Teens don’t always want to listen and it seems like some of them want to break the rules more often than not. So what can we do as parents to make sure they are dealt a fair punishment that will teach them a lesson? Here are some tips for how to discipline your teen.
Be Very Clear
When creating rules or laying out punishments, be very clear with your teen about what you expect from them and why you’re giving them this punishment. Repeat yourself if you have to, and have them say the rules and/or restrictions back to you to make sure it sticks.
Write it Down
Write down the rules and punishments and put it somewhere noticeable so your teen has a visual reminder of what’s at stake. You can even draw up a contract and have them sign it to make it official. Putting something in writing means that there’s evidence if your kid tries to pull a fast one on you.
Instead of sending your kid to his room or grounding him for breaking the rules, try a different approach to make him more accountable for his actions. If he breaks something, have him pay to replace it; if he fights a kid at school, have him apologize and try and foster a positive relationship with the other kid. These types of consequences will help your teen gain awareness of the consequences of his actions.
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If you show your teen respect, they will respect you back. When they do something wrong, take a minute to check yourself instead of lashing out right away and expressing your anger or disappointment in a negative form. Take a minute to plan how you will handle the situation and keep in mind that you want to be a positive role model for your kid.
Life is constantly changing, which means you might have to change your rules once in a while. Be open to change and suggestions from your teen—they’re not always trying to pull the wool over your eyes. If one strategy isn’t working, try something new and see if that’s any better.
By working with your teen to develop fair rules around behavior that you can hold them accountable to, you’re more likely to help them confront their mistakes in positive ways—and learn valuable lessons as a result.
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