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Back in Control Paperback – February 15, 1984
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Arthur, Ken, and Emma
ARTHUR -- THE CHORE HATER
Jean, forty-five and divorced, should have been in good spirits. They'd had the closing on the house she just sold; there was money in the bank -- she would be able to pay her bills up to date for the first time in weeks; and her seventeen-year-old daughter, Melinda, had just been awarded a scholarship from the University of California. But Jean was tense, irritable, and on the verge of anger -- and, as it turned out, with justification. As she suspected, her fourteen-year-old-son, Arthur, hadn't done any of his daily chores. The dishes were still in the sink from last night, his room was a mess, the living room floor that he was supposed to have vacuumed was covered with litter and food droppings, and Arthur, ignoring it all, was watching television and eating cookies.
Jean restrained herself with great effort and attempted to use what she had read in several parenting books:
"Arthur, it makes me very angry when you don't follow through and do the things you've agreed to do. Last week you complained about all the yard work you had to do and said if Melinda would trade housework with you, you would do the dishes everyday and the floor at least three times a week. So far you haven't done anything."
Arthur looked up at his mom, said, "As soon as this program is over, I'll get busy," and went back to watching reruns of "Happy Days."
Jean, not wanting to be unreasonable, let Arthur finish out "Happy Days" while she went to change her clothes. Twenty minutes later she returned to find Arthur watching "LaVerne and Shirley." The floor had not been vacuumed, no dishes had been done, and his room was still a mess. Her resolve to be reasonable and trusting was overcome by a wave of anger and resentment.
"Dammit, I can't count on you to do anything. You won't even follow through with your own agreements. You can see what a filthy mess this house is but you aren't willing to do a thing. Your sister and I have to do everything. I work hard day after day to do my share around here, and Melinda more than does her part. And what do you do? Nothing! Nothing but watch television."
Arthur stood up and threw his bag of cookies on the floor "Living with you is like living in a prison. You think you're a damn warden. Everything has to be your way, when you want it. You don't care about me or what I want."
"If you don't like it here, you can get out any time you please."
Arthur, taking his mother at her word, left the house in a huff and spent the evening at a friend's house watching television. His mother and Melinda worked in angry silence vacuuming the floor and doing the dishes. The next morning, Jean enrolled her family in a Back In Control workshop.
KEN -- THE DOPE DEALER
Ken liked dope. He liked to smoke it, he liked to snort it, and he really liked the money he earned from selling it. The kids at his high school knew him as a dealer you could always "score" from. His room was like a small showroom for drugs. He had posters on the wall glorifying its use, several pieces of jewelry made to look like marijuana leaves, and the tools of the trade -- scales, manicuring equipment, baggies, cigarette rolling papers, and a drawerful of cash for easy transactions.
He was almost seventeen years old and had been dealing dope for three years. If his parents hadn't dried out in an alcohol treatment program, Ken would probably have continued dealing into adulthood. But once free of alcohol, his parents saw what their son was doing and brought Ken to a Back In Control workshop.
EMMA -- THE TRUANT
Betty walked into Emma's room to wake her up. It was already after 6:30 and Emma would have to hurry if she was going to get to school on time today.
"Emma, get up. Emma, it's time to get up," said Betty, gently tugging at her daughter's shoulder.
"All right, all right!" said Emma, pushing her mom's arm away. "I'll get up. Just leave me alone!" and turned back over
Betty returned to her room to finish dressing so she could get to work on time. She looked in on Emma about fifteen minutes later and found her asleep again.
"Emma, Emma, it's time to get up," she said sharply.
"Leave me alone!" snapped Emma.
"You're going to be late for school."
"No I won't, just leave me alone and I'll get up on my own."
"But you don't. You've missed two days of school already this week." And Betty reached down to pull Emma out of bed.
"Don't touch me, bitch!"
"Don't talk to me that way, dammit!" she screamed. "I'm your mother and I'm going to get more respect than that!" And she slapped Emma across the face.
But Emma returned the blow with even greater force and doubled up her fist ready to defend herself. Betty, not knowing what to do next and not wanting to have a fist fight with her daughter, ran from the room and went to work. Emma missed that entire day of school, her third in a row and the tenth that month.
After she got to work that morning, Betty called our office on the advice of Emma's school counselor and enrolled in a Back In Control workshop.
We will rejoin Arthur, Ken, Emma, and their parents at the conclusion of this book.
Copyright © 1983 by Gregory Bodenhamer
Top Customer Reviews
I highly recommend this book to ANY parent who is dealing with a difficult child. The author puts the responsibility for behavior back on the child which takes the heat off of the parent. The ownership of behavior becomes the focus. Parents are liberated and free to love their child back into a positive relationship.
Advice: Don't EVER give up on your child. Find all the tools you can to help you help them. Start with this book. I know it works.
Back in control is also effective in establishing meaningful expectations with the very young, as well as help with effective interference and reconciliation with older kids involved in alcohol, drugs and other high risk or anti-social behavior.
Critical to successful correction of unsocial and out of control behavior is the willingness of the adults involved to follow through with the child in an effective and meaningful way. The principles presented in Back in control clearly demonstrates that when adults fail to effectively follow through and enforce their own expectations, then children are not likely to follow through and enforce those expectations on themselves. Back in control helps adults accept their part in helping the child let go of learned manipulative skills and other tactics characteristic of the out of control child.
Back in control is incorporated into anger management classes within many of our nation's juvenile court systems, agency services, classroom and other government and private child management training in many states. Awareness, concerning the principles in Back in control, can help facilitate effective support from various agencies through common ground communications with these agencies.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Learned so much! And agree because it makes sense. The only thing I second-guessed was the part about temper tantrums. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sarah*10*
Was recommended this book by a professional therapist. So far so good. Blowback from initial setting down of the foot - immense. By second week well worth it.Published 6 months ago by WriteOn
I loan this book out to my clients. I hope I get it back or I will have to buy another! Good advice and while I'm sure it's not quite so magical as the author implies, I think... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Hedwall
I give this book out to all parents who are having trouble with their kids, or even new parents. It is a fast self-diagnosis book and helps parents get on the same page quickly. Read morePublished 7 months ago by BeachTass
Clear, concise, step by step verbatim what to say and do. Did I mention it works beautifully. Whether you have one child who needs extra help or a dozen every person in your family... Read morePublished 11 months ago by DonnaDee
Great book with good ideas for raising a child. It was recomended to me so I bought it for my daughter for her family.Published 14 months ago by Connie Curnow
Best overall book for regaining order in your home. Easy to understand and follow. And, it works!Published 15 months ago by Linda J. Macdonald