He still struggles with abandonment, anger, submission to authority or discipline and self image...

About 10 months ago, my husband and I took on the responsibility of being kinship foster carers for my sister's 14 year old step son. However, I do most of the parenting as my husband is out of town 4 days a week. Both his natural mother (who abandoned him at 3 years of age) and his father have signed a court order that they are not willing to care for him any more. It has been a rough road but by applying some of the techniques you suggested we are making progress. He has overcome many obstacles since moving in, including that he no longer smokes, takes drugs or fights. However he still struggles with abandonment, anger, submission to authority or discipline and self image. We did not know him before he came into our home, so we are having to find out who he is now and who he can be but know limited information about how he became the way he is. The biggest hurdle we have at the moment, is that for the last several years, he has been unable to successfu!

lly integrate into the school system and is continually being excluded within a short amount of time because of his inability to submit and control his actions and words towards those in authority. Also, at least once a week (it used to be several times a day!) I still bear the brunt of his frustrations through the verbal onslaught of his anger which seem to be triggered as I try to discipline him when his behaviour is inappropriate or control some of his actions or demands. He often runs away and has even got out of a moving car several times when he is overwhelmed. He refuses to get psychological help so that is why I sought help myself and found your website and resources. Though I raised three children who are well balanced adults, I have found my parenting methods of the past are not as effective with my nephew.

Out-of-Control Teen

Out of control daughter...

These are the issues we are currently having with our daughter:

- lying constantly to us
- not coming home for days at a time
- never helping to do anything at home
- does not follow any of our rules
- consequences mean nothing to her
- being disrespectful to her dad & I
- cannot trust her at all
- tells us what we want to hear & does opposite

School is starting on Tuesday and we have a feeling that she will not attend and if she does, it won't be long before she will be skipping again as she did last year. She just has absolutely no interest in school. She has a very part-time job.

We want to give her a chance to see how school will go here but if it doesn't work out, she needs to move out as we can no longer go on this way we are. We lay awake at nights worrying ourselves sick as to where she is and if she's okay. We took away her cell phone as she would never call us anyways to let us know where she was and if she was okay. It was only being used to call/text boyfriend all the time and we are not paying for that! We don't pay for anything else at this point....just food/shelter for when she is home.

So, what would you suggest in a case like this? I know if we ask her if she wants to move out, she would definitely say "yes" but she has no money. As I said, it could take months for her to save enough money for what it would take to even rent an apartment for one month. Jobs are very hard to come by here right now and she is lucky to even have the one she has but she definitely does not make enough to move out...even if she had a few roommates. I don't think we can wait this out if she doesn't attend school. Our health is definitely suffering from all this child has been putting us through. We both feel much resentment towards her as she just does not care how she is affecting us. She just calls us "freaks" because we have rules. Her boyfriend has no rules. His dad left him & his brother (both teens) home alone all summer long and when he is home, he could care less where he is at or what he is doing. So, this is how our daughter thinks we should be. Not a chance of that happening so we butt heads all the time over this. But, now we have had enough and are ready for her to move out because she is gone all the time now. At least if she moved out, we would know where she was staying. We just need to know how to get this process going sooner rather than later if she chooses not to attend school. We don't want to have this carry on for months as we know we can't take it anymore.

My Out-of-Control Daughter

My teenager has been a hand full since he was little...

