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Topic : Setting Boundaries

Number of Replies: 344
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Created on : Thursday, June 30, 2005, 01:21:13 pm
Author : dataimport
It's important to set healthy boundaries for and with your teen. Share your strategies.

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March 5, 2008, 11:14 am CST

re:disrespect from teenage son/possible parental alienation

Quote From: jaimie1974

At age 15, it is time for your fiance to deal with the disrespect face to face with his son. It is important that your fiance NOT wait until his son has an incident and then talk with him. Instead, he should talk to his son and have a conversation (not an argument/fight) about what kind of behavior he expects at his home. It would be best if he did this while driving in the car- that way, the son doesnt have to maintain eye contact (it can be difficult for teens) and also, he cant get up and leave. Your fiance should approach his son, talking about positive things in his life- bring up topics that his son is interested in, etc., and then say positive things, something like, You are growing up so fast, you are a young man now, not a boy. . . That is a good seg-way into talking about how a man should behave. Dont look to the ex wife for any support; it hasnt been there in the past and it isnt going to suddenly appear. Instead, youve got to deal with this on your own- it is probably better this way anyway. You dont know for sure, but act with the assumption that the ex wife has said bad things about your fiance, and attempt to repair that damage by having your fiance spend time with  his son doing things that he (the son) wants to do. This isnt easy, but building a healthy relationship will be worth the work- best wishes!
Thank you for you reply and input. I should have also included the fact that my fiance has spoke with his son regarding his attitude, disrespect, etc on many occasions. He has spoke to him on occasions on their long drive home, and also in quiet settings. And yes, he does lecture him when it happens so he can call him on it right away. But it hasn't seemed to have made any difference. He has also tried to find things for the two of them to do together but his son has absolutely no interests outside of texting his friends. He doesn't enjoy sports of any kind, hobbies, etc. We also are concerned with the fact that his son has absolutely no friends who are boys - they have all been girls. He is unable to make friendships with boys which I don't understand. I have expressed my concern that it's possible his son suffers from depression and / or they should seek some kind of therapy but my fiance is afraid that will make matters worse. Like I mentioned before, the mother believes her son is "a normal teenager", and repeatedly suggests my fiance read books to understand child - now teen - behavior. It is so frustrating for my fiance because he can do nothing since he doesn't have primary custody. And it is frustrating for me to watch, since this has been going on for years and it is betting worse. My fiance is a wonderful man and it is difficult to watch him suffer - he wants so much for his son to want to hang out with him or show any interest whatsoever in his father but it just isn't there. Part of me feels that the damage has been done - damage that the mother has brainwashed into her son. I keep advising my fiance to hang in there, that even after all of these years of damaging behavior and bitterness shown by his ex wife, he has never ever made a negative comment about her to his son. I tell him that this will hopefully pay off in the future, when he matures and realizes what his mom had done.
March 13, 2008, 10:41 pm CDT

