Strained Relations

Strained Relations: Help for Struggling Parents of Troubled Teens

Difficult Kids: Sometimes it’s the Parents’ Fault

Posted by Marcia on February 15, 2010

I’ve written before about consistency in parenting, and I was thinking about that when talking with another woman.

This woman and her husband divorced several years ago and the kids are now teenagers. Both of the kids are wild: running around with a bad crowd, drinking, smoking, doing drugs, mouthing off to the parents and disrespectful toward authority figures at home and at school. Both are on the verge of failing school, and the mother does not know what to do next.

She is going to counseling to find out how to deal with them in more effective ways, but the kids’ dad will not go. He’s part of the problem as there are no rules at his house. He wants to be a friend, doesn’t want to challenge them in any way as he says he’s fearful of losing contact and he’s not involving himself as a parent.

Kids need consistency. It’s not easy for both parents to always be on the same page, even when they’re in the same house, and it’s so much harder when the parents live apart. It’s easy to overlook bad behavior just because you want to see your child. It’s hard to punish the child at your house for something serious she or he did at the other parent’s home. But is has to be done.

A good system of rewards and punishment can help a lot, and there are many books on the topic.

As hard as it may be to come to agreement with your former spouse, you have to try and try again. Some people can come to agreement and others never will. The kids pay the price if you don’t.

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2 Responses to “Difficult Kids: Sometimes it’s the Parents’ Fault”

  1. Rebecca said

    Amen! Great post! I believe in consistency as well. When it comes to divorce, it gets ugly and is never about the kids. It’s usually about “how can I get back at my ex?” The kids always suffer.

  2. Marcia said

    Thank you for reading and responding. Now if only we could get the adults to BE the adults!

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