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I guess I fell off the wagon...

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I need help with the following issue: I started this program a couple months back and like stated it started to get worse before it got better and I guess I fell off the wagon. I was struggling as how to draw the line between discipline for things at home while we were having just as much trouble at school. Just as an example: since we were too into video games during the week to be worried about homework. Video games are now gone Monday - Friday, BUT that was also one of the privileges I was using as leverage. So should I do that because it's not just 1 day it's 5 automatic which was said not to do. There are so many issues at home and at school that I'm not sure how to integrate them together. Also, I have 2 other boys and with everything going on, sometimes I give a punishment or take away a privilege and then a few hours later with so much else going on can't even remember why I specifically gave it to him. Is this unusual? I think I just might be losing my mind!!!!!

My 17 year old daughter is having sex, getting high, skipping school and staying out up to 2 nights without permission...

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My 17 year old daughter is having sex, getting high, skipping school and staying out up to 2 nights without permission. Has anyone had a similar experience with positive results using this or another technique... please let me know... any programs you can recommend?


Best Comment:

Adolescence is a time of tremendous change. Too often, adults and teens think the primary task of adolescence is separation. Many consider adolescent rebellion to be a necessary part of the separation process. Indeed, there is a need for teens to begin loosening the connections between themselves and their parents. But this separation is not the most important change required. Adolescence is also a time for forming new connections-to one's peers, to the world outside family, to one's sexuality, to the deeper experience of self coming into awareness, and to one's innate spiritual longings. Separation from family is necessary primarily to open up space for all the new connections teens must forge. Curiosity fuels the drive to find new relationships and to experience the world beyond the confines of home.

Adolescence is life's first really conscious voyage of discovery. Teens are aware that they are on a profoundly important voyage, and this conscious awareness helps in guiding the voyage. Some are terrified and try to remain moored to their home dock as long as possible. Others are cautious and take several short cruises first before striking out for more distant ports. Some respond to the challenge and sail out directly to find their fate, while others are so thrilled by the adventure lying just over the horizon that they charge out like dog soldiers high on adrenaline. Human temperament varies widely, making it nearly impossible to make any universal generalization about teenagers.

Still, we can be sure that the majority of teens who experiment with marijuana are motivated primarily by a desire to satisfy their innate curiosity about the world. Whether they first try pot with trepidation or rush headlong into the experience, they are intrigued by what lies ahead for them. It is one of a thousand ways they are trying on new parts of the world to see how each fits for them. While they may be ignoring or denying the risks, the motivation propelling them is essentially healthy.

In many cases, however, adolescents are motivated to try drugs more by a desire to get away from home than to reach any given destination. Poverty, whether emotional, spiritual, or financial, has parched their family and grown sharp thorns on what should be comforting relationships. Cruelty, whether emotional, spiritual, physical, or sexual, has scorched away any desire for family, leaving some kids to stow away on whatever ship they can find. Family problems often contribute tremendously to the urge to find solace in alcohol and other drugs.

Finally, some adolescents are so discomforted by their own sense of failure and internal distress that the distraction that drugs offer is too powerful to resist. Depression and anxiety can bedevil teenagers just as deeply as they torment adults. The stress that kids bear today is far beyond any that most of us experienced during our youth. Success in college seems to be predicated on getting into the correct kindergarten. No wonder that any hint of a learning disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) plummets kids into feeling defective and doomed (see chapter 5). Whatever offers any hope of relief from these stressors is bound to be welcome.

Adolescence, then, is a time of fundamental transformation in perspective, basic connections, and identity. Because this process of transformation takes place over several years, impatience and urgency are common, if not legendary, among teenagers. The experience of being “all dressed up with no place to go” pervades the adolescent's life, especially sexually. Having a driver's license but not owning a car symbolically defines the teen years. On a more abstract level, teens often have a fully formed concept of independence and freedom but still lack some of the basic tools to realize this goal. It is human nature for them to focus more on the barriers placed on their freedom than on the preparatory tasks that lie ahead of them.