Girlfriend without limits

I am the parent of 17 year old twins.  My daughter was once friends with a girl who, because of her promiscuity and dysfuntional family, I suggested to my daughter that she would not be the best person to associate with. This girl would speak graphically regarding her sexual experiences.  At the time, the girl was 13 and bragged about having oral sex with a 21 year old man. When that relationship ended, she began a sexual relationship with his friend.  When my daughter inquired as to how she got the older boyfriends, this girl boasted by explaining her method.  She targeted boys with low self esteem who had little friends.  She showered them with attention.  She found out what physical attibute attracted them and let them explore.  Usually, she used alcohol to facilitate the loss of inhibition.  She gave them a cell phone so she could be in constant contact.  Fast forward a few years and at 16, my son began dating this girl.  When they were caught drinking, the memory of his twin sister's conversation came flooding back with terror.  I shared the story with my son.  He asked the girl who denied it and accused me and my daughter of lying.  My son began spending more and more time with her.  He started skipping classes with her and his grades began to suffer.  He refused to stop seeing her.  I spoke with the girl's mother.  When I expressed concern regarding the amount of time together and the fact that my son's grades were falling, she said that her daughter's grades were fine and she was not going to punish her daughter by limiting her time with my son.  Basically, the mother was enabling the girl's behavior and communication became unwelcomed by her.  We had expressed concern over our son's excessive cell phone use and after receiving a cell phone bill that revealed that the two had spoken to each other for over 5,000 minutes in one month, we took his phone away.  Without our knowledge, they gave him a phone.  When that phone was discovered.  I returned it to the father with a letter stating our concerns and our desire that our son earn the privilege of having a cell phone through improved behavior.  They gave the cell phone back.  When he physically lost the phone, they took an old phone, switched it to that number and gave it to him.  Our son's behavior continued to decline and when we told him that the right thing to do would be to end the relationship, he became outraged. He said the the girl told him that he had to 'fix it," that  people can change and I should get to know her better.  I told him that I did know her and that her behavior was a prime example that she had not effected change. He smashed his fist into the wall.  When he drove off in anger or without permission, he lost use of the car.  We tried using a behavior reward system for him to earn outings and use of the car but he would not hold to it and became outraged when he was told that he could not go out with her as a result.  The last time that he walked out, we warned him that he would lose the use of the car permanently.  She started letting him drive her car.  He asked to be emancipated.  We refused.  He told us that he has never felt loved by us and he feels more love from her family.   He wanted to move in with her. He is now 4 months away from turning 18 and we have told him that if he leaves, we will not pay for college.  He said that he would get a loan.  He thinks her father will cosign, put him on their medical, etc.  This girl has sent me and my eldest daughter letters stating that we need to accept that they are in a relationship.  She does not want him to lose his family, but that it would be his choice. My son now spends most of his time at her house.  He eats most of his meals with her. The two of them spend about 55 to 60 hours a week together. He will just come and go as he pleases.  We never know where he is when he leaves.  He no longer communicates with us. Basically, he just sleeps here.  My relationship with my husband has become strained as a result.  He feels that I am giving our son no options with my tough love stand. The twins are going to the same college and now this girl has decided to go there so they can be together.  She posted derogatory comments on the internet about his twin sister.  This girl now blames my daughter for influencing my opinion of her.  She spreads rumors about my daughter at school.  When my son asked to be emancipated, I informed him the the judge would only grant it if it could be proven that he was being abused.  The next day at school, it was being rumored that my daughter and I were physically abusing my son.  It was received with laughter, but then the rumors regarding my daughter became uglier.  My daughter was diagnosed with scleroderma.  She has an uncertain future and wants to go to college and away from the two of them, but with this girl attending the same school now, she fears it will never end.  How do you deal with a teen with extreme oppositional behavior? It is as if he is suffering from an addiction to this girl. How can you deal with an addiction if you cannot remove him from the environment feeding it? At this age, what are a parents rights?  I have used tough love, but it is heartwrenching to see him in this downward spiral.  More than likely, due to my son's grades the university may rescind his admission.  That will somehow become my fault as well.  Thank you to those who made it through my unburdening.  Sadly, this is just a quarter of what we have had to endure.
March 16, 2008, 8:22 am CDT

