Online Parent Support Chat


I Quit!

My grand daughter is told not to leave the house ...she walks out the door. She is told to go to her room ...she responds with "just shut up, leave me alone and get away from me".

I am a LSW working for the state, yet I am to the point that I have smacked her in the mouth for cursing me and don't really care anymore if I lose my license as I would rather lose everything I have ever worked for than to live with a 14 year old talking to me the way she does and disrespecting me.

I have had this child in counseling since she was five years old. I quit, I'm no
longer willing to put forth my energy (what's left) to deal with this. I have also requested the state to take custody for placement in a treatment facility, requested the court to take action. I can get no help versus dropping her off, leaving and not returning.


He fits 7 out of 10 criteria for ODD...

I have a son that is seven yrs. old and is currently seeing a therapist for ODD. They have tried Concerta and Ritalin to no avail and are now starting vitamins and play therapy. He is out of control daily, biting, hitting, back talking, aggressive to dog and parents, ‘no’ means nothing. What else can be done? Could this be bipolar? He fits 7 out of 10 criteria for ODD.

My Out-of-Control Child


They found Jack Daniels and beers in the truck...

I don't know quite what to do--my son is almost 17-he has started smoking pot he says occasionally--he sells it sometimes (as he admits for money only) and now last night he was busted with 2 other kids for sneaking out of the house and causing a ruckus at McDonalds and they found Jack Daniels and beers in the truck at 4am. He had snuck out of the house. I truly don't know what to do anymore at this point. His grades this last semester were all F's--he went from honor roll to that.

Now what???

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We are running into problems...

I have just learned about ODD. My husband and I agree that the description fits our 13 year old son. Regardless of the label, we are running into problems we do not know how to solve. It is not even close to "incorrigible youth" time...but I guess it could come. He is very smart and I have read that can make a difference in how kids respond to programs.

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Nobody believes me...

I have a 13 year old daughter whom everyone has told me that she is just a normal teen. However, after reading several articles on O.D.D. there is no doubt in my mind this is HER down to a tee. I need help. Nobody believes me when I tell them she is moody, nasty to myself and husband and rude.

Bipolar + ODD

I am a stepmother of a 17 yr old son who has recently been diagnosed as BiPolar and ODD. Since the age of 2 we have been told of the outrageous behaviour & struggles that went on at his mothers. My husband & I on the other hand did not have the same difficulties until about age 7. Since then it has been a constant battle with mood swings, tantrums, defiance, mean & hurtful actions etc..

More recently after a year in a residential treatment facility for drug use and out of control behaviour he has decided to have absolutely no contact with his dad, myself or his young brother. He blames his father for every wrong, bad & unhappy event or moment in his life. He has decided that his mother, whom is almost exactly a mirror image of himself in all ways is his guardian angel.

Is there anything we can do or do we just hope he figures out that we do love him and we are not the evil people he believes we are now?

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I feel so helpless...

I'm desperate. 16yo son, out of control, destructive, hostile, huge anger issues, trouble with the law …dad left in Feb. JJAEP til end of June...then what? Psych has done MRI & EEG, no diagnosis yet. I feel so helpless and sad and hurt that his Dad would leave me to deal with this alone. Son is always sorry after, but the rage continues -- Name-calling, punching holes in walls, defiant, lazy. Am trying desperately to get him help, but I need it too! He's on probation with X-tra counsel. It's just not enough.

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She was high and love bites covering her neck...

I have dished out a 4-week grounding and no mobile phone. Is this to extreme? My daughter went missing a day and night in the city. She is 14years old. NO contact. Her friends were not with her. She came home after turning up to her job in the evening. She was high and love bites covering her neck. She takes risks all the time. She is defiant and has councilors but wont talk to them. We as parents cant keep her safe because no matter what disciplines and positive encouragement, she does as she pleases. She wants to go to a foster family. We don’t have boot camps or many facilities for teens out of control in New Zealand. I am emotionally trying to hold it together but don’t want to loose my daughter.

Mom's a Bounty Hunter

I have recently allowed my best friend's 15 yr old daughter to come stay with us due to the fact that she has been violent, smoked pot, not coming home for days and said she was going to run away and is very disrespectful to her family with very foul language.