Like alot of other people, my teenager has been a hand full since he was little. But now at six foot four, he can be a destructive, abusive monster. When he smashes his way through our home with his fist or when he kicks the living daylights out of a door with such fierce hate, I cannot understand if he is normal – I don’t actually know what is normal anymore. He turns from being a calm person, to some monster, normally if he doesn’t get what he wants. His way to get what he wants is to destroy the home and everyone in it with his abuse and destruction. I feel numb now when he is in a rage and have tried to walk away. I have come to a stage in my life, when I know my two girls would have a better life in their home if he moved out. You may think that this is not right, but we have tried so many times to help him have a good life. He was school refusal and his dad and I tried our hardest to help him. Adolescent programs, counselling, just left him be to try and work things out – my doctor who knows him well – has told me that each place we have been – the general feedback is – he is just too hard to work with. There is not much of this home that hasn’t been replastered, most of the doors have been replaced, or maybe it will be a new remote on the wall for the ducted heating that he ripped of the wall this evening, or a panel beater where he punched my car – I just cannot understand him any more. I sat and listened to his foul mouth tonight, screaming outside in the backyard, kicking the gates in and I know he just doesn’t care, what anyone thinks about his behaviour. His dad and I are at a lost – how do you live with such a violate person, even if he is your son. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son and so does his dad, but how long do you have to put up with this behaviour? What worries me is the effect he is having on his sisters, they have lived this life, with his behaviour problems all their life – my youngest who is 12, was tonight, crying with her hands in her head – the look of a much older person – sick of the arguments and destruction, mainly because he wanted to kill the dog she loves, because he chewed up something of his. I don’t want them effected, but how can they not be when he is so out of control. Do I leave and take them with me, or see it out and hope they turn out to be decent people? I don’t want to leave, but their dad and I both agree they are important and I want them to live a “normal” life. For two placid parents, who although we have hit the roof may times – I just do not understand where he is coming from. As parents we have tried to give him a balanced life, his dad takes him fishing, motor bike riding etc, and he can return from these trips and just a small thing when unpacking the trailer can send him into a full rage. Maybe we have tried too hard. Tonight I have changed my ebay password to stop him from buying on line and just expecting that it is his right to use my account – tomorrow I will face at some stage, a full fight as I know he will be furious at me for stopping him from going on ebay and using my account. At seventeen, we both feel that he needs to be more responsible and to respect us, if it means facing another path of destruction, then that is what it will be. His fury is frightening, because you just don’t know where it will end. The most interesting part of all this is, he holds a great job currently, roof plumbing, and he does not show his anger and fury to many people. He is very quiet and well behaved around others, not many people know what we are “trying” to control in the home.

My Out-of-Control Teen

ODD Daughter !?

Leah, is the second oldest of five children. Her older brother Matt has severe adhd and asperger's syndrome. Hence we have spent many hours and much effort trying to help him. Leah, as a child never did learn to entertain herself. In the car driving or at home, all other kids could be happily entertaining themselves and Leah would get bored and within a few seconds, she would have someone yelling. As a child, if mom said stay out of the mud, that was it, she found the biggest mud puddle she could. At age 12, she wanted a string bikini. Mom and dad said no, so she thought she could walk into a gift shop and steal one. Didn't work out for her. We are a good strong stable family who go to church every week and spend lots of time with the kids. She never got that "responsibility trait" that says "as an older sibling I will help out" Never happened. We couldn't ever leave the kids with her. Trouble would happen for sure. If we left her with someone, she would not listen to them and there would be trouble.

As a teenager, we didn't allow drinking or partying (or so we thought) but for 2 or 3 years she managed to do this anyhow and we missed it. At age 19, she was in a major car accident as a result of texting while driving and nearly lost her life. Broke about 25 bones. She has been living on her own (with roommates) for three years now and trying to go to school. She has had some great plans and ideas but can't stick to one thing longer than 6 months before she is bored and changes her plan. Hence it has cost us alot of money and she still doesn't have anything yet. Last spring we decided to cut her off financially. She went to work and earned lots but got a whole bunch of speeding tickets. She just won't listen to anyone and thinks she knows it all and just keeps messing up. She works herself into the ground but has no discipline to manage her money. Leah is and always has been fiercely independant and we've labled her as the girl who has to learn everything the hard way. But could there be something else? Compared to some of the testimonies on your website, Leah seems pretty mild. I would never considered putting her in a juvenille home.

I always wondered if she had add, but compared to her brother, it just didn't seem to be as bad. She is now 20 and sort of on her own. But she still causes us much stress and worry and I don't know if she'll ever be able to have a long term relationship with someone because almost every job she's had and pretty much every place she's lived, she doesn't get along with people and they want her out.

