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

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He definitely has some ODD -ness...

Hi Mark,

I recently joined your wonderful "help-net" by getting the Ebook and receiving more information from the chats, etc.

We started implementing assign. #1 and some of your other advisements. I've always tried to show unconditional love , but separate the "trust" issue. My husband's emotions ebb and flow - It seemed things were getting a little better with our son but in the last week, he chose to leave school without "permission" and has been asked not to return, it was a small Christian school and they don't have the adequate personnel to handle "problem" students.

Based on your information, he definitely has some ODD-ness and now I'm beginning to wonder about some type of learning disability as well. It seems like he's more manageable when schools out, than when it's in. I'm trying to get an appt. to get him evaluated for ESE testing, so I'll know whether to rule that out or not. With no family to assist, his sisters are grown and gone and living out west.

We've thought about sending him out there to live with them, but then , it's not there " responsibility " to raise him, it's ours. We don't like leaving him at home during the day, because we've always had the rule, no friends at our house, when nether parent there, but with us both working , there's noway to know if he's having friends over and unfortunately there aren't any " teen daycares" that I'm aware of.

I would appreciate any words of wisdom . Thank you so much for providing strength, support and hope for us "frazzled families, may the Lord continue to bless you efforts.

My Out-of-Control Child

Over-Indulgence vs. Accountability

Hi J.,

I've responded throughout your email below:

Hi Mark,

I have a decision to make and hope you can help me with it.

My son has his graduation trip booked and the balance payment of $1300 is due now in order to keep the booking of the spot. Originally we agreed that each of us pays a half of the fee and I will reimburse him if he graduates. He paid a half for the initial payment, and I paid the full second payment because he did not have the money ready though he was working. So I told him he would pay the third payment all by himself and he didn't. It was an optional payment, so was left with the balance to be paid all together now.

He has not working since September for he planned he would study hard. He did not do that but goes to school every day and is not doing well, hit and miss with the passing.

I have been hoping that he would come to me and ask about it because he should worry about the balance payment. He hasn't. Shall I just pay it quietly?

==> Only if you want to continue to use an over-indulgent parenting style (the type of parenting that has contributed significantly to your current parent-child difficulties). I would suggest that you stick to the original agreement. If your son defaults on his part, then he chooses to lose the trip.

Shall I talk to him and then pays it? Shall I forget about it and lose the a few hundred already paid. The counselor we are seeing thinks that I should just pay for it and tell my son that he has been trying(because he goes to school every day). What shall I do and say to him? I feel stuck.

==> We always want to set-up situations at home that are representative of how the real world operates, and in the real world, if one does not live up to his end of the deal, the deal falls through.

Whenever you are in doubt about what to do in any particular situation, always ask yourself, "Is the decision I'm about to make going to foster the development of self-reliance or dependency?"

If your decision will help foster self-reliance -- it is a good decision. If it will foster more dependency, then you should come up with a different plan.

Clearly, allowing your son to forget his part of the original deal will foster more dependency. The money you'll lose will be money well spent on teaching your son a valuable lesson.



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

Teens & Stealing

Hi P.,

I've responded throughout your email below:

Hi Mark,

This is a wonderful service you provide. I have read most of your e-book and have pick up a lot of tips already.

Thank you for the kind words.

I have a question for you which I couldn't find an answer in the book.

My teen daughter (one of twins) is constantly taking things (particularly) my things without asking and yes I am going to use the cliché "I have tried everything" to stop this behaviour. I have explained to her, if she asks there is the likelihood of me saying "yes" if it is returned after she has finished with it, but she doesn't return the things and still keeps taking without asking. The taking also includes taking and eating foods. I have started making her pay for certain items of food she eats, eg choc chips which I use for cookies.

Preteens and teens know they're not supposed to steal, but might steal for the thrill of it or because their friends do. Some might believe they can get away with it. As they're given more control over their lives, some teens steal as a way of rebelling. They might be angry or want attention. Their behavior may reflect stress at home, school, or with friends. In other cases, teens steal because they can't afford to pay for what they need or want — for example, they may steal to get popular name-brand items. In some cases, they may take things to support drug habits. Whatever the reason for stealing, parents need to find out the root of the behavior and address other underlying problems that may surface.

It's recommended that parents follow through with stricter consequences when teens steal. This is covered in Session #3 [When You Want Something From Your Kid].

We lost our eldest daughter in April, 2008 from a rare disease. I am not sure if some of this behaviour is to do with grieving. My thinking it is more attention seeking. She is a very loud person and when she wants to be heard, she yells or screams. I say to her "No one hears a loud person as they are focused on the loudness and not at what the person is saying." We have other issues with her too, but the above are most concerning to me at present.

I would be very pleased to receive some strategies on how to deal with these issues. Also I have difficulty thinking up consequences or punishment for issues. Do you have a list of consequences?

Here are a few ideas:
  • Confession— Confession is more powerful because it requires us to acknowledge to ourselves and then to state to another person what we did wrong. Confession is the opposite of lying to prevent punishment; and therefore, it should be rewarded. But, confession doesn't erase the need to make amends or face other consequences of wrongdoing
  • Extra chores— It's especially good for older teens who know how to do the chore on their own. They may do it in a huff because it's certainly no fun, but it gets the point across that you will not let misbehavior slide.
  • Making amends— There is a healing experience for the offender when he makes amends for his wrongdoing. Things are made right and that is a powerful learning effect for a simple consequence.
  • Parental disapproval— In the context of a loving parent-child relationship, parental disapproval is often the most motivating of consequences. When kids think to themselves why they should choose to not do something wrong, it's usually because their parent would disapprove, not because they will have to go to time-out. Parental disapproval does not mean shaming however, and it's good to keep in mind the adage to criticize the behavior, not the person.
  • Removal of possessions such as TV, cell phone, use of house phone, computer, car, etc.— It hurts and it's meant to give the child the time to think about their misbehavior through a feeling of loss. That's why it's important to not allow the child to simply replace that possession with something else that is pleasurable. If they don't feel the loss, they don't learn the lesson. In cases of serious misbehavior that is not responding to consequences, removal of ALL possessions may be called for. In this case, children earn back their TV, computer, etc. through excellent behavior.
  • Removal of privileges such as having a friend over, going on an outing— These are the short-term consequences that we give children when they misbehave. The common term is 'grounding'. Grounding is most effective when you follow the guidelines above. The child should be warned that they will be grounded if a specific misbehavior is repeated; it should be for a single outing or very short time period; and when it's given, you should follow through.
  • Replacing a broken or lost object by earning money or working it off— Related to making amends, when a child damages or loses their own possession, the natural consequence is that they don't have it anymore. When it is someone else's possession, they should learn that restitution is the right thing to do. This isn't punishment, it's simply the way the world works.
  • Saying 'I'm sorry'— Saying 'I'm sorry' feels like punishment to some of us, but what a valuable lesson we learn when we find forgiveness and reparation of a relationship through the words, 'I'm sorry.'
  • Time-out— Time-out is a good consequence on a number of levels. It gives both of you a cooling-off period and avoids escalation to pointless, angry arguments. It is also a form of social isolation and as such, teaches that in order to participate in the social group, you must follow certain social behaviors.


P.S. Be sure to watch ALL the Instructional Videos [online version of the eBook].

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

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