Online Parent Support Chat


I am ready to just give up...

I am a single mother of 3. Donna Marie (16), Nicholas (13) and Isabella (4 months), I am in desperate need of getting myself thru these teenage boys/ girls years. I feel sometimes, I am ready to just give up, but I really don’t want to.. I will do everything in my power to help my child(ren) succeed. Donna Marie is just very smart (gpa 3.4-3.7), starting college courses in the fall, very independent, and I could trust her to take care of a situation if need be, Donna’s problem is that she has no respect for me what so ever. Very mean, and at times, tries to be the parent.

Nicholas is who my main concern is with. I have had a brush w/ the law so far. He was charged w/ 4th degree assault for bulling another child; he has taken the truck and drove his friend home. Nick is the class clown and wants to show off constantly. His case worker, when she first met Nick said he didn’t seem to be the kind that would get into trouble. He is very disrespectful to me.. and lately I have noticed that it is getting much worse, where he is starting to tell me NO, does as he wants, and has a fowl mouth.

Nick is use to be the youngest and I feel when Isabella came it got much worse. I am a single parent, but have never let that get in the way. I was with a guy up to 2 years ago, when we divorced b/c of him being a alcoholic. Nick did see the abuse, and unfortunately this was the only real father figure he had. Nick’s father is in his life, but he works out of town constantly, so he only sees him maybe 1 x a month and that is usually for one night. I am in DESPERATE help, to help Nicholas thru these hard times in his life.. Nicholas was doing well at the beginning of the school year, but now has slipped tremendously in his grades and behavior in class/ school.

I work full time and w/ a new born, I am limited to my time. We have recently joined the YMCA to help us as family bond and work out, and we have always sat down and ate as a family. I have tried my hardest to keep the family life as normal as possible. I just don’t know where to go... I have tried reverse psychology but nothing seems to help. I have tried to take away his phone, ipod, tv for a month at a time.

Please help’!!!

My Out-of-Control Teen


Where did we go wrong?

Where did we go wrong? My son who is almost 11 was told to do a simple chore. His attitude was nasty right away and he began to slam and bang our things. I put him in a timeout to allow him to calm down before returning to his task. He refused fists clinched. I calmly requested that he stand and calm down. He continued to be defiant. He was now getting physically aggressive and I gave him 1 day of grounding. A fit started immediately. We do not remove his things from his room usually, we merely place a lock on his toy closet and remove one cord from his computer to make is unusable. He began to physically attack and push my husband while he was securing his closet. We told him his grounding would not begin until he calmed down and that he was responsible to clean up the mess he had made. We closed his door and walked out. Not a moment later things were slamming up against the walls and doors were being slammed. He now was told he will have three days of grounding and the clock starts when he calms down. This tantrum went for hours. He attacked us both and we told him to stop and not to put his hands on us. We began to remove all items from his room to keep all of us safe and to try to minimize the damage he was inflicting upon our home. He has a matress on the floor and nothing else. He has done his 3 days, but on the second night of the punishment he became physically violent because he had a chore to do and he did not want to do it. I tried to ignore it, i even tried to be goofy and act as if he was not bothering me, but this enraged him to the point where he was screaming at me that he was getting very angry. I told him to go to his room and stay there which he did but only briefly. He came out yelling and slamming his fists on the counter and demanding I feed him now. It was not time to eat yet and I had already told him that I would ensure that he eat later. It only became worse and my husband was not home. I fear at times for my safety with him and I do not know what to do when he is like this. He would not listen. He would not stay in his room. After two hours he settled down, but I don't know how much more I can take. He will out power me soon enough and then what?

My Out-of-Control Teen


He is adopted and was molested and abused...