I was an extremely troubled teen and I was also a runaway and got myself into near death situations. I also refused help from anyone when I noticed how bad I was hurting myself, and the ones I loved who loved me. I made it a goal to help myself. My motto was there is only one person who can help me now because I disappointed so many that I loved and the one person who can help me is me.

I have asked her what the problem is and she just says I don't know. The boys she was hanging out and doing all this with are 18 and over and they have all been kicked out for the same behavior problems she has. I also told her to take a good look at their life style and see where it has got them. She seems to think that prison is a walk in the park and that she can whoop anyone even the authorities. I have seen a little improvement I have to say, but that is here and I worry about when she gets home.

I guess I should have mentioned that I am a bounty hunter. I'm not sure if she has not given me any attitude because of that reason or if she is really scared now since I told her about all of my experiences with my teen years. She has the best home life ever, so I am worried that she is going to end up on the streets regretting it and she might not be as tough as I was. I could write a book and it would be a #1 seller. I have counseled some teens of other friends of mine and they have listened and made a difference. I also talk to the criminals who I arrest and I have been at work when I got a call 2 years later and they are telling me thank you for letting them know about me and how I was and that they choose to change.

Some of the criminals have earned a new name now and I call them my friends and they have a wonderful life. Some I have seen dead. I hate that because that was the first thing I had to deal with when I ran away. There is nothing scarier than to be 13 yrs old and seeing a dead body laying on the floor when you wake up and the police there. I still listened to people because I was stuck. I thought and I still kept running. I've been beaten, raped, stabbed, shot at, and more. I'm not proud of that!! I am proud to be alive and able to try to help. I guess my point is I'm not a youth director.

I am not running out to look for her...

My daughter once again for the third time ran away because just when I thought she was doing well and I could trust her she lied and was sneaky. I called the police immediately but I am not running out to look for her. I’m carrying on with my every day responsibilities and life for the sake of the other child that is home.

I do love her …I have been there for her all the time …I have tried to talk to her many times …I do not hit my daughter …she is not mistreated. At this point I am not sure of what to do, if they find her, to force her to come home just so she can run away again or lie and steal from me again. I don’t think this is the answer. I was hoping that they would not find her until she misses her room, her clothes, her bed and the life that she has had, which is one that is not very hard, but in any house there are rules and this is not something she wants to follow.


I did have to put him into a choke hold...

Last night there was a struggle between my son and his brother (whom shares the bedroom) over shutting off the TV. Our house rule is TV off at 9:30 p.m. It wasn't off last night at 9:30 p.m. and so I took the TV out of the room. BUT, the yelling and screaming didn't end. He and his brother continued to bicker. I feel if I let one out of the room it reinforces one can win over the other. Of course, the eldest continued because he felt he should be able to watch the TV or one of them should leave the room. We have no other bedrooms in the house. I could let my oldest sleep in the basement (not finished, but new home and has carpet - and wouldn't be the end of the world), but I don't trust him. I feel he would continue to make large messes - in which he already has done and continues to do upstairs. He is doing his chores weekly but only to throw clothes out of every dresser drawer the next day -- or wet towels, soap, toothpaste, clothes in the bathroom. I feel by letting him move out of the room it is reinforcement for his continued yelling and screaming and fighting with his brother. And then my biggest fear is moving his bed and dresser downstairs -- trying to work out a situation and then only to exhaustingly move it right back upstairs - because he doesn't seem to follow through with responsibility very long (could last one week).

He is cursing, yelling, refusing to go to bed. I would love to walk away and wait for him to get back into bed. BUT, HE WAITS IT OUT BADGERING EVERYONE -- WAKING UP EVEN OUR YOUNGEST SON. The oldest even will admit he is going to continue until everyone is up and miserable like him.

Last night I told him if he didn't stop calling me FB, my husband a fag, and all of the rest of his filthy mouthing words, I would smack him in the mouth. I told him if he attacked me (as he has in the past) I would make sure he lost. I am not going to bullied by him any longer. It wound up I did have to put him into a choke hold.

