One of the most challenging aspects of being a parent is disciplining a teenager when they have made wrong choices; especially when they have violated your trust. Parents also struggle with who will be the disciplinarian when actually both should be. It is imperative that parents work in unison when it comes to discipline. If you don’t, the teenager will foster disagreement between their parents.
A teenager knows how to steal your heart with their eyes and pitiful looks when being disciplined. Don’t give into the teenager unless you have strong reasons to believe the negative behavior will discontinue. Listed below are some guidelines you should follow when it comes to disciplining your teenagers.
- Disciplining should be based on the teenager’s current negative behavior: Avoid bring up the past even though it might be the same negative behavior. Your teenager already knows about the problem. You should remain focused on dealing with the current problem. Make sure you listen and avoid yelling and screaming. Communicate your feelings about the situation with a calm and strong voice. Above all, it is very important that you listen carefully to your teenager.
- Never use discipline as a dumping ground for your personal conflict with others: If you have a personal problem with someone else, please don’t allow it to impact how you respond to your teenager. If you can’t calm yourself, you need to wait until later before you deal with your teenager. You need to focus on thinking clearly and calmly as you deal with your teenager’s issues.
- Use appropriate disciplinary actions for each teenager: Every teenager is different so choose the right disciplinary actions that will give the most benefits in changing the teenager’s negative behavior. When a teenager is very popular, a good method is to take away privileges. (No phone, no friends for two weeks, etc.). For example, our son was popular, smart, involved with sports and had an abundance of friends. So we had to utilize a variety of disciplinary actions. His punishments included taking away the car or phone and staying away from friends. If you have a teenager that sits at home, it’s more challenging to discipline them. For example, our daughter focused on one friend at a time. She loved staying at home. So we decided her punishment would be to walk around the block. She would say “This is the dumbest thing I have ever seen.” But the punishment was very effective and changed her behavior.
- Use a variety of disciplinary actions to deter the teenager’s negative behavior: By utilizing the same disciplinary action over and over again, the teenager will eventually become desensitized. Parents should employ multiple types of disciplinary actions to deter the teenager’s negative behavior. Apply consequences that will not put you in bondage, the teenager should be affected more than the parents.
- Disciplinary actions should be designed to eliminate or minimize the teenager’s negative behavior: When a teenager’s negative behavior does not change after disciplining, there could be some event that is causing the negative behavior that you don’t know. You should sit down with your child and present them with an opportunity to express their feelings. It is the parent’s responsibility to listen intently to what the teenager has articulated or not articulated. Avoid becoming frustrated if you don’t understand your teenager’s issues. Your teenager’s negative behavior could be a result of stress, substance abuse, bullying, divorce, relationships, pregnancy, jealousy, academics, sexual transmitted diseases, rape, peer pressure, incest, sibling rivalry or other issues. If you need outside assistance with your teenager don’t hesitate to get help. Make sure you seek the right type of counselor for your teenager.
- Discipline must be a continuous and consistent process which sets boundaries for the teenager: Avoid reducing your teenager’s punishment because you are worn down as a result of the teenager’s constant nagging. Your teen will take advantage of your weakness. You and your spouse should be in agreement about the disciplinary action.
- Discipline shows the teenager the consequences of breaking those boundaries: Teenagers need to know and understand that there are boundaries not to cross and to understand the consequences for breaking those boundaries. Teenagers need to understand that boundaries are established for their protection.
- Avoid disciplining a teenager out of anger: Try to understand the reason(s) for negative behavior: Parents, you must stay in control when using discipline. Do not yell nor use words that will damage your teenager’s self-esteem. You will be more effective in dealing with the situation, when you treat your teen with respect.
- Discipline the teenager with a caring and compassionate heart: Parents, you should always discipline your teenager in ways that do not attack your teen’s character. Let your teenager know you are concerned about potential negative consequences on his or her life. It’s important to use words that build up your teenager instead of tearing them down.
- Award the teenager for positive behavior: It is appropriate to reward your teenager for making right choices, especially when the teenager has worked hard to improve their behavior. Parents should be eager to reward their teenager for the small improvements which will hopefully lead to great success for the teenager and peace within the home.
Written by Mr. Wisdom
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