Will she out grow this thing or is there a way to help her?

My Out-of-Control Daughter

I am running out of things to try...

We adopted a boy and his sister in 2001. At that time our son was 5 years old and our daughter was 8 years old. The daughter had abuse and sexal abuse before she was put into the system for adoption. The boy was only 2 before they entered the system. He seems to be normal except for allergies. She has ADHD and is a slow learner and also has allergies. She has had temper tamtams ever since she was little. For a time it was better. We had her tested two years ago and found out that she is behind herself by 4 years. We started her in Sylvan Learning with reading. She was tested and had to start with 4th grade work to catch herself up with her grade. She has been working on math now. She was also tested and had to start at 4th grade. We have also worked on study skills. She is now 17 going on 18 in November. She is very defient. She only helps with work around the house when she gets something in return. If she does not get what she wants, she usually has a temper tamtam. Which now consist of stomping and yelling. When she gets out of control, I hold her down so she does not hurt herself or anyone else.

She started dating at 16. She always seems to pick the boys who are in trouble. She was dating a boy named Philip who ended up in Juvenle Dentention for 14 days for beating his mother. But she did not tell us until later.

She had sex for the first time around Christmas last year. She had a boy, Alan over for an afternoon and asked to go to his house the next weekend. We left her go. I had meet his mother and she seemed fine. But, I was wrong. The mom left them have sex in his bedroom with her in the living room.

It took 6 months to break her from dating Philip. We just found out recently that she had sex with him too after telling us they were not doing it. Now she has a new boyfrield, Steven. We had meet his parents. They seemed very caring and wanted to make sure that the kids were not dating too fast. We trusted the kids to spend some time together. There was someone at home at the time. They had went outside and had sex in a wagon.

She has no sense on right or wrong. We had taken her to a Catholic Youth Conference and thought that it had helped her. But she has gotten worst. She is very resentful at her brother. He is in scouts and goes on trips. She is not in any sports or clubs except 4-H. We have tired to get her in other activites. She seems to be afraid of new things. Like learning to drive. She has only driven 15 hours since December.

When she gets mad now, she threatens to move out when she is 18. I tell her that she needs transportation, money, food, and shelter. So find a job, get your license, and find shelter. She says that she will live in a cardboard box. I said that you better hope it is a warm winter or you will freeze.

I am running out of things to try.

Online Parent Support

I called the police tonight...

Greetings from Australia!
I recently came across your programme when, following the suggestion of a friend, I searched on line for help with my 15 year old daughter, Bek. Almost immediately I found your website and ... WOW! It was just what I needed. You seem to understand what I am dealing with here. The total background is far too complex for me to give it here now, but the basics are: I am a single mum with 4 children - Bek 15 years, Matt 14 years, twins Sophie & Erin, 11 years (12 in Oct). Bek has been living with me all the time since her father physically assaulted her 18 months ago, the other 3 children are in 50% shared care - but in a 4 week plan where I have all 4 children for one week, then 3, then 2 then Bek on her own for a week. It is almost 5 years since separation and they have been very difficult years. My ex-husband is very controlling/authoritarian and I have become over-indulgent. Thanks to your programme I can see where I went wrong and, more importantly, I now have the tools to put things right, although I'm sure I have a very long, hard road ahead, as Bek is particularly stubborn - and ODD - and parenting her has always been difficult. I have just completed the 4 weeks and have used varying degrees of the strategies with all of my children and for the first time feel hope for my them that I can parent them in a way which will be for their best. I have been sick for the last week so it has been an extra challenge for me but I have been determined to stick with it. I'm still working on the finer detail of some aspects, but feel encouraged for the first time in a long time.