Of course, in the end to get things quieted back down his brother went to sleep on the couch and H___ brother got his way -- no television as it is put away - but his brother was out of the room.

My Out-of-Control Teen

I am about to lose it!

I need help as a mother with dealing with ADHD/ODD and spouses as step parents. My husband (which is my son's step father) is resentful of my son's behavior and almost acts as bad as my son pulling me directionally back and forth. I often feel his approach to dealing with issues isn't correct and his lack of empathy is due to years of conflict with my son and the fact there is no biological tie.

Perfect example last night -- My son lost control of his mouth last night all over not being able to ride in the front seat of the car! And I should mention the reason for getting in the car was to go pick up my son's bike at his father's house. After my son slammed the car door shut, yelling at his brother, he went off with a roll of abusive, cursing words. I told him to slow down and listen to what he was saying because the reason we were going was to go to the bank and then get his bike. My son continued - I backed the car out of the garage and proceeded to the bank (with my middle son in the car).

I decided not to react to the words he was saying in our driveway and he followed up by flipping me the middle finger. I kept on driving pretending not to notice. I saw he went into the house.

It wasn't only 3 minutes into my drive and my husband called my cell phone; asking what just happened. I told him and my husband jumped in by asking me why I wasn't punishing him for flipping me the middle finger. Then my husband reacts by asking me why I felt it was okay to leave him with the angry kid. I simply said to my husband - "I told you I was going to the bank and to get his bike. I am not going to get the bike now but to the bank only and will home within 30 minutes." End of conversation.

I came home to find my son in bed half asleep and not bothering anyone except - he refused to get up and clean up tools he left in the driveway from his tirade. It started to rain - so I left everything as is (which included a radio). At 9:30 p.m. -- all three boys in bed - my husband asks me where the phone is (we have a home cell phone).

You must know we battle with my out of control son using items and losing items - this includes a constant struggle to put the phone back after he uses it. H___ had used the phone a handful of times prior to the earlier incident. I knew of no one else who used it. I didn't know where it was but because it is something we continually talk about with my son - it shows a united, consistent front between my husband and I decided to go up and ask him where the phone was. My son blew up again yelling about letting him sleep. He said he didn't know where the xxxxed phone was -- leave him the fxxx alone - etc.

I decided to follow through with asking about the phone and he jumped out of bed yelling at the top of his lungs. He finally ran to the bathroom and locking the door - still yelling through the door. I held out… waiting for him to open the door and try to find the phone. In the meantime, my husband walked around the house with his cell phone calling our home cell to locate it. To no avail - no phone. After 30 minutes I was able to unlock the bathroom door, push my way in and talk to my son. I told him I wasn't going to allow him to talk to me that way, he wasn't going to scare the entire household with his tantrums, and he needed to calm down and think about what he did with the phone. After several minutes and getting him to calm down it sounds as if he really did put the phone back and doesn't know where it put it. Near tears I told him "if you would have talked to me in a civil tone when I first asked, I may have believed him, but the behavior from earlier and his reaction now is out of control -- and no one knows what to think." I told him to go to bed.

I walked into my bedroom and flopped down on the bed in desperation. My feet landed on my husbands t-shirt and socks he took off earlier --- the phone was under my husband's shirt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to crumble.

Am I saying my husband put the phone there purposely -- No, absolutely not. Am I saying he knew it was there - no. However, my husband was keyed up from the earlier incident, he gets keyed up about the misplaced phone, and I do feel he pick-pokes at things when not necessary. I am sure being all keyed up, he truly forgot himself he took the phone upstairs -- and probably did so when my son stormed in the house earlier. And even though this backfired on him, there was no apologies.

My husband told me, "I didn't ask you to get H___ out of bed. All I said is where is the phone." My husband then rants on about how even though the phone issue was mute the fact was H___ didn't need to act this way. He told me H___ should not talk this way to me and I should be punishing more.

