yr old and his friends over and this is NOT appropriate. I need some idea(s) of consequences for this.
2) having the girlfriend in the bedroom. Usually under blanket cuddling and tries to have lights out. I have come straight out and told them it is not appropriate/respectful and is uncomfortable for those around. (btw--20 yr old brother has his g'friend in room but usually not on the bed together and NEVER covered up, etc.)
3) eats in bedroom, cooks and leaves stuff everywhere,
4) very slipshod on chores
5) starting to NOT call when he gets somewhere like we've asked (he usually is where he is supposed to be but it is a safety issue)
6) joining us for some family time
Any ideas on consequences/motivators would be great.
Also, fyi--his "best friend" that he makes bad decisions with has been committed to a psych hospital by his Dad for 2 weeks, and last week a horrific accident claimed the life of a very close friend and 2 other friends, with the driver still in the hospital (all 4 together in the truck)
Thanks again, and lets hope things continue to go well.
Re: What I need help with though are the "get to it later" stuff and the not so major stuff.
I recently answered an email from another mother who had the same question. I'll simply share that email with you if you don't mind -- I think it will answer your question:
Question: "What do I do when I've issued the 3-day-discipline (e.g., for violating curfew), but then my son creates a new problem before completing the discipline (e.g., calls me a "bitch", then breaks a plate by throwing it in the sink too hard)? Do I start the 3 days over even though the "broken plate episode" is unrelated to the curfew violation, or does this new problem get a different consequence?"
ANSWER: You only restart the 3-day-discipline if the original crime is re-committed (in this case, if your son violates curfew again).
When parents issue a 3-day-discipline, it is very common for kids to introduce additional behavioral problems (temper tantrums, threats, etc.) as a way to (a) get the parent side-tracked from the original consequence and (b) get the focus off of them and onto the parent's anger.
If the parent falls for this, she ends up issuing additional consequences on top of existing consequences, restrictions against the kid begin to pile up, and before long, the kid is grounded for 3 months with no privileges -- and both the parent and the kid have forgotten what the original problem was.
Don't let this happen to you. Do not let your son get you distracted from the original problem and the associated consequence for that problem. Here's how you do this:
If your son commits another "crime" (figuratively speaking) during a 3-day-discipline, put this new crime in the "Deal-With-It-Later" file. You literally write the problem down on a piece of paper (e.g., 'son called me a bitch and broke a plate') and put this note-to-yourself somewhere where you can find it after the original 3-day-discipline is completed.
After the original 3-day-discipline is completed, you then confront your son regarding the second problem he introduced by saying, "Just for your information, in the future, if you choose to __________ (in this case, "call me a bitch and break my dishes"), then you'll choose the consequence which is __________ (here you just follow the strategy "When You Want Something From Your Kid" in the Anger Management Chapter of the Online Version of the eBook).
So, does your son get "off the hook" for calling you a name and breaking a plate? In a way, yes -- but only for the time being. He will have to answer to you if the name-calling and plate-breaking occur again in the future.
Pick your battles carefully - but perhaps more importantly, pick them one-at-a-time. Do not try to fight 14 battles at once. You'll just blow a blood vessel in your brain, and your kid will be successful at getting you to chase your tail.
Use your "Deal-With-It-Later" file frequently. You'll save yourself a lot of time and energy that would otherwise be spent in chronic power struggles.
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.
Mark Hutten, M.A.
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