Online Parent Support Chat


Teen refuses to go on vacation with family...

Hi Mark:

I am a CPA in MA and I started reading your book (I found it online and downloaded) but due to tax season I let my wife read it also. She has emailed you in the past.

We pulled away the CHINS court thing as you suggested a few weeks ago. We have seen hot and cold progress. We have tried short-term goals (earn your own money and you can......) this weekend if you xxx you can visit L___'s where all your friends are (That’s where his "good" friends are; that's the home school house where he stayed for a year or so and enjoys returning to).

Now the latest:

D___ has known for about a year that we were planning a family vacation to Walt Disney World in FL. We have been there many times when they were younger, and this is the last trip before my oldest daughter starts college so its being called the "last family vacation before R___'s college."

He agreed to go and even two night's ago called me at work and requested that I bring home some eggs and OJ (this around 10PM). He even said that he would probably be asleep when I got home so he would se me in the morning and that he wanted to cook breakfast for everyone. I reminded him how excited I was about the vacation and that we would have our own kitchen (he likes to cook) and could even bring his own favorite coffee as we are in a timeshare style room. He said "great-i can't wait to get outa here"
Said goodnight and that was that.

Next morning made breakfast everything fine.

During the day a not-so-good influence kid named R__ (old friend-drug friends time period) stopped by and noticed all the trash at the end of the driveway/ street and thought we were throwing away his bike (he left it here all winter) but we did not and talked to D___ a few minutes while picking up his bike. They evidently made some kind of plans.
Get home from work with C___ and D___ immediately tells C___ that he does NOT want to go to vacation but will stay with R___. She said no and left it at that.

He approached me a short time later and told me that R___ is getting his dirt bike repaired for the weekend and wants to remain home and stay there. I said no, the trip has been planned for too long. He asked what could I do to him anyway and he was simply NOT going! I said I would have to place him somewhere but he was going. Then the screaming began swearing, name calling etc while I remained cool as you suggest. I drove him to school this morning and he only lightly said he preferred to stay here as he was exiting the car. I plan on speaking with him today when I pick him up and reminding him that it took a lot to put this thing together, not to mention all the hard work and how much the entire family was expecting him and wanting to be with him.

I did not want to overload you in an email, but I am afraid he might try and spoil the whole trip by running the day of departure, in which case I will have to remain behind to look for him and go my self after the others.

I just do not know what else to do. This after many responsibility talks and more. Doing fine in school but needs friends so I was going to try and offer to help get him a job now that he will be 16 in a couple of weeks (Apr 29).

Any help would be appreciated. We are scheduled to depart Boston tomorrow around 7PM so we need to leave our home around 4PM.

Thanks so much and your book has been very enlightening. Now that tax season is over and I can breathe I can complete it and help C___ implement the steps.



Hi H.,

You can one of two things:

1. Issue a warning: “If you choose to go AWOL when we get ready to leave, you’ll choose the consequence, which is I’ll stay home with you – and you’ll be grounded with no privileges.”

This option stinks however. Because in the event he can’t be found at time of departure, you have to follow through with the consequence – or kidnap him and follow behind the others.

2. In the event you have a trusted family member or friend, you could allow your son to stay with them while you’re gone – with one caveat. That is, make sure his temporary caretakers are willing to call the police in the event your son comes up missing from their residence. Advise your son accordingly of this potential consequence.


My Out-of-Control Teen

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