My husband seems to continually ask questions like this- late at night - when I am on the way out the door - when we are about to sit at the dinner table -- they are open-ended questions which he knows will likely cause a storm. If I do nothing and tell him I am not addressing this now, he is upset and says I avoid issues. If I address the issue for the sake of respecting my husband and standing side by side and should things go awry, my husband goes back to simple statements like "All I asked is .... or I never said to do ....." This then is followed up with "H___'s behavior is terrible - there is no progress in our house - this is the most dysfunctional mess" …on and on and on and on.

I am about to lose it!

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He seems to think the world revolves around him...

My 15 yr old kid is not a "bad" kid. He gets good grades, does his home work without being asked (most of the time), is an avid rugby player, and generally a normal teen.

My problem is that he and my partner just do not get on well. This is due to the fact that my teen son has a monumental attitude problem and will not take instructions without an argument. He argues about everything. He resists any discipline and will not do any chores without a fight.

I realise I am partly to blame in that I have always treated him with respect and have listened to him and tried to adopt an adult approach in discussing options with him. However he has got to the point now where he thinks he’s entitled. He seems to think the world revolves around him alone and gets mad when we try to establish some order in the house.

They said it could be a 15- year felony...

Things have escalated big time. M___ went out yesterday night to retrieve a cell phone charger from a friend and ended up with a different friend. They met up at a fast food restaurant to fight some older boy, possibly his ex-g'friend's new boyfriend. They broke up, went and got more friends and regrouped at another location. There were about 10-15 boys in each group. A huge fight broke out, the boy is currently in the hospital, and we understand a baseball bat was possibly involved (it was there …don't know if used--this is conflicting). The ex'es mom phoned me last night to tell me about the fight. (The girl was present.) She said charges may be filed and she may get a PPO against my son.

The police showed up at 2:30am to get his side of the story. They said it could be a 15- year felony. They are not sure if charges will be filed--up to the detectives on day shift. Also, sheriff's dept. may also be involved as the fights happened in 2 locations, and they may file charges as well.

He obviously broke ALL the rules. Was not where he said, had other kids in the car, got in a fight, and was home late. We ourselves are to leave on vacation in the morning for a week and then he is to leave on June 28 for a month at a wrestling camp. He is totally grounded at this time. Dad has said all along he has too much freedom, and at this point he is right. The consequences we have been giving don't seem to be working. He goes right back to the same behavior. I am at my wits end. I can't do this anymore. He may end up in jail or juvenile detention, and at this point it may be the best thing. I am very nervous that we (parents) will be sued over this.

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I am now in tears...

Well the end of the school year came and went. My daughter failed two classes last semester. She told me that if I "backed off" she would do better and that she KNOWS what she needs to do. So about 1 month before the end of school I told her that I would back off and that she was VERY close to passing all her classes and that she could do it if she worked hard and handed everything in. Well report cards came and she got 3 more E's. So now I'm trying to come up with a plan for summer school AND summer rules, since she was thinking she was just going to have no worries this summer.

In the midst of me coming up with these "plans", she was out the 1st Friday night of the summer with her friends and ended up getting an MIP and an open intox tickets. She will now be heading to the Juvenile court this Wednesday to see what her consequences will be for this. I am about ready to lose my mind!

She wanted to have access to the computer last night so I came up with a plan to let her have access to the computer if she complied with some simple rules. These rules were being respectful to everyone in the house, no yelling or swearing, and to get off the computer when told. She began to fight these rules while I was giving them to her! Unbelievable! So I told her that she lost it last night and we will talk again tomorrow about how she may EARN the computer. She went ballistic on me, throwing a fit like a 5 year old. I did not give in.

Today is Monday and I am at work. Her father called and wants to come pick her up for the night and she is calling me screaming and yelling (swearing) at me, so I am not answering my phone. She left a message telling me this was not fair and to answer my "f…ing phone" then says "F…you …you Bitch". I am now in tears and don't know what to do...things are just piling up………I can't take it.

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He grabbed him by the throat, kicked him & cut him with a knife...

My child turned 10 last week …he is physically and verbally abusive to all members of the family. Last week alone he had grabbed his 6 year old brother by the throat, kicked him and cut him with a knife …he also tries to snap his three year old brothers leg. His excuse -- he was angry …the school is doing yet another assessment next week and told me just wait …I am scared for my younger children as well as my self …any advice on what we can do to protect ourselves?

