From the time your child started showing that he or she had a mind of their own you’ve had to practice some sort of discipline. Whether you practice natural consequences, corporal punishment or another method entirely, the fact is the best way to discipline a teenager is to be consistent.
Being consistent means that you do what you say you will and follow through, each and every single time. A child who experiences this type of parenting will, by the time he or she reaches the teen years, become almost self-disciplining. But, if you’ve been lax in the consistency department, don’t lose heart, it’s not too late.
Here are the best ways to discipline teenagers:
Hold a family meeting – Get your children together and have a family meeting. During this meeting you’ll explain your new parenting technique of consistency. Then let them help you with the rest of the meeting.
Form a plan together – Together you and your teenager(s) will form a plan to deal with both positive and negative situations. This way, your teen will know what to expect. When teens know what to expect, and you don’t disappoint them, they learn to trust you more.
Choose natural consequences – With your teenager, choose what the consequences of various actions will be in advance. Don’t forget positive consequences as well as negative consequences. Each action should garner a reaction that makes sense.
Be realistic – Never create a consequence that is completely unrealistic. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, discipline or praise, if you cannot see it through, don’t promise it If you always create consequences that are natural effects of your teenager’s actions, you’ll have a lot more success.
Stand firm – Your teenagers will test your resolve. Stand firm and stick to what you said you’d do, if you don’t do it, there is no point in even starting. Teenagers need you to be dependable; it makes their world feel safe and complete.
Firm but not inflexible – Have regular family meetings in order to adjust consequence and rewards as needed. Some families like to have weekly meetings, others monthly. It’s up to you how you do this but having regular meetings to see how everything is working will increase your chances for success.
Remember the goal – When you are wavering in your resolve always think about the ultimate goal of being more consistent with your teen: Raising an adult who has self-control, is reliable, and is a productive citizen.
With a little practice you can bring consistency to your discipline methods which will increase the chances of success of that method exponentially. You may also find that you no longer need harsher methods of punishment to get the same results. You’ll be able to get away from constant criticism when you create a plan with the teenager about consequences. When teenagers get a say in discipline matters they tend to choose better behavior.
Give it a try for 90 days, do what you say you will do, and be clear about what that means with your teenager. Let me know how it works for you.
For more info on the the best way to discipline a teenager, visit the links below:
Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen This toolkit offers parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.
Visit Out of Control Teen to learn more about how you can help a teen that shows signs of trouble.