It is within this maelstrom of powerful forces that drugs are first encountered, and their effects can be profoundly seductive. The French novelist Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” I suspect that this advice applies more to wearied adults than to fresh teens, for whom seeking new landscapes is precisely their most important challenge. Their recently developed abstract thinking is all the new eyes they need. Now their job is to seek new landscapes that satisfy their own unique needs and desires and then to connect emotionally to these new vistas.

Marijuana provides much more of the “new eyes” that Proust describes than the “new landscapes” that teens need. Suddenly, with a minimum of effort, a little pot overlays the world with a superficial sense of novelty. Being high seems to transform everything and passively grants teens an experience of great connectedness. This new world is probably nothing like the one Mom and Dad live in, so an immediate sense of separation appears. Almost magically, marijuana seems to leapfrog an adolescent away from childhood. The chemically induced experience substitutes for actual, hard-won psychological development, and it can continue to substitute for emotional growth for years. While giving a teen an illusion of having jumped ahead in development, marijuana, like any drug, can actually delay and distort maturation. The chronic pot smoker may wake one day to find that peers have long ago embarked successfully into their adult lives, leaving him or her behind, without the skills required to move ahead.

Before looking at how the experience of being high on marijuana can substitute for successfully completing developmental tasks, I want to take a moment to point out that as parents we face our own developmental challenges as our children pass through adolescence. After years of taking direct responsibility for managing the risks facing our children, we now need to begin stepping back. If teens are to begin taking greater responsibility for themselves, we have to make space for this to happen. Except in situations that threaten basic health and safety, we gradually have to move into the role of consultants to our kids' lives, where before we had been producer and director. The timing of this shift in roles is critical and difficult. While some of us turn too much freedom and responsibility over to our children too soon, others hold on too long. There is no perfection here, only trial and error.

Shifting into the role of consultant goes beyond a change in child-rearing techniques. It represents a developmental step for the parent as well. Impulses to overcontrol the world that went unchecked during our child's early life suddenly become the focus of intense power struggles with adolescents. To pick battles wisely, we parents need clarity about what lies under our control and what does not. We need to have enough self-worth to feel valuable to our children even when we've been relegated to the sidelines of their lives. It helps to be solid in our faith, whatever form that might take. Without faith that the universe provides the support teens need to mature into healthy adults, the next few years are going to be filled with anxiety. It is a rare parent who understands that anxiety about his or her teen is not the teen's fault. Anxiety about the normal process of separating from our partially-matured teenage child is our responsibility. It is not the child's job to soothe our fears or our dislike of “losing our babies.”

The initial experimentation with smoking grass is often a watershed moment in a child's life. Despite all the antidrug messages received in school and at home, many teens and preteens decide to take the risk of getting high soon after the opportunity first presents itself. This single act is a clear step away from the path prescribed by most parents. In households where the importance of not using drugs has been emphasized, it is a direct act of disobedience. (We're ignoring for the moment kids who are introduced to smoking marijuana by their parents, either directly or by dipping into their parents' stash to get their first joint.) Trying marijuana for the first time is also an act of self-assertion. The child has weighed the issue, more or less carefully, and come to his or her own decision. At this point, teens do not doubt that they are charting their own course. They are claiming their freedom, and no one can control them. That's a fact.

An adolescent's decision to smoke marijuana is often seen very differently by the two sides-parents and kids. The disparity in how each perceives this moment is important, because it forms the framework for a lot of failed prevention programs and a lot of unsuccessful family discussions. Author David Wilmes asked each group why they believe kids use drugs and found some interesting differences (Facts about Kids' Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs). Adults gave the following reasons:

• School: “Can't those teachers see what's going on? Don't the kids get any supervision?”
• Other parents: “Well, what can you expect from a home like that?”
• Peer group: “My kids never had any problems till they got in with that bunch.”
• Pushers or alcohol sales: “Put the pushers in jail and close up those sleazy places.”
• Media: “What can you expect when the movies take it for granted that it's cool to use drugs?”
• Police: “If the cops were on the ball, they'd pick up those kids the first time they got out of line.” Or “If the cops wouldn't hound the kids as if they were all criminals, they wouldn't even think of using drugs.”
• Role models: “Those rock stars are all into drugs-just like professional athletes. And these are the people our kids want to imitate.”

