If you have a troubled teen that doesn’t seem to care about the consequences of their actions, then this article will be very useful to you. In this article, you’ll discover why your troubled teen might not care about the consequences and what you can do to help them.
Discipline a Teen Who Doesnt Care About Consequences
There are many reasons why teens might not care about the consequences of their actions. However, there are two that tend to be the most common.
1. Your teen knows that you don’t understand them
To understand why some teens might not care about the consequences of their actions, you have to understand some teen psychology. Teens are trying to develop their own identities, and because of this, they might sometimes choose not to identify with their parents. For example, they might decide to explore different ideas, clothing, and ways of being the exact opposite or somewhat different from you. This is part of their developmental process.
In addition to this, because their brains aren’t fully developed, teens aren’t fully able to control their emotions and are sometimes impulsive. That’s why teens are often stereotyped as emotional and difficult to get along with. So, if your teen seems to “not care about anything,” keep in mind that they’re still developing and are trying to find themselves.
That being said, if your troubled teen is acting out in extreme ways and doesn’t care about their actions, don’t simply dismiss this attitude as being natural to teens. Reach out to a clinically licensed mental health professional or residential treatment center for help.
2. There is a power struggle between you and your teen
If you’re in a power struggle with your troubled teen, then they might turn to an “I-don’t-care” attitude as a way to regain control of the situation. For example, your teen just came home late from a party. The plan was for them to come back at 9 pm, but they’ve come home much later. You get into an argument, and before you know it, you’re telling them that they’re grounded, and they respond, “I don’t care. Do whatever you want.” This sends you and your teen spiraling out of control.
When your and your teen are in a deadlock, the goal isn’t to show who has more control; it’s about helping them understand why their actions are inappropriate. So, rather than focusing on respect and authority, focus on accountability and change.
How to discipline a teen who doesn’t care about consequences
If your teen doesn’t care about the consequences of their actions, here are some ways that you can change their behavior. Remember, the goal is to focus on correcting their behavior rather than whether your teen cares or not. An attitude of caring is developed over time and not overnight.
Make sure that the consequence of their action fits their personality. In some instances, teens might be compliant if their screens are taken away, while others would comply if they had to do more chores. As we mentioned in the beginning, understanding your teen is crucial to changing their attitude and behaviors.
To help you find effective ways to discipline your teen, try to implement some of the practices below.
1. Make sure the consequences have a lesson attached to them
If you want your teen to care about the consequences of their actions, make sure that the consequences help them learn something. For example, in the case of a teen who doesn’t want to do homework, the point of taking away something like their phone or game isn’t to prove that you have authority. The lesson, instead, should be “no work, no fun.”
When you focus on what your teen needs to learn, this shifts the conversation from a power struggle to one about change and growth.
2. Make them earn screen time
As the example above shows, you need to help your teen understand that having access to a screen like their phone, tv, or computer is a privilege and not a right. Using screens as a reward helps them understand that screens aren’t something that should be centered in daily life. It also teaches them the importance of working for a reward.
Remember that screens can also further mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, with depression often leading to seeming apathy in teens. For more information on tips to limit the time teens spend on screens, read this.
3. Engage them physically
If a teen struggles with caring about the consequences of their actions, engage them physically in work. For example, after choosing not to do homework for many days in a row, you might start to use chores as a way of getting your teen to change their behavior.
By using chores as a way of engaging them, you’re also teaching your teen that accountability matters. They will continue to have responsibilities, regardless of their avoidance and denial of any.
As you apply these different techniques, remember that you ultimately want your teen to understand that you care about them and aren’t just punishing them. Showing your teen that you care can help you and them change their attitude.
Want to help your teen?
If you really want to help your teen change their behavior, then consider a residential treatment center. At these centers, mental health practitioners will use various therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavior modification therapy to help your teen care about the consequences of their actions. The staff at these centers would also work together to teach values such as responsibility and integrity to help your teen change their behavior.