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He's back into nappies and baby clothes...

My son is basically a lovely kid, but he was so unruly.

I was at the end of my tether before my mother in law suggested something she found worked on my husband when he was J___'s age.

Instead of grounding him, or stopping him using his computer, which he seemed to accept as some sort of badge of honour, she suggested putting him back into nappies and baby clothes.

Of course, I was horrified by the thought. But after finding him once more on the wrong side of the law, I gave it a try.

Obviously he absolutely hated it, but being dressed that way meant he couldn't join up with his mates. And over time his behaviour improved no end.

I know this is a fairly extreme solution, but it certainly worked, and I would recommend it to any other mother worried about her son.


We live in Costa Rica...

Hi, I´m new here ...hope to have some help.... my son is a preteen, and he has odd and destroyed my family peace. We live in Costa Rica and there's not much information here and the psychologists don't know much ..I need as much help as I can get ...please we are desperate.

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Carolina Springs Boarding School

My son is almost 17 and he doesn't want any rules. He's hanging out with the wrong group of kids and not coming home by curfew. Now that school is almost out he thinks he can go out every night and stay out late. He has started cursing and slams doors and has punched the wall a few times. His grades have dropped from b's and c's in the 1st semester to a D and the rest e's in the last quarter. He has missed a lot of school (skipping class). I have contacted a school in S.C. (Carolina Springs) and he has been accepted. He will be a senior this year and wants to stay where he is, but I'm afraid he'll get into trouble if he stays here. Do you know anything about this school?


Yes ...We believe that Boarding Schools actually have some significant long-term benefits (unlike Boot Camps). CLICK HERE for a review of Boarding Schools, Christian Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Boot Camps, and Wilderness Programs.

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I am spiritual too...

Hi Mark,

Thanks for email. Things are going okay ...just a few hitches with finances and ex husband. He keeps talking me down to our daughter and bringing up the past in very negative ways. We divorced 5 years ago. Is he ever going to get rid of the past? L___ is doing well at high school.

I am spiritual too ...I go to mass. I did a retreat a few weeks ago. The pastoral carer did a meditation and I had a conversation with Jesus …it was very special …has helped me a great deal. It was an amazing experience.


Parent's Spiritual Principles

I am so glad I found this site...

I am so glad I found this site. My biggest challenge with my 16 year old son is that he hates being told what to do especially school work. It is frustrating to see him waste his time. He is now in his second year in grade 10 and still would do other things first than do his schoolwork. When he gets reminded he gets stressed and openly say in my face that I try to control him and he hates that. He is also sometimes very disrespectful even in front of his friends. He brings friends home without asking permission first and I think he is having sex with the girl that comes here whom he said is just a friend. Sometimes I am out of my wits and feel sad that my only child is being disrespectful.

I am going to order your ebook and register for OPS. I hope this will help me deal with my teen.

Thank you,


Spiritual Principles

Thank you for your message "Parent's Spiritual Principles" of 6/5/07....

Lately i have started to feel down and that i wasn't doing enough or doing it right... for my son, but your message made me stop and realize that was not true.... that i was worrying too much about things i can't control... and was forgetting to pray and let the lord guide...

Your message reminded me to pray more... worry less.... and everything will work out the way it's supposed to....

Again, thanks...


Parent's Spiritual Principles

I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this particular message -- Parent's Spiritual Principles. I truly believe this, though it is sometime difficult. I found myself talking badly about my son.(my 'problem child'). My neighbor pointed this out to me, and also pointed out his better points. I decided a while ago to try and ignore the 'bad' stuff, and make it a point to recognize the 'good' stuff. Ex: "You did a good job on the front lawn, it looks good". Sometimes I really had to look hard!! I am seeing results. He has mowed a few times without being asked, etc. I have always believed your attitude is your reality. It is easy to do at work, but more difficult in a very emotional situation.

Thank you ~ K.N.

I don't know what to do anymore.

