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Things are running more smoothly...

Hi Mark,
It has been a couple of months since I have emailed you. I went back over the e-book and got some clarification. I must admit, though, I feel some things are still not presented clearly. However, in genera, things are running more smoothly. The kids have more jobs to do (nothing for free) and don't complain when I ask them to help out (well, most of the time!). They actually offer to help more now, which I find amazing. For the most part, we have pleasant dinners and car rides now. A couple of weeks ago the kids got a 3 day grounding for a major fight in the car. It took 7 days to work through it, but finally they managed to spend 3 days being pleasant to each other and everyone else. It was the most peaceful, consecutive 3 days we have ever had with our kids! Truly wonderful!
However, my daughter B___ (11) is complaining that we are being grossly unfair when her 3 day groundings start over, so I would like to run this by you. Maybe we are being too harsh. This is the latest scenario. 5 days ago B___ was angry at me regarding something I was going to do with her brother (7 yo) and came into his room while I was there and gave him a full force kick and punch. I sent her to her room to calm down and told her that she was grounded for 3 days. (If the kids just get into a little physical fight they only get 1 day. But this was an unprovoked and brutal attack, I felt). She felt this was grossly unfair, screamed/yelled, clawed/scratched her neck, choked herself, threw something at me etc. I stayed calm, she eventually calmed down but accused me of not caring about her because I let her hurt herself. We didn't give her very much sympathy, just said it must really hurt.
(To get off grounding for physical violence my kids have to 1. get their jobs done on time; 2. no physical/verbal violence to each other; 3. no physical/verbal violence or disrespectful talk to parents and 4. do what they are told. Any infringement is cause for restarting the 3 day grounding. For 2 and 3, I do not give warnings, the grounding just starts over. )
For the past 5 days they have had some small fights which have resulted in Eric getting a couple of one day groundings and B___ having to restart her 3 day grounding. Tonight she had one day left of the 3. Eric was playing on the floor. She walked over and picked up a piece of what he was playing with; he told her to put it back, she did nothing, he started yelling at her and tried to grab it; she still said/did nothing but did not give it to him. He finally started punching her. He got a one day grounding and she started her 3 days over. (I did not give them a warning to stop) B___ said she was doing 'nothing'. They were sent to their rooms to cool off for a few minutes until supper time. 15 minutes later I went to get B for supper, and she told me that to restart her 3 days was very unfair. She said she did nothing wrong. I told her that I understood that she felt that way, but that I disagreed. I asked her if she could think of something that she could have done differently to prevent the blow up. She couldn't. I said that it was a matter of timing. She could have chosen to give the toy back right when Eric first asked for it. I agreed that he did overreact. I said, calmly, that that was the way the rule worked. B___ got very upset, started yelling, pulling her hair out and scratching at her neck. I said I was going to eat and she could come up later and eat after we were done. She accused me of not caring b/c I was leaving her when she was hurt.
I am concerned about this self-mutilation she has started to do. She often threatens to cut herself with scissors but has not. But to be honest, I am wondering if I am being too hard with this grounding. I would appreciate it if you could tell me if any part of the above is unreasonable or unfair, or if I should handle it a different way.
Hi L.,

Re: things are not presented clearly.

If parents read the entire eBook and listen to all the audio files, the strategies are usually fairly clear. If you haven't viewed all the power points and listened to all the audio, you may benefit from doing so.

Please read this page re: cutting ==> click here.

Re: 3-day-discipline. I think these emails from parents with similar questions will help clarify:

How Do They Earn Their Way Off Discipline?

How do you eat an elephant?

I hope this helps. Stay in touch.


I feel like we're leading a secret life...

Hi Mark,

My husband and I have been reading your info online and find it very helpful and educational.

Our son, has been out of school for 2 weeks. We kept him home for one week before he was hospitalized. He was in a depression and had hit his low. This week he checked in to a very nice facility in Pasadena and has been out. He has a teacher, nurse, doctors, support groups etc.

My problem is talking to people to ask where he is or the attendance office at school. My husband and I usually say, "He was under some stress and needed some time off." Last night my husband and I went to our first session with him with his psychologist (Who he likes and listens to). It was a tough but good session.

Tonight is back to school night. My husband will stay home with our 9 year old and I will go and meet his teachers whom we have been in contact with. He is a bright student in the honors program. They move very fast in class. He is a Junior. I have asked for another homework packet for the week for our son to work on while he is not at school. What do I say tonight at the "Back to School Night"?

I did send a letter to his teachers saying: upon his return to school if the teachers would ease him into the schoolwork, so as not to stress or overwhelm him. His water polo coach is the one we will have the most trouble with. We have left 2 messages for him and he has not returned either one. He is going to ride our son upon his return.

They are trying our son on Depacote 250mg. twice a day. With this we need him to exercise. Our son is very good water polo player and need to return for exercise so as not to have a weight gain. He can tend to get a little overweight w/o exercise.
I feel like we're leading a secret life in what to tell people and not to be too honest, for they will judge him or label him later.


Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

D. and C.


This is easier said than done, but don’t try to cover-up anything. I’m concerned that will create more problems than it prevents. And do NOT attempt to get teachers to pamper your son. This too may cause more problems than it solves.

Are you taking on too much responsibility for your son, and are you trying to save him from uncomfortable emotions? If so, this goes against the grain of the parenting program you are currently working.


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