About 80 percent of the parents who seek help with a child tell us they do not know how to control the child’s behavior. The frustration, anger and breakdown in communication often result in a family crisis.

Chelsea and her Mother came to us for family counseling. Chelsea is 15 years old and her father has never been in her life. She is an only child. About half-way through the previous school year, she began exhibiting negative behaviors both at home and at school. She became defiant about obeying curfew and other house rules. She was expelled from school when she was caught with some marijuana on her person and placed at an alternative school. At the alternative school, Chelsea was expelled for bringing over-the-counter medicine to a peer, who overdosed on it and got quite sick.

The mother requested that Chelsea spend some time out in the shelter to give them respite from each other. Our Family Counselor held six sessions with mother and daughter. The two were extremely argumentative and hostile with each other and required much redirection to focus on the topic at hand. Chelsea blamed her mother for her problems because of the divorce and moving a couple of times. Both mother and daughter made very blaming, derogatory statements to each other. Communication skills were practiced in session. Mother was also given information on normal teenage behavior which helped her reframe her daughter’s behavior as more normal and less “out to get Mom” behavior. The Family Counselor also provided information on how to respond differently to her daughter’s defiance and rage and encouraged her to read “Yes, Your Teen is Crazy!” by Michael J. Bradley, Ed.D.

Soon both reported improved relationship. Chelsea went back to school and started receiving average grades. She recently returned to her regular school. She is very excited as she was accepted into the marching band and every weekend she is taking riding lessons and has a favorite horse she likes to ride. Mother and Chelsea set a “date” every week to do something special together. Chelsea wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.


March 18, 2009

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