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I did something similar as to what Becky did but didn't have the tools that she did in getting someone to mentor my 17-year old daughter. She had been truant from high school and as a consequence I drove her car to a friend's house who had some extra room in her driveway and left the car there with the keys. My daughter had to find her own way to her part-time job, etc. I left it there for a month. Something must have clicked as into her first semester at college I received a letter from my dear daughter that she was so grateful for the opportunity to attend college and knew that it was because of me. I will never forget that letter. I don't know where she would have ended up if I hadn't been tough with her. She graduated cum laude with honors and is a successful Language Arts high school teacher for the past 3 years. I am so proud. Now for the next one! (age 14 going on 21!)


I work as a family therapist and as a single parent raised two "men". At least, now they are. I read with interest the "mean mom" story. I don't necessarily think selling the car was bad for Jr. but buying it and then selling it could have produced a difficult financial situation for mom. The whole adolescent-car deal is a very expensive proposition. As a single working mom buying a car that I could afford for each son was a huge chore. I was able to find a good deal for both and with son #2 encountered something with his driving - partying habits very like the "mean mom". I opted not to get rid of the car, I had never made such a threat anyway and my work to find something I could actually buy was exhausting. Selling would have meant an incurred loss. And, eventually, another car would have t be purchased.
Instead, I had the minister at my church take the keys. In order to get the keys back Son #2 had to meet with the minister once a week, eight times for two hours each time. (my minister was kind and more than willing to help. I suppose a good therapeutic session could work. Digging ditches could be great as well, a technique I used with him on earlier occasion for a different stupid stunt.)
As an adult who is presently in graduate school, my son talks about this experience. He appreciated the attention, wisdom and even the fun times he received. Not only did he earn his car back he spent a lot of quality time with a very generous and wise man. They continued to be friends after the six meetings.
The reckless behavior ceased as well. Yes, he was a tough one and I learned a lot about Parent/adolescent therapy from him. Mostly, it seemed so important to draw a line, keep it and still say, "I love you more than the world and would literally die if anything ever happened to you." Those words I said a lot.

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