When your teen was younger, it may have felt much easier to discipline him or set consequences for behaviors he knew were inappropriate. A time out for a few minutes may have worked, or perhaps minimizing his screen time. Now? There’s likely nothing your teen would love more than to be sent to his room alone. Take his gaming console away; he is likely fine with it because his phone or tablet allows him access to plenty of entertainment.
How then can you discipline a teenager who is making you rethink your parenting approach? We’ve got a few tips that might help you find the right ways to approach discipline, boundaries, and consequences for your teenager.
Things to avoid when disciplining a teen
Before you can better understand how you should discipline and issue consequences to your teenager, it can be helpful to remember a few things you should avoid when it comes to dealing with your teen.
- Try to avoid conversations that could be seen as criticizing your teen. Keep in mind that the focus of consequences is to give your teen a chance to learn and grow from the poor decisions that he’s made. The goal of consequences should never be to make your teen feel bad or to lower his self-esteem.
- Be firm in your decisions, and don’t negotiate with him. Once you’ve issued a consequence to your teen, don’t fall into the trap of negotiating for less time spent being grounded or less time away from his devices. By negotiating with your teen, you’ll only be undermining your own authority and giving your teen the idea that he can just get out of consequences if he argues enough.
- Don’t ramble or give your teen lengthy speeches. It can be tempting to give your teen a lengthy speech about what he’s done wrong and why he’s getting the consequences he is. But, this is likely only to irritate your teen and put him on the defensive. Speak firmly, get straight to your point, and then end the conversation with your teen.
- Don’t blow things up into something more than they should be. Emotions and tensions can run high when you’re frustrated, angry, or upset with your teen.
Stay calm and level-headed when you’re speaking with your teen. He may react with a raised voice or get defensive and angry. Don’t rise to the temptation to argue back, as this will only create a power struggle with your teen.
The better direction to take with consequences for your teen
Consistency is one of the most important things to keep in your mind when dealing with a troubled teen. This goes hand-in-hand with avoiding the temptation to negotiate when your teen argues with you. Stay consistent and remind your teen and other household members what the expectations are, what the house rules are, and what the appropriate consequences may be.
Here are a few approaches to consider when you’re issuing consequences to your teen.
- Spend less time focused on poor behavior. Negative attention-seeking can often be just as frustrating to deal with, so it’s often best to ignore it as much as you are able so long as your teen isn’t doing anything dangerous or hurting himself and others with his behaviors. Don’t engage or get drawn into arguments and the temptation to correct your teen’s behavior. Instead, wait for an opportunity to give your teen positive reinforcement and praise.
- Follow through with consequences, even if it feels like your teen is just going to get angry or upset with you. Consequences aren’t meant to be fun. It’s not going to be the easiest thing to deal with a moody teen, but following through with the consequences will help reinforce your position and put your teen on a better path to understanding how to correct his behavior.
- Walk into discussions with your teen when cool heads prevail. Be sure that everyone is calm and ready to discuss things with lowered voices and in a non-reactionary way.
- Consider using consequences that will be important and have meaning to your teen. It can be a challenge to come up with the right type of consequences for your teen in the spur of the moment. So, spend a bit of time coming up with a list of consequences that your teen will be aware of. This may include removing his gaming console or his television from his bedroom.
Every teen and every family dynamic is different, so it’s important to note that there isn’t a one-size solution for disciplining your teenager.
Coming up with logical consequences for your teen
It’s much easier on everyone if you go into a discussion with your teen already having a plan of action for how you’re going to handle the situation.
- Have a clear plan about the rules and expectations, and make sure you communicate it with your teen.
- Give some thought to why your teen may be acting out. Has he struggled at school lately? Is he being bullied? Is he struggling with anxiety and depression? Understanding what may be fueling this behavior can help you better plan for your teen’s consequences. Even a teen who is struggling with his mental wellness needs to understand that there are consequences for poor behavior and poor decision-making.
- The consequences that you establish for your teen should be relevant and equal to the situation, they should be realistic, and they should also be consequences that your teen can understand.
What might some of these consequences look like?
- Taking away screen privileges
- Extra chores around the house
- Losing access to the family car if they have their driver’s license
- Being unable to spend time with friends
No one will deny that raising teens can be a challenge. It can feel like the rules of parenting change as often as the wind does. With the right structure, planning, and communication, you and your teen can get through this challenging stage and come out on the other end with a strong relationship that will last a lifetime.
If your teen is struggling with mental health or behavioral issues, call HelpYourTeenNow. We pride ourselves on being able to pair parents with the right types of resources to help them and their teens find their path back to a good and healthy relationship.
Leave a Reply