My 16 year old daughter is disrespectful and has frequent outbursts when she does not get her way. She wears, screams, break things and hits me when she is angry. She yells profanities at me. Otherwise, she excels in school, has good friends, well respected by her peers and their parents. She just can't seem to control her temper when I don't give her what she wants. I am a single parent and I don't have support - she has an absentee father, which makes it hard for me to ground her, take away privileges, etc. I don't know what to do anymore.

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I am alternating between utter grief and moments of relief...


Police located my son and bought him home. If you can believe that our legal system allows for 15 yr olds to choose whether or not they want to live at home, that is New South Wales law for you. He promptly packed his bags and left. We as parents have no power to do anything but hope he does not end up in mortal danger....

My one lasting hope is that he is keen to continue at his new school, (which is one step down from a juvenile legal facility). While his new "friends" are nothing less than dubious, his teachers, principal and counsellor our the last adult influence he has before I lose him to the streets and the life of drugs and alcohol which I seem to have allowed to swallow him whole.

I am alternating between utter grief and moments of relief. I know that sounds selfish but at least for the moment I am not being verbally abused and my younger sons are not subjected to it.


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He is currently in Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections...

Hi Mark,

Thanks for answering back.

I’m having a hard time with my son. He is currently in the ADJC (Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections). I think you’ll have a better understanding about the situation due to your profession and where you work at.

He has been diagnosed twice with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He is very intelligent but emotionally he is a mess. I’ve been trying to help him since he was only 9 years old but his behavior lead him into the painful situation he is in right now.

He was sentenced to ADJC since March. The Judge only said 30 days but you know that the Corrections Department has his own rules regarding juveniles under their care. They are having a hard time with my son in there due to the fact that he doesn’t want to be living in his unit anymore. He wants to be in separation. He has been in separation for a month already. They have tried everything but it’s not working.

He had a Psychological evaluation not long ago and according to the Psychiatrist my son is depressed and he prescribed some medication. He told me that if he doesn’t get better with the medication this proves that my son is just being stubborn and trying to work the system.

I have kept an open communication with the personal in there and I talked to the Family Services Director to let her know about Omar’s emotional problems. Of course, they think that his behavior right now is due to him being incarcerated and that he said to some staff members in there that he is doing that so he can work the system and get transfer to a mental hospital instead of being locked in there. I told her that I’m not a professional regarding mental health but I understand that is normal for any incarcerated person to do everything possible to be returned to society. She told me that my son was being stubborn and nothing seemed to work with him.

I told her that I know my son has emotional problems and with the right therapy his behavioral problems will improve. She said my son was getting therapy but it wasn’t working because he didn’t want to talk.

My son’s ordeal is kind of long to put it on an e-mail but I’m going to try so you can have a better understanding of what is happening.

My son is going to be 17 years old next month. He has been with therapist, counselors, psychologist, psychiatrist, since he was 10 years old. Nothing seemed to have worked yet because I don’t think he has been diagnosed correctly. The first time he was diagnosed with ODD, then with PTSD. He hasn’t been getting the therapy for this.

I told the Family Svces Director at ADJC that my son was also diagnosed with ODD. She told me that that explained a lot about his behavior. She said that she thought my son had a severe ODD and according to her there’s no treatment/therapy for this.

Before writing you this e-mail I just left a voice mail to my son’s therapist so I can explain to him about the ODD and also what kind of therapy they are providing to him.

Mark, you don’t know how many times my son regrets what he does but he says he wants to find out why he does that and he can’t control it.

Please let me know what I can do to help him. I am very very tired but I’m not giving up on him.

P.S. As I told you before you don’t have the “whole picture” but…I tried to tell you the best that I can.

Thanks again and have a wonderful day.


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She has been turned over to the courts for runaway...

My grandchild is 15 years old. She acts very stubborn and showing no fear. Almost arrested when she was with boys who had guns and was shooting out car windows. They took her home, so they could not prove that she was with the boys. She sees no wrong in this. Mother has her …dad is separated from family. He has tried to talk with her, but she has no response. She already has been turned over to the courts for runaway. She has an ankle bracelet on now by the courts. How do you get thru to this child?

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She seems to think I hate her...

