Smart discipline. Smarter teens.

Teenagers can be a handful. They can be abusive, disobedient, rebellious and deceptive. Why? Well they are in a delicate phase of their life – no longer children but not adults either. Many parents forget that their teenagers are no longer children and continue to discipline them with child discipline techniques– which leads to more fights, more lies and more yelling. They need to remember their own turbulent teen years and try to understand the precarious situation of their teenagers. Only then can they discipline their teenagers with patience, tolerance and compassion and avoid the mistakes numerous parents make. 

Here are a few common mistakes parents make and a few lessons on how to discipline a teenager:

Inconsistent discipline

A crucial mistake parents make is when they accept a certain behavior one day but not on another day. This confuses teenagers and they stop respecting and depending on their parents.  This lack of stability and consistency further muddles the minds of the teens that need strong parental guidance. Hence it is imperative to define clear rules, expectations and consequences once rules are broken.  More importantly, parents have to be firm and consistent with these established rules.

Unfair expectations

Many parents set rules and expectations without consulting their teenagers. Some rules and expectations might seem unfair to the teenager that can lead to negativity and disobedience.  It is best to involve the teenager when setting boundaries.  This way the teenager will have some ownership on the rules, consider them fair and thus be more likely to stick to the terms and conditions.  

Lack of communication

Not lending an ear to teenagers is a mistake that many parents make that generates more misunderstandings and hostilities. A teenager needs to be heard and understood. Lines of communication between the parents and the teenager need to remain open at all times. The teenager should be able to count on parents when in trouble for a steady hand and good advice. The more engaged parents will be with the teenager’s life, the more likely some of the issues will be resolved through discussions.

Decisions made in anger

In these stressful times, many parents overreact with the behavior of their angsty teenagers. When approached with crass abuses, hurtful remarks or disobedience, parents lose their cool and start yelling or hand out a severe punishment. Worse situation, they physically punish their child. Parents need to realize that such drastic actions don’t improve the behavior but rather make it more hostile and defiant. Physical abuse instills hostility and resentment that damages the parent-child relationship. In rage, sometimes parents belittle or shame their teenagers by calling them names or labeling them – this leads to teenagers feeling inadequate and insecure. Parents have to control their anger and not let their fury dictate their actions. Nothing good can ever come out of it.

Lack of affection

Some parents forget to express their love when their teenagers aren’t behaving the way they expect them to. But teenagers besides discipline need nurturing and it is important for parents to express their love even during crisis to let their teenagers know that they are not alone. Parents need to be the support system for the teenager through bad times.

Parents can avoid these common mistakes by disciplining their teenagers with the right balance of authority and love. By providing a structured and disciplined environment, parents can help their teenagers through these turbulent years and teach them to become responsible and smart adults. 

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