These reasons generally point to external factors. Perhaps parents are reluctant to believe that their children would willfully defy them unless they were being pressured by others. Parents tend to place great emphasis on peer pressure as the cause of adolescent drug use. As a result, programs designed to prevent drug use are heavily weighted toward helping kids resist peer pressure. This perspective is guided by the belief that drug pushers are lurking around every corner, waiting for our kids. Without these pushers, teens would follow their instincts and mind their parents.

But teens tell a different story. When asked why they think kids use drugs, teens gave the following reasons:

• “I wanted to see how I'd feel.”
• “I wanted to be part of the group.”
• “I didn't want to be a nerd.”
• “I just wanted to have some fun.”
• “I like to take risks.”
• “I'm no baby. I can make up my own mind.”
• “I like to experiment with new things.”
• “I wanted to feel grown up.”

Unlike adults' perspectives, these reasons are more internal. While teens may be underestimating the presence and power of peer pressure, they are also owning responsibility for their decisions to a degree greater than adults seem willing to give them credit for. This is completely consistent with the need teenagers have to take control of their lives. They are intrigued by the wide world, including sometimes by what the experience of being high would feel like, and they even enjoy the risk it might entail. No one thinks it odd when a teen courts the risk of rock climbing, sailboarding, or fast driving. These risky behaviors may make us nervous, but we see them as normal adolescent behavior, part of defining for themselves what their limits are. The impulse to experiment with marijuana has the same lure as other risky choices.

Understanding adolescents' perspectives is an important step to being able to communicate with teens. The temptations that attract them and the desires resident in their hearts form part of the cutting edge by which they learn their true identity. Adolescence is an important time for beginning to come to terms with adult desires. From this standpoint, teens are teaching us something important when they list the internal reasons for using drugs. As parents, however, we are often made nervous by the fact that this is occurring precisely when our kids are developing the capacity and freedom to satisfy these desires if they choose. And one simple, available, and relatively passive avenue for exploring their newfound desires is through experimenting with marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs.

He has literally been living out of the jeep for 4 nites...

Parents Support One Another @ = I need help with the following issue:

17/18 yr old son out of highschool 6 mths with no motivation to do NOTHING other than sleep and play WOW. He says he's applied for many jobs, however he wears sweats covered in doghairs & a black stocking cap when he goes to apply. Who WOULD hire you. He & his dog trashed my downstairs w/o effort to clean it up. I gave him option to clean up living space/get a job/pay some room&board OR move out. He moved out to his non-working jeep which sits in front of my house. He has literally been living out of the jeep for 4 nites, with the big dog too. Has no money for food. I have allowed him to use my car when he's gone to apply for jobs, but am no longer because he can't seriously be looking for work dressed like that. He ran an extension cord from the house to his jeep to run a space heater and his computer!!! I removed the extension cord. I asked him last nite if he'd like to sit down and discuss the situation and my expectations. He said 'not interested'. WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS KID??? He is *extremely* smart but for some reason thinks not working is better than working and paying taxes. For some reason thinks playing the role of "victim living in a car" is okay. UGH!!!!!!!! PLEASE HELP!



How to Get Your Adult Children to Move Out—

1. Communicate. Let your adult children know that you want and expect them to move out. Explain that this is good for them, good for you, and good for your relationship. Be kind and loving, but be firm.

2. Show a united front. Don't risk having one parent riding the fence and the other being the enforcer. Have a discussion with your spouse before you discuss the topic with your child. Make sure that both of you are on the same page. You can even create a list of mutually agreeable chores, time lines, household rules, expectations, etc.

o Agree that neither of you will amend the rules without discussing it with the other parent. One parent riding the fence to avoid confrontation will only cause resentment between the two of you.

o Agree to communicate with your spouse weekly or more often about issues that arise, progress that is being made, problems that are developing, etc. By staying on top of it you will always know what the other is facing when you aren't around. Make special time to have this talk and perhaps use it as a chance to sneak away for a nice dinner once a week. You deserve it.

o Discuss the plan with any other moms & dads that may not live in the home. If your ex is in the loop they may be able to help. Just by knowing they can stay out of the manipulation or avoid being dragged into the new policies. If they know your plan and your rules they can also help enforce them. By having all of the moms & dads in agreement the kids will feel the pressure.

o If both of you sit down together for a moms & dads' meeting and discuss the new rules you'll have a better chance of the rules being followed and everyone being happy once they're presented to the child.

o If one parent is easily swayed or will cave if confronted by the child you should point out that weakness when you are setting up the rules in your moms & dads' meeting.

o Realize that a step-parent has just as much right to decide what goes on in the home as the biological parent. By marrying into the family you were given a say in how the home is ruled.