Mr. Hutten,

I am writing to ask whether the strategies you teach are applicable to a son who is almost seventeen, due to enter the National Guard Youth Challenge Program for at-risk youth two months from now, and making such dangerous choices that it would be incredible if he actually got to that point. When he breaks the rules of our family, he does not accept consequences and the list of items on your page "has your child...?" is pretty much a description of him. Yes, he is adopted and was molested and abused, but we have given him strong love and faith and support and counseling, yet he has not attached to us. I don't think he has ever felt sorrow for his actions or regret. He is the fourth of seven children, and we have parented a tough son before, but this one lies to us and steals from us and tonight I found a girl in his bed with him. He has been into drugs and done community service and had informal probation...the list goes on. We cannot restrain him,though he is not physically violent or angry, just totally disobedient. I have used the approach "if I'm not happy, you won't be happy", meaning I won't be doing the things he wants me to do for him (rides, etc.) and he really does not respond. When he wants to go out at night, he does, and so I've started going around and locking all the doors and windows at ten. But he just stays out all night and comes home in time to go to school.

We have read all kinds of parenting techniques over the years, and gone to seminars like love and logic, etc. We are at our wit's end, ready to lock the doors permanently for the other kids' sake, but knowing we cannot do that. Oh, he doesn't drive. He has never obeyed long enough to earn the privilege of drivers' ed, although his younger sister now has her permit.


My Out-of-Control Teen


Things have really got ugly...

Things have really got ugly... I just wondering if there is something really bad happening. As I said on the noticeboard, he is destroying his room. Last night he started banging holes massive holes in the wall because he asked him to hand in his phone. This is the rule with all technology as he stays up all night. He refused and then we gave him the consequence (calmly). He loves to bike ride every morning so we told him he would not be able to ride his bike if the phone wasn’t handed in. He refused and went nuts calling us every name under the sun and then destroying the walls. We understand that he is doing this to upset us and divert the attention. Are we right? We ignored him going to bed instead. It is truly hear breaking.

He constantly stealing food and not eating his sandwiches for lunch... so we end up with mouldy food under his bed or behind the couch. He is constantly hiding wrappers of food he “hunts out” under the bed or behind the couch. This could be chip or biscuit packets. Then there are the spoons and any jars of sandwich spreads. He will take food hidden in our room (eg chocolates given at easter) and then hide wrappers. He gets caught out all the time but he still does it. It is like he has distanced himself from this behaviour... like it was someone else. The bizarre thing is he will then vaccum his room for 1 hour plus or polish every little thing in his room... meanwhile having food hidden under his bed. We are talking garbage bag of rubbish each week. Do we get locks for the fridge and cupboards?

He hardly eats any dinner (because it is healthy!) and then will be on the prowl. I try not to buy too many foods and have taken to shopping daily. He is very ocd about his food eg not eating meat or fruit because it may not be predictable ie marks on it. He drinks alot of milk. We think the food thing is assoc with OCD and also the sensory aspect of ASD. He hates to chew and would rather drink milk. He refuses to put his clothes away and each day I have a basket of clothes strewn across his floor. He also hides his underpants under the bed or behind the couch.

It is like he is a caged animal hiding in the corner. He is powerless and trying hard to fight back.

We have gone over and over the program and so unsure of what we maybe missing. 3 days is the normal punishment ie taking things away however when he has been totally out of control we have increased this to 7. We tend to take his techno stuff away during the week because he will do very little work. This has always been the routine. He has the TV in a communal room, but this is also taken away during these times of punishment.

He has destroyed his room and we feel we have totally lost any respect from him. We are actually working well together during moments of stress. If we feel that we are getting emotional we leave and the other person takes over. It is like being in a prison.

He is still taking concerta/Ritalin and Zoloft... the problems normally begin when this is running out (rebounding) at about 10pm although he just seems to be angry all the time and the stealing, hiding etc goes on all the time. He is totally wild unmediated.. making rude sexual comments and actions as well as being totally unco-operative. He wants to shock. Therefore we medicate him before he wakes up. We have tried numerous bi-polar meds which has been a disaster.

He is back at school... who knows if he is working. We have told the school that we have no communication and are not able to help him. He is going to fail miserably-His choice. He has no confidence, no self-esteem, no friends, no ability to concentrate ( his working memory is non-existent we believe due to his heightened anxiety).