Defiant Son

Quote From: jaimie1974

This must be so difficult for you; I cant imagine how you must be feeling. Do you have any support, such as a member of clergy, family or friends? You need and deserve someone to lean on sometimes, even if it is just to vent. Please consider talking to a professional therapist about these issues. I recommend that because this is effecting your whole life. The issues with your son are overshadowing all else, even your marriage, and a professional can help guide you through this difficult time. Suffering alone is not a solution.
By telling your son no and/or that this girl is bad news, it only makes him dig his heels in deeper- he is thinking that he is going to show you. He is going to prove to you that you are WRONG; even if that means making bad decisions. Decisions that could follow him through the rest of his life. (Choice of college, etc.)
Your son is very close to being a legal adult, and you will have zero power over him. If you take this and that away, he will pack up and leave. He is doing all of this because he is seduced by the sex that this young woman gives him so freely; you are exactly right when you say that it is as though he is addicted to her- he is addicted to the lust and he believes that losing anything is worth it because he gets to have sex.
Although it will be very difficult, my advice to you is to befriend this young woman. Open your heart and mind and try to accept her as part of your sons life. (I know this isnt easy; but you need to do this because you will lose your son.) This young woman will remain in his life for as long as it is exciting; the fact that this relationship is basically forbidden makes it even more exciting. It adds thrill and excitement that their love is not approved of. So, what do you think might happen if you welcome this young woman with open arms? Within a short amount of time, one of two things will happen: either 1) this family acceptance will remove the thrill and the relationship will naturally end on its own, or, 2) you will get to know this girl and you will accept her because your son accepts her. You might never truly like her, but accepting her will help to mend your relationship with your son.
Think about it this way- so far, what you are doing isnt working. Something has to change. Consider my suggestion. I wish you the best of luck. You and your family deserves happiness; sometimes, that happiness is gained through compromise, even if it goes against all that you believe in. Your son is growing and changing, he is more of a young man and less a child now; your relationship with him needs to naturally change as well. Again, best wishes! 
Thank you for the response.  My son is in counseling and as part of his counseling, I see the therapist as well.  The therapist is trying to help my son see that he has been abusing me as a direct result of his addiction.  The therapist suggested that I mentor the girl as well.  I tried and my son was very excited that I invited her to our home.  After speaking with her, his anger toward me intensified.  According to him, she did not feel safe in coming to our home.  I offered to have dinner out with them.  He replied by saying that with all that we have done, she does not want to have anything to do with us.  The only thing we have done is to follow the behavioral contract that we established with our son at the encouragement of his counselor.  If he did not maintain a C or better, he would lose privileges.  We stated very clearly that if you really wanted to have the means and opportunity to be with this girl, then put the effort in to do what is needed to raise your grades. She has made several public statements that she was dating him because he came from money.  Since my son has never had a job and refused to do chores to earn money, he does not have any funds to spend on her.  She has been paying for all their dates. She started seeing another boy behind our son's back and we had hopes that our nightmare would be over.  However, when my son somehow gained access to his college fund and began withdrawing large sums of money, she came back to him.  She is not interested in a relationship with our family; she never was.  I have thought about seeking to be on the Dr. Phil show or just threaten it.  Since she has done basically the same to three other boys and their families, I doubt that she would want to be nationally exposed.  For now, I have spoken to a lawyer to see what can be done to protect my daughter from her actions.  Each time my son acts out against me, I no longer get emotional.  That well has run dry.  I simply and calmly reply with I forgive you.  We have reminded him of the story of the prodigal son.  Anytime he wishes to return, he will be accepted unconditionally.  I do have many friends who have been with me every step of the way.  Each in turn has attempted to speak with my son regarding their concerns of observed behavior.  He only laughs it off.  Almost everyone agrees that he will have to hit the proverbial bottom before he wakes up and faces the consequences of his own choices.  Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.
April 1, 2008, 8:04 pm CDT

setting boundaries with phone usage

 Hi.. I have a 17yr old daughter who wants to spend all her time on the phone with her boyfriend.  She has a cell phone and uses the house phone constantly.  She gets upset at the boyfriend if he cant stay on the phone for long periods of time.  She gets upset at us if we tell her that she needs to get off the phone.  i feel like she is addicted to him or the phone.  she sleeps with the phone on and him on the other end sleeping as well.  Dont know what to with this behavior...  Anyone have any suggestions please respond.... thanks.
April 8, 2008, 7:05 am CDT

Teen dating a young man Dad doesn't want her dating

I am a single mother with a 17 year old daugher and an 18 year old neice living at home with me.  My 17 year old daughter just got over a very bad mentally abusive relationship with a young man that was verbally abusive and bi polar and stalker.  She recently met a new young man that was able to help move her away from this situation and took heart into understanding the inappropriatness of this other boys behavior.  My ex husband is now very unhappy with the choice of dating this new boy because he has a past criminal record and spent some time at a boys ranch for his charges and has been out about 1.5 to 2 years.  I have a very open relationship with both the girls and they talk to me about everything.  I do emphasis all the time of making good choices and discisions, as well as learning from mistakes.  This young man pleas that he is taking college classes and going to eventually go into the Marines that he has already been set up to go into.  My daughter felt compelled to finally tell her father and her father blew a gasket and made her feel very bad about her choice of boyfriends and proceeded to make comments and verbally abusive remarks about him to his daughter.  Then she advised she would break up with him and he told her she didn't have to but to think about her choices.   Two days later he threatened her and told her she had to break up with this boy and began threatening to take the car and funds away from her as a result of choices in continuing to see this boy.  He then called me, ran the riot act and advised he was trying to keep her from making the wrong decision, threatened me and threatened that he would make her and my life hell if she continued to see this boy.  I have spent a little time with the boy, he treats my daughter and I with the utmost respect and I believe many young people make bad choices and do stupid things when they are kids, that is how they learn from their mistakes.  I don't see this as any long term thing and it is just another passing issue with another teen romance.  I don't feel this boy is harmful, in fact I haven't seen her this bright and happy in months.  She does spend a lot of time with this young man, but both of them seem content with each others company and being around those who accept the issue and give them the benefit of the doubt.  People do change and do make mistakes. 

I've advised her father that just taking everything away and not listening and hearing her out will just alienate her from him at such a crucial time in her life.  Am I wrong for allowing this and what are some suggestions in handling this kind of situation?