3. Make a plan together. Living independently requires an income and a variety of different life skills. Help your kids analyze their situation and plot a realistic course of action.

4. Stay involved. Once you have a plan, meet with your kids weekly (or more often as needed) to communicate, assess the situation, identify short-term tasks, and especially to recognize and celebrate progress! Collaboration and cooperation between moms & dads and their kids can be a beautiful thing, but it takes lots of energy.

5. Consider a no-guests rule. Sharing your house with your adult kids can be challenging enough, without opening your home and your refrigerator to your kids' friends.

o Be firm and address the situation. If necessary, explain it to the friends as a new rule.
o Consider making the bedroom a no guest zone.
o Don't be shy. Address the subject of having girlfriends/boyfriends over. Forbid your home from being used for their sexual convenience. If possible, forbid "dates" from coming over as soon as possible so bad habits don't develop.
o It is perfectly reasonable to tell the kids they cannot entertain friends or other guests in your home, and this gives your kids a powerful incentive to find their own living situation.

6. Implement a list of chores and a curfew. At the very least, your kids should clean up after themselves and be considerate of you and other residents at all times. Don't feel guilty about this or let your kids squirm out of it; they will need domestic skills and basic discipline to make it on their own.

7. Don't provide all the meals. While your adult kids are living with you, make certain they contribute their fair share to buying food, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards.

o Start by asking them to make a quick run to the store for basic items. Make it their job to buy certain grocery items every weekend such as milk, cereal, bread, eggs, etc. They'll learn to budget their money and schedule the time to get it done.

8. Collect rent. The kids may be living with their parent(s), but if they're adults, they should help to support themselves. Be firm about this - it will help build your kids' self-esteem as well as keeping your resentment in check. Start small and increase the monthly amount over time until it approximates the cost of a studio or roommate situation.

9. Live your life. Socialize, redecorate your house, get a dog or cat. Don't let your kids cramp your style - that phase of your life is over!

10. Get some support. Talk with friends who are facing the same dilemma; enlist the help of a counselor, relatives, your church, and others who care about you and your kids to help you keep your resolve and help your kids take the plunge and move out. Make sure you and your spouse are communicating.

11. Report any unkind behavior or rude remarks to your spouse. You should both be aware of how the child is treating the other person. Take aggressive behavior very seriously.

12. Don't make living at home too comfortable or convenient. You are a parent, not a butler or maid. Consider removing televisions, video games, and computers, or at least limiting access to them, especially if these things are distracting the kids from getting jobs, saving money, and completing other parts of the move-out plan.

13. Stay positive. Focus on helping your kids towards independence and on the progress you and your kids have made, not on the negatives.

14. Be firm. If your kids disregard the rules of the house or treat you with disrespect, you must introduce consequences, up to and including forcing them to move out. Taking your adult offspring to a homeless shelter or changing the locks is excruciating, but it is kinder than hating them for continuing to take advantage of you.

15. Draw the line. There are some things you must not allow your kids to do under your roof, including dealing or using drugs, dangerous or illegal activities, and anything that endangers or infringes on the rights of other family members. If your kids persist in such activities, you may have to throw them out. If your family has conservative views on sexual activities you should also restrict the access to your home.

16. Set Goals and Deadlines. Give them a time line by which point they need to move out. You can change the locks if necessary but do try to have them move out on their own.

17. Stand by your rules. It's tiring to enforce them all the time but by ignoring some rules they assume you will cave on the time line to move out.

