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I'm looking for some parents who have raised troubled teens and lived to tell about it. I don't want to put the details out here for the whole world, but I could sure use the support of some BTDT people or anyone who is currently struggling to keep their kid alive through a rough patch. Past experience parenting an evil genius is a plus. PM me, please. This kid's antics are KILLING me. Can't seem to stay ahead of him unless I "pay" another child to be an informant and to put it in perspective, the snitch is getting rich. :hair
 

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I've about endured it all but it's really hard to give advice without "putting it out there" can't give any suggestions without knowing what the problems are
 

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I parents raised a tough one. They are gone and could tell you a bunch. They didn't quit ever. Sorry his antics are killing you. They must not. He has you as a gift. Hope you can out last, out smart and outplay until he gets it. He has a chance with you. Keep your humor and consistency. Good work.
 

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Although I have not yet raised teenagers (my daughter is a baby) I am a teacher and I have spent most of my career so far working with extremely difficult "at-risk" teens. Think kids that are involved in drugs, gangs, come from abusive homes, are mentally ill, etc. I can't give parenting advice to you, but I can say that my success with some of the most difficult teens around has hinged on the following:

1) Set a standard.
2) Enforce that standard 100% consistently, 100% of the time no matter how stressed out, tired, or emotional you are feeling. If they sense weakness, you've already lost the battle.
3) Watch how you word things. Don't word things like: "You need to do X, Y, Z." Say "I need you to do X, Y, Z."
4) Give options and actually follow through. "I need you to sit down and quietly complete this math worksheet or I need you to leave this space."
5) Never reward for bad behavior. Expect long term changes. I work with a lot of students whose parents do things like take their x-box away for a week. Then, their kid will have one good day at school and they will give the x-box back six days early. Using consistent behavior management techniques means that even if their behavior is amazing the next day, the punishment still needs to stand. They should not get their x-box back until the end of that seven day cycle. Parents who punish and don't follow through make it very difficult to convince their children to do anything.

So, there is my advice for managing difficult teens. In my professional life I have a pretty good track record. My students describe me as extremely strict but nice about it. They like me because I set expectations for them and make them live up to those expectations. I imagine some of the same processes work in parenting... I know I intend to apply them as I raise my daughter :)
 

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I snuck around with boys and skipped school. Mom said I was a ho and she gave up on me and afterward I was allowed to do anything I wanted at fifteen.
Just don't give up. And make sure they know you care. So many times I would have behaved if I'd thought she gave a crap.
This is not to say don't discipline. Just make sure the kid knows you're doing it because you care what happens to them.
 

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I agree with V-NH, Consistency is the key here. You have to set reasonable standards and rules... and then stand by them come a hot spot or high water. I see too many parents trying to be their kids friends... thats fine when they are toddlers, but when they get to be teens its simply not going to work. You are not their friend, you are their parent! Their friends will lie cheat and steal for them, you as a parent need to provide them with a safe haven when they need it, and constant direction so they dont find themselves needing it very much. My dear ol daddy raised three pretty rambunctious boys and survived it. Ok, the two older ones were the ones that gave him trouble... I was the good son, learned from watching them and never gave him a minutes problem. (and you can believe that ifn ya wants to.) Pop was consistent but always fair. He didnt have too many rules for us boys, but the ones he had were always enforced and he never backed down. No lying, no stealing, and do what he told us to do, right then, not "in a minute". Good luck with your adventure... after raising 4 myself... yer gonna need it. :)
 

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This too shall pass. Is there any kind of teenager besides "troubled", at least from time to time?

Idle hands are the devil's workshop - sounds like maybe this kid needs activities and *bonus* a lot of those will be supervised without you having to do it. Sports, music, art, something. And, are they getting enough exercise? They need a physical release for all that teenage angst, it really helps.

And of course they need plenty of chores at home. Because they are so grown up now, they get to actually participate in the running of the household instead of having everything done for them like a helpless little child. Sell it!

Make sure they know you are "ruining their life" because you love them so much. And be as consistent as is humanly possible. Parents, grandparents and any step-parents have to present a united front. Kids are masters of divide and conquer.