So we are about to take his mattress of his bed so he can’t put food underneath... are we just inflaming things? We have backed him into a corner and he is just so angry. He does have control but his choice is not to show restraint. He has been very good at school and appears happy this week!

We are desperate ... living in a rural city with little help ... are we missing something or should we be going in a different direction? Will this program work with kids with mental illness? As he is late going through puberty, could this be the start of bizarre symptoms of something more sinister? I just don’t seem to be getting any support. We talked to his psychiatrist at the beginning of the year... there is no private doctor so there is a wait of 6 months to see him again. He just shakes his head and tells me he is stubborn and what we are doing is right. He can control his anger etc. It just doesn’t help as being the Nazi isn’t working. He is like a cornered mouse in a maze, constantly changing direction.

My Out-of-Control Teen


I saw something called ODD. It sounds JUST like her to a "T"...

I found your website while researching on how to get help for my defiant daughter. She is 16 and we are definitely at our wits end. Her behavior has almost split my marriage up. When she was 2 I thought she had the worst case of the terrible 2's, but it has never gone away. No matter what we have tried she refuses to follow the rules and seems to enjoy being defiant. Now she is 16 and she just slept with a boy she met two months ago. (her first boyfriend) She lied to me to get out of the house which made me feel bad because I thought giving her some freedom to go out with her friends would help with her behavior. last night was the last straw. She openly got into my husbands face and he ended up throwing her out of the house. She walked down to her girl friend's house and smoked pot for the first time. We are thinking about sending her to her father's house in another state just to be rid of her. She is starting to influence all her younger sisters who are wondering why she gets away with everything. But her father is a drug addict and alcoholic. I really don't want to send her to his house. I'm afraid she will get hurt. From looking at your website I saw something called ODD. It sounds JUST like her to a "T". How do I go about finding out if she has this. My (current) husband and I are "A" type personality and we love our kids. I am a recovering alcoholic (8 years) and have bi-polar disorder (diagnosed, on meds and doing great) I have 3 other children. My oldest has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder (on meds, in counseling, doing great) My youngest two are well adjusted kids. We have a great life except for the 16 year old.

My Out-of-Control Child


Out-of-Control Stepson

Hi Mark,

I've seen your website and thought it might help with my teenage stepson (now 17).

Last night his mother and I discovered he had been drinking our perfume and aftershave, such is his desire to drink alcohol (he's already emptied our wine cellar). He also smokes pot when he can get it (this actually makes him almost pleasant to be around). He goes to school when he feels like it but increasingly stays at home watching TV and using the family PC to view 'South Park' and other cartoon shows. His passive aggression is relentless and spills over into vandalism whenever he feels frustrated or if we try to reassert any kind of control.

The most frustrating thing is he will not speak to us. Not even a grunt.

After he hit his mother last autumn (two lovely black eyes) we got him referred to the local hospital adolescent psychiatric unit. They had him as an inpatient for three almost months and got pretty well nowhere with him - he stonewalled them like he stonewalls us. Eventually they gave up and discharged him with a recommendation that we find him somewhere to live outside the family home, even though he seems too immature to live on his own.

My Out-of-Control Stepson

She is very rude, disrespectful, tests limits...

I have a 16yr old daughter. Prom was last weekend. Came home drunk and drove. She sees nothing wrong with her actions...drinking is ok..everyone else does expected..not that big of a deal...

She is very rude, disrespectful, tests limits, easily annoyed with me mostly, argues with adults, blames me for her choices and bad behavior..looses her temper, yells, uses foul language..threatens to move with dad... basically out of control.

Making our entire family wak. Am divorced, remarried...have 2 daughters of my own from first marriage...16 & 14...have 2 step kids 19 & 16... 19 lives with girlfriend in NY.. we have 2 - 16's and 14 living with us...

Is this a joke? I really can't take another let down... The stress is effecting our entire health is starting to take a turn for the worse.... really just am at wits end...

Is there hope at all??? to turn things around before she goes to college??? Is a junior more year of high school and she out there....

