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David Akiva
David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 167
Experience:  Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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Our daughter is 16 and had 4 Fs for this quarter, doesnt

Resolved Question:

Our daughter is 16 and had 4 F's for this quarter, doesn't seem to care about anything and is being disrespectful of both me and her stepfather who she has always adored. We are seeing a counselor who has told us we are trying to control her too much and to let her do what she wants and she'll suffer from her own mistakes. I'm confused and want what is best for my child. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  David Akiva replied 6 years ago.

Duddy :

Welcome, I am a professional counselor, Behavioral-Consultant and relationship expert.

Duddy :

Do You mind if I ask a few questions to better understand your situation?

Duddy :

...

Customer:

Sure

Duddy :

Thank you.

Duddy :

Would you mind telling me about when and how the problem started in more detail? What sort of specific behaviors of concern are you seeing?

Customer:

Started when she began hanging out with new friends, she became more social in class and didn't do her work. Her teachers say she is capable but just doesn't do her work. She is an excellent soccer players and she wants to give up soccer, she doesn't seem to care about anything but being social. I afraid she has been sexually active although I don't know that for sure and I found an inappropriate picture on her phone.

Duddy :

And what was her academic performance and social life like before these behavior changes?

Customer:

She made an occassional C but usually pulled her grades up when it was time for report cards. She's always been a very social child, having friends is very important to her.

Duddy :

Thank you. How do you feel about the counselor's advice?

Customer:

Obviously not comfortable, that's why I'm asking your opinion.

Duddy :

Also, what sort of disrespectful behavior are you seeing?

Customer:

Talking back, her facial expressions, not listening when we do try and have conversations with her.

Duddy :

I think I'm getting the picture here, and to tell you the truth, I feel uncomfortable with what your counselor is telling you as well...

Duddy :

I've worked with hundred's of teens as treatment program development consultant and psychotherapist. I've also worked as a behavioral consultant for a major school board....

Duddy :

I've done loads of research and the evidence says that slipping grades and parental non-compliance can lead to very serious problems is things aren't normalized again...

Duddy :

Just to be clear, out of respect for a fellow counselor, can you give a bit more detail about the recommendations? Is it really to just let your daughter learn on her own here and not intervene as parents in anyway?

Customer:

Yes, she suggested we back off let her spend more time with her friends, stop checking her grades and she suggested we allow her to stay out later than the time we have established. She told us what we were doing isn't working so we have to but it back on our daughter and make her responsible for her actions.

Duddy :

It's true she does need to take responsibility for her actions, but the evidence and my experience says that kids at risk (as demonstrated in falling grades, negative peer influence, parental defiance and potentially high risk sexual behavior) most often need structured parenting support in order to work their way out of the situation their in....

Duddy :

When I say negative peer influence it's not that other kids are innately bad, but that there are so many kids out there that really need help...emotionally and behaviorally. One of the most important evidence-based interventions is to minimize unsupervised contact with a peer group...

Duddy :

Another science-based strategy is not to "punish" but instead to make access to "high probability behaviors" (desired activities and privileges) contingent on follow through with clearly defined behavioral expectations related to school and pro-social choices. In this approach, you start with a clean slate - no privileges, and give the teen an opportunity to earn them back for desired behavior. What are your thoughts on what I'm saying here so far?

Customer:

I understand.

Duddy :

Do you have any more specific questions?

Customer:

Nothing specific.

Duddy :

Ok. Have I satisfactorily answered your question today?

Customer:

I'm sure as much as you can with the information you have.

Duddy :

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