Online Parent Support Chat


I’m definitely an indulgent parent...

Hi Mark,

I’ve recently joined your support group.

I have 3 kids – Zac 16 (17 in September), Shennae 14 (turned 14 in March) and Blair 12 (13 in October). I’m divorced and live with my partner of 3 years with his 20 year old son and 23 year old daughter. My kids get along reasonably well with Richard, my partner, although Shennae and Blair can tend to get a little argumentative with him.

I’ve decided I’m definitely an indulgent parent and my ex is authoritarian which is why Shennae has now refused to go to her father’s and all 3 of them have never wanted to go there.

My biggest issue which is quite literally causing my hair to fall out in the form of alopecia is my daughter, Shennae. In the past 8 months or so we’ve been to the police station for shoplifting, I’ve confiscated marijuana out of her bag along with cigarettes, she was sexually active with her boyfriend (they’ve split up), she’s wagged school, snuck out of other parent’s homes to go to parties and been generally non-compliant at home and school. I know she’s still smoking and she tells me she is still smoking pot from time to time. There’s not much left on her dance card.

Last week I swung by the train station unexpectedly as she needed a new card for her bus travel to and from school. I walked up to her and her girlfriend to say hello. She blew cigarette smoke at me, looked at me with anger and told me to go away. She had planned to go to a friends house but after her behaviour I told her she could come straight home. She made quite a fuss in front of her friends and I just kept telling her to start walking towards my car, which she eventually did. We discussed it afterwards and we couldn’t agree with each other. The following morning I dropped her off at the station and I became overwhelmed with emotion and told her how hurt I was at her reaction to me and she apologised for hurting me but she requested I never approach her like that again.

She has been suspended from school for about the 4th time to date this year. There does appear to be some injustices in the school she’s attending in terms of uniform issues and her being singled out but because she is so outspoken she’s also drawn a lot of attention to herself. She will often argue with teachers but is still managing to get all of her work done and stay up to date.

Due to her risky behaviour I was considering upgrading her phone and installing some stealth tracking software. I read your comment on spying but I’m not sure if this is going too far. I’d like to know where she is and if I’m suspicious about upcoming events, be able to look through her SMS’s for any clues. What would you suggest.

My 12 year old, Blair, has tonight just asked me if he can buy a new game. Call of Duty, which, as you know, is violent. I discussed it with him and we checked some of the research on the effect of violent gaming on people. His argument is that he already has a number of the same types of games. He also argues that all of his friends have these games and he plays them when he’s at their place. I’ve suggested we try to find some other activities to replace the amount of time he spends on his computer and PS3 and he suggested we could limit it to 7 hours a week, including weekends but he desperately wants this game.

I also explained to all 3 of them that there was going to be some changes and that I wouldn’t be nagging them anymore to do things. That they’d lose some pocket money or have consequences as per your suggestion should they choose not to meet their obligations/expectancies. They’re all apprehensive about the “changes” but I didn’t have to ask Zac, after asking him 6 times last week, to bring all of the dishes out of his bedroom into the dishwasher again after that speech. He is the most placid of the three though.

I’m very nervous about doing the wrong thing and trying hard to get it right and find that when I go to actually speak to the kids using your guidelines I stutter a bit and even get a bit confused.

I listen to the CD’s over and over in the car but I don’t get a lot of reading time. I’m a bookkeeper right in the middle of BAS time and end of financial year and trying to complete my studies to comply with ATO requirements.

There’s a lot of information but I wanted to give you the background.

Many thanks.

Kind regards,

My Out-of-Control Child

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