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

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Is Your Teenager Smoking Marijuana?

Federal health officials say they’re alarmed by a sharp rise in cannabis (marijuana) use among American teenagers, blaming the increase on medical cannabis campaigns. The increase is particularly stark among 8th graders, suggesting that attitudes about the risks of cannabis may be becoming more relaxed in teens thinking about using drugs for the first time.

A recent national survey indicates that cannabis use in 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is up across the country. By some measures, the increase over the last year is 10% or more according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Cannabis use among teenagers has been on the way up over the last three years. But new data, taken from the 46,000-student “Monitoring the Future” survey, shows the increase is accelerating, particularly in younger children.

In all, about 1 in 16 high school seniors admits to daily pot use… 3% of 10th graders and 1% of 8th graders say they smoke pot at least four days a week. Meanwhile, 24% of teenagers say they’ve used cannabis in the past year – up from 21.5% three years ago. These numbers coincide with other data showing teenagers' perception of daily cannabis use as risky has been on the decline since 2008.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse blames teenagers’ loosening attitudes and increased use on the widespread debate over medical cannabis. The debate may have led to a perception among teenagers that cannabis is beneficial – not detrimental. Rising cannabis use was predictable since teenagers now view it as less risky than they did before.

Overall, last year’s illicit drug use was up among all age groups surveyed. About 1 in 10 eighth graders, 18.5% of 10th graders, and 23.8% of 12th graders acknowledge using illegal drugs during the past year. What makes these statistics especially alarming is the fact that the potency of cannabis has increased exponentially in the past 20 years.

Signs Your Teen Is Smoking Pot—

• Bloodshot eyes
• Cigarette rolling papers
• Dilated (large) pupils
• Pipes, bongs, homemade smoking devices (you may see sticky residue from burned marijuana)
• Reduced motivation
• Seeds that have been cleaned from marijuana
• Sleepy appearance
• Smell on clothing, in room, or in car

Cannabis is usually smoked using cigarette rolling papers, water bong, or a makeshift bong that can be made from a variety of items. Generally it can be difficult to recognize cannabis use if you don't see your teenagers after smoking when they are still experiencing the effects of the drug.

Tips for Parents--

1. Explain to your teen that you do not want an illegal substance in your home – nor do you want your teen or his friends smoking in your home, because YOU could get charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

2. Express your disapproval of your teen’s pot smoking in a calm, firm manner, without hysterics or unreasonable threats. You do not approve of this and will not condone it. You understand you cannot control his behavior, that if he chooses to smoke, you can't really stop him – but you will set some firm rules about this. For example, if you suspect he is breaking the rule by bringing marijuana into the house, he is to understand that his right to privacy in his room will be suspended and that periodic room searches will take place (backpacks may also be searched).

3. For some teenagers, smoking pot is purely a social activity, not unlike having a few beers with their buddies when they are hanging-out on a weekend night. Neither of these activities is acceptable, but it identifies it as the less risky “recreational use.”

4. If your teenager has his license, remind him that the same rule about drinking and not driving applies to smoking pot and driving. The research is very clear that it delays reaction times and, therefore, increases the risk of accidents.

5. If your teenager is saying things like “I’m going to do what I want – and you can't stop me,” then at least he’s being open about what he’s doing. This openness demonstrates a level of trust and honesty that is important to recognize and communicate. Parents can respond with, "I don't like what you are saying, but I’m glad you’re being honest with me." Despite the rebelliousness, your teen’s declaration that he is going to smoke pot does provide an opportunity for discussion.

6. Look for signs that use is turning into abuse (i.e., your teen's behavior or personality is changing in negative ways). If you begin to believe that your teenager is developing a serious addiction, then you can take much stronger steps (e.g., involving police, requiring routine drug testing, insisting on individual and family counseling with a specialist in substance abuse).

7. Often times, when teens are openly defiant about drug use or sexual activity, they are really asking for some limits to be imposed.

8. One good question to pose is "How would you know when it's not a good thing to do?" This is easily asked when your teenager is quick to point out he is not an “addict” like his friend who's “always high.’ This part of the discussion will touch on how often he actually uses marijuana and under what circumstances. It also clarifies his ability to acknowledge that there are risks of addiction – and can he tell the difference? For example, is your teenager aware that a chronic pot smoker (i.e., one who smokes daily for a month or more) typically becomes depressed when he stops using? Is your teen aware that research has shown that teenagers who smoke pot on a regular basis usually get their driver's license significantly later than non-users?

