Teen Angst

Helping adolescents deal with anger and other emotions effectively

Teens and Parents: A Battle of the Wills

In one corner you have the parent coming in with vast years of experience and knowledge and in the other corner you have a teen coming in with a little more than a decade of worldly wisdom. Don't underestimate the teen's power. Read More


If you are a good parent there is no battle of wills, perhaps an occasional squabble, but that's as far as it goes. Most parents are considered 'good enough' and quite frankly it is no where near good enough. Most parents try to enforce their own standards upon their children and mould their children into a specific shape, rather than allowing a child to attain to a standard that suits them, to let them develop organically. Using the 'tidy your room' example - some people like a clean space, others have a bit of mess, whilst others are quite happy living in a pig sty - each to their own. As a parent I like my space to be relatively ordered but am not too fussed by a bit of mess and I keep the communal areas and my areas at this limit. My teens, however, seem to be generally content with the 'pig sty' effect, this is their space, not mine and therefore if they want to leave their clothes, books, make-up etc strewn across the floor then I leave them to it. I do make passing comments regarding the fact that I don't know how they live in that mess, but they seem to have an organised mess in that they know where all their stuff is. As I don't insist that they clean their room to my standards there is never any antagonism - and guess what? Those passing comments finally acheive the outcome - they'll spend an entire day cleaning their rooms, without my asking or demanding it - and I'll give them a big smile and say 'Wow, you're room looks amazing, who did that?' - We have a laugh and joke and a week later it's a pig sty again. So what? Is the fighting really all that necessary? If we allow our children to do things that we don't want them to, make sure we know where they are and who they're with when they're doing them, make sure they know the consequences (such as hanging around in a group in the park will likely draw police attention whether they've done anything wrong or not), of their actions and be there to support them when they get it wrong - which they will - then there is no need for our children to lie or keep secrets from us. For example your daughter wants to wear a skirt that you consider too short - you allow them to wear it but make sure that you tell them that others might jump to conclusions, that other girls might think they're a 'trollop/tart' or something to that affect and other boys might think that they're 'easy/up for it/etc' - my daughters went through a very brief 'short skirt period' as they discovered what I told them was true and they didn't like the reactions they received or the attention it drew to them.
I was raised by 'good enough' parents, which has caused me a lot of problems in later life, I used to be a 'good enough' parent to my children and now I keep telling them I screwed up big time, I've acknowledged the mistakes I've made and told them why I've made them and apologised for making them. And now I consider myself to be a good but not perfect parent.
If the teens are playing up they've learnt how to play up from watching their parents primarily. Yes there are other factors involved, such as peer pressure. Rebellion is not normal, it's because the teens are pissed off with the amount of control, coercion and manipulation the parents are wielding over them. We even teach our kids manipulation before they're at school - If you get ready now mummy will treat you to a toy/chocolate etc that's manipulating your child to do what you want by offering a reward, as opposed to explaining why you need to do something and it would be really great if your child will keep you company on this adventure you need to go on - the good old carrot and stick formula. We learn by making mistakes, if the parents do not allow the children to make mistakes and even worse, shout at/scream at/belittle or humiliate their children for making those mistakes without their permission then how on earth will the children ever learn to grow to an interdependent as opposed to a co-dependent state?
Personally I think we can learn an awful lot from our children but as adults and parents we don't - we have a terrible tendency to demonize them because we already 'know it all' - let's blame the kids, after all it's far easier than examining our own shortcomings isn't it?
Fortunately in my mid 40's I've finally matured, my parents in their 70's however still behave like 2 yr olds throwing temper tantrums!

You've made a brilliant

You've made a brilliant comment. I'm a 19 year old male nearing the end of adolescence (it was painful), and a lot of the ideas here were used successfully in my own upbringing. My situation was a little different though since my parents separated and had very distinct parenting styles. One used your methods, and the other used the methods of what you would call a "good enough parent," so I've had good experience seeing both sides of the spectrum from a child's perspective. My mom believed in giving me and my siblings advice, explaining things to us, and then letting us do whatever it is that we teens do (unless it is especially dangerous or foolish, of course), and I can't remember having even squabbled with her. I think her style helped me become a good, responsible person with a healthy respect for authority and the motivation to live a productive, happy life. Fortunately, she did most of the parenting since my dad's style has him control (or attempt to control) most aspects of our lives down to eating and sleeping through what you described as manipulation and coercion. His parenting led to quite a bit more conflict and rebellion until I pretty much stopped going to his house at all. I suppose that end result could have been due to me getting tired of going back and forth, the predisposition for sons to favor their mothers, or the fact that my mom's house was closer to my high school, but the parenting styles certainly contributed. I'm just hoping that each generation can learn successively better parenting; it could solve a lot of problems I think.

Winning Your Case Depends On

Winning Your Case Depends On You
By Joseph Goldberg, Consultant

Anyone fighting over child custody, visitation
rights or, decision making as a non-custodial
parent should listen closely, because there are
not a lot of professionals that give advise to
lawyers in quite the way that I do.

In high conflict divorce and separation cases,
if a parent makes a false allegation of abuse
or destabilizes a child's trust in the other
parent or exposes the child to adult information
or badmouths the other parent to the child or
interferes with visit-
ation or blocks a child from telephone access
or uses a sibling to interfere with the other
parents authority, then this parent is program-
ming the child with parental alienation.

