Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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Dealing with Your Teenager While He's on Juvenile Probation

Hi J.,

>>>>>>>>>> Please look for my (Marks') comments within your email.


It's been a while since I last e-mailed you. M______ has been to court. They dropped the DV charge but kept the incorrigible which is in his best interest if he decides to follow the rules since they can be dropped when he turns of age. He did get 6 mos of probation and must still meet with his counselor. It seems that things at home have been better since he has motivation over the use of a car. We made him sign a driving contract and when he messes up, we just pull it out and their is no argument (well he tries but it is fruitless). He has been checking in when he is supposed to also. Mind you, this is MOST of the time. He still "forgets" and has consequences. Husband has come around to a degree. What is working for us (again still some arguments over your program and we had to compromise somewhat but like you preach, 2 parents in agreement are better than 2 divided) is that Dad still blows up when something goes wrong, but we hold out on consequence until he is calm and rational. M______ is told that we will decide consequence when Dad and I have a chance to calmly discuss it. We also are saying something like "I may not totally agree with XYZ, but it is Dad's decision and I am supporting him on it." 


>>>>>>>>>> Good news so far. You are a great student!


Well, he met with his PO yesterday and just like I predicted, he went against the rules. He came home 20 minutes past his court ordered curfew and he left his 9 yr old brother home alone and went out and we did not know where (Dad and I were gone 2 hours to receive a community "Volunteer of the Year" award). He was told he could go pick up a friend (with his brother) and come back to our house. He left his brother at home and did not come home for 2 1/3 hrs. He did not bring back his friend. He did lose the use of the car. I'm OK with this consequence as it is in the contract about curfew, where he is, etc. He of course threw his tantrum, but again to no avail. 


>>>>>>>>>> You’re still on-track.


The biggest issue I am having is M______ not listening fully to the instructions. Then he will twist what was said or deny some of it. It becomes "He said/she said." I know that I have the power but do you have any tricks to having them FULLY listen to everything. 


>>>>>>>>>> Yes …keep instructions very SHORT and CONCRETE …let me say this again …short and concrete. Also, write it down on a post-it note and put it on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. If your instructions are too long to write down, then they are too long for him to remember – shorten it up.


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He also rushes off the phone when told something. Once I wrote is down, but is this acceptable or am I trapping myself if I don't remember to include EVERYTHING? 


>>>>>>>>>> SHORT and CONCRETE 


The last issue we are having is when M______ losing driving privileges, and Mom and Dad refuse to drive him to school he is not going, or going late. The bus stop is 2 doors away and the girl next door drives and has taken him on several occasions so there is no excuse for missing. I am sure it is not "cool" when you're a junior to take the bus, but losing the use of the car is his decision. He is on credit review for several classes, and has been suspended for not serving the detentions he got from his unexcused tardies/absences (I made him go with me to a business meeting so he couldn't stay home and be rewarded. If it happens again, he will be volunteering somewhere for the day). He also is not doing ANY homework. I know you believe in natural consequences, but he is a gifted athelete and very possibly able to get a scholarship for wrestling. I hate to see him throw this away. He may get sent back to juve. it he continues. Have you any ideas how to get a kid motivated again? He used to get all A's and B's. I am trying to be creative, but have no ideas about this. 


>>>>>>>>>> NO! I do not have any suggestions to get him motivated again. I can’t make your son spit …I can’t make him stand on his head …I can’t motivate him - and neither will you. Motivation to perform well academically is an inside job (i.e., something that he – and only he – will be able to accomplish). When the student is ready, the teacher will appear – and not a moment earlier.


Thanks for your input.






Well, it's now 12:21am Saturday. M______ curfew (court ordered) is 9:00pm. He is not with the boy he left with. This boy says M______ "ditched" him and he doesn't know who he's with now. I'm sure he won't be home all night. How can someone who is so bright and talented not understand the long term ramifications of their actions? Why doesn't spending time in the juve. justice center (4 days) and being on probation scare him? What do we do now? 


>>>>>>> Fear-based motivation has no effect. Teens are invincible (in their minds). This is just another minor setback – not a major catastrophe. You should do what you always do – nothing more and nothing less:

  1. State the rule.
  2. State the consequence for violating the rule.
  3. Follow through with the consequence (w/poker face) when the rule is broken.

Eventually, the child desires positive change – but on his time, not the parent’s.




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