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She is 19, with the emotions of a 15 year old...

Dear Mark,

We have been over-indulgent parents, and our daughter is lazy, easily bored and without ambition or goals. She also has ADHD. As her mom, I did lots of things wrong, but some things right. We have a very close, caring and open relationship based on mutual respect. She has stayed away from drugs, sex, and until her second year of college, alcohol. She is not “out of control with anger issues or other law-breaking activities. That said, she has no direction. She has always been socially “behind” her peers.

She wanted to go to a state university an hour away, but without a specific educational direction, I felt it would be better for her to continue to live at home and go to a community college. My husband (who is more indulgent than me) convinced me to allow her to go. She lived in an all-girls dorm with her best friend. She ended the first semester with mostly Ds and on probation. She pulled her grades up the second semester to Bs and got off probation. At the end of the year, some other friends asked her to help save money and share an off-campus apt. (right across the street from campus. We agreed, and she spent the first semester of this year socializing with everyone in her building. She had a great social life, but stayed up late, drank some, and missed lots of classes due to “morning migrains.” She has all Ds and a C.

I made her get a student loan the first year, since she didn’t take high school seriously, I told her I wasn’t paying for her education. However, we make too much money for any aid, and her loan started accumulating interest from day one. The second year we paid, with the stipulation that she pay us back. Now she is home for break and I have decided she will attend the nearest community college and live at home until she gets herself on track.

She is 19, with the emotions of a 15 year old. She doesn’t know what she wants, or what she likes to do. I have told her she has to get a job. And I am implementing rules and trying to implement structure in our home, which I am not very good at myself.

I also have a 13 year old boy, who has had a much more involved mom (I was very ill when my daughter was little). But I see him starting to develop some of these traits also. He is also very ADD, and has some developmental problems, but he was much more docile than she was in temperament, except for he is VERY sensitive to criticism, or even what he thinks is criticism.

Thank you so much for this program. It has confirmed what I have been thinking for a long time, but couldn’t quite figure out what and how to change. Even better, my husband has finally had the light bulb come on about his “enabling” behaviors. He has NO expectations of anyone, and just begins to do everything that he perceives as needing done. It is very destructive to all of us.

Thanks again,

Mrs. T.

My Out-of-Control Teen

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