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How to Properly Discipline Your 17-Year-Old Child

by Kathryn Hatter

By the time your child reaches the late teens, it’s likely that many of the more difficult hands-on disciplining responsibilities are over. A 17-year-old adolescent, however, still needs guidance and discipline to ensure she stays safe and accountable. As you supervise and monitor your teen’s activities, there may be times when you need to rein her in to help her make positive choices -- and exhibit positive behaviors.

Provide clear and concise guidelines about rules and expectations to your adolescent so she knows what you expect and understands the boundaries she must respect.

Involve your child in setting appropriate consequences for rule infractions, to provide opportunities for accountability, advises psychologist Kalman Heller, writing for the Psych Central website. Effective consequences for an adolescent include loss of privileges and grounding, according to a guide from the Connecticut Child Welfare Services.

Transfer some responsibility for self-discipline to your child as she grows into late adolescence, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises. Instead of hovering over your youngster to ensure she follows rules, give her a little more space as long as she demonstrates a trustworthy attitude.

Attend to any significant behavioral issues or problems that occur with swift and consistent consequences. Consistency ensures that you provide a solid disciplinary foundation. For example, if your teen decides to blow off his curfew and walks in the door two hours late, don’t look the other way or you’ll be sending the message that the curfew rule doesn’t matter. Follow through with the stated consequences or invite your teen to help decide on an appropriate consequence.

Overlook more minor infractions. By allowing your youngster to experience natural consequences that occur with mistakes, you remove yourself from the position of rule enforcer and you allow your child to learn in a more adult-like manner.

Communicate regularly with your adolescent to stay involved in her life. As you maintain this solid connection, you should have the opportunity to provide guidance and support for her when she struggles with decisions. Resist the urge to take control; instead, talk through a situation to explore it together to gently guide her toward a positive decision.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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