Is this kid driving age or close to it? Most kids LOVE to drive and will behave like a golden retriever, at least for a brief time, to get car privileges, or even just get a driving lesson if they don't have a license yet. They have to show you they are responsible and trustworthy or they won't be behind the wheel, or especially taking a car out themselves. This was about our best leverage with our son.

I wish you the best. I'm getting ready to go thru it for the 2nd time with a grand-daughter. When she was little, we were so happy she was so smart. Now that she just might be smarter than us, not so much! lol
 

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my problem child turns 20 this month, I did not win anything. I was told once you kept her alive till 18 your job is done. What I learned is no matter how hard you work and struggle and sacrifice for that child you wont get a thanks mom anytime soon so at some point all the fight is just gone and you stop making your self sick just make yourself happy.
 

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I was a problem child.
Too much time on my hands.

My father had to take full blown custody of my sister and I after my mother's alcoholism left her as an unfit parent.

My dad worked from before sun up to after sun down to support us.


I guess I was bored and in a new city.
My freshman year of hs I tried track. I was good at it, but it was boring to me so I left halfway through the season.

Friends that didn't have after school activities use too gather behind the school for other kinds of after school activities.

If I had been allowed to stick with my passion if horse back riding I doubt I would have ever been a problem child.
I would have done anything to continue riding.

It was taken from me a few months before I left my moms due to her alcohol.
Nearly 10 years of lessons, wasted.

My father never really supported after school activities. He wanted me involved, but he wasn't going to show up and cheer me on if it ment taking time away from work.

I guess I could have asked to keep riding, My grandma would have taken me I'm sure...
But I was scared. I didn't want to be a burden.. unbeknownst to me I actually could have saved myself and my family a lot of turmoil if I would have spoken up.


I still miss riding. It's like a hole in my heart when I think about it.
What could have been.
I had potential to go professional but my moms addiction blinded her and my dads workaholic tendencies just made him unavailable.


Talk to your kid.
Be willing to adjust your schedule to allow his passion to flower.
You give some and I bet he'll give some.
Be there and take interest and action in his activities. If he doesn't want you looking over his shoulder take a couple steps back, but be there.

That's just something that would have changed my course, I don't know if that would work for your son.

Good luck :)
 

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I have 4 kids... two in college and two preteens. All have very different personalities and have challenged me as a parent in different ways. While the two older kids were teens, one was smarter and sneakier about his attempts to assert himself. The other was mouthier and in-your-face about her struggle for independence.
Both drove me absolutely crazy with frustration!!!! Tears fell often.
But, I survived and so did they :) In fact, they are enjoyable to be around again!!

You didn't mention, but I am wondering if you are coping alone, or do you have family support? It can make all the difference in the world.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you everyone!
PnQ-I have a husband. He's not very good at parenting. In fact he pretty much stinks at it. (He'll be the first to about it, so I don't mean any disrespect) Unfortunately he often makes situations much worse/ more difficult so I do most of the parenting by myself and his main role is provider, which he's awesome at! He's a super hardworking man. Never met someone so unprepared and so unable to adapt to parenting. Of course I had NO idea till we were knee deep in babies. He was/is a WONDERFUL husband. I thought parenting wild be a natural progression... But :banghead: lol! It doesn't help that our two oldest are on the spectrum. They weren't diagnosed until I was pg with #4. Anyhoo, they other support I have is my mom. She's wicked smaht. :cool: but that's about it.
 

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I had a good friend who had been thru the wars with one of her sons. When my ds started getting into trouble, she told me I needed to let go and let God. In other words pray constantly.

It didn't make the problems less or dealing with it easier, but it did help me to get thru it.

Later we had 2 teenage alcoholics that we forced into treatment, twice plus 9 months at a halfway house. Beyond stressful, but today both are doing well and dh and I survived to tell about it.

If your son is stealing, report him to police. If he's being violent to family, report him to the police. If he's drinking or using drugs, force him into treatment. If he's just doing stupid things, revoke all privileges. If he's skipping school, take him by the hand and go through the school day with him -- strive for maximum embarrassment before his friends.

