Quotes from ‘When Good Kids Do Bad Things‘ …

“Not one of these kids, or hundreds of thousands like them, can be called “bad,” but they are behaving “badly” – that is illegally, anti-socially, self-destructively. This book is intended as a handbook, a guide, for dealing with our good children when they do bad things.”
[Chapter One: The Basics]

But much of the experience I have drawn upon was earned during a period of draining, exasperating, occasionally joyful, foster patenting. Teenage assault, drug and alcohol abuse, attempted seductions, thefts, property destruction—my family lived with them for twelve years in a large, rambling house we rented outside New York City.
[Chapter One: The Basics]

But when it’s sensible to “do something,” I’ll have a full Chinese menu of suggestions. Try one idea from list A, and if it doesn’t work, choose something from list B. After all, even if your self-confidence about your parenting has been rocked a bit lately, you’re still the expert on what you can and can’t do, and you’re still the best judge of what might work with your youngster. I promise you a wide variety of options.
[Chapter One: The Basics]

Gotcha Wars are as natural to adolescence as overwrought sebaceous glands and refrigerator raids. The basic premise is simple: after years of following parental advice and orders, the teenager is suddenly eager to fight back. It doesn’t matter that you won Parent-of-the-Year awards all along the way. The point of the Gotcha Wars is not to get revenge but to earn adulthood.
[Chapter Three: The Gotcha Wars]

The wise parent will not let a child wear clothing that promotes the use of drugs and booze. To me, this is a case where parental discretion definitely overrules the child’s right to self-expression.
[Chapter Four: Nose Rings, Tattoos, String Bikinis . . . ]

Yes, friends do influence your child. They can sometimes influence him to do bad things. Peer pressure is powerful and with the media’s tendency to belittle parents is more powerful than ever.
[Chapter Five: In with the out crowd]

To your child, you are the ultimate grade-giver. Let her know that your grade scale covers the whole range of her personal qualities and achievements.
[Chapter Six: I did it in study hall]

But if you catch him in a serious lie, it’s to worry — yes, even one serious lie is a danger signal. Why? Consider why he lied. He had to cover up a wrongdoing or a problem. Whatever, it was something so troubling he could not tell you the truth.
[Chapter Seven: This time I’m telling the truth]

As a parent, you’ve taught your children many things. When they become adolescents, you have to let someone else teach them.
[Chapter Eight: Risky Business]

Was life really easier, once upon a time? That’s the myth, at any rate. Sex education, especially for girls, could be summed up in one word: Don’t. Boys were supposed to try; girls earned respect by saying no. Then, according to the myth, everything changed, and virginity became an embarrassing burden, to be shed as soon as possible. Suddenly, the girl who said no was suspect.
[Chapter Nine: Liaisons—Dangerous and Otherwise]

If your kid has run away, even for an hour or two, you need to read this chapter carefully. Chronic, long-term running away—the kind that ends in prostitution or other dangerous ventures—usually begins with short-term sprints. Learn how to deal with this behavior so that you can help your child break a potentially destructive habit.
[Chapter Ten: I’m Never Coming Home!]

The crime, whatever it is, earns appropriate consequences. Punishment addresses the bad deed; it does not become a brand on a “bad child.” Like the judge, you should work hard to censure the act but not the person.
[Chapter Eleven: Police Stories]

As mentioned earlier, the general view that youth is the time to experiment combined with the denigration of authority figures, particularly parents, allows many parents and many youths to ignore the known facts.
[Chapter Twelve: Substance Abuse]

Unacknowledged teenage blues can cause many a good kid to do bad things.
[Chapter Thirteen: The More-Than-Moody Blues]

Basically, there are two extremes out there in Adviceland: “tough love” and “soft love,” and never the twain shall meet. Well, David and I stopped riding this particular see-saw when we realized that each approach is in touch with one, and only one, side of the truth. Tough love works in some families; only soft love works in others. Occasionally, the best remedy is a switch in positions, from soft to rough, or vice versa. But switching at the wrong time can throw you hopelessly off balance. To help you decide which approach to take, and when to switch, I’m going to teach you the strategy I developed through trial and error: the Caring Response.
[Chapter Fourteen: The Caring Response]

I’ll give you models, but the Caring Intervention is inherently flexible, easily adjusted to your needs. It can involve as few as three people or as many as twenty. You may solve your problem within a few minutes or require as long as several months to complete the process.
[Chapter Fifteen: The Caring Intervention]

In general, you are looking for someone who is sincerely interested in adolescents, appears to be genuine, has good listening skills, can explain herself clearly and unaffectedly to you, and finally, who works with you and your child to measure the effectiveness of his or her efforts.
[Chapter Sixteen: Getting Professional Help]

Perhaps you fell prey to the illusion that you were in complete control—until adolescence struck. Teenagers end your illusions. They resist control. You need to face the reality: You are not in complete charge of your adolescent and her behavior, or her feelings, or her thoughts.
[Chapter Seventeen: Caring for Yourself]


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