ODD Daughter

I have finished reading your article about children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and the list of behaviours pin point the attitude of my daughter to the 'T'. She is disrespectful towards her elders as well as to anybody else she takes a fancy to, she has been rejected from one school due to her disruptive behaviour and refusal to do as she is told, which led me to home tutor her for an entire year due to the fact that there were no available places in any good schools in, or outside my borough, which left me with no choice but to wait for a place to become available in my chosen school. However, despite my attempts, she is not doing too well in this new school either after only attending for the past 6 months. Over the past three months her attitude at home towards myself and her brother has become literally unbearable and I am felling extremely anxious and depressed. I am also feeling guilty as my 12 year old son is stuck in the middle and I feel that I cannot help his situation change for the better either, when I should be able to because after all, I am the parent. I am at my wits end and feel embarrassed to admit that I no longer know what else to do with her. I have tried all the traditional behavioural strategies aimed at parents i.e. positive reinforcement with her, time outs, consequences and so on and so forth, but with no positive or long lasting effects.

My Out-of-Control Child

In the rocky boat with a very defiant teen...

I am one of those parents who are in the rocky boat with a very defiant teen! People don't believe that this all started at a VERY early age. At the age of 3, Sam was sent to his room for a time out. After about 35-40 minutes he stopped kicking his door and screaming at the top of his lungs (I had to go outside so I would not commit "child abuse!" When I went in to check on him, He had destroyed his whole room, including dragging his mattress off the bed and Chewing UP his blinds! He lived with his dad briefly and recently. Sam's dad and I were never married. So this was a new experience for them both. His dad said "Don't worry, I've got it. I will correct all the years of your bad parenting!" After calling on a continual basis, telling me all that Sam did (like I didn't know!!) he threw Sam out. He had had Sam about 7 months. (Dad, who is a former marine, couldn't handle it). Sam has gone back and forth a couple of times. This was the last time. I was very glad to have him back!, but in a day or two IT started and has been getting worse. A few days ago he punched a hole in the wall. You know all the gory details... He is a very big, muscular kid and I am not looking forward to being punched out.

Well, my immediate situation is... I am living in a house with 3 other roommates ( all guys and not the best influences) Sam's child support is about is about 3 or 4 months away; Dad doesn't help unless he's ordered to.

My Out-of-Control Teen

Out-of-Control Daughter

My toughest parenting challenge is that my daughter (who is 16) is very disrespectful and I’m a widowed mother. My husband her, father died 6 years ago when she was 10. She was very close to him and she was disrespectful to me at times over the years before his death. However, all he had to do was talk with her and her behavior would change for quite a while. Her disrespect causes a great deal of problems in our home now. She becomes very angry when told no and has gone to the extreme of breaking things in our home with her anger.

The other problem I’m experiencing right now… is that after a confrontation last night, this morning when I told her that she was going to school, she showed me that she had cut herself on both of her wrists. These were not deep and required no medical attention. However, this is a new behavior as far as I’m aware and when asked she said it was the first time she’d done this. I’ve not had a problem with her lying to me yet. Initially, she almost seemed proud she done this. However, almost immediately the shame set in and she didn’t want anyone else to know. She has a friend who did this and she wasn’t very forgiving a couple of years ago when the friend behaved this way. Most of what I’ve read says that abuse (physical or emotional) is the biggest reason that a adolescent will do this. All day, (I’ve really been unable to concentrate here at my job) I’ve been trying to ascertain if I’m abusive. I know I’m not physically abusive, this is obvious. However, I struggle to figure out if how I talk to her when the reactions to her being told no are so explosive. I wonder after being pushed if what I’ve said or say is wrong or hurtful. It’s hard to be detached from your child speaking/cussing at you. The cussing is also new. Sometimes, I know I do well with it. Other times, not so good.

I’m guessing this is something that will teach me how to stop my part in these situations. It use to be said, “you allow them to push your buttons and give up your control”. So, from what I’ve read on your website and the videos that I watched, I think this might be able to help me with this disrespectful behavior, the cutting incident and maybe any and all other of that long list of behavior that I saw that might show up. One thing that comes up repeatedly after these incidents when I ask her why she did what she did, she answers either, “I was angry at you” or “I don’t know why I did it” or “I don’t know what I’m feeling”.