9. One of the most frequent driving forces behind marijuana use is when it is a form of self-medication. Teenagers who have undiagnosed ADHD often smoke marijuana to calm down. The depressed teenager often smokes marijuana to shut down negative thoughts and feelings. If there is an underlying problem driving the marijuana use, it is important for parents to identify the problem and encourage getting help for that problem.

10. Open-up and maintain a line of communication that is based on accurate information about the risks involved with drug abuse and encourage your teenager to make good decisions. The psychological capacity to be self-aware and make good decisions is really much more important than whether or not your teen smokes marijuana for a period of his life.

11. Part of the challenge in talking to your teen about drugs is finding those occasional moments when he/she is actually in the mood to talk. Usually driving somewhere together is one of the best times. Also, it is better to have only one parent involved in the conversation so it doesn't feel like a 2-on-1 discussion.

12. Remind your teen that employers now routinely drug test all applicants. Your teenager may be very disappointed when he gets fired from his part-time job because of a positive drug screen. Traces of marijuana remain in the system for about a month, and it is not as easy to hide as commonly thought.

13. Remind your teen that he can be arrested for using drugs – it's no fun to end-up on probation and to have to do community service.

14. Try to understand what your teenager is actually experiencing, and to try to engage her/him in a helpful dialogue. Hold back on your lectures and threats. Instead, approach your teen as the expert and ask for a greater understanding. Good questions to ask might be as follows:
  • How much does it cost these days?
  • I understand that the current weed is much stronger than what was around in my day. Is that true?
  • Is it easy to get pot?
  • What are the benefits to you?
  • What different types of pot are out there now?
  • What is it like when you get high?
  • Why do you like to get high?

15. It is important to know who your teenager is smoking pot with – friends or acquaintances. Smoking with friends suggests that the drug use is recreational (you may be surprised to learn that some of your teenager's friends that you like and thought were positive influences are smoking pot as well). Smoking with acquaintances (i.e., peers your teen hangs-out with for the sole purpose of getting high) suggests that your teen is beginning to be influenced by some other teenagers that may be more of a fringe group who don't share the values you and your teenager have discussed as important. If there is such a shift taking place – that in itself becomes an important topic for exploration. Questions to find answers to would be:
  • Are his former friends "not cool" because they don't get high?
  • Has his old group moved beyond him in some way?
  • Why is he distancing himself from his usual social group?

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

How To Control The Uncontrollable Child: 30 Tips For Parents Who Are At Their Wits End

Parents struggle with the appropriate ways to deal with the misbehavior of a youngster. When all of the efforts have produced little results, what is the next step? Experts suggest that there are three areas that need to be examined before further action is taken. Ask yourself:

• How am I handling the misbehavior?
• What specific tools can I find to help me in this situation?
• Why is the youngster misbehaving?

Kids have their own temperaments, personalities and individual ways of reacting to authority. When rules and limits are placed upon kids they may test the rules to the limit to find out how far their independence can go. The expectations set for them by moms and dads may be too strict or too lenient and the kids may resort to misbehavior to gain the attention not gained when behavior is good or as normally expected.

Toddlers begin the journey to independence with the establishment of the word "no." Pre-schoolers and school-age kids seek limits by testing what authority will allow and what they can get away with. A certain amount of defiance is expected, and healthy, as kids establish their own independence. Each situation will differ in terms of circumstances, personalities and responsibilities. 

How Parents Can Make Discipline More Effective—

1. Decide if you need outside assistance. If prolonged or acutely severe behavior problems continue to exist after recommended intervention is attempted, then professional help is advised. Determine what services are available in your community through the school system, mental health centers, support groups, etc. Take advantage of services appropriate for your needs.

2. Distraction can be an effective tool in redirecting attention from something that they want to do (that is inappropriate) to something that is appropriate. For example, if a youngster wants to jump on the lounge, suggest going outside and jumping on the trampoline (to allow them to jump appropriately) or going for a walk to the park (fulfilling the desire to be physically active), or even something completely unrelated like making play dough (this can be less effective if the youngster wants to physically unwind). The closer your alternative is to what they are wanting, the more likely you are to succeed in changing their focus. The key is to make the distraction sound as enticing and exciting as possible, and you don't want to draw attention to the undesired activity (you are trying to make them forget about that!).

