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

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Is your defiant teenager depressed or extremely manipulative or a combination of both?

My 14 (almost 15) yr. old son is dating a 17 yr. girl. Just about the time he started seeing her, my almost 17 yr. son came to me because he felt his brother was showing signs of depression. The oldest son is very mature, kind, very religious, and sensitive towards others, particularly his brothers. He showed me how to access his brother's instant messaging e-mails. I was then able to get into my son's head (he's not very talkative) and find out what is going on with his girlfriend because I had some concerns about their relationship. Also in his e-mails, he told his friends that he was very sad but didn't know why and that he doesn't believe in God. I kept on eye on it and didn't see anything more in the e-mail about him being sad nor did I notice him looking down until I grounded him. The younger one has had his moments of bad moods over the years, and with the combination of hormones and having a girlfriend in the picture, I decided to monitor it.

Long story short, I told him I didn't want him to be alone in the car with her. That's what started the terrible outbursts. My husband and I came home to them in our driveway and I knew they were doing more than kissing. I found out more on the e-mail. They are not there yet (physically) but will be if I don't try and prevent it. He doesn't know about the e-mail, of course. After I told him my concerns about being alone in the car with her, he had a major temper tantrum like I never saw before. He swore at me, threw things and screamed at me. I grounded him over the weekend. That meant more tantrums. My husband was out of town so I had to do this all by myself. My son took full advantage of his dad not being around and let it all out. Screaming and crying for hours begging and begging to go out.

He was telling me how very sad he was and that he needed to talk to his friends. Normally, he is a very good kid. Does very well in school (except after I told him about the car issue and the straight A student received a D on a test recently) and has great friends (including his girlfriend). I stood my ground with the grounding, but he was wearing me down. He followed me throughout the house crying and begging. I felt like a prisoner in my own home. I went into the bathroom a lot that day (yesterday) to get away from him. Sometimes he would get into a fetal position. At one point he grabbed a knife and said he was going to use it on himself. I didn't let on but I didn't believe him. The 17 yr old got it away from him. My older son was so upset that he broke down sobbing. I ended up calling the police after he threatened to take some pills. They talked to him and got him on the phone with a crisis center and recommended that he see someone. He told the counselor that if he had had a gun, he would have used it.

Afterwards, he was very tired and calm after 8 hrs of crying and went to bed (it was rather late). I was exhausted. At 6:45, he woke me up (it was a Sunday) to ask if it was now all right for him to see his friends that day. Technically, he was still grounded. After the scare from the night before, and the fact that I didn't want to go through it again...I told him yes. He ended up telling me his plans (his girlfriend was going to pick him up) and they were going out to eat and then her parent’s house to watch a movie. He was smiling when he walked in the door after being with her. He then asked me when dinner was because he wanted to go for some ice cream with her. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop when he was going to approach me again to tell me what his plans were. I didn't want to get into because I wasn't sure what stand to take. Apparently, she couldn't go, so instead of eating dinner, he went to be at 7pm. 
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I am so confused. Is he depressed or extremely manipulative or a combination of both? Regardless, I know he has a problem of some sort but....... it’s difficult to parent because I'm afraid of what he might do. I am going to seek help. I've already tried someone today but he wasn't available. On Friday, I did put a call into the guidance counselor but he wasn't available. Who should he see?

Thank you


Dear Parent,
Whether or not you feel that he is serious or just wanting the attention from it, you need to get him help. And I do not mean, talking to a counselor at school when he might be available next. I mean inpatient care if possible.

This can be done through a family doctor, or the ER. After any threat or attempt, it is best to have the teen evaluated by medical professionals.

This does several things. It helps to "feel out" if it was a threat or real. If it was real, it will be the first step in getting him help, and in helping him to understand that there are better ways to deal with his emotions. Second, if he was using it as a tool to get what he wants, he will learn very quickly that threatening to harm himself will not get him what he thinks it will - and is not ok to do.

Next time you do ground him, I would suggest to prevent what happened over this instance, don’t just ground him to your house. Take the computer, the cell phones, and tell him he comes out of his room (a) to eat when you call him to eat, (b) to go to the bathroom (but no more than 10 minutes can be spent in the bathroom at a time), (c) for emergencies of course - but not self created ones.

While I don’t advise reading your teen's emails, I feel that in this case you had reason to do so. I am not sure if you ought to read each and every email though. You might want to sit down with his girlfriend’s parents, and address some of your concerns about the physical part of your son's and their daughter’s relationship. It may very well be that they are unaware of the extent of it.

Remind your son, that due to federal and state law, once his girlfriend turns 18, the relationship with her will have to stop. She will be considered an adult, and he is still a minor.

But most important, I wouldn’t wait more then 24-36 hours before he sees someone. Admit him if you have to.


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.

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