Online Parent Support Chat


She was hoarding all kinds of stuff under her bed...

Last year I got married to a dual citizen from Israel. His daughter came over from Israel to live with us one year ago. Previously she was in a home with her father and grandparents. Her grandmother doted over her and instilled in this girl that she can do no wrong and that she should always be the center of attention. She was nearly 10 years old and could not pick out a matching outfit to wear and usually did not have to brush her own hair. Grandma found self-worth by making this girl dependent on her. Now she is on the verge of 11 and has learned to do a lot of things for herself. The year has been a steep learning curve for her as we try to get her caught up to her peers in her development and social behavior. This fall she will start middle school.

Through no fault of her own she has a bladder condition which puts her at a constant risk for a kidney infection and also means that she wears a big kid diaper to bed at night. We have occasionally found an old, wet diaper hidden in her room and would get frustrated and sometimes angry. About 3 or 4 weeks ago we discovered that she was hoarding all kinds of stuff under her bed - old rotten food, clothes, all kids of trash, etc. We handled this much better with minimal frustration and no anger. We simply made her clean up her mess and then instituted daily room inspections and a period of extra chores. We also made her write us a paper on why she had lied to us about many of the things under her bed (there were many specifics involved here). Her reasoning was that she was just lazy and didn't want to bother and then lied because she figured we wouldn't find out since the other kids lie at school and she doesn't see that they get into trouble.

Yesterday we discovered that she had been hiding old wet diapers in her room from before the room inspections started (we started trying to find out why her room smelled bad). While I was checking the places where she used to hide stuff, I didn't check under her pillows. There were multiple old wet diapers hiding under her pillows!! How gross! When she is mad at us (usually for getting caught lying or having to do her regular chores) she drags her feet and does everything very slowly! This morning, after giving her multiple time checks I hustled her out to the car with her toothbrush, toothpaste, shoes and socks in her hands so that I wouldn't be late to work.

We are exasperated! What can we do to get her to change her behavior? We've tried being encouraging and giving her positive attention, but the minute we stop with the compliments she acts out or becomes dismissive because she's not the center of attention. If we remove privileges she cares for about 5 minutes. If we give her a reward, she appreciates it for about 5 minutes. She constantly kisses up to other adults, gets injured for attention on the playground (or plays up a small injury) and tells us what she thinks we want to hear so that we will back off. She expects everything to be about her having fun all the time and that's just not the reality of life. I know something is going on inside her but no matter what we do to try to find out what it is she either cannot or will not articulate it. I realize that it's been a tough year - it has been for all of us! But lying to your parents on a regular basis and hiding dirty diapers under your pillows is not an acceptable expression of frustration especially when we keep telling her that we want to know what's going on inside her that makes her want to do these kinds of things.

Online Parent Support


My Out-of-Control Daughter

Hi there Mr. Mark Hutten, M.A.

My nearly 15 year old child has been giving us hell for the past 5 years:

1. responding badly as soon as me or her father say hi (she says shut up and leave me alone)
2. refuses to do her homework (she just flunked today first year of high school and she was a brilliant student till 8th grade)
3. started drinking alcohol
4. spends the whole day on facebook or on TV.
5. Looks depressed all the time
6. refuses to do any house chores
7. tears things apart like books or cell phones, ipods, new jeans....breaks anything.
8. Leaves crumbs all over the house and gone off sandwiches in her school bag which she mixes these with dirty underwear and used pads which
she throws under the bed.
9. Does not confide or speak to anyone at home. Closes in herself and always keeps quiet and irritable and snaps if we ask any questions.
10. Treats us all like dirt except for her sister who is one year older than her, or 16.
11. Refuses to come visit her auntie only a few minutes away because she says "I can't be bothered going out of the house."
12. Skipped this last week of school so she would not have to study for three exams...the last straw ...and the teachers after giving her one last chance flunked her with four Fs! and four D- (they told me she is brilliant but lazy and reluctant to work or study)
13. She sleeps till 2 pm or 15 hours in a row when there is no school
14. Refuses to sit at the table with us and takes her dish to the couch in front of the TV or gets up off the table after two seconds....after gobbling up her food quickly.

I hope all of the above sounds familiar to you and that I am not an abnormal mother and I do not have an abnormal child I am so worried.

I have chosen to work in the house not to leave the kids with outsiders...but always leave them their freedom and apartment upstairs.

To make a long story short I thought she might have bipolar disorder. But actually her symptoms are more like what you describe as being defiant.

I do not see any extreme mood swings, just irritable all the time and sometimes she comes out of the irritable mood to talk asking me if she can go out or have some money to go out....

Right now I have no idea how to treat her and am avoiding her like the plague to avoid conflict....because as soon as I open my mouth she says : leave me alone and fuck off ...excuse the words but this is what she says.