Tears and heart ache don't even begin to describe what's in my heart. She is a very bright, intelligent, beautiful young lady...her behavior started about 3-4 months ago..she takes honors classes and is a a - b student....


My Out-of-Control Daughter


I'm actually afraid of the next "bomb" that will drop...

I'm still hurting so badly from an incident that occurred over a week ago...when I questioned my daughter about a missing earring, she became more and more aggressive and then in front of her boyfriend she completely humiliated me by accusing me of physically abusing her throughout her childhood (completely false) and that certainly I would beat her again in his absence over the earring. He was as shocked as I was and when he demanded her to stop and apologize, she wanted him to chose was so crazy, I burst into tears and left the room. He hasn't been back to our home as he usually would for dinner although they are still together at school.

I feel sick. I can barely look at my daughter. She has apologized in writing, something he coached her to do, but now I just don't feel the same anymore and I see that we are in a pattern where she becomes louder and more aggressive to get what she wants and I succumb to keep her happy, keep the peace in the family. This outrageous incident has hurt me and my husband, our younger twins beyond words. I don't know how to handle her. I'm actually afraid of the next "bomb" that will drop...

My Out-of-Control Daughter

She takes no responsibility for her actions...

I have a 14 year old strong willed daughter. She is very much like the children described on your website. I asked the good Lord above for a strong willed child because I wanted a daughter who knew her own mind and would not be lead in the wrong direction. What I have is a child who constantly argues, defys, and disrespects her father and me. The irony is that she gets along better with her dad than me yet says she hates him. She takes no responsibility for her actions. Everything is always someone elses fault. She will not take no for an answer and only uses the word compromise when it is to her advantage. She denies I have ever told her consequences for the actions she takes. She has the ability to push every button I have and drag me into arguments that I did not intend to have. I am at my witts end. I know I have not tried everything but I do not know what else to try. I have tried love and understanding. I have tried discipline and consequences. I have tried reason and logical thinking. I have even stooped so low as to try emotion. I have tried to avoid the whole guilt thing and I have succeeded in many ways at avoiding the mistakes my own parents made with me. Will your book help me? I love my daughter but I hate the person she is becoming. I have come to a point where I just want her gone. I do not want her in my home teaching her sister to treat us the way she does. I dread picking her up from school because I know the next demand will be made, the fight will occur, or the sucking up because she wants something will begin. She has hurt me to the deepest part of myself. She has hurt her grandmother and she has hurt her father. None of us can understand why she is being such a selfish, inconsiderate, disrespectful, and mean spirited person.

My Out-of-Control Daughter


I didn’t even know about oppositional defiant disorder until two days ago...

My child is 8 years old. I didn’t even know about oppositional defiant disorder until two days ago when my therapist, after many sessions in which all I did was talk about the chaos that this middle child of mine causes, and after having met this child for one session only, basically diagnosed him with this disorder. After reading everything I could find online, I feel fairly certain he’s right, but now what to do. I can’t really start up treatment with him in a therapist’s office as we are moving out of state in less than two months, and as my therapist stated, he’ll just be getting acclimated to therapy and then we’ll have to move and start all over again. But I don’t want to wait another two months to get started!!! So that’s why I am considering you program, and I would really appreciate your honesty in whether or not this is a good program to use for a second grade boy… middle of three boys, ages 5, 8, and 10. He also has struggled with some pretty severe anxiety issues, but is doing much better. Oh – and one more thing… he doesn’t exhibit any of the “symptoms” of this disorder in school at all, in fact he is a model student, and behaves very well at friends’ houses. However, he has difficulties with friends often when they are at our house. But the chaos and upset he causes in our house for my husband and I and his two brothers (especially his older brother) is chronic and we are at our wit’s end.

My Out-of-Control Child

I have tried everything...

I have tried everything you mention: Parenting classes, the bad advice from counselors and social workers, letting my son get over it, giving him time away with his father since January (!). None of this is working. Things are actually getting worse and out of control. I have been patient and remain in shock until now that I realize that in everything else I do in my life, I am a solution-oriented person. Why haven't I been able to find a solution that works??