I have a 17 year old daughter who seems to think I hate her. She is a very angry child who only cares about herself. She spends more time focusing on her outside plans than school work. She doesn't think for the future it is merely for the moment. She has a boyfriend for 2 years and when they first met he said they would break up when he goes to college. How do you get her to understand she should have dumped him at that point and that her mom cares?


Straight 'A' Student With An Attitude

My 12 yr old son is mean to his younger brother both physically and mentally …he is bossy, demanding, and hateful and destroys the mood of the room he is in usually. The weird part is that it is only at home; he is a straight A student and his teachers rave about his excellent behavior at school; so I feel I am solely to blame for his behavior at home and this upsets me very much. Please help.

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He has pulled a knife on our daughter...

Mark -

My wife and I have a 10-year old son who is out of control. He has pulled a knife on our 11 year old daughter, a pair of scissors on our 3 year old daughter. He also punches and kicks holes in the walls, took a knife to our car seats and has even wiped his own feces on the walls. We have seeked counseling for him and us but it's only gotten worse. He is very angry and has violent outbursts several times a week.

His behavior at school isn't much better either. He is now required to bring home daily reports outlining his behavior and even the school is concerned at this point. Last September he was diagnosed with social autism; however, my wife and I believe that most of his behavior is not associated with this, that it is just very poor decision making. We've literally had to change our lifestyle so that one of us can watch him whenever he is awake. This behavior is just the tip of the iceberg.

He's also thrown our cat off the deck, played with fire in our kitchen and even tried hurting himself as well. He always tells us that we hate him and we try to reassure him that it's not him that he hate, but his choices and behavior.

He just doesn't seem to respect authority and when we discipline him, he still does whatever he wants to whenever he thinks we are not looking. He also lies all the time about the smallest issues too. We are just about at our limits.

I understand that nobody can predict the future; however, history always has a way of repeating itself and I'm concerned that my son's history of behavior will only worsen when he gets older.

How do we prevent him from becoming so violent that he doesn't pull a knife or a pair of scissors on a family member again? This is tearing our family apart, my other three children don't even want to be around my son because of his behavior and compulsive fits of rage.

We are just now beginning to read your e-book but would certainly welcome any suggestions. My wife has become so stressed that she is ready to walk-away.


G. & M.

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My son remains estranged from me...

Hi Mark,

E __ my son remains estranged from me and it is now unlikely he will live with me again within the foreseeable future. He has lived for 17 months with private foster carers and during this time has shown absolutely no progress in improving his conduct with me and his sister. My opinion of this group of people is not favourable. I was grateful for many many months regarding the positive domestic care they offered him. But as time has gone on, they have ignored all of my guidance re: zero tolerance and discipline etc.

E___'s verbal weaponry towards me continues, as does his threatening behaviours when he comes to my home demanding my services. Often the abuse was taking place in front of the carers, who seemed undisturbed by it. I reached a stage whereby I could no longer manage my son and the carers on my own. I had become quite ill myself and had to find new ways of protecting my sanity. So I changed the pattern of communication by refusing to participate in their comfort zone over cups of tea with limited and unresourceful agendas that were leading to no positive progress.

I wrote to them asking them to write back regarding concerns, ideas etc. That meant that I was able to be myself and use my overall intelligence to maintain and accommodate my dignity and integrity, as well as maintaining [single handed] overall responsibility for my son's education and welfare. I was sick of being subjected to my son's remedial social conduct with me whilst they became aclimatised to ignoring it. When I fed back to them the realities, their response was that E___ had "changed" and it was about time I started to embrace him!

Additionally, they had all decided to put the past away in some kind of ignorant box, which meant that the whole idea of why E___ was excluded from our family became irrelevant. Through my written communications with both my son and the carers, the real level of ignorance flowed from this uneducated group of people. It was my only sane way of keeping in touch with my son, guiding him and supporting him, and it was the only way I could indicate to the carers where they were adrift and what was needed from them. But their 'group' confidence and their refusal to be impartial, has made my situation even more impossible to handle on my own.