3. Education is a disciplinary technique. Use education as a direct consequence of misbehavior. Education is an opportunity to move your youngster to “thoughtful” from his normal stance as “thoughtless.” In many cases, a youngster's misbehavior is based in ignorance. Racial slurs, or physically risky behavior (e.g., smoking, driving too fast), can often be corrected easier and more effectively by a specifically educational response than by other forms of discipline (e.g., scolding, making rules). Education is not about lecturing, and since your youngster may not be open to hearing the truth from you, an educational consequence may be best imposed by another adult he respects.

4. Establish some home rules. All family members old enough to participate can be involved in establishing home rules and consequences for violation of the rules. Holding family meetings to establish and regularly review and "update" rules is effective and helps to keep all family members informed and involved. Be sure to share these rules with others providing care to your kids (relatives, care givers, etc.) so they will also know what the expectations are and actions they should take when kids misbehave.

5. Get the youngster's attention. Make eye contact with the youngster before a command is issued. Yelling from across the room will not be effective.

6. Hiring a substitute. A youngster may choose to "hire" someone to do his chore (e.g., by paying a wage of $1.00, or mutually agree to trade chores).

7. Patiently show the youngster the "right way" to behave or do a chore.

8. Perhaps the simplest and most effective way of changing a youngster's behavior is to let her know that you disapprove of it. State your objections clearly, and give reasons. “I don't like it when you hit your younger brother. It's cruel and thoughtless, and I want my kids to be kind and compassionate.” When your youngster hears your disappointment or disapproval, she may shape up. Disapproval works when it is stated clearly. Don't nag, rub it in, carry on, or hold disapproval as a grudge. Children can hear a complaint or disapproval once – more than once erases the message from their little brains and closes their ears. Your disapproval needs to be expressed with conviction and passion, but without fury.

9. Post a list of jobs that need to be done (e.g., washing the car, weeding the garden, etc.). Let the youngster choose a "work detail" as a way to "make up" for rule violations. This is especially effective for kids 6 years and older.

10. Rearrange space. Try creative solutions. If clothes and toys are left lying about, have baskets and lower hooks for easier cleanup. If school notes and homework are misplaced, assign a special table or counter for materials. If chores are forgotten, post a chart with who does what when.

11. Redirect behavior. Substitute a positive behavior for one that's a problem (e.g., drawing on walls, have paper available; throwing sand, use a ball for throwing; trouble taking turns, add another toy or have them help an adult (to satisfy this need for power).

12. Remain in authority. Stick to your guns. Don't get talked out of your feelings or your reasons for issuing the command and don't let the youngster wear you down.

13. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Many times we speak before we think and make demands that we can't follow through with (e.g., "If you cut your toes off with the lawn mower, don't come running to me." … "If you don't clean up the dishes, you won't have dinner for a month"). Don't say something that you can't follow through with. Think about the consequence of certain behaviors before expressing them. Also consider if and how you will be able to administer the consequence. Follow through your command with immediate consequences or rewards for the youngster's behavior.

14. Send a warning. Your child starts acting out, and the first thing you do is warn her: “Cut it out or I'll take that paint brush away,” or “I'm counting to 10. One, two, three...”. In many cases, bingo! End of misbehavior! Warnings are not the same as threats. Threats are threatening; warnings simply put the youngster on alert that the behavior needs to stop, now, or there will be consequences. The best warnings clearly state the limit and the related consequence. Warnings only work if your youngster believes that you'll follow through. Be careful not to cry wolf. Be prepared for your youngster to call your bluff. The moms and dads who are the most successful with warnings are the ones who aren't afraid to follow through on each and every warning. Be consistent – it provides security for your youngster, and ensures that you'll be listened to.

15. Set expectations. Don't ask the youngster to follow a command. Remind the youngster that you expect him or her to behave in certain ways. Explain what behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable and what the consequences will be.

16. Strive for consistency. Confronting the behavior, when it occurs, giving the reason it is not acceptable, and following through with the consequence on a consistent basis is the most effective way to change the misbehavior. If we are not consistent, in disciplining a youngster, the youngster will believe it is all right to act this way sometimes, and continue the misbehavior on occasion.

17. Take away privileges. Match the removal of the privilege to the action taken as closely as possible (e.g., fighting over TV results in loss of TV time). Take away the privilege for a short period. If it lasts too long, resentment builds, the youngster forgets the infraction and the lesson is lost.

18. Take care of your mental health. Go out and have fun. If you don’t take care of you, you will not be able to take care of your youngster.

19. Take it one step at a time. Even when you have tried everything, having the right attitude will increase the youngster's self-esteem and offer the limits in a loving way. Chances are that if the behavior worsens, the modification is working. You are tightening the reins and they feel threatened. It will get better with consistent application.

