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My site is dedicated to helping parents of troubled children, teens, and young adults, and information is drawn from up-to-date best practices and research.  Use the search box to find information about managing challenging behaviors and self-care for parents. You really can turn your family’s lives around and help you child reach a safe, functioning …

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How to respond to a manipulative and difficult teenager

How to respond to a manipulative and difficult teenager

Parents really can learn how to talk to a difficult teenager and reduce fights or frustration, and improve communication.  This article describes effective responses to verbal manipulation or accusations most common in teenagers. The right words in the right tone can help you regain your authority and model maturity.

WHAT you say and do depends on your unique situation, your teenager, and what the problem is. There may be ‘magic’ words that work for your child but not others.  You’ll want to experiment and modify them over time because your child will change.  It’s up to you to thoughtfully choose which responses are effective at reducing negative behaviors and improving the relationship.

HOW you say it may be as important as what you say, because controlling your voice and attitude is an important skill for effectiveness. Yet pulling this off means getting an iron grip on your own feelings and behavior.

Borderline children – how they function and how you can help

Borderline children – how they function and how you can help

Are you ready to bang your head on a wall?  Do you want to abandon your child in the wilderness?  Children with borderline personality disorder (BPD) traumatize everyone around them. Even their drama is relentless, strive for compassion–your borderline child will suffer more than you in every important aspect of life.  But parents can have hope–there are numerous practices they can use to improve their’s child’s behavior and these practices work. The most effective are skills drawn from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

How to manage defiance and oppositional defiant disorder

How to manage defiance and oppositional defiant disorder

Typical traits of children with oppositional defiant disorder.

They act younger than they are. Don’t expect them to mature quickly.
They live in the here and now, and can’t think about the past or future.  They don’t see how their actions result in a series of consequences.  They can learn sometimes, but only if it is pointed out immediately after an incident.
They don’t notice their effect on others.  Sometimes you ask others how they feel immediately after an incident, or you gently report how it makes you feel.
Their brain is easily overloaded, and they have a hard time with changes.  And yet, you can use this overloading problem to your advantage.
They cannot follow your reasoning, so don’t try.
Defiance may be a strength in their future. With mature skills, they’ll better resist negative things they’ll face in life.

Unrelenting defiance is a true disability that negatively affects a child’s life and future.  I’ve seen highly intelligent defiant or ODD diagnosed children experience academic failure or enough suspensions or expulsion to hold them back a grade.  This is a can’t-win-for-losing path that really sucks, doesn’t it?