Now I admit me and her father fight often in front of the children, but her sister who is 16 is much more mature and less affected by this and is going well in school even though it is a tough Scientific Lyceum as you may know schools are in Europe. I have a BSJ degree and have a high profile job.

So now she wants to drop out of school and by Italian law she can as she has turned 14! She is going to waste her life away and she is so intelligent.

Then the next day she says no I will study, then the next day again she changes her mind again driving us a yo yo...

All I can do is cry cry cry in my studio.

I never expected the school master to call me up today and say "I don't want her in school next year not even to repeat the school year if her attitude does not change. And by the way madame I wanted you to know that she wrote a composition where she made a bet with a school mate that if she flunked she would run away from home, and Mam I called you to warn you before your kid runs away from home" She is defiant at school and at home...

So I am downloading your ebook with little hope of any success. ....not because of your expertise but because of the lack of mine!

We are leaving this thursday for Tunisia for 14 days beach holidays just me and the two girls as my husband is working and hates the beach any way, and has always left the education, housework and all to me. He just comes home from work and goes to bed basically.

I am totally exhausted and feeling hopeless. By the way everyone insists I have always been a good mother but actually I am not if these are the results!

The only thing I am good at is my job, that's about it....

Now my girl has wasted a school year and God knows if she is going to study this upcoming school year or drop out and waste her life on alcohol, oh yes because she began at 14 to drink too and get drunk to add to all of the above......

Well now I will buy your ebook and see how it goes but I am so downhearted I can hardly read....and maybe to start the therapy we should be in the home environment to put things into practice and not at the beach....

By the way the 16 year old girl only says no to housework! She is very conscientious at school and loving to me!

Thanks for listening and God Bless....

Hope you find time to reply to calm my nerves and tell me that my kid does not have bipolar disease...that's all I need, life has been so rough already!

I already had to battle cancer 3 times in my life while raising the kids and I cannot handle any more hard times....and all on my own! No family here.



My Out-of-Control Daughter

"Children's Aide causes more trouble in a family than they help with..."

I came across you site and I wish you lived in Canada, it is so hard to get help with teens out of control, Children's Aide as far as I am concerned causes more trouble in a family than they help with. It is sad there is not a system that offered affordable help for young family's with teens, after all they are the next adults. It seems things are always left until the teen does something to themselves or depending what they have got themselves into, something is done to them!

It takes special people to reach these kids and help them sort things out and it is not easy, but thank God there are people like yourself.

I know a family that has what I think is an out of control teen and it is affecting the whole family, I know it is none of my business, but I am very close to these people and my heart goes out to them and I love young people and feel so sorry for this 14 yr old. Life is not easy for anyone, you have to have the faith, hope, strength & courage and respect to make it through.

There was a 19yr old in our area that shot himself last week, I know the father and I cannot even start to imagine what has happened to the lives of these nice people. There was also a 21 yr old girl in the town I live in who was badly beaten up and a few days following this she hung herself, my heart aches to think of what these two felt inside to find this as the only way to deal with things. This girl was beaten so bad it was a closed casket. I cry for both of them and my heart aches endlessly.

I should not take any more of your time, I just wanted to thank you for doing the work you do. Thank God for the ones you reach in time!

Online Parent Support

I'm hoping to get some answers to what is going on with my adopted son...

There is a lot of background here so bear with me. I am emailing every link that I could find to your website to my son's remedial worker that we were working with prior to his lockup. I'm hoping to get some answers to what is going on with my adopted son through one of you. As expected, we're not getting much from the state. His biological sister disappeared from our rural home when she was 15 and he was 12. She made allegations about marajuana and we went through hell with the system from April until Oct-Nov of last year. (We tested negetive thoughout). My son saw how easy it was to "get mom and dad in trouble" and has since launched his own nasty war against us. In Sept of last year, he decided to wreck havoc in the small town we live in to the tune of $2000, got busted for marijuana that he claims that he was growing on our property (which we have never found), broke in our room because we felt that we needed to deadbolt it even when we were sleeping to steal cigarettes (a ladder to our 2nd story window in the middle of a snowstorm in Iowa) and various other infractions. I am so tired. I lost my job in Feb '09 due to these kids and have fought for them tooth and nail to get them right. I was called to my 15 year old's daughter's school to strip search her for cigarettes. That was not the first time and my boss had enough. She left shortly after and has been on the run until they caught her prostituting last Feb. We are very family oriented and are really trying to looking out for these kids but, what can we do? We're involved with the courts because of what my daughter said but in a general way. Help me to understand what to do with my son. He has Attachment/Reactive disorder and was diagnosed with ODD in his younger years and conduct disorder since he was physically removed from our home and put in a psychiatric ward before being court ordered for the charges that (finally) came about to a juvenile home. He's been there for 2 and 1/2 months and isn't progressing at all. We go and see him by-weekly (due to gas prices) and he's great with us but a little a**hole with who he's working with there. Since we don't have the back up of therapy and how to deal with these (sorry to say) meth babies, we don't know what to do. We have never had any support trying to raise them. The "system" told us when we adopted them that they were meth babies and we would see problems with their educational or behavoiral systems. And that was it. No intervention what so ever. We adopted these guys when they were young - 5 and 2. My daughter has already asked if she can go into foster care (so she can stay close to her homies and her adult website) but my son acts like he wants to come back home. I'm sorry for the rant but I am so tired. I found your youtube submissions very informative and, if you don't mind, I'd like to use them in my thesis paper for College Comp II!!