My Out-of-Control Daughter

I dont know how to handle my daughter at all...

I have been off work since September under going further investigations (Had a stroke 3 yrs ago and a heart op a year ago. Now being investigated further due to more problems)

We are finding it very hard money wise and struggling to pay all bills. My 14 yr old daughter has given us many unwanted events and we are trying to follow your advise the best we can.

Unfortunately I dont know how to handle my daughter at all. She seems to be defying all what we suggest.

Her dad doesnt pay maintenance yet he can send money to treat her to have her nails done. I have been advised that because the money is addressed to her that i cannot open the mail to give her the money when she has earnt the privilege on good behaviour. CSA are trying to chase her father at the moment to proceed with a legal agreement that he helps to pay towards her up keep ie.sh=chool travel money, lunch money etc rather than his bribe and blackmail money because he has let her down.

I dont get any support from her father and she uses his bribed money when she wants something and he will not listen to me even though my daughter knows how she is working him to her advantage.

We have tried chores but because we have no money to reward her we cannot afford to give her money so she can go out with her friends-this is all she is interested in & when her friends go to cinema or just hang around she hasnt got the money to join in.

I had to pick her up last friday in an unconscious drunken state and she got drunk on the money that her father gave sent to her. I only give £2 with crisps, choc & a drink everyday for school because I know that she is spending lunch money on cigarettes- I have tried sandwiches but she wont eat them and its a waste of food, money and she gets anger problems when she doesnt eat.

She has been told that she does need counselling due to my health issues, her father and I seperated and he now lives with a girlfriend and didnt tell my daughter about her half sister until she was born. She has no routine with her father as he keeps letting her down with excuses and she feels unwanted by his girlfriend, refusing school at times and ive had to phone the police a couple of times to report missing as she was grounded and then she refused to answer her phone.

My husband and I have tried to talk, listen, set boundaries, she refuses that she cares and always reverts back to her life is crap when she doesnt get her own way or we dont follow her rules!

I believe she needs counselling as she is carrying a lot of baggage on young shoulders and needs to relieve her anger and tensions but she will not open up and refuses to talk to someone. Ive asked for doctors, school, social for help but they say they cannot help unless she volunteers for counselling.

I know she has low self esteem and I am trying to work with your advise but she seems to just live in her own world and will not even talk and will not listen -she has this huge barrier up and it seems almost as if she has shielded herself from everything.

Im at a total loss and not sure where to go from here. Im trying not to let my health get in the way because I dont want her feeding off of me. We want to trust her but everytime we do she lets us down and then she blames us - even if its one her friends that has got her into trouble or upset her.

Ive waffled on long enough.

My Out-of-Control Daughter

My daughter has actually left our home...

My daughter has actually left our home, and moved 15 hours away to stay with my parents, who I do not get along with. I feel that she has gone there as she knew they would side with her, as my mother has always been very manipulative and undermined me, and I made the decision years ago, that I would involve her in our lives so that the children would have a sense of family, but that I would be assertive in the role that I allowed her to play. I didn't have a happy childhood, but I don't think that has made me into a scapegoat personality, as I don't see myself defined by my childhood, and I don't think it left any long term effects on me, except that I chose to parent differently and gave too much, as did my husband.

I did the quiz, and as I suspected I was seriously over indulgent (right off the scale, not just a little bit). Our daughter was always hard work, but to the rest of the world, she was sweet, shy and polite. She was hard work, as she was always unhappy with someone, who she felt slighted her, and I can't tell you how many falling outs I have had with people, because she perceived some little remark as offensive, and I always took her side. That was wrong of me.

I have 2 other teenager daughters who are everything she is not - they are outgoing, sociable, confident, willing to take risks and try new things, and academic success comes easy to them, as it never did for Alex. I always felt sorry for her that she struggled at school, and we supported her in a successful swimming career, and became involved in volunteering and the swimming community, and did everything as a family. But because I was always worried about her future, academically, and some of her unpleasant personality traits, I gave her much more time than the other two, and she treats them like she is superior to them, and they dislike her intensely .