My immediate problem is this:

Bek is not in regular schooling (not because she doesn't have the ability - she is highly intelligent) but because she has refused to attend - and the private school her Dad insisted on her attending is only small and didn't really offer enough options to engage her. I have recently enrolled Bek at the local High School in a programme which allows her to work instead of attending school. She is currently saying she wants to attend a different school next year, but doesn't understand the difficulties of being accepted at a school when we don't live in that school zone. Bek is employed part time at Hungry Jacks (same as Burger King) and has been doing lots of late night shifts until paperwork is sorted out allowing her to work during the day - you may hear more about that later! Bek is all out of routine and not sleeping well and tends to be up all night and sleeps all day while the other children are at school and I'm at work. This has been very difficult for me in particular as I tend to hear all the noises during the night - getting food to eat, washing, showering, sometimes even going for a walk in the middle of the night. The week I did the first lot of on-line videos etc I only had Bek and as she is the only child that week there is more potential for things to be less stressful, and I was surprised at how well things went when I said she wasn't to go walking during the night or do washing or showering. However, last Monday night I said that it would be the last night that tv would be on after 10:30pm. Tuesday night Bek came home from work at 1:30 am (wed morning)after a close shift and entered my room and turned the light on and demanded the lead so she could watch tv. After arguing from her (while I practiced my poker face) and at one point refusing to leave my room, etc, she went to her room. Wednesday she had another close shift and went to a friend's house after work so the tv wasn't an issue. Thursday she was watching tv and I reminded her that it needed to be off at 10:30 and if it wasn't she wouldn't have tv for the weekend. She finished watching the programme she had on but then turned to another channel so I put the tv off. This resulted in one of her tantrums and she threw the dvd remote, threw a cup towards the front door and it shattered into a million pieces, went through the kitchen and pushed the toaster onto the floor, threw a chopping board on the floor and the board broke, then went through the family room and pushed a cupboard around, and then to her room. She went out Friday afternoon/evening and while she was out I took 2 of her most treasured possessions - her i-pod dock and hair straightener, but obviously I mis-judged and this was no-where near enough (although her room is such a mess I don't really know what else she would miss). Bek came home about 10pm to get ready for work at 11 pm and said she was never cleaning up the mess and upon being told that she could get her things back and have access to screen time again 3 days after cleaning up the mess she attacked me and threw some bakery items onto the floor. Tonight (Saturday) she again said she wouldn't be cleaning up, and after I said I wouldn't take her to her friend's house she attempted to attack me and then threw a small ginger beer bottle (which still had some ginger beer in it) towards the front door so that is now mixed with the mess already there.

I know you said that things would get worse before they get better, but where did I go wrong and where do I go from here? I am prepared to stick and this and out-last her, but we really need the mess cleaned up as soon as possible - the front door is currently the only door I can lock upon leaving the house, but I don't want to have to walk through all the stuff there every time.

I called the police tonight and after I explained what was going on and how we had got here the woman I spoke to made a couple of comments which prompted me to say she didn't understand what Bek was like and she said she did understand. She promptly proved herself wrong by telling me I was going about it the wrong way and I should give the stuff back and get Bek to work with me in cleaning up her mess! The police wouldn't send a patrol out because by this point Bek had left the house (walking over all the smashed stuff and leaving the door open!). I was advised to report the assault at a police station tomorrow and I am fairly certain that if/when I do, because of the number of reports in the past it won't be my decision what happens but the police will decide. I have had differing advice from the police in the past as to what is the best way to deal with Bek's behaviour, which makes it harder to know what to do because some of the cops give the impression that it isn't worth taking things further because of her age. I know a guy at church who is a policeman based at my local station so I will try and talk to him first.

I sincerely thank you for your programme - I have tried various counselling avenues, including one psychologist who I felt had no idea what I was dealing with finally shrugging her shoulders and said she thought "the horse had already bolted". As mentioned above I feel at last I have tools to use - I know that too many times in the past I should have done something but ended up doing nothing because I didn't know how to go about it. I really believe the time is right for change and I am taking it on faith that this is the way to go. I also have support and encouragement from an older couple from church, and I am taking you at your word that if I work the plan, the plan will work!

