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Your Teenager and Discipline Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Along with all the countless joys of parenting come much stress and heartbreak, especially during your child’s teenage year, which is a period of tremendous growth and change that can present many challenges and obstacles that may be difficult to handle. As a teenager, your child may be experiencing feelings of frustration and confusion over situations like trying to fit in with their peers, experiencing love for the first time, and dealing with their bodies’ physical changes. Moreover, as your child makes the transition from childhood to young adulthood, they are likely to want to have more independence, which as a result, may lead to them engaging in rebellious behavior. As a parent, these acts of rebellion can be very taxing to cope with. So, if you are a parent of a teenager who is looking for some helpful advice on how to manage your child during their teenage years, then you are going to want to read this article.
When it comes to disciplining your child at any age, it is always a challenge to find where the happy medium lies between being too overbearing where you look like a dictator to being too lax where you’d let your child get away with murder. A lot of what will determine the level of effectiveness of your disciplinary tactics will depend on how strong of a relationship you have with your teenager. If you have created an environment for your teenager to live in where they experience unconditional love and acceptance, then your teenager is much more likely to listen to you and show you respect.
A big part of building a solid relationship with your teenager is being open and honest and having discussions with them. You should never just lecture or talk at your teenager; this disciplinary tactic is highly ineffective. Help your teenager understand the decision making process and coach them on how to weigh the consequences of their actions. During these discussions, however, it is very important that you allow your teenager to be a part of the discussion and to let their voice be heard. As a parent, you should strive to be approachable and be ready to really listen to what your teenager has to say.
Becoming more independent is a huge factor of being a teenager. As a result, you should allow your teenager some leeway to explore and experiment with their newfound independence. A tremendous amount of growth and soul searching occurs during the teenage years and consequently parents should not be constantly dictating what their teenager should and should not do. It is very important to allow your teenager to discover their own path in life, even if they make a few mistakes along the way. Of course, do not give your teenager so much freedom that you are ignoring any early warning signs of trouble to come.
Setting curfews for your teenager is another effective parenting maneuver. A curfew will allow your teenager to embrace their independence while at the same time they are learning to be more responsible. The curfew that you set should be reasonable, most likely an earlier time on school nights and a later time on weekend nights. There should most definitely be ramifications if your teenager breaks their curfew, but that doesn’t mean you should over do it. If they are only 5 minutes past curfew, the punishment should not be as severe as if they were 3 hours late.
Parenting a teenager is by no means an easy feat, but with patience, understanding, and open communication you will be able to manage your child’s teenage years much more effectively.

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