My son Brad:

My son is 13 years old. I realize that this is an age where young boys want to spend most of their time male bonding. Brad is an incredible athlete and prides himself (as does his father) on his super-stardome.

I am divorced and have 60% legal and physical custody of Brad. His father was ordered to take parenting and anger management in our final court orders 4 years ago. He has never done this and is currently keeping my son away. He is also negatively coaching my son and interfereing with my parenting. One day when Brad lied to me about doing his homework, I sent him to his room. He called his father and was instructed to jump out of his window and retreat to his fathers house. Another time after Brad's basketball game, I was waiting for Brad outside the locker room and he never came out. He was supposed to go home with me, but his father snuck him out the back of the gymnasium and took him home with him. I have no parental control if I cannot see my son. I have let him be with his father full time since January with Brad coming to my house 1 day/week until this blew over. That was his fathers request. Now I haven't seen Brad at all for the past 4 weeks. I call, I leave positive, loving messages and texts with no response. I am not only discouraged that his father is controlling Brad's thoughts, but that Brad himself wants to be away from me with no good excuse. I am a good person and a very good mother. When I have spoken with Brad and ask him why he is acting this way or if I did something, he tells me no, that I (mom) didn't do anything. So I don't understand......(?!!)

Your message and analogy about building the bridge is brilliant! I feel confident that I have built a very strong bridge with my son Brad through his upbringing. Both Brad and myself used to be able to have comfortable and open conversations about anything. One of my problems is that I need to get my son back home so I can finish building that 10% of the bridge and help guide him to be a successful human being who makes good choices. With Brad staying at his fathers all of the time, I have been striped of my parental opportunities.

What can I do to have his father stop interfering with my parental rights? I have continuously asked him to co-parent with me. He refuses and is non-communicative and wants to be in full control. I am home from the hospital for the next 4 weeks, so I have dedicated time to find solutions. I realized this is way out of control when my son didn't even come see me in the hospital and his father didn't encourage it due to our son having baseball and basketball games. very sad... I am guessing you answer may be to focus on the bridge with Brad and there may not be anything I can do about his father.

My Out-of-Control Teen

The rest of us are suffering due to her actions...

I have a 12 year old daughter whose behavior sent me on a search that led to your website. I had her at 19 out of wedlock. When she was 3 I married and had two more children, girls also...all about 4 years apart. When my oldest was 9 I divorced my husband. Our custody arrangement is they are at my house for a week, then his for a week. We thankfully have remained good friends and are able to work out time with the kids together without too much issue. Amani, my oldest, had a bit of a rough transition period but saw the school counselor for a time and things seemed better. She was always an A/B student, teacher's pet kind of kid and very independent. I never had to follow-up with her to make sure she was getting things done...she just did them.

In 2007 I met someone who I consider the love of my life. He is awesome with the kids and things were great. We moved in together and then married in June of 2008. When Amani entered 6th grade...about 2 months in it was like her personality just changed and has become this person I don't know. I found your website and have realized that I was an extremely overindulgent parent. Probably in an effort to "make-up" for the things she's been through. Whatever the reasons it has created a very entitled, disrespectful person. My husband has been very supportive and is actually the one who found your website.

Anyway, I have been doing my best to enforce the parenting steps and I feel like there has been improvement. I am not perfect at it yet and I continue to improve with practice. The hard part is that when she goes to the other house every other week there are no rules. He wants to be her friend and will give in if she rides him long enough. All 3 of us, myself and my husband and my ex, sat down and my ex agreed to help and follow the same rules. However, he didn't and Amani is now on the verge of failing 6th grade. I had decided that Amani will start living with me full time and only go to my ex's every other weekend. I was hoping that consistency will help get her on track. I know my daughter associates her new "terrible life" (rules, consequences, etc.) with my new husband and resents him for it. She is verbally abusive to him at times and very disrespectful. We have sent her to counselors and for evaluations and she refuses to speak during these times. The longest we went was 2 months to one and at some point I feel like we are just wasting money since she won't talk.