20. Tie what you want to what they need (e.g., when you pick up your toys, then you can watch TV; when you come home from school on time, then you can have a friend over).

21. Use a firm voice. Give commands in a firm controlled voice and with an authoritative manner. Don't make it a game for the youngster to guess if you mean it or not.

22. Use a Point System. Give points for good behavior and take away points for bad behavior. In some households, accumulated "points" are traded in for rewards. In others, privileges are based on behavior, and dropping below a certain point level may cause a loss of privileges. Be careful that the youngster doesn't start to do things only for the points rather than because it's a nice thing to do.

23. Use a Reward System. Intended as a supplement for other methods of discipline, the reward system relies on you going out of your way to praise positive behavior (e.g., thank your youngster for helping with something, comment on how nice and quiet your youngster has been for the last half hour, etc.). It's very easy to overlook when your youngster is being good, but it is generally all the times he or she is not being bad.

24. Use logical consequences. Let the consequence make the point (e.g., misuse a toy, lose use of the toy for a period of time; write on the wall with crayons, wash it off; miss a curfew, lose same amount of time from the next outing).

25. Use natural consequences. The basic concept behind this method is to let nature run its course when appropriate (e.g., If your youngster leaves his toy outside it may get lost or ruined … If your youngster leaves his umbrella at school, he will get wet the next time it rains … If your youngster forgets her lunch, she goes hungry until she gets home).

26. Use positive discipline, which is a technique that sees misbehavior as an opportunity for teaching new behaviors (e.g., after your youngster has learned her toy is ruined, you could show her how to organize her things). Also, set positive examples in the way you, the parent, act, and eliminate negative language. So instead of saying, "don't do that", provide some direction by saying, "Why don't you do this instead."

27. Use separation and replacement. Children squabbling over an object? Take it away. If you separate a youngster from an object, make sure you replace the activity with something productive. Putting the Nintendo on a high shelf without giving the children something else to do will only leave them: (a) bored and ready to cause more trouble, and (b) empty-handed-they'll have to fight each other. Only separate a youngster from an object when the object is related to the misbehavior.

28. Use time-outs. Time-outs separate a youngster from a situation in order to “break” the action and reset it on a new track. Time-outs take the youngster out of an environment that is reinforcing the negative behavior. For school age children, time-outs shouldn't always be timed, they should allow the youngster enough time to change his mood on his own. A time-out is over once the mood has been changed or the youngster has calmed down and regained self-control. Let the youngster determine when a time-out is over (she needs to learn to determine her own moods and rhythms). Don't threaten time-outs, and don't think of them as punishments (“Hit me again and I'll put you in a time-out!”). They're meant to be used as an immediate, brief cooling-off period. Time-outs are designed to remove a youngster from an environment where she is getting gratification for her negative actions. When she returns, don't let her resume her activity. Let her know that her actions were unacceptable. Move her into a more positive situation, and give her positive reinforcement. Time-outs are most effective when a youngster needs help changing a mood. Moms and dads can take time-outs, too.

29. When something goes wrong, one of the best responses of all is usually to sit down and talk about it. Often, open communication is all that is needed to change behavior, or to make sure that a certain misbehavior doesn't happen again. You can talk with your youngster alone during special time or during family meetings. Use your discussions to point out natural consequences that might occur from the misbehavior. Children sometimes need help seeing the chain of events, and understanding why they happen.

30. When you're faced with mild, irritating misbehavior, sometimes the best response is to ignore it. Ignoring is a very active behavior; it doesn't mean just letting it slide and neglecting your youngster. Ignoring a behavior requires: (a) developing a poker face-a relaxed body, and straight, unimpressed face-and refuse to get riled by the annoying behavior; (b)making an active decision to ignore it; (c) paying attention silently while you are actively ignoring it. What kind of behavior can you ignore? Certainly, never anything dangerous or hurtful to the youngster, anybody else, or any object. Good types of behavior to ignore would include: nail biting, nose picking, tuneless humming, minor swearing, foot jiggling, gross jokes, and annoying laughs. Children often try out annoying behavior patterns, and the more attention that is paid, the worse the patterns get. Ignoring is gentle, and it works. It's based on the premise that, for your youngster, negative attention (pushing your buttons) will give him more satisfaction than will getting no attention.

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How to Talk to a Defiant Teen: 25 Tips for Parents

No mother or father wants a defiant adolescent. Every parent wants a happy and responsible youngster who is part of a loving family. But so many adolescents have a “falling-out” with their parents. Defiant adolescent behavior is nothing new and will be around forever. But helping defiant adolescents is very much a reality. It has been done, it can be done, and you are in a position to make an unhappy youngster turn their defiant attitude/behavior into something generous and worthwhile.