The one thing you do not do is protect him from the consequences of his actions. If he gets arrested, let him sit in jail until he figures a way out. Do not pay his bail. If he's failing at school, allow the school to flunk him. Natural consequences have a greater impact than parental discipline.
 

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Thank you everyone!
PnQ-I have a husband. He's not very good at parenting. In fact he pretty much stinks at it. (He'll be the first to about it, so I don't mean any disrespect) Unfortunately he often makes situations much worse/ more difficult so I do most of the parenting by myself and his main role is provider, which he's awesome at! He's a super hardworking man. Never met someone so unprepared and so unable to adapt to parenting. Of course I had NO idea till we were knee deep in babies. He was/is a WONDERFUL husband. I thought parenting wild be a natural progression... But :banghead: lol! It doesn't help that our two oldest are on the spectrum. They weren't diagnosed until I was pg with #4. Anyhoo, they other support I have is my mom. She's wicked smaht. :cool: but that's about it.
I am completely hearing you! Sort of in the same boat that you are... it helps that I have a very strong personality which has helped me when feeling like I was dealing with a parenting issue alone. (to clarify: I never had to deal alone, but some days it sure felt like it!!) DH is very non-confrontational and will often look the other way to avoid unpleasantness. Not my style!

Unfortunately, that same strong personality was inherited by my 2nd child... and layed the foundation for many many many head-butting battles.
I did pick my battles carefully and took care not to be picky about the small stuff.

I firmly believe that it's a parents job to raise a child up to become an independent, responsible, respectful, productive adult. I focused on respect and helped my teens foster interests which led to higher education and eventually career choices. Whenever they began to stray from the small goals we set then I reined them in - hard. They learned that I would NOT let them get too far down the path to self destruction. Believe me... they tested that. In soooo many ways.

Just remember that there are no cookie-cutter answers and treat each child the way that best affects them personally. Treating them equally for the sake of being fair doesn't always work. For child #4, all I have to do is look upset or angry and she is instantly remorseful. I rarely have to take her discipline a step further. Now, #2 & #3 are another story. They are much more stubborn and enjoy pushing my buttons. It takes a LOT more than a "look" to get them to realize that they've gone too far.
 

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If your son is stealing, report him to police. If he's being violent to family, report him to the police. If he's drinking or using drugs, force him into treatment. If he's just doing stupid things, revoke all privileges. If he's skipping school, take him by the hand and go through the school day with him -- strive for maximum embarrassment before his friends.

The one thing you do not do is protect him from the consequences of his actions. If he gets arrested, let him sit in jail until he figures a way out. Do not pay his bail. If he's failing at school, allow the school to flunk him. Natural consequences have a greater impact than parental discipline.
I think I disagree with this. Once you involve the legal system you are risking raising a career criminal. You also need to be aware that there are long term consequences for this kind of action and it almost never works out in your favor. Kids whose parents call the cops on them usually do not turn around later in life and say "thanks, you got me arrested." Instead, it often morphs into a lifelong hatred. The worst thing you can do is take an angry kid and put them into a traumatizing situation. Create your own consequences. Let the school deliver consequences. Do everything in your power to keep your child out of the legal system or they will end up ostracized by all but the criminal elements of society. If you start calling the cops on your child and they end up putting them in placement or juvenile hall they will only be around other troubled kids and that is who they will socialize with. You won't see any change in their behavior, often it only gets worse.
 

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Natural consequences have a greater impact than parental discipline.
I wish I could LIKE this twice!

I was that troubled kid. My parents gave me a choice, behave decently or move out. I chose the latter. It only took 2 years of fending for myself in the real world (starting at age 17) to straighten me out. I discovered I couldn't party all the time and still pay the bills, and I liked living indoors. :)

Switching gears a bit ... in this case, I think family counseling is in order, and Dad needs to learn how to be a Dad. It's time for him to man up. Don't let him cop out -- if the house were on fire, would you let him get away with saying, "I couldn't possibly help put it out; I'm no good at putting out fires!" Of course not. Well, your house in on fire
 
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