My Out-of-Control Teen

I really am at my wits end...

I really am at my wits end. I have cried my eyes out reading here..the validation..is so....powerful..I have been a counselor in the past, ironically, to teens(girls, the child in question is a boy, and has a mildly autistic brother, younger)He steals, lies, breaks things only eith special meaning to me..I'm a single parent. I have never left him..but in his very young age...I spit up with his father, an addict, and a man with anger issues...my son was ild enough to recall my being threatened by his dad..this caused me to leave...his dad has been extremely inconsistent,blaming and neglectful at best towards his son....only now too little too late. I keep wondering why he targets me...I have my own problems, but I successfully take care of my autistic boy...butI have never ever not "been there" for my boys..I had to work, he was extremely difficult to put in daycare...I feel like now, as a teen, I'm losing my mind and as I heal from certain things, it see!

ms to get worse..the less he can manipulate..now he's become a bully...I'm scared, and have done everything to be there for my son fro day one...I never left him..but his dad did...is this enough to cause this? I don't know what to do anymore....I feel so used, so....useless...and I have become a hermit, severaly depressed..and my youngest is always overshadowed by his older brother, to say the least...I don't go to my recovery meetings anymore, and all meds and valuables are locked up...I have the keys of the box on my neck, he'd steal them while I slpet or showered..and my home, is not "home"..and I find myself feeling..finally, angry....and that scares me too...lst in MA....Truly, Tanja

My Out-of-Control Teen

My son has ADHD and I believe ODD...

My son has ADHD and I believe ODD after reading your articles/etc. We took him to a neuropsychologist at the age of 4 who told us he would either be a "hostage negoitiator" or a "mechanical engineer". He is smart and sweet but "no" seems to be a jumping off point for him to begin negotiating. He often blurts out in class - I just had a lengthy phonecall this am from school. They started on Friday. He often asks for another chance and even though we do takes things away such as WII and phone - he begs and asks continually for it back. Evenif we threaten another day of punishment. I'm worried he is going to bug a cop or a judge someday like this and not make it in society. He is turning 12 at the end of the month. I'm his mom. I'm a lot like him. Although I haven't had trouble with the law I've switched jobs (nurse) often and have had difficulties. While I'm not mouthy, I am opioniated. I used to be mouthy! I have a husband who has a job and I am able to work part time. My son will be the head of his household and needs to be able to keep a job and function in society. I would aslo like your input for me if you wouldn't mind. I just had a horrible boss who was a nasty gossip.My job descritpiton was not what it was supposed to be HR came in and my job went downhill. How's that for questions? I want to help my son. My other son daydreams (more like his dad) who does fine at work. Thank God. My son takes clonidine at hs and after school. I hate to give it in the am because it makes him tired. He also takes fluoextine 10 mg at hs. This seems to take the edge off and "things" don't bother him so much. It has worked for me in past and seems to really help him as well. I'm wondering if I should homeschool him because I feel that the constant negative response that he seems unable or unwilling to change regardless of consequences will take a toll on his spirit. I love him and want him to succeed. Please help! I think your website/ebook is better than any therapist could do. He really is a good kid. I'm just worried about the teen years and working on his life skills. Not all kids can do well in public school/private school. He's never been suspended or in trouble like that. Just the blurting out (impulsive) and he isn't great socially. He hasn't had a lot of friends but last year he had a couple and we had to move and he still talks with them on phone and online. We moved from MI to SC to GA. I think going to Middle school is a huge change. He has a 3-inch binder with a bunch of new rules, a locker, daily gym class, and many hormones! I want him not to blurt out and to be respectful. I ask him/tell him/threaten him. Nothing really works. I just honestly feel he is unable to make the brain connection. He would never hurt anyone's feelings or be disrespectful on purpose. He is sensitive to too tight of socks, etc. All I can say is poor little guy! Poor mom too. Poor teachers. Help!

My Out-of-Control Child