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

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Passive versus Active Parenting

Hi Mark, Thanks for sharing and helping us parents who are frustrated and absolutely dumbfounded as to what to do with our little darlings. My question to you is how do parents who are divorced work together and stay consistent? My ex and I are equally worried and upset with our 17yr old boy. We however, have very different parenting styles. I'm more into boundaries and keeping the lines of communication open. My ex lets our son run the show. I cannot tell my ex what to do or how to handle situations because he doesn't like anyone doing this, especially his ex. He takes everything very personally.

I have raised my son for over 16 yrs. My son is now living with his dad. He needs to see if the grass is greener and in some ways it is through his eyes. Less structure, way more freedom, no chores, no sch. meals, girlfriend can sleepover, money magically appears in his bank acct., curfew not enforced. These are just a few examples that I cannot deal with. His father doesn't know how to parent, because historically his been the Disneyland parent and now he needs to be the real parent and he doesn't know where to begin. Can you give me some simple steps that will help us see eye to eye just a little? I do plan on offering your web page to him. Yes or No ...Thanks for your time and wisdom, D.


Hi D.,

Yes …please do offer the website and eBook. Do your best to recruit your ex as a partner in problem solving in spite of the fact that he seems to be on the opposite page from you.

==> A weaker plan supported by both parents is much better than a strong plan supported by only one parent. <==

Your situation is far from ideal. Your husband is apparently doing a lot of things that contribute to the problem rather than help resolve it. However, that system tends to break down in the long run. 
Here’s the pattern I see quite frequently with divorced parents:

1. Child does not like the structured environment with the ‘active parent’ (i.e., the one in which the parent issues and enforces house rules).
2. Child moves to the least restrictive environment with ‘passive parent’ (i.e., the one in which the parent has few rules/expectations).
3. Due to low supervision/monitoring, the child gets into significant trouble (e.g., at school, with the law, etc.) – or -- child and ‘passive parent’ get into a huge argument, thus ‘passive parent’ kicks child out of his/her home.
4. Child returns to the ‘active parent’s’ home.

Your husband is trying to be the “good guy” – but the “good guy” usually only maintains “good-guy-status” for the short-term due to the following: The more free hand-outs of stuff and freedom the ‘passive parent’ issues, the more the child expects and desires (enough is never enough!). 
This strong sense of entitlement on the part of the child tends to grate on the ‘passive parent’s’ nerves over time, resulting in some serious parent-child conflict.

In any event, remember that a weaker plan supported by both parents is much better than a strong plan supported by only one parent.

Good luck,


Why is Parental Involvement Important in Education?


Good education is a way to a successful future. You can agree or not with this statement, but it is the general thought of modern society. Special colleges and universities that graduate future billionaires are available to a small number of students and have no free places for common people. Big money, big intellect or special connections can open the road to these places.

The main problem for those who want to become a part of this system is that you need to start studying deeper and harder from the first years, but 6 or 7 years old children can’t plan so far. He can’t even schedule his future for a few weeks ahead. The only way for them to become successful is the involvement of parents in their education. However, it does not work for the best, because parents forget that they make their dreams come true, using their children. Let’s find out a shortlist of the pros and cons of the increased involvement for both sides.

Parental Involvement: Controlling Scenario

Here we discuss the situation when parents push a lot and control the education process a lot.

  • Parents can try to raise an IT child, although he has inclinations to art. This dangerous way doesn’t lead to success in a good case and leads to hatred to studying in a bad case. Listening to a child's needs, trying different directions, discussions and guiding are the only way.
  • Parents stop paying attention to their private life and spend too much money on the education of a child. Some parents devote their lives to their child's education and count on gratitude in the future. They leave jobs to bring him from one class or sports section to another during the whole working day, so they can’t focus on their plans and lives.
  • As a result, the child can enter the university that parents planned easily. This is good news if the parents were right with their choice. Deep knowledge is great anyway and can be used when you are not expecting this, but it is much better when you are proud of what you want and what you do instead of ignoring it.

Parental Involvement: Balanced Scenario

At the same time, the lack of control is also bad for the majority of children. That’s why the balance is necessary and we believe that it will lead only to positive results. Let’s find them to assure everyone that parental involvement is not only important but extremely necessary.

  • More control - less wasted time. Social networks and youtube videos are thieves of time for everyone, but adults can control themselves, unlike children who have more energy and want to be in trend most of all. To help them with scheduling their free time is an important task for every parent.
  • Doing homework together creates deeper connections between parents and children. We don’t say that adults should do something instead of students, but discussions, explanations, and extra examples work great to everybody’s understanding in general. Checking tasks and paying extra attention to possible problems is very helpful.
  • Discovering together the inclinations and hobbies help children to develop in the direction they like. Thanks to this, studying doesn't seem like studying anymore. Here we also mean sports and art, robotics and IT directions, geography and nature.
  • Competitions and prizes increase self-esteem for everyone. Different olympiads even at school work perfectly for every person. You should create close goals and long goals to estimate your success. Children work harder when they see the end of it and the reward they will get.
  • Controlling the social connections of the child. When you know what your child prefers you can predict his social connection and influence them. If you and your child are the chess lovers.   
  • Support in activities that develop a child. If you see that your child likes guitar playing or asks Santha for a ball every year then you need to move this way. It doesn't mean that you need to leave all other activities and science. Children change their opinion so fast that you can hardly keep up with them. The role of adults in this situation is to identify and support the real interest of their baby.
  • Following the tendencies in studying and checking that your school corresponds to them. Do you know that studying programs change every year? They look different compared to the programs when you were a student. Gadget influenced all spheres and education is not an exception. They run faster and don’t need to spend time on things like making copies of lecture notes or sitting for hours in libraries.
  • Collect the feedback of the teachers and make corrections in studying and behavior according to them. If the teacher says that he sees the potential of the child in math but you don’t see it, try to listen to the teacher. They are more experienced and saw hundreds of students so their estimation is more professional. It doesn’t mean that you should follow their advice blindly, but think about it and discuss it with your child seriously.   

Parental Involvement: When things don’t go as planned

No matter which scenario you decide to follow, what really matters is that you do it with the final goal in mind. Your final goal is not to control your kid, but to help them. The process here may seem as more important than the result, but from the educational path standpoint, the result is still valuable. When the deadline is too close, address a reliable essay writing company, such as Here, you will find expert writers willing to help you and your child with assignments of any level of complexity. You can use those tasks as samples, to learn from the best and the brightest, and later navigate how your kid approaches the same assignment.

All these steps and attention to detail will help your child to understand his needs in life, build strong and deep relations with you and find friends with similar interests. Later your child can change the way you started together but he will do it with all respect and understanding clearly what he or she is doing. Unlike the situation of pushing and hating the direction of studying.

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.


==> JOIN Online Parent Support


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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