Thanks for listening to me rave. This isn't even the half of it.

Online Parent Support


Out-of-Control Son

I came across your website as I Googled for help in dealing with my 14 year old son.

He just finished freshman year; a year filled with less than desirable grades, and increasing defiant behavior in the house. In February, he was suspended 10 days from school for fighting, which I then learned that he had done NOTHING in terms of school work the first four weeks of that semester. Facing all F’s for his grades, I helped him hours per day, talking and emailing his teachers to ensure a “get well” plan, and prodding him nightly to do his work. His grades did improve somewhat –

In the home, it is difficult to make him understand the importance of curfew, and of being responsible for weekend chores at the house to help me and my wife --- even for the sake of building a sense of responsibility. He has just about everything he has asked for --- I have spent thousands the past two yrs in baseball and football equipment for him to be able to compete. I drive him (sometimes 3 hrs away) to baseball tournaments in summer (showcase baseball) each weekend, and constantly provide hotel and expensive meals etc when we are away at these tourneys. He makes movie plans with his friends, then asks, and EXPECTS the money for the movie.

After all this, I can’t get him to pick up his room; do some yard work; or simply come in at the time I request he comes in. I am calling him on his cell ½ hour before curfew, until one half hour AFTER curfew – and most times, I need to go get him. And his curfew is 11PM (I so much want it to be 10PM, since he is 14, but I have hard enough time with 11PM)

I feel his animosity toward me each day --- and it hurts like hell. I love this kid so much, and see so much potential both athletically and scholarly in his life. I keep telling myself “give up”, let him go his way; but I just can’t --- because I feel only bad will come about if I don’t constantly keep on him. Each day is a screaming match at the house (I do have a pretty bad temper, and do expect some respect and adherence to rules in my household.

Maybe I’m the problem?? I do push him (both grade wise and sports wise) – because he has the potential. I wish I knew.

We have an 11 year old boy, and a 17 yr old girl (who has been defiant in her own way the past two years), never wanting to do any chores; and always threatening to move out at 18.

My Out-of-Control Teen


Daughter Arrested For Shoplifting

My 16 yr old daughter just got arrested today for shoplifting in Walmart. She took a bunch of makeup, nail polish...small things that added up to about $75 so she was arrested and taken to the police station-even handcuffed. This was all VERY upsetting for her, and Walmart is pressing charges. Her 14yr sister was with her and although didn't take anything herself she knew what was going on. I am holding her responsible as well. I need advice as to how to punish the girls.

They don't really fit in to the category of out of control teens. They both get good grades and are active in sports and other activities and are basically good, successful kids and typical teens with nice friends ect. I realized from listening to the CD's my own reaction to their misbehavior was usually making things worse and my punishments were too long. Simple changes I immediately made in myself made things better quickly but this....WE really don't know how to handle and don't want to go overboard. This was a stupid mistake that I myself made when I was her age and definitely learned from it. Some of our thoughts and concerns on how to handle this....

The 16yr old just got a car from us a few months ago. We initially told her she would have to get a job this summer to pay for gas etc. In lieu of what happened, we are now considering getting rid of the car altogether OR just taking it away for the summer OR until she gets a job OR for a week or two. At this point we have decided that she is grounded (not sure how long) with no phone or car. She will be missing several graduation parties this week as school just ended. Volleyball conditioning starts Monday and this is new for her. I don't want to take that away as that is productive and will allow her the opportunity to try out in the fall. Much better than sitting around in her room or watching TV. She loves to read so even if TV is taken that won't be much of a punishment.

The 14yr old is supposed to go to Washing DC tomorrow on a school trip. We paid several hundred dollars for this trip and her friend/roommate will also suffer if she doesn't go. We could just ground her when she returns. No phone TV or friends.

My daughter is VERY remorseful and already being pretty hard on herself about this but this is a FELONY! and we don't want to take it lightly. We were told she will have to go to court before a judge and get some sort of punishment also.

My Out-of-Control Teen