For years I have talked to her about putting goals for a career into place - maybe in hindsight I nagged - 2 weeks before final exams she decided she wanted to be a nurse, as all her friends were going to University, and it was one of the lowest marks to get. We encouraged her (even though I knew she would never get the marks).

She needed a 68 - she got a 42 - She was very angry, and I think she was furious that I could not pave the way for her as I have always done. Here was a problem mum couldn't fix. This was the beginning of our descent into hell.

I banned her from one thing though- that was going out for coffee with her boss, who is a married man in his mid-thirties, who has a pregnant (bi-polar) wife, and 2 other small children. She went crazy, and said how dare I be suspicious of someone who was so supportive and encouraging etc etc, but I stuck to my guns. She worked in a kiosk at the local pool, where my daughters do (and she used to) train. Every time I tried to get her to seek further education or a better job, this man would tell her she was promoted ( Never had a wage increase though and was paid well below minimum wage). He kept telling her he was going to buy her a restaurant, and give her a traineeship. All of the kids at the pool were talking about her relationship with him, and when it filtered back to us, we discovered that she was texting him obsessively every night ( from 10pm till 2 pm some nights). It was not unusual for there to be 30+ texts, and even 47 one night. He also encouraged her not to take a position in an advanced Hospitality diploma course that she got accepted in as it was just "glorified waitressing".

After we confronted her with this information (at this stage she was staying with my sister locally), she refused to speak to us, so we went to see this man. We asked him to explain why our daughter was contacting him to this excess. We were very dignified, and polite as we are well known at that pool, and still have to go there, and did not want any conflict. (my daughter since told my parents that we yelled and screamed and made a scene there, meaning she could not work there). We told him we felt he was steering her in a different direction, than the path she had originally chosen with our help, and asked him to bring the relationship back to a professional level. He was VERY worried, and visibly shaken.

We feel he has then told Alex that things needed to cool off, as she sent me texts telling me I ruined her life. She also took off to another State that weekend (at my mother's suggestion). She then systematically began contacting our friends and sending abusive emails and messages to them, telling them all that I didn't really like them, and said things about them. If anyone supported me, she really went for them. She told various people she had to leave, as I was abusing her, others that her 15 year old sister was sleeping around (we later found out this was in fact her) and this was causing too much stress to live in our house, and other people that I was an alcoholic (and my husband didn't know cause I hid the bottles). In desperation I sent her 2 texts (she would not answer the phone to me or see me) telling her to leave us alone, and she was not part of our family any more. She forwarded these to everyone to prove what a bad mother I am. (Most people told me they could not see why I did not do it earlier).

The upshot of it is she is now a long way from us. She is seeing a counselor who told my mother that Alex has "long term abuse" issues. I would say this is because of the outrageous lies she is telling. She texts us saying she misses us and wants to come home, but tells my parents the opposite.

I told her she can't come home, till we can set some boundaries, and make changes, and that we needed to break this cycle. She disagrees, and says she has done nothing wrong ( and I haven't even touched on her promiscuity, drinking, cussing, violence, and threats of physical harm to me and the other girls). She says that her counselor said she is fine and I have to change.

I was sending her texts and talking to her on the phone daily, telling her we still loved her and wanted her to get help, and we would work things out. But my mother then contacted me and her exact words were "If you won't take her back - stop playing mind games - and F*** off". Alex texted me not 5 mins after asking after her sisters and how my day had been. I think she is still playing all of the adults in this scenario off.

Am I in the wrong, because I can't have her back here until she accepts responsibility? I know my mothers is not the best place for her ( they have talked her out of and hospitality courses that she was going to do and got her onto social security benefits, claiming she was too traumatized to work or study - we disagree with that as we have a very strong work ethic), but at least she is physically safe, and I know they will take care of her, and in their own way show her kindness.

The things she has said about our family, and the fact she is the talk of the town means my other 2 girls (13 & 15) don't want her back and don't understand why I haven't given up on her - I tell them that a mother can't do that. But my husband is a broken man, and I can feel the essence of who I am being sucked dry.

My Out-of-Control Teen

My son and I never seemed to get along very well...

My name is Judy, and I'm writing because I have a 17 year old son who I have has issues with for a very long time. My son and I never seemed to get along very well. We seemed to "butt heads" literally from day one. I have two other children, one older than he, and one younger. I don't have ANY behavior issues, other than the usual "testing the boundaries" with them.