So what can any parent do in this situation? Well professional help is clearly an option. You could start with counseling at your local mental health facility. Explain the situation and ask for advice. Counseling sessions with an expert may be an ideal move. But travel concerns or financial worries may force you to look at alternatives.

Here are some simple - but surprisingly effective – tips for dealing with (or rather “working with”) your defiant adolescent:

1. A defiant adolescent will often see their situation as being “them and me.” The “them” being his/her mom and dad. The issue of control or who is the boss should be downplayed. Adolescents are not kids even if they behave badly. They are young people – and working together is a far better option than a boss [the parent] ordering the youngster around.

2. Agree on a contract about behavior within and without the home. Sign the document and list the consequences if the rules are broken. Have the “punishment” fit the “crime.” Do all this by cooperation rather than dictating what will and won’t happen. Children respect fair play.

3. Allow your adolescents to say what they feel – but in a respectful way. It is important that they express emotion, but in a controlled, appropriate manner. It is valuable for them to learn these communication skills, because they will need them for other areas of life as well. Although you may not agree with a word they say about the selected subject, validate their feelings by stating, “I hear what you are saying and understand you feel very strongly about this subject. I can imagine your frustration when this does not go the way you would like it to, however I feel that this is not the appropriate decision, therefore I have decided to say ‘no’.”

4. Defiance often comes when problems surface. Don’t see a ‘problem’ as a ‘problem’. See it as a way to build cooperation. You and your youngster can solve the problem together. Work as a team! Recruit him/her as a ‘partner in problem solving’.

5. Have a clear goal. This means, you need to know where you want to get, since your interventions should be directed to this goal. Don’t try to directly go for your point because this will only trigger another escalation. You need to be subtle and “hide” your goal, because if it becomes visible during the initial phase, it will backfire. You have to slowly leak it at the end of the second phase (peak and/or plateau). Think of it as a chess game. If you start making random moves to see what happens, the other player (who has a plan or idea) will beat you in the blink of an eye. Also, since you are the authority figure, you will have some sort of leverage. Use it, but never as a threat or coercion. Use that differential of power wisely.

6. If the parent sees the conflict as a test, a chance for them to prove that they deserve respect and have authority over the youngster, then disaster awaits. You may well be making a bad situation worse. Don’t try to win!

7. If the parents are a loving couple with respect and concern for one another, the chances of a happy family are higher. Make sure that the family unit is strong and growing stronger. Then if one member (your teen son or daughter) becomes defiant, you will have a shining example of how happiness can and does work within your own family.

8. If your adolescent won't listen, break the ice with a note. Hand it to her or slip it under her door. Keep it short, simple, and from the heart. You could write something like, "I'm sorry," "You're AWESOME!" or, "Want to go out for ice cream?" If your adolescent has difficulty sharing her thoughts with you in person, suggest that she write them down. Give her a "Let's Talk" journal and ask her to write whatever is on her mind, and then invite her to share the journal with you when she's ready.

9. Laughter IS good medicine for the body, mind, and soul. Keep things light to ease tension. Add humor to your conversations, as long as you're laughing together and not at each other's expense.

10. Love is at the heart of all good relationships but respect is not far behind. Sometimes telling your adolescent you love them will not cut the ice. Aim for the time being for respect and that’s mutual respect. As a mother or father, show clearly that you respect your adolescent. Give them respect and certain freedoms and in no way mistreat them. From respect love may well recover.

11. Meals offer great opportunities for conversation. Every day, try to have at least one meal together with your adolescent. Take him out to lunch once in a while. Share something interesting you read or saw on T.V. When you say goodnight, spend a few minutes talking about how the day went for each of you.

12. One of the major reasons why you and your youngster are at odds is because you may be highlighting the differences between the two of you. Make a list of things upon which you can agree – the common ground. This is a brilliant way to start. It lays the foundation to remove the defiance and establish trust and goodwill.

13. Moms and dads often make the mistake of treating their kids as ‘property’ instead of ‘individuals’. Many parents take away their kid’s ability to express feelings appropriately by totally shutting his/her opinions out.

14. Remember that it all comes down to a power struggle. The key is not to get engaged in it, since you’ll be playing the adolescent’s game. You need to make that struggle as subtle as you can during most of the conversation, or at least until you consider the child is ready to acknowledge the fact that there is a “chain of command” and his way is not a viable option. In the process you will gain respect, a sense that what you want is not a whim - and last but not least - you’ll look as someone approachable in his eyes, which will help in future occurrences.

