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Horse Sense for People

Tough Case Please Help


Hi All
I am desperately looking for tips from anyone who has been trying Montys methods on people. i have read his horse sense for people book and totally agree with the concepts. However I am having trouble figuring out how to put them in to practice. I am 33 years old and have just had a baby and have a 2 year old. i have also just inherited a 14 year old step daughter from my husband. Her mother had a drink problem and committed suicide a year and a half ago. my husband had never met his daughter until she cam to live with us now after this tragedy in her life. We now have the responsibility of looking after her. She is a bright girl but very rebellious and in the last year before she came to live with us she lived in a big city with her uncle who could not control her. It seems she has been allowed to do what she wants for the past while and has lacked discipline for years. She is behind on her education and we are desperately trying to get her into school to write her gcses as she says she want to go to university eventually. What she says and does are 2 different things. It seems she is only motivated to drink alcohol, meet people, mostly guys, smoke pot and sleep with guys. Wow what a challenge. She likes to get up at 12pm and smoke pot. I have managed to get her into horses and working on a local farm which she loves and am trying to find anything positive I can use as bargaining material for good behavior, however the big question is how do you motivate a teenage girl who really only seems keen on drinking smoking and boys.much older boys:/ it is difficult as we have only know each other for a few months and she has already been exposed to sex, drugs and total independence in the big city. I feel like I now have to steer a huge ship through the icebergs with out having done the driving the lenience. Our goal is to obviously motivate her to study and achieve good grades and become part of our family. She said she wants to study and excitedly picked 9 subjects which I thought was too much for home schooling but she insisted, but she has done no studying for 3 weeks. Help!She thinks she can rely on her brightness and get the work done in 5 minutes. Any tips on guiding this sparky young thing who surely has it in her to do well would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Kleinne - Utah, U.S.A.
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed

Wow, what a challenge...I feel for you especially since you're trying to raise two young little ones of your own. I have 5 children two daughters in college a soon to be 17 year old son a soon to be 15 year old daughter and a nine year old. Something that I've learned about kids is that no matter what they think or say they want and need boundaries and they need to know they are loved and have value. A child that is drinking, doing drugs and having sex has never been taught that she has value. One of the best things to help her feel good about herself is for her to give service to others. When we look outside ourselves and help others we naturally feel good about ourselves and we see value in ourselves. Starting her with the horses is a great way for her to learn how to look outside of herself to care for someone or something else. She needs responsibility, let her take some of the responsibility of caring for and cleaning up after the horses. There also needs to be a clear set of rules that you as the parents and she can all agree on with clear consequences. Sit down with her together and talk about rules, goals, consequences for breaking rules she needs to agree with the consequences, maybe even let her set the consequence herself. They're usually harsher on themselves then you would be. Be patient with her, she's had a tough life and losing her mother in such a tragic way will leave a permanent scar in her life. Help her to recognize that the path her mother took is not the way for her to follow. I don't know if you're religious but teaching her that's she's a child of god will help her to feel that she's never alone in this world and that she always has her Father in Heaven to turn to when she needs help. You have a long up hill battle but again be as patient as possible, try not to force your will on her but let her experience consequences when they come. Something that my husband has always done with our kids is once a month he sits down privately with each one of them and talks to them about whats going on in their lives, he counsels them when they need it and lets them know that he cares about what they're doing. We've been fortunate to have really wonderful moral children, we live in a small community that shares our values this has helped a lot. However, no matter where you live you can create a sanctuary in your home for her and that's what she desperately needs. Good luck, we're here for you on the Uni, I would consider drug counseling for her if you feel she has an addiction problem. If she's under the influence of drugs and alcohol all the time her reasoning skills will not be there and she'll need professional help. Sorry you are dealing with such a difficult situation but try to think of her as the abused horse that just needs to be loved.
I hope this helps, keep us updated on how things are going.

