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