So, last week my husband announces that he can't take it anymore, doesn't think she'll ever change and is leaving. I am in shock because up to this point he seemed to be handling it very well and letting things roll off his back. My two little ones (ages 7 & 3) are extremely attached to him as am I obviously. It is hard not to resent my daughter because the rest of us are suffering due to her actions. I tried to talk to Amani about it to find out why she is so mean to him without trying to make like her feel it's her fault. She just stares at the table or floor when I am talking and refuses to speak.

Ultimately I know I have to support my daughter but I also want her to understand the extreme consequences of her actions. I have also attached an email from my husband to me explaining how he feels about Amani, maybe it will help give you some perspective. Any advice?

My Out-of-Control Teen


My daughter was diagnosed as ODD at 5 yrs. of age...

My daughter was diagnosed as ODD at 5 yrs. of age, and she is now 17 1/2 yrs. old. She has been an extremely difficult child to raise, and still is. She has all 8 out of 8 criteria for ODD. The hospital that diagnosed her for ODD 13 yrs. ago did not tell me what ODD was, nor give me any information on how to deal with it... they just sent me home with her diagnosis. Needless to say, in trying to get my daughter and myself help in learning how to deal with this, I have had her in a treatment centre (she came out worse than when she went in); I have had her in a group home for a few months; (again... worse when she came back); I have kicked her out twice; (lessons never learned!); she has been in hospital and on medication (made her worse and I took her off it); she has seen a psychiatrist (no help); and I have had numerous agencies and workers from the Child Welfare System and other agencies to so-call help, but all they do is blame the parent/s and admit traditional parenting doesn't work, yet they give no alternative. The System does not have any answers and cannot explain behaviors, so likes to lay blame on the parent. My daughter is verbally and physically abusive. She is also verbally abusive to her grandma who lives in another province. (over the phone). She rants and raves, swears constantly, name calls, puts down my grandma and me for everything. She is very demanding, bossy, rude and mean. She never apologizes for any wrong she does, and will never admit to anything. She has a way of twisting the situation around to make it seem like I have said or done things I haven't. She has destroyed my property, put holes in walls, throws things, kicks my vehicle and puts dents in it. She is very vindictive and seeks revenge, even for "imagined wrongs." If I discipline her and remove something from her, she will then take some item of mine, or lock me out of the house.

The System has failed completely, and I have lost my faith in all treatment centres, workers, System, Dr's., etc...

My Out-of-Control Teen

My husband is the yeller and wants to control the whole situation...

Our 17 yr. old son exhibits all of these characteristics and has since he was a toddler...he could go from the most loving, sensitive child to the devil incarnate...he has always disprupted our household and has come between my husband and I many times. My husband is the yeller and wants to control the whole situation and I'm the enabler or denyer that you talk about. As a toddler he would bang his head on the floor and or walls when we were trying to discipline him..the pediatrician was alot of help..all he could say was "well it looks like you've got a head banger on your hands" and then chuckled! When he was 4 and started scratching himself across the face when he was being disciplined (and I mean yelled at to stop his wrong behavior) we finally took him to see a child psychiatrist and she advised us to implement the Magic 1,2,3 method and it worked perfectly. We have a very stable home environment. No divorce or abuse situations. Our son is very intelligent. It wasn't until 7th grade that his grades started to fall. And then the hostile and destructive nature came back. Did I mention all the holes he put through the sheetrock in his room, the pantry and the garage door glass! Even as a toddler when sent to his room he would destroy it! He went back to hurting himself when he was in trouble by beating his fists into something until they bled. Now he is telling us he is on the verge of a drinking problem because he just can't take his dad yelling at him so he feels the need to drink. Right now it's just beer. Are we too late? We have taken his car and cell phone away and he cut a hole in the window screen and ran away because he said he just needed to get away and think things out. He kept in touch with us telling us not to worry and he came back that same night but we are literally at our wits end! Bet you wish you had a nickle for every time you've heard that one! Thank you, Laura Truitt

My Out-of-Control Teen