Things became much worse when he reached 7th grade. Their father and I got divorced and he started becoming even more defiant with me. He started getting failing grades in school (previously a 97 average third in his class). He gave me lots of attitude about doing chores, he started picking on his brother and sister more than he did before. He said he wanted to move in with his dad, but his dad wasn't living in our school district, and it wasn't a very good school district, so we (his father and I) talked him out of it. He was going to stay with his dad for the summer that year, and that spring his dad was killed at work. He was a lineman and was electrocuted on the job. This might sound horrible, but the night his dad died, he ran to me and held on to me so tight and cried and cried and just kept saying "I love you, mom, I love you mom" over and over and over again. I never wanted to let him go...he never did anything like that before...and I will never forget how the night they lost their dad was the night my son loved me.

Things were okay for a while, I know he was so afraid of losing me that he actually started pitching in with chores and such without giving any attitude. That was almost 2 years ago. He is now 17, as I said, and he is back to "hating" me. His language is so foul when he's home. He plays a lot of video games, and this is a huge source of foul mouth outbreaks with yelling. He broke two LCD tvs by throwing video game remotes at them. One was his brother's. When he broke his own, he took his brother's. I told him he absolutely could NOT have his brother's tv, but my younger son said "Please, mom, just let him have it because if you don't he'll beat me up when you're not around." Wow. I have no clue how to handle this kid anymore. We are all living in a sort of fear that he's going to "lose it" one day and do who knows what. I am afraid to take things away from him, like his anger-inducing video games, for fear that he'll get so angry he'll just start smashing things around the house.

I've made all the excuses you talked about, but they're not working. I've taken things away, I've grounded him...never worked. He's a GOOD kid, he doesn't do drugs, he even stopped hanging with some of his friends because all they want to do is get high and he doesn't want to. The friends he has are good kids. He isn't defiant of his curfew, he is very very cordial to his aunts and uncles and other adults, has a great sense of humor, in fact when I talked to my late ex husbands family and my family about these issues they had a hard time believing that I was having problems with him. When he is home and playing video games, the monster comes out. Or when I put expectations on him, such as cleaning up after himself, or doing basic chores, or if I show ANY signs of losing my patience with him he will get very nasty with me. Now I find myself getting resentful of the fact that I have to watch my temper all the time with him, yet he sits in his room yelling obscenities at the tv video games. Sometimes I feel like I just want to scream at him and make him stop acting like this!! Trust me I know full well it won't work. I don't know what to do.

Like I said, this has been an ongoing issue between me and my son for a very long time. I knew I should have done something about it a long long time ago, these issues began probably when he was 6 or 7. But they were so seemingly minor then, little did I know they would grow into what they are now. I want very much to be close with him like I am with my other two...I just don't know how to do it. It just came so naturally with the other two!

My Out-of-Control Teen

Out-of-Control Son

My 16 year old son is praised for his kindness to his classmates at school and is generally considered to be a nice polite boy. He is also extremely kind to most people outside school (ie friends and cousins). There are a few teachers whom he does not respect in the slightest and who say he is extremely rude and gets angry very quickly. This is how he is towards me. When he is struggling with school work I try to help him but he gets angry within about 2 minutes, swears at me and walks off. If he asks me to do something for him and I politely say I can't he gets angry, swears and walks off. If I ask him to do something, eg clean his room, put his clean clothes away, carry the shopping in for me, etc he will either (if he is in a good mood) do it when he wants to (which is often too late, ie carrying in the shopping) or call me lazy and be extremely rude to me and walk off. There have been a couple of occasions where he has pushed me to get me out of a room he wants to stay in, whether or not it is his room.

He has a really bad view of women in general (except for his friends and his sister). I get the feeling that he hates me for some reason and I also feel that if he gets angry enough he will attack me and won't be able to stop himself as his rage comes out of nowhere and is extremely bad - it is as though he is possessed. Because of this my only defense is to just walk away before things get out of control, perform my parental duties and not have much else to do with him. After a couple of days things get back to normal - UNTIL THE NEXT TIME!

My Out-of-Control Son