View Full Version : peer pressure
09-08-2007, 07:28 PM
Dear Dr. Bradley,
I am a new user to such a forum and am not sure how much to say but here goes.
We have a wonderful 16 year old daughter that is showing some concerning teenage behavior. over the past 6 months we have found alcohol in her car (unopened, she claimed she had an older brother buy it and she was taking it when we went on vacation for friends to 'party at the beach'))(which she lost privileges for) smoking, and last weekend when she stayed with friends when we were out of town, she decided to have a small party at our home. ..that had the potential of being much larger...until she somehow realized these people needed to leave quickly and so she announced that someone had called the police and they all scattered.... When I found out she continued to lie about it. 2 days later we caught her in another lie. And found hard evidence to the party...
Needless to say there have been many discussions and we have stressed the need for her to make the right choices.
After much heart and soul searching we have agreed to ONE 'do over'. she gets to start fresh and begin her junior year of high school with a clean slate..
but I am still worried.
and she knows it.
on the good side, she is bright, grades are wonderful, comes home on time, kind hearted, and she does exhibit good judgment sometimes... just not consistently yet.
Am I missing something.?? sometimes I think all I have is prayer and hope.
any thoughts would be welcome
09-11-2007, 07:35 PM
First, never underestimate the power of hope and prayer. But second, do build in a more earthly safety net for the "do over." Specifically sit down and negotiate consequences in advance of her future behavior. For example, you both might agree that every month of truthfulness and reliability might earn her some privilege or reward. And, conversely, any incidents of untruthfulness or unreliability will suggest that she's not yet ready for the levels of autonomy she desires, so that her freedoms will be reined in for awhile until you both see that she's ready to try again. In this way she dictates her own future, rather than you.
This is the crucial difference between punishments and consequences. The first only controls; the second TEACHES control. The first is a temporary safety measure. The second shapes behavior for a lifetime.
Please keep us posted.
10-07-2007, 08:39 PM
Dear Dr. Bradley,
just wanted to thank you for you reply.
We have just completed the First month of 'do-over'. and from where I sit it has been successful. no lying, no drinking, better focus on her health.--- I didn't mention but she is somewhat overweight... not an athlete...a theater, vocal arts girl.. so we have insisted on her making her own exercise program.. the consequence is that we will decide for her if she doesn't follow through. (I am an RN and just see insulin resistance.. and diabetes in her future if she doesn't change now... ) She has made good effort to add exercise into her day. We hope this will strengthen her self esteem and support her making good choices around her peers.
she is working hard at making good choices and focusing on grades. And she is pleasant around the house. Life is hard for kids her age..the peer pressure and distractions are intense.
Just an example, Last night was homecoming and she came home after the dance instead of going to an after party.. She said most her friends were going to this big party and staying overnight (yes, they were lying to there parents) and she wasn't going because she said it just wasn't worth the risk.(or maybe she was just saying that for my benefit, knowing I would call the home where she was staying and talk with parents.. so she really couldn't lie, whatever the reason, she was safe)
I am optimistic and believe success creates more success. So she was rewarded by being allowed to take a short trip about 1 hour away to meet a friend of hers who in college for the afternoon. The trip was successful and she called me twice on the trip home to let me know the traffic situation and when she would be home. She was smiling from ear to ear and so proud of herself.
Thank you for your thoughts about consequences. it reminds me of a funny story about her when she was little maybe 4 or 5 yr. I was telling her something to do and said something like " well if you don't you will have to accept the consequences.." and she said in her dramatic fashion and threw up her hands heavy sighing..." I don't even know what consequences are!!!" meaning how would she know if she wanted them or not..
Do you mean by consequences talking about how her behavior results in our not trusting her and her judgments? funny, we did use the phrase, you are just not ready to handle this responsibility. we are on a case by case basis in our home now and we are adding as she gains trust.
as well as the importance of integrity, reputation, and that she has to decide what kind of person she wants to be?
I have read and re-read your book so many times and have recommended it to many of my friends. Your wisdom is amazing. This may sound silly but it calms me. It gives me perspective on their adolescent journey. your book was on the end aisle of the bookstore when my son was 16 and becoming stupid. He is now 21 and a senior at University of Michigan, doing well and not so stupid.eh? So I thank you again.
10-08-2007, 11:07 AM
Thank you Dr. Bradley,
I had written you a long email but somehow it got lost. good grief!
We have completed our first month of 'do-over' successfully. she is trying hard to restore trust and demonstrating honesty. no drinking, smoking, taking care of her health..
about consequences... we told her she is on a case by case basis. and as she continues to demonstrate good, safe decision she will be allowed more freedoms. We focus on what she does well. I just hate to hammer on her all the time. So we chose our battles wisely.
She just recently was allowed a 'road trip'..Traveling an hour away to see a friend. She handled it very well. Called me and let me know her time frames evn though we had a time for her to be home....so I wouldn't worry.
But I really wanted to let you know is your book has been a godsend to me.
I purchased it 5 years ago when my son was 16...I re-read it often.. it helps me keep perspective, this may sound silly.... but it calms me.
He is now 21 and doing very well at the University of Michigan.
do you ever come to the Michigan area to speak?
10-10-2007, 05:18 PM
Thanks so much for your kind words. I'd like to take the credit for the "wisdom" in the book but the fact is that I stole that stuff from all of the families I worked with over many years.
Yes, I do travel and speak a lot and was just in Toledo Ohio last week (flew into Detroit) but I'm not scheduled back there at the moment. My website usually has my schedule on it if you want to check that once in awhile.
Best of luck with your kids and please stay in touch (and share your wisdom with other parents on this site).
05-12-2008, 03:56 PM
Gosh life does give us curve balls.
After what I thought our sweet girl was making some good decisions and really moving forward.... it appears she/we have another hurdle. This one out of the blue... over the past month...grades dropping..in several classes,(she is a 3.7 average and received a 27 on her ACT recently..she is bright)... there is evidence she skipped school and we found more alcohol in her room.
now...really and honestly... I have never seen her drunk... never smelled it on her... and I am watching.. one of us waits up for her when she is out.
we have worked hard on honesty and trust with us... and she has done wonderful in many areas...she clearly knows our rules..we have a zero tolerance policy. so no matter what crazy story she will come up with. and she will have one I am sure...she is good...
I am very concerned about this behavior and will be taking her to an adolescent assessment ( we have an outstanding adolescent substance abuse program in our health system...with many options for care...and therapists who specialize in teens) into determine the depth of this .... it may be substance abuse or some other issue looming. She is a beautiful young lady but is quiet overweight and shows little interest in improving this. I do believe it is impacting her self esteem and her relationships with peers. This may or may not play into this.
just keep us in your prayers. ...
I am hanging on the positives here... I will keep in mind to treat her respectfully and not yell, but there are consequences and she will have to step up.
We still have leverage here. ..
I have pulled out the book again to read...
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