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed

Hi Helene,

Much of what Kleinne says is very true. Hi morals create good values.
Something else that you could add to this advice is rewards.
I believe Monty had a black board that had each childs name on it.
Regardless of their age this will work and teach them good work ethics and build self confidence. We always feel better about ourselves if we accomplish something and are praised for it.
Behaviour = consquence
Positive behaviour = positive consequence
Example: Sit with the child, whatever the age, choose a chore for them to do and ask them, what would you like as a reward? It has to be something reasonable and not monetary. An example: Missy has agreed to do the supper dishes everyday for one week and if she does she gets to go to a movie she has been really wanting to see. If she does this job without complaint and does it well, you as parents have to make sure she gets the reward, no matter what, you can't back down. You have to keep your word.
This inspires positive action.
If the child does not do the chore then the agreed discipline has to be preformed. That to is on the black board. Consistancy is the key. And it also prevents impulsive actions on both parts.
I remember Monty gave the example of a very young child having to wash one bathroom tile as a discipline but if she did her chore she got to go to Grandma's.
He said it worked with all his children and the many foster children he and Pat raised.
A few words that I stand by is, saying to them sincerly good job and telling them I love you or having the courage to say, I was wrong I apoligize.
Hope this helps.
I would not want to be a teen today they have so much pressure to deal with from all sides.

Kleinne - Utah, U.S.A.
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed

I've been thinking about your situation and applying Monty's concept here, he always teach's intrinsic learning not extrinsic learning. So if you apply intrinsic learning she will best learn by teaching herself versus you trying to teach her. It sounds like she has really taken to the horses, I would introduce her to Monty's concepts regarding horses and let her watch his video's. As she begins to absorb his message and she has a chance to apply his methods she will gain a greater understanding and respect for what he is teaching. On Horse and Country tv there are some video's were he talks about his life and he counsels troubled teens, these videos could be very impactful for her but I think she needs to gain a respect of him before she will gain a respect of his words. Anyway, just a thought...

MaggieF, Melbourne - Australia
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed

Wow! Helene - I feel for you here what a task you have taken on. The advise you have been given above sounds good and I can't add much too it. This is such a hard one. My youngest daughter was a rebellious teenager - totally rejected me - that was hard enough to deal with - can't imagine what it would be like to have a child that is not yours going through this. I was pretty lucky as mine had the sense to keep away from drugs but older boys and alcohol became a problem once she was 16. I refused to allow her to stay out all night until she was 18 years old - after that she went wild and there was little I could do. She managed a science degree at Uni somehow but then became a waitress in a city night club - came home one night and said that she had been asked by management to join the pole dancers in an itsy bitsy bicini - she saw it as a promotion as she was to be paid more. I just asked what they were going to pay her and egualled the amount myself - she had enough sense to accept my offer. Now she is a super conservative full time Mum with three children which she keeps totally under control!!! She blamed me for working full time and not giving her sufficient time as a teenager so I guess that may be part of the secret. Your adopted daughter sounds as if she has not been given any guidance whatsoever in terms of acceptable behaviour. Set clear boundaries in conjuntion with her and give her as much time as you can - very difficult when you have two little ones of your own! Sounds as if you doing everything that is humanly possible and really thinking it through so good luck!


Wow thanks a lot guys. it is such a great support to hear your advice which all sounds great and gives me much to think about. Things have improved already so I hope as they say "slowly, slowly, catchy monkey". We had a bit of a stern meeting last week about her dress sense and thank goodness since then she has been dressing without "showing all" and has calmed down a lot. Her cousin has just arrived for holidays and they are going kayaking every afternoon which seems to change her attitude a lot. Yippee for all the outdoor activities, they are so revitalizing and grounding. Now for adding some responsibilities! I will keep you posted...may, many thanks:)

Hello! 100 lessons completed

Hi Helene. I stand in awe of you - what a challenge! I've read all the replies and have one small thing to add. I've raised three children as a single mother. I noticed it is much easier to get a child to do something (clean their room, wash dishes, any chore, really) if you do it with them and help them (without doing it all for them). This even works with other children - one of my friends had a daughter diagnosed with Oppositional-Defiance Disorder who would not clean her room. My youngest daughter said, "Hey let's go clean your room. I'll help you." They went off together and had a wonderful time and became good friends. Best of luck to you and God Bless your family.