April 8, 2008, 7:20 am CDT

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: jaimie1974

In my opinion, you are doing the right thing. Her father loves her and he wants the best for her- but, he is going about it the wrong way. You are right, he is just going to alienate her, and it is a shame, because she needs her father.

You are aware of this boys past, and you know from experience that he only has respect for you and your daughter- that will mean a lot to your daughter. Does your daughter see her father? Is she distancing herself from him? Just curious.

Well, we have very open visitation issues because of her age.  It was agreed it would be that way.  She has always tried to spend a couple of nights a week with him and when he occassionally asks her to do something with him she will do so.  It was agreed that he covers all other expenses outside of the child support which is very little.  She has always had a very good and loving relationship with her dad, but she also is aware of how controlling he is now that he can't control me any longer, and uses things and money to control the isssues with both of us.  That is part of the reason we are no divorced.  In any case, I think this situation is going to alienate her from him as well as him making life financially difficult for her as well as me.  He has always used his money to control many situations, that is the problem. 


The young man is not that bad, I've spent time with him, his mother and you know he seems to really want more for his life and stay out of trouble, plus I think at this point my daughter is encouraging him to become a better person and walk the straight and narrow, she knows if he put her in any trouble or bad position I would then have an issue. 

April 13, 2008, 7:46 pm CDT


My 17 year old son is very disrespectful to me.  He tells me to shut up and now will swear too.  He has learning disabilites but that is no excuse for his disrespectful behavior. School is hard for him. He also acts like this infront of his girlfriend with me.  When things do not go his way he throws things and breaks things with me. He is so disrespectful I can't stand being with him sometimes.  I can hardly speak to him about anything since he tells me to leave him alone etc...   On the internet he writes to others on MySpace using disgusting language dropping the F bomb a million times. His page is just sports centered.  I can't get into his face book account.  I always catch him from time to time viewing porn on the internet.  He plays by the rules for curfew etc...  when out.  He refuses to go to a counselor.  We have all gone to college in my family and he refuses to even think he will attend anything except a community college since he has such a poor academic self concept.  Actually he is average to above average intelligence on testing scores but he struggles with grades.  Everyone writes not to put up with his disrespectful language but everything I do does not help and he continues.  Sometimes I try to leave my room and he just follows me!  I take the computer away from time to time .  I reward good choices and grades with gas money.  HELP his inappropriate language won't stop!
April 21, 2008, 9:27 pm CDT

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: pwilt65

Hello again, 


Well, you won't believe this, but here goes. I am the gent who wrote about the disrespectful 18yrold daughter of my former fiancee. :( She was the young lady I asked to leave my home back in Jul. After some very hard days my fiancee & I realized we wanted to be together, and that her daughter was just fine with her dad. After some difficult months with dad, the daughter once again wanted to come back to our home. I asked to speak with her 1st to go over things. She said she couldn't do it after all, and went back to dads. After a couple more weeks the subject of her moving back in came up again. Again she and I spoke and it seemed like we figured it out. She came back, and although she was trying a little more, she started ignoring me again, not even saying hello, etc. I began reminding her about cleaning up after herself, shutting off lights, etc, and things got tense in the home once again. I tried giving her a hug and explained how I wasn't picking on her, just asking her to do what I ask of all the other children. Well the tension continued to build until mom & I were starting at each other. Thanksgiving dinner had only my x fiancee & I at the the table, but she started questionling me about whether or not I was happy, faking it, whether or not it was working out, etc. Could I tolerate things as they were? I said I would smile, but I wasn't happy that I couldn't talk to her daughter about my unhappiness. Things started to heat up, try as we may to calm them down. Finally, my X fiancee said to me out of the clear blue sky that her children were returning from their dads, and that if I raised my voice, which up until then I didn't think I did ( I am 6ft5in and I guess I have a booming voice anyway. I don't think I'm loud, but she says I am when I think I'm not anyway back to the story ) that she would call the police on me, take me down & the house with me! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I sat quietly the rest of the evening in total shock!  On Sat she was asking if I wanted her & her daughter to leave, etc, and I stupidly said if I couldn't have a discussion with the daughter perhaps that would be best. I was scared anyway after her threat to call the police. Sat evening she announced to her kids that they were leaving. I didn't even know this as I continued to try to remedy things. Sun morning I went to church, and when I returned she told me what she told her children. I asked if I could speak to her daughter. After being put off for about an hour with 1 excuse after another, getting dressed, getting ready, still not dressed, etc, mom went in a couple of times to talk to the daughter. I assume it was to ask for an audience for me. So, I knocked on the door, opened it and asked if I could come in. The daughter launched into a tirade, ending up with guess what, another threat to call the police. The X talked her out of it, and even took the phone out of her hand. I hadn't done anything to warrant a response like that. She then said she was leaving voluntarily. This was all played out in front of my 3 kids and her brother. Not good! Of course my X was welcome to stay for as long as she liked, I hoped forever, but she told me she decided she would leave too, but only after finding something suitable. The X left for the day and returned that evening. She was talking with me, my 3 kids and playing with the dog. After about an hour she told me her daughter was coming back. I said that was a bad idea and asked why. I was told because that's where mom was and she did't want to go back to her dads. Upon returning to the home I immediately asked her if she had somewhere else to go, and that I didn't think it was a good idea. She lit into me once again, now only my 3 kids were present. She went around the house to ask who had a problem with her, and said it appeared my kids did not, and only I had a problem. When I asked her not to get my children involved she threatened to call the police on me, yet again for the 3rd time I was threatened with the police. Finally, I called the police. I explained that she was being disruptive & unruly in my home and asked that she be removed. Of course her mom decided she would follow. One of the officers was a friend of mine and asked increduously what had happend? When I explained he said if I thought they would actually call the police I did the only thing I could do, because as a man I would usually be removed from the house. Can you envision anything good coming out of this. Or, are we all better off that it's finally come to this and enough is enough. My kids have had it too. 


