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I'm the single parent of an out of control 17-year-old. How do I get back in control?


Amy Sherman Replied: Children at that age are all trying to exert independence and develop their autonomy. However, no matter how undisciplined and belligerent a child may be, one thing is certain. They actually want guidelines and structure in their lives. I suggest that you don't become just the disciplinarian, but rather elicit the help of your child to create some rules and regulations in the home. The rules, however, should balance the rights of the parent with the rights of the children. Share your concerns so that the child understands that there's a reason behind your guidelines and it's not just to "control his/her life." Children tend to rebel against their "disciplinarian" parents and take advantage of their "too permissive" parents, but will respect and honor parents who are open, yet firm and consistent.
Posted On 2007-11-12 10:31:40
Harry Panjwani Replied: This situation calls for love, patience, and understanding although engaging in discussion can be frustrating. How does this child do in school? What about friends? Is the child engaging in a ‘turf' battle to determine who is in charge? Pay particular attention to the habits of eating, sleeping and watch signs for tobacco, alcohol and possibly marijuana use. Are there other adults involved in his life? It is a good idea to lean on extended family for additional support if they live relatively close by. Make a point of inviting them over to visit on a routine basis so you don't feel so alone with this problem, and your child feels they are part of a larger family. Don't be concerned if the teen ‘tests' everyone in his/her life. They want to weed out the people that really don't care. Encourage participation in something the child enjoys so he/she will excel and that will do wonders for their confidence. You are right to be concerned and it is a difficult situation, but don't give up - it is well worth the effort!
Posted On 2004-04-04 20:41:13
Bernie Pepchinski Replied: Not easy, but worth the effort for both of you. This is not the time for easy fixes. You can't really take control, but you can help your teen learn from experience and consequence; not an answer parents want to acknowledge. Don't give answers; ask questions about the behavior or problem. They have already learned by what we do - not by what we say! Allow the child to deal with the consequence, for example, they won't work, and they don't have money. Don't be the bank of MOM or DAD, and don't leave money around to be "borrowed," it sets both of you up for stress and hard feelings. Get a support network, but not of your friends or family (as well meaning as they may be), try your Community Mental Health services, or a parenting support group.
Posted On 2004-04-04 19:00:06
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