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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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My 17 year old daughter got punished and lost all her privileges

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My 17 year old daughter got punished and lost all her privileges because of beeing arrested 2 months ago for cocaine possesion in her car. Last week, for the first time I allowed her to go out with new friends for a short time. The next morning, she was vomiting because of too much alcohol drinking when she went out. When I talked to her and explained her my disagreement, she answered "- it is not your business".
This answer really frustrated me and disapointed me. What do you think, why this rude answer ?...

NormanM :

Hi, I'm Norman. Are you ready to chat?

NormanM :

I see that you are still offline, so I am going to switch this to Question and Answer mode and leave a reply ready for your return.

Norman M. and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

The very brief answer to why the rude reply is that she felt guilty about what she had done, but simply had no way to justify it. It was her way of closing the incident off to further discussion.

The first thing is that you have to do sure that you are clear in your own mind as to what standards of behaviour are acceptable, and which are not. Then she has to learn to meet those standards. Think about things like controlling her temper, showing respect, not coming home drunk and so on.

Make sure that she understands that you are NOT just going to hang in there, that you are not going to tolerate it further.

People like her try to be manipulative, but when they see that their attempts to manipulate by way of withdrawal, guilt, anger or intimidation are not working, they learn to change What your daughter needs are firm boundaries. Being ‘soft’ just makes you easier to manipulate, and anger just teaches her to be angry when she in turn is faced with a difficult situation.

She is quite old enough to know about actions and consequences. We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Therefore, you have to give her reason to change – otherwise she will not. Why should she – she has things just as she wants them right now.

Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give her choices, and make sure she understands the consequences of her choice – and always follow through. If you don’t she’ll just get confused.

She needs to be taught if she wishes to have a comfortable life she has to start acting responsibly and reasonably.

Stay in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

Never, never be blaming or accusatory. Tell her how you feel about her behaviour, and make sure she understands that while you love her, her bad behaviour is hurtful and will not be accepted.

For your own mental wellbeing, I’d like you to use this tool:

This Bill of Rights was one of the tools used by Virginia Satir, a well-known family therapist. Containing some really basic psychological rights belonging to every person, it really helps to identify and deal with areas in which we have problems.

Read the statements. Note down any immediate thoughts or feelings that come to you and analyze them later.

Look at yourself in a mirror and read it out loud to yourself. Listen to your voice grow in strength and volume so that you can really start to feel it inside. In the beginning, you may feel silly or embarrassed. You may hear the inner voice say, "That's not the truth". Just hang in there and keep doing it - you'll notice the change within six weeks, if you do it regularly.

1. I do not have to feel guilty just because someone else does not like what I

do, say, think or feel.

2. It is OK for me to feel angry and to express it in responsible ways.

3. I do not have to assume full responsibility for making decisions, particularly where others share responsibility for making the decisions.

4. I have the right to say "I don't understand" without feeling stupid or guilty.

5. I have the right to say NO.

6. I have the right to say No without feeling guilty.

7. I do not have to apologize or give reasons when I say NO.

8. I have the right to refuse requests which others make of me.

9. I have the right to tell others when I think they are manipulating, conning, or treating me unfairly.

10. I have the right to refuse additional responsibilities without feeling guilty.

11. I have a right to tell others when their behaviour annoys me.

12. I do not have to compromise my personal integrity.

13. I have a right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. I have a right to be wrong.

14. I do not have to be liked, admired, or respected by everyone for everything I do.

Best wishes, NormanM