18. Work with your Spouse. Don't let your child gain the upper hand by turning you away from the rules that you and your Spouse worked out together. It's easy to get defensive and take the side of the child over your Spouse but remember... You and your Spouse are the rulers of your Castle, not you and your Child. Defensive Moms & dads become Single moms & dads quickly and is it really necessary to lose a Spouse because you can't tell your adult child "NO"?

19. Stay Out of the Drama. Your child(ren) have the ability to trigger you by what they say and do. Move past the emotion and drama. You are NOT a bad mother or father, you did the best job you could with the resources that you had and what you knew at the time. You are not helping yourself or your child by allowing yourself to be held hostage by anger, fear or even mental illness. Get support someone to talk to that will give you clarity on what is real and what techniques you can use to be heard.

20. Don’t Buy into the Poor Me Stuff. There are always excuses for not doing things. Instead of listening to what your child is saying. Pay attention to what they are doing. Focus on their actions and their plans. When they start to complain about how hard it is. Be understanding but keep focused on the “action” that they are taking and the ”plans” they have. There is the clarity. Your child may be arranging lots of job interviews but not getting hired. What could be happening here is for the child setting up interviews may be the desired result for them. They might have no intention of actually getting a job.

21. Teaching Life Skills. Don't think that by doing your child's laundry and cooking for him/her and handing out money is preparing them for the real world. They need to learn to take care of themselves. You must be firm and be ready for resistance. Remember, they are used to you doing everything for them and they may not be ready to give that up but you must prepare them to live life when the time comes you are no longer around. You may think being hard on them is tough but doing everything for them makes them helpless and lazy adults and it will be even harder for them once you're not around.

22. Be frank about this. Drug use or friends who use drugs are not allowed on your property. Do not allow them in your home. If they have listened this far, then possibly they will listen to you about this. If they are high then wait to comment about this. Make sure you are not high.


• Adult kids are masters at playing your emotions. The longer you give in the longer they will play you like a fiddle and the more unhappy you will be. It is your responsibility as a Parent to make them ready for the real world. Letting your child stay home and taking care of him/her like a Maid is YOUR fault, not the child's. If you baby them then they have no reason to leave do they?

• Ask them how much they've saved for a deposit on a new place. Help them keep track of their savings if you need to. Reward good saving practices by offering additional rewards as incentives. For example, after they've saved a predetermined portion of what they would need you can offer them certain furniture pieces, buy a microwave but don't allow it out of the box, help them pick out kitchen items or furnishings. Keep those in a "storage area" assigned for the new place but off limits for now. Seeing the items will further encourage independence.

• Discourage them from spending money on unneeded items. Are they buying video games, guitars, clothes, eating out with friends? Help them make a budget. Keep your eyes open and point out unnecessary spending. Explain to them what it's really like in the real world.

• Don't allow them to ban you from their room. It's your home. You should feel encouraged to go in from time to time, look for expensive and unneeded purchases, make sure it is clean. If they argue, remove the door from the hinges.

• Don't baby them, but do support them.

• Don't just hold them to the same chores you had them doing as a child. They're an adult and capable of not only contributing but helping you make improvements to your home. Even if they are employed you should feel comfortable assigning them more demanding and labor intensive tasks. For example: cleaning out the garage and repainting it, cleaning out the attic or other storage spaces, removing paneling and repainting walls, filing old papers and documents, organizing photos, redoing rooms in the house. The list is endless.

• Don't provide them with any additional conveniences at your expense. If they want conveniences they should get a job. This includes cell phones, cars, insurance, internet and even food costs depending on how much you are able to provide.

• Experts agree that the best way to discuss – and stick to – these household rules is to draft up a customized contract between you and your adult kids living at home. Schedule a mandatory family meeting.

• Get a calendar and establish a time line for getting a new job or additional jobs and moving out. Mark it on the calendar and let them know up front the date is firm.

• Helping them monitor their money and spending is essential. Consider setting up a savings account with both your names. You can monitor the progress and any money withdrawn won't impact your financial standing as it would for a checking account.

• If they are legitimately unable to find work ask your boss if they can be brought in one or two days a week for minimum wage. Have them file, etc. If you're able you can also take them to work and have them assist you with getting caught up on your work that could potentially make you more money. You may need to pay them out of your pocket but it could save you money long term.

