Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ad Libbing, Revisted

Listening to: Brian Eno, Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy

Last week I posted about clients I've been seeing and asked for some input; you beautiful people came through in ahuge way. In that post, I promised to keep you updated on the situation and now is as good a time as any to add a little more spice to the brew.

There was another session today, rife with confrontation. The girl is not too happy that I've made some demands on her behavior and she perceives me as much a foe as her mother. That's fine, I'm a therapist, not a buddy. I'm not paid to stroke egos or co-sign bullshit, I'm paid to reveal truths and help find solutions.

So, I'm interested to see what all of you think regarding my hard-assed approach to parenting a 14-year old girl:
  • Until she has at least a 'C' in all classes, no privileges;
  • No skipping classes/school unless mom approves. Skipping class/school gets privileges revoked.

After she has achieved at least a 'C' in every class, she gets:
  • One weekend night out, 10 PM curfew; 11 PM when she turns 15, midnight when she turns 16;
  • One weeknight out 8 PM curfew but exceptions can be made for school-sponsored events;
  • No phone use after 10 PM;
  • Can only go to a friend's house if parents are at the house;
  • No friends over unless mom is at home;
  • No friends older than 16-years old;
  • Drinking and/or drugs, not being accountable for location, or dishonesty voids all privileges for one month

As I said in my previous post, I'm also holding mom accountable. I told her, "No more nights off until we get through this. Either your on board with this 100% and keep your guard up or find another therapist." She claims she's prepared to do whatever it takes to get her daughter back on track and she's up for the sacrifice.

My hope is that the daughter will turn around. I wouldn't be this strict with my own kids - unless they were also saddled with a Conduct Disorder. However, desperate situations require desperate measures and if I can convince the girl that things will ease up if she can show she can follow the rules and earn her mom's trust, I will have succeeded.

So what do you think? Am I being an unreasonable prick? Again, I'm seeking your input.


JenL said...

Be on the lookout for the mom to use you as the heavy rather than taking ownership of the tough love herself. Especially if you suspect that she will have a hard time staying dilligent and firm. If the girl gets any hint that Mom might not have the intestinal fortitude for this, the manipulation will be hell. But you already thought of that, right?

Nino the Mindboggler said...

I had a one-on-one session with the mom and made sure that we were on the same page with this. I wanted to make sure she was absolutely commited to following through 100% no matter how much effort it took.

She adamant that she was willing to make that commitment, whatever it took. Believe me, she got the 3rd degree from me during that session. I also directed her to knock off the negativity with her daughter.

Cinnabar1 said...

Wow... THOSE are HARD-ASS rules? Geez, I wish I'd had YOU as a parent when I was 14!! (Not really - that would be far too Freudian ;-) I think those are perfectly reasonable rules for 14 y/olds in the US period. They're very close to what I grew up with -- of course allowing exceptions to be made for special occasions & circumstances. (and I had to have an "A" average with nothing lower than a "C" -- and if I got a C, I had some heavy 'splaining to do!) Even back then, I thought my parents were MORE than liberal - I had far more lenient privileges than the majority of the kids in my class. The only one of those I'd have any issue with is the 8pm curfew -- I'd personally make it 9pm on a weeknight at that age (or even a little younger), excepting any officially event/team/membership sponsored events that might run longer.

Two questions:
1) I notice no limitations on computer usage?
2) What kind of mom APPROVES of skipping school?!?!

pinkme said...

I appreciate this post more than you know! I am having trouble letting go of Nick and letting him make his own decisions. I think the limits I have set are a little much and he really is a good boy. I know this is all part of growing up, for both of us.

BreadBreaker said...

Jen's got a good point. It sounds like you've got that part covered pretty well...though you never know, even if you get Mom's unqualified sign-on. I do agree with Cinnabar1 that these are not especially harsh rules. All the more reason not to bend these.

Another thing to consider is what the plan is going to be when these very liberal limits are tested, as they surely will be...

chip said...

I'm gonna agree with others. These are not anywhere near harsh. these seem like real reasonable ground rules for any 14 year old, actually more lenient that what my own kid gets, and she's not at all a problem kid ...

Mamacita said...

Your rules are reasonable and good. And I still love you even though you think I'm mean.

cindy said...

they sound like the rules i have for my 14 year old now! yikes!

lu said...

Has anyone ever told you that you are hella sexy when you are laying down the law?

lu said...

Has anyone ever told you that you are hella sexy when you are laying down the law?

seeingdouble said...

Dude... my parents were WAY harder than that, that girl should thank her lucky stars! (Oh, and you wanna talk rebellion? I did that big time after so much repression/restriction.) A fair amount of rules/privledges is perfectly reasonable.

panthergirl said...

VERY reasonable rules, I think. Structured, but not too strict...not by a long-shot.