Teenagers need limits and guidance to help them find their way on the sometimes rough path from childhood to adulthood. Along the way, there are distractions, pitfalls and even potential dangers for an adolescent to avoid. As you guide your teenager, use various discipline methods to keep him on track and heading in the right direction.
One definition of discipline is “to teach." With this in mind, strive to teach your teen life skills, such as responsibility, self-control and respect using discipline methods that teach in a respectful and positive manner. Set clear expectations for your teenager so that he knows the rules and knows what you expect from him. When teenagers have this consistency, it gives them security and helps them concentrate on gaining independence in a positive manner.
Along with the clear expectations, there must be consequences if your teenager decides not to follow the rules. Consequences can vary in nature, with some fitting the “natural” definition and others fitting the “logical” definition. Natural consequences are effects of mistakes or rule breaking that aren’t imposed by a parent. An example of a natural consequence might be having a bike stolen if your teen forgets to lock it. An example of a logical consequence might be taking the car keys from your child if she doesn’t replace the gas she used.
Although time-outs may sound like something meant for the toddler set, they can also be effective discipline for teenagers, suggests the American Academy of Pediatrics. If a teenager loses his cool and becomes disrespectful, it’s reasonable to tell him that you’ll be happy to discuss the matter with him after he calms down. Most teens are better able to handle the situation after retreating to a quiet and secluded spot to calm down before feeling ready to interact with family again.
When a teenager has exhibited behavior that needs correcting, parents might use one of two corrective techniques: adding responsibilities or adding restrictions. By adding responsibilities, you would give your child additional chores or work to accomplish around the house to atone for the misbehavior. By adding restrictions, you remove privileges and restrict the teen’s activities as a punishment for the misbehavior.
Look for examples of your teenager making good choices and following the rules whenever possible. When you see compliance and a good attitude, reward it with praise or other types of rewards. Known as positive reinforcement, this type of discipline motivates and encourages people to repeat the behavior. The positive reinforcement might be as simple as a high-five, or it could be something like a trip to the movies or a new article of clothing your teen has been wanting.
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