As your children grow into teenagers, they may become more difficult to handle than before. While they may have liked to hang out with you as 8- or 10-year-olds, now the thought of being seen with you at the mall mortifies them. You may also experience a bit of resistance from them when you try to set curfews or tell them what to do. Disciplining a teenage child is not impossible, though. Maintain open communication with your teenager, and set firm rules from the beginning to keep her under control.
Make time for your teenager. The best way to monitor a teenager’s behavior and to make sure he stays on the right track is to check in with him every now and then. Try to meet for a family meal at least a few times a week. Don’t force things with your teenager, though. Forcing teenagers to do things tends to backfire. If your teenager won’t talk to you, get an adult he trusts to talk to him.
Set specific rules and limits, and be clear with your teenager why you are setting them. For instance, if you want him in by 11 p.m. on weekends, explain that it is for his own safety, as more drunken drivers are on the roads late at night.
Pick your battles. The teenage years are a time when children begin to find themselves. If your teenager goes on a meat-free diet or simply can’t keep her room clean, consider whether it is worth the effort to fight over those things.
Compromise with your teenager. If you have an issue with your child, such as he chronically wakes up late or won’t go to bed at a reasonable time, brainstorm a way to solve the problem together. A bed-time compromise for a teen who stays up too late is that he needs to be in bed by a certain time but can read or watch TV in bed for an extra hour.
Plan punishments that work. Grounding a teenager for a month for forgetting to take out the garbage is extreme and will just cause him to resent you. Grounding him for a month if he repeatedly stays out past curfew may be effective, though. If your teenager does something against the rules, take time to think of an effective punishment. You may want to ask your teen what he thinks is a good consequence for his actions and put that punishment into place.
- Two smiling teenagers image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com