15. Remember that no one wants to hear the word “no.” Your adolescent will be angry with you – and that is okay. Many moms and dads are concerned that if their adolescent is not happy with them that they are damaging the relationship. YOUR ADOLESCENT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR BEST FRIEND! It is absolutely okay for your adolescent to be upset with you when they do not get their way, or you set boundaries with them. 
Setting healthy boundaries for your youngster is one of the greatest acts of love. What’s important is that you have given them respect by hearing their request and taken into consideration what they have said. It is also important to understand that it is okay to say ‘yes’ sometimes. Balance is the key in most situations. It is also a good idea to explain your view to your kids (even if they still do not like the results). Telling them ‘no’ and giving the explanation, “Because I said so”, no longer works.

16. Respect each other, even your differences. When your youngster was young, she believed every word you said. But as an adolescent, she's developing her own belief system. It's normal for both of you to disagree sometimes. Instead of arguing over differences in opinion, create an environment where it's safe for both of you to express your ideas. Give each other a chance to speak. Listen without making fun of what the other says. Even in the midst of your differences, look for common ground.

17. Schedule a time when all household members are available to attend a family meeting. This meeting is mandatory so your adolescent and young kids as well must attend. Prior to the meeting, family members should think of a topic to address. It could be family finances, allowance, curfew or any family issue. During the first meeting, establish household rules for disagreements. Rules would be, no yelling, or insults, or profanity, and respect that everyone has different opinions. It is important that everyone gets the opportunity to express their opinion, but make it known that the grown-ups in the household have the final say.

18. There is a possibility that the unacceptable behavior by the adolescent is linked to the behavior of their mother or father. That’s you! Start by asking yourself a series of questions. Are you being reasonable? What is the point of view expressed by my youngster? What can I change about my life which will help my adolescent?

19. They may not show it, but adolescents love to be praised. Remember to regularly - and sincerely - point out your adolescent's strengths. Praise something she did well. Encourage your adolescent in his endeavors. You'll raise his self-esteem while opening the door to better communication.

20. Use active listening. Let him vent and be aware that you will hear things that you won’t like – but don’t get into an argument. That won’t help either. The “me vs. him” approach won’t work. Instead, listen and wait for the right moment to make your interventions, pointing out the weak points of his or her argument and redirecting the conversation continually. Timing is paramount here. The de-escalation rate will be directly tied to how timely and on the spot your interventions are.

21. We all know how to talk to our children (or think we do). But understand that ‘what we say’ and ‘what our adolescent hears’ may not be one and the same. Communication is important – but good communication is vital. Find out what language your youngster understands and talk to them in such a way that understanding is the basis of all your communicating.

22. We all know the ‘quality time’ expression, but saying it and doing it are two different things. You need to spend one-on-one quality time with your adolescent. Make it regular and positive. The more your youngster sees you care and are prepared to give your own free time to work for them, the better will be your relationship.

23. When an adolescent becomes oppositional, know that you are going to need patience – and lots of it. Usually, to de-escalate him or her, it would take you as long as a usual discussion with your girl/boyfriend or partner. That would be between an hour and a half and two hours. It follows the normal Bell curve: (a) an initial moment of increasing tension, (b) a peak, (c) a plateau where you may feel that you are getting nowhere, and (d) a decline (the de-escalation).

24. When your adolescent comes by to talk, make eye contact. Put aside what you're doing to let him know you're listening. Show you're interested by focusing on what he's saying. Ask relevant questions. When you want to initiate a conversation, watch for cues that your adolescent is being receptive. If you see that he needs peace and quiet, give him space. Look for the right moment to talk.

25. You need to take into account is that it’s going to be a chess game. You are the authority figure and that’s the main problem. Oppositional and defiant behaviors are tightly bonded to authority. When dealing with defiant teens, know that “time-outs” are only going to give them time to stay on that negative trend of thought – and this is not going to help the situation get any better. You need to talk him/her out of it. Don’t expect time itself to work magic. And if it does, there are going to be hurt feelings and resentment. In other words, as a parent, your intervention is needed.

Final thought: Don’t panic. You are not alone. And there is expert advice, much of it free, available to help you fix your situation. Work on helping – not hindering – your teen. Work on improving your own behavior and come up with some simple, written strategies (such as those found in this post).

==> Effective Disciplinary Techniques for Defiant Teens and Preteens

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