I find myself in a similar situation to your story. I find it a commonality that biological parents will side with their biological children whether right or wrong. In most cases, I believe it to be right. We as the adults need to always understand that we make choices that children must engage in without input of their own. I have learned this through my own choices. Protect your children and remain removed from the situation. Just as your fiance must protect her children and remain removed. First we are parents - we made that decision long ago. Second, we may choose another life for ourselves. I know I don't want to have to answer to my children as adults for times when they believe I chose someone else over them. You also cannot risk a false report to the police that would further jeopardize you and your children.

May 8, 2008, 2:01 pm CDT

Too many boundaries?

Okay, I'm a 17 yr-old girl, in a relationship with a 15 yr-old boy. Now, before you jump to conclusions, this message is mostly about him and his parents setting boundaries. As of about a week or so ago, he has been more or less confined to his room, no phone, no music, no communication, no after school activities, no ANYTHING until that homework is done. He has his problems like everyone else and his major problem is that he can't focus well. His parents however don't really realize that part of it, and he has told me himself that if he wants to get distracted then he could stare at the palm of his hand and be perfectly happy with that. They are keeping us from seeing each other which does not mix well with me. I really just want him to step forward and let his voice be heard on the issue, but he is a very quiet person and when his parents yell at him, he just listens. I really want to know if I am just being dumb about the whole deal and that I shouldn't be worried about it or not.... but then there is another thing that they've added to the whole thing (this is why it took me forever to find the right place to post this one). They have basically picked out someone for him to date when he is ready for a serious relationship. They are pretending like I don't even exist! Like I don't have feelings! It is making him mad and this is where he really wants to draw the line. Trouble is, I'm a bit afraid that he'll give up on me, because when I went to school today I found him in the band room doing math homework and he was just totally neutral and told me that he just was feeling this overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I want all of this to end. I have no idea how to go about it. He is leaving for vacation after school is out so I won't get to see him pretty much all summer. His parents are supposed to have a little chat with him tomorrow which scares me because there is no way it is good. They won't listen to my parents, and he even says that he tries to say things to them but they won't even listen to him. He gets into more trouble that his younger brother and sister, even though he does every little thing they tell him to. I love him. I want to be there for him. But I also want to give him a good idea about what he can do to get this fixed. And just saying..... him getting his homework done isn't doing the trick at all. Seems like he just gets into more and more trouble. I haven't gotten a phone call from him for like a month or so now. I'm tired of hiding behind poles so his parents don't know I stayed after school to see him because they won't let us see each other outside of school anymore. Is what they're doing too harsh? What does he need to do to get out of all this trouble? What in the world can I do? HELP!!! 
June 5, 2008, 5:54 am CDT

Cell Phone

My boyfriends daughter is 12 and thinks since it is summer she should be able to talk on iher cell phone  all night.  During school we have caught her on it after 11pm so we started to take it away at 930pm so she could get ready for bed.  Since it is summer she wants full range.  Should a 12 be talking to anyone after 11pm to anyone?  Please help
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