• If they don't have a car, drop them off in a business or retail district and when you pick them up ask to see the application forms.

• If they spend too much time on line or on the phone, playing video games, etc. you should consider getting rid of the internet or phone line or eliminate their access to those luxuries. Consider locking up video game consoles, controllers and games.

• If you kid won't take initiative you can start speaking to neighbors. Find out who needs their lawns mowed, fence painted, etc. Because of your efforts you should feel comfortable being the one to collect the money once the job is complete and take a percentage. You can also make sure they did the job as instructed.

• If your child DOES have a post-graduate job, but its entry level (though on a career-oriented path), the odds are that they won't be able to afford living on their own just yet. As long as they contribute to the household's utilities, buy their own groceries (cooking for themselves), pitch in with household chores, and clean up after themselves, you have nothing to worry about. Give it a few years, as long as you can get along. Their salary will go up in time. Remember, many cultures are based on large families living together, and in today's financial crunch the job market is rough. Give them bonus points if they pay for their own health insurance.

• If your kids do require moving back home after school, after a job loss or divorce you should establish up front that you are doing this as a favor and it is temporary.

• In some areas it is common for kids to stay in the parental home longer than in other areas. The cost of living in a region is the main reason but there are other factors. Just because you moved out when you turned 18 doesn't make it practical today. An 18 year old in a large city will not be able to support themselves as easily as an 18 year old in a small town. If you're in a large city you may want to anticipate them staying longer or start the planning while they are still in school.

• Plan ahead! The concepts of responsibility, accountability, and independence should be introduced to kids gradually over a period of several years. If you overindulge your kids or allow them to feel a sense of entitlement, it will be very difficult for them to become successful, self-sufficient adults.

• Refuse to feel guilty. Remember, moving out and becoming self-sufficient is in your kids' best interests. Letting them stay at home and take advantage of you is not only miserable, but irresponsible.

• Remember it's your turn now No one wants to feel like they're letting their kids down, but if younger kids see their adult sibling still living at home when they are grown up, then what is to stop them from doing the same thing. You are not obligated to keep kids at home with you untill they are in their 30's or 40's. That was not part of the deal. If they make poor adult choices that is their fault and not yours.

• Think of jobs around the house you would need to pay someone for and assign those to be done by a certain deadline.

• You should stay on them. Nag if you must. Get them up early and watch them leave the house in presentable clothes to begin searching for work. Remind them you are doing them a favor and they should not confuse this time with summer vacation.


• Adult kids living at home who are over-parented and over-supervised will rebel as quickly as teenagers, so you need to develop some strategies to establish a new adult-to-adult relationship – quick!

• Do not put your own financial future on the line to support your adult kids living at home. You do neither yourself nor your kids any good by creating extra debt or obligations for yourself.

• Don't allow them to use credit cards. If they can't afford to pay them they can be digging into a bigger hole. Confiscate them.

• Don't be cruel! No matter how annoying they may be now, they are still your kids, and you should treat them as such.

• Drug use or people carrying drugs onto your property is illegal. For that matter any illegal activity by your adult child exposes all of you.

• Drug use or their friends who use drugs should not be allowed to enter your property.

• If you don’t know where the money to make the situation work will come from, you need to think long and hard about whether you can help your adult kids by having them live at your home.

• It may be hard to remember sometimes, but adult kids living at home are still adults. A sure way to set yourself up for conflict is to over-parent your adult kids.

• Keep an eye on bills coming in to make sure they have not opened lines of credit that can't be justified or paid for.

• Keep an eye on expenses and utilities. Keep records and set new rules if you find certain utilities costing significantly more.

• Once your kids are moved out, resist their pleas to move back in, especially if the living situation was difficult previously. It is usually better to lend your support in other ways, like helping them to find an affordable living situation or lending them money for utilities, etc. if you can afford it. They may struggle at times just to keep a roof over their heads, but they will probably prove resourceful and resilient enough to recover eventually. It may be better to let them be homeless for a time than to allow them to become helpless and dependent adults.

• This is one of the most difficult tasks in all of parenting. It takes a lot of patience and love, and sometimes professional guidance, to get through it.

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