More recently, E___ began is final GCSE examinations. He blocked and jeered at any support I offered over the past 18 months, so eventually I have left him to find his own way and just hope and pray he will achieve some success. In the meantime, however, the threats continue, but I no longer open the door to him and I no longer endure any verbal abuse. My reaction is to walk away. I have and continue to employ zero tolerance in this respect, but the carers are very, very annoyed and have reprimanded me, both privately and in front of E___. Now it feels that I have a group of ODD children to contend with.

I have to work very hard to distance myself from this group of people and not let their arrogance and control sap my energies. I intend to completely pull out of E___'s welfare support package at the end of this academic year. Some close family friends have attempted to communicate with E___, but due to E___'s ongoing skewed thinking and behaviours his level of aggression and resentment still blocks his reason and understanding.

E___ was scheduled to have a varicocle [left testicle] operation at the end of this academic year. Unfortunately, now he is 16, legally he can choose to be responsible for his own medical welfare. He has independently arranged for surgery and informed the consultant that I should be excluded as his parent. I did manage to speak on a one-to-one basis, plus I wrote a detailed letter explaining my son's living arrangements and his conditions etc, to the consultant.

He was a good man and had sympathy for my parental concerns, but he was obliged to follow E___'s instructions to fit in with this ridiculous law. However, chaos has ensued. Between the carers and E___ and the medical people, no one but me seems to be using any logic. E___'s treatment has been scheduled to take place bang in the middle of his final school examinations! Although I am "legally" excluded from overseeing his medical welfare, I did ring the hospital yesterday. E___ informed me that his operation was scheduled for June the 4th at 4pm, despite having to sit a GCSE examination at 2pm! The x-ray department rang me this morning confirming that E___ has an ultrasound on June 4 - not invasive surgery.

I attempted to speak to one of E___'s carers, but all he said is that I have not been caring for E___ properly, and that E___'s willfulness means that they cannot guide and support E___ with appropriate adult advice in this matter. There are four adult carers involved with E___ in his foster home and yet none of them have read the medical paperwork, none of them have liaised with me about the seriousness of E___'s medical welfare and yet they are all blaming me for the negligence that they themselves are employing. On the one hand they don't mind E___ being abusive to me, yet they do mind when I refuse to tolerate it.

Meanwhile, they pick and chose what they will accept from E___ and at the same time ignore really important issues. I don't know if you can follow my story here. I spoke to
E___ this morning on his mobile re: his medical situation and all he said was that as I had been ignoring him and obviously no longer care about him, he would not discuss the matter. This situation is beyond understanding.

It is my recommendation to any parent not to employ private foster carers. These matters require a responsible third party, such as a good Social Worker, to oversee the consequences of adult neglect and inappropriate supervision. My only thought is to get back in touch with the Consultant, via letter, to express my concerns further. E___ should not be left to his own devices and he is most incapable of organising this operation without adult guidance and support.

Sorry if this message doesn't flow too well. I wish you were nearer!! It's been so awful handling this mess on my own. It is even more concerning when you realise that the medical profession have virtually no knowledge of ODD conditions etc.

E___ came over as an articulate and rationale person - if only they could appreciate the realities of how he is with me and how much I have lost in trying to fight, advocate and support my wayward son. On no account should he be left to make his own medical decisions.

What do you think, Mark? Shall I pursue the hospital again and try once more to get them to understand that E___ needs a broader and more detailed understanding.

Take care, regards A.


Hi A.,

I wouldn’t spend anymore time or energy trying to help others understand ODD behavior and the associated parenting strategies needed to deal with such behavior. I think the best you can do is simply be a sounding board for your son, as well as those who care for him. Don't try to come up with solutions FOR them. And continue to take care of YOU.


She doesn't want to listen...

I have a 17 yr old daughter who comes home very late everyday knowing she has a curfew to come home. My daughter is now attending a continuation school, which isn't the high school i enrolled her to attend. Now, I am finding out that she is smoking and hanging out. She doesn't want to listen or care. I have talks with her everyday to see how her day was …I get the answer just ok. I believe she needs counseling because I can tell she getting to the point not caring about herself or something else. We do have a good relationship. I just wish I could get more out of her instead of ‘ok.’ I don't want to keep her on restriction all the time because she doesn't attend school or gets herself into trouble. I just need some kind a tips or really what to do.

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