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March 6, 2007 / missknowitall

Warning Labels on a Teen

Dear Little Miss,

Hi, I am a local correctional officer and my problem is my cousin; he is 19 years old but he is emotionally disturbed so he can’t live on his own.  He also has ADHD.  Well sometimes he acts like a 2 year old I don’t know what to do.  He still throws fits and sometimes he even bites when he is really mad.  How do I stop that from happening?

Dear Officer,

Emotionally disturbed and ADHD, hmmmm, sounds like this kid has a lot of reasons not to behave, right?  Wrong.  There are plenty of grown adults with these issues who are living well behaved, rather normal, and beneficial existences.  This young man may have some valid issues and some physical as well as mental hurdles to manage, but they are not excuses to live without boundaries or care for those around him.  If he were a two year old kid with a biting problem I might suggest Tabasco on the tongue or biting him back (and I must say I very badly wanted to give you that exact advice), but he isn’t two.  This kid needs to become a man, and fast, or he will loose a lot of life’s opportunities for happiness.  Let’s start with the biting and temper tantrums.  You need to tell him that he is a man now and that that kind of behavior is unacceptable.  Set up a consequence for such behavior, the consequence should be a removal of grown up privileges (take away the x-box, don’t give him money, he can’t use the car, he can’t go out with you, etc).  I would say the first offense gets one day of lost privilege, and add a day on for every recurrence after that.  After that you need to teach him what he can do when he is angry.  Tell him what are o.k. ways to vent his anger when you are out in public and at home.  Get him a punching bag if you have to so that he can release any pent up emotion on it.  Now, start training him to be an amazing man.  Teach him how to act like a gentleman, how to treat women, how to be kind, how to show respect for his elders and for service people.  When he learns to respect the world around him he will start to respect himself.  Help him to remove the labels that have been given him so that he can grow up and move beyond what others have limited him to.  Tell him it is time he picked his own labels.  Remember, you will have to be his best example and his best motivator.  It will take a lot of energy, patience, and time on your part but it will be worth it if you can give him the tools necessary to live on his own.  Meanwhile, stay current on your tetanus shots.

The world can never have enough fine men.

Miss Knowitall

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