A Real Question to Dr. Hollie
Dear Dr. Hollie,
My 16-year-old daughter was an honor roll student until this school year. Now she won't even open a book. Her teachers all say she's a bright student but won't make an effort. I have taken away all her privileges. I've threatened to place her in the Juvenile Court system or put her out of the house. I've had several people that I thought she would listen to-my mother, our pastor, a few family friends, even a policeman friend talk to her, but anytime someone tries to talk to her, she shuts down. My husband and I are at our wit's end. Please tell us what to do.
Perhaps you may not realize that once you remove all privileges, your child has very little to look forward to . Let's begin by restoring some and setting some short term goals that she can achieve, and with each goal met, restore another privilege. Let's reverse what you've been doing and I'm sure this will work well. Let me know.
Dear Dr. Hollie,
I would like to thank you for the advice you gave me about my teenage daughter. I was so angry with her for what seemed to be her just being flat out hard-headed and rebellious that I actually wanted her gone out of my house. I really wanted to hurt my child because I was so frustrated. But when you gave me the advice that included giving back her privileges, it calmed me down, and it showed her that I really did care. Well, because we were able to get along better, she ended up opening up to me. It turned out that one of her teachers was being abusive to her in a verbal way. She has this man for two different classes; she was both terrified and angry. I won't mention any names or the school, but I want to thank you again because your advice helped me save my child.
No Longer Confused
Dear No Longer Confused,
Thank you so much for writing back which allows us to know how this advice can be helpful to so many. I am excited when a teenager's life has been changed, especially since most of us feel teens are hopeless and resistant. You did a great job by taking the first step in believing that you could get a different outcome, and you did! Continue to be your child's advocate with the teacher.