If you haven't heard about parental alienation,
you have a lot to learn. I would recommend
you google: parental alienation education.
For others that know about it and continue to
litigate and re-litigate this issue without
success, let me explain why things aren't get-
ting better.

Spoiler Alert
This is going to sound self-serving but it
doesn't make it any less true.

# 1 reason why things are not getting better:

You depend on a lawyer that's not getting any
input from an expert in parental alienation, or
the situation is worse you're acting pro per. I
want you to know there's a far better solution
but it requires making a crucial decision.

A. decision to hire a consultant.

When you hire a consultant, they can tell you,
“what is parental alienation” and “ what isn't
parental alienation. “ Unless you don't really
care, and if you don't care, you're only hold-
ing yourself back. Is that fair to you ?

Judges are not interested in two parents that
are totally at opposite ends in their parenting
style and polarized. That won't help any
parent-child relational problem. Judges in this
scenario will tune you out and look to appoint
some type of professional to give them guid-
ance i.e., a lawyer for the child, a mediator, a
parenting co -ordinator, a child therapist, a
custody evaluator, a supervisor of visitation, a
family therapist or a judge could decide to
empower a child to choose whether or not to
see or communicate with a parent they reject.

Many parents cannot afford a lawyer because
they believe that it will cost more than they can
afford. Sadly that is not always true because
they may have money but they're just not sure
how far that money can go. You need a
consultant to answer that concern.. In this
situation a parent can hire a consultant to select
a lawyer to work with them in an unbundled
legal services agreement.

When this happens two things start to change.

The first thing to change is that you now have a
lawyer and the other thing to change is that you
now have the best lawyer you could ever hope
to find. Why ? Because your consultant gives
the lawyer the input he or she needs to win
your case. I've been involved in many cases of
David versus Goliath, and I've seen the lawyer
with the $1,000. hourly rate lose. Money doesn't
win in court, the better argument does.

A competent lawyer becomes a very good law-
yer because of the input he or she receives
from the consultant. Stop looking for parental
alienation lawyers and focus on finding a
consultant available to help.

By the way, I define a win as an intervention
that restores and repairs the bond between the
alienated child and the rejected parent. A win
is not defined by getting sole custody or get -
ting 50/50 time sharing.

Still wondering why you need a consultant ?

Lawyers are not going to admit their short-
comings because if they did you would be look-
ing for a better lawyer. So they won't admit
that in your particular case they haven't got a
clue where to begin.

A lawyer will not spend the time or bill you for
the time it takes to identify the cause of the
ruptured relationships within your family. There
are only two ways to get to that answer; a full
psychological evaluation of all the members of
the family, or hire a consultant with an expertise
in parental child relational problems. The later is
less costly, and provides voluminous additional

Did your lawyer screw the pooch in selecting a
mental health professional to begin counseling
for your child and or for your family ? Did your
lawyer come to some backdoor agreement with
the opposing counsel to select a mental health
professional without you knowing who they are
or even why they were agreed to ?

Are you stuck in a situation where a mental
health professional is actually making things
worse,not better ?

If that sounds like your situation then of course
you need to hire a consultant, because if you
don't, things will change again, your parent-
child relationship is going to get much worse
and that is not even the worst part, the worst
part is that your child won't be getting the treat-
ment they need for themselves. Can you turn
your back on your child, and give up knowing
that ?

Please call a consultant before you do.

Cases often have mental health professionals
with the best of intentions practicing outside
their areas of expertise, it's unethical, it's un-
professional, but getting them to step aside so
a competent practitioner can take their place is
not going to happen hiring a consultant.

Trust me when I say that if this is your reality
today, you're in the quicksand and I'm the one
trying to throw you the rope.

Many times a parent will ask me during a
consultation if I will talk to their lawyer before
they hire me and I say no. Lawyers do not
understand what I do, and cannot recommend
someone that provides a service they're not
that familiar with and why should they ?

I will tell you this much, after I have read the
case files I do talk to their lawyers and as soon
as they hear my strategy in the case they're
grateful for my involvement.

That is why your case depends on you. Nobody
can tell you if its smart to hire a consultant but

I also know when a parent calls for a consult-
tion just to get a little free advice. Often times
a parent pretends to be a parent of an alien-
ated child and they aren't, they just want a few
tips or an advantage over the other parent,
some have been accused of alienation and want
to know what to expect.

It's not that different when a lawyer tells an
alienating parent they can't help them to seize
custody unless they can get some proof that the
other parent is a really bad parent or proof that
the child is in fear of the other parent, even if it'
might be totally untrue.

The truth is that parents are falsely accused of
parental alienation just the same as parents are
falsely accused of child abuse. I have the good
fortune of helping parents on both sides of this
issue. When you're accused of alienation you
need a consultant to rule it in or to rule it out.
Taking a chance without a consultant is a sure
bet that you'll get a poor outcome in court, it's
all up to you.

Nobody can guarantee that you will win your
case, but let me put it this way, your best option
is to hire that consultant. Share this article.
Visit my website at www.ParentalAlienation.ca

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Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, M.S., L.P.C., is the author of The Anger Workbook for Teens.


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