It is no secret that the teen years can be challenging. Raging hormones, the drive towards independence, restrictions, misunderstandings, and raised voices are common. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Keep in mind that the word discipline means “to lead” or “to teach”. Successful discipline can be achieved by concentrating less on punishment and more on leading our teens in the right direction. Following is a list of ways you can provide discipline for your teen without destroying your relationship.
- Consistency: One of the most important parenting principles is consistency. All teens need to know the rules and what the consequences are for breaking them each and every time. It is very frustrating when a behavior is acceptable one day and is not acceptable the next. Teens depend on you to keep your word by consistently enforcing house rules. This helps them feel secure and trusting.
- Keep anger out of discipline: Every parent has felt angry at times. It is fine to let your teen know that you are angry with them, but always stop and think before acting. NEVER discipline your child when you are angry. Remember to address the behavior rather than attacking your teen personally.
- Listen to your teen: Your child will feel valued and respected when you take the time to listen to their view points and ideas. Allow your teen to express their frustrations and feelings appropriately. Model the correct way to disagree respectfully. If you want to be heard, learn to listen!
- Use logical and reasonable consequences: To best help your adolescent to grow into a responsible adult they must learn the connection between their actions and the consequences for them. If your teen stays out past curfew it is logical that he should be restricted from further outings for a time. If he brings home unacceptable grades it is reasonable that there would be no TV or computer time until homework is completed. Be sure the ‘punishment fits the crime’ or your consequences may just seem spiteful.
- Allow for mistakes: Adolescents need their parents guidance. However, it is not beneficial to their maturation if you micromanage their every move. Although you may want to protect your child from making a mistake, allowing him to fail and living with the consequences can teach valuable life skills.
- Spend time with your teen: If you are to have a positive influence on your adolescent you must spend quality time together. Engage in activities they enjoy and use the opportunity to get to know your teen as the emerging adult they are becoming.