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What is teen discipline? This article helps define teen discipline and offers some tips on approaching the disciplining of a teenager. Keep reading to learn how to discipline a troubled teen with natural consequences and some problems with teen discipline.
What should you think about teen discipline? It’s an important subject and one on which a lot of people sound off. This article discusses some of the teen discipline advice to be found today.
Take With a Grain of Salt
There is no one answer to teen discipline, just as there is not one answer to “what’s for dinner?” Different families have different cultures and tastes and approaches, and individuals do as well. Especially with a first child, figuring out teen discipline can be a discovery process rather than the application of an established set of fool-proof principles. Given these premises, you should be skeptical of any program that claims to be a discipline panacea.
What Is Teen Discipline?
Teen discipline doesn’t have a standard definition. So let’s try one on for size:
Teen discipline is the set of characteristics that allow a teen to gradually become more and more self-disciplined and also includes cooperativeness, openness, fairness, honesty, and responsibility. A disciplined teen loads the dishwasher if she says she will, does not throw a tantrum if asked to help out when she had other plans, offers to help when she sees someone struggling to accomplish some task. A disciplined teen also does his homework on time and mans up when he’s done something wrong.
What Can Interfere With Teen Discipline?
There are a number of factors that can interfere with teen discipline, and they are of many different kinds:
If your teen is not as disciplined as you would hope, consider these possibilities. Then talk to your teen to see what’s going on. If the change in your teen’s behavior has been sudden or marked, you may want to speak to his or her pediatrician or school counselor.
Some Approaches to Teen Discipline
Some parents try to let natural consequences teach their children. But the natural consequences of not doing well in high school are (possibly) not getting into the college of your choice, and that may be much too harsh a lesson for a teen.
Some parents use punishments to discipline, but punishment for infractions without praise for accomplishments may not accomplish the desired goal (some behaviorists urge complete focus on positive reinforcement).
Some parents reward good behavior (e.g., money for grades), but this can give the idea that the grades themselves are not good enough: that one is entitled to something more than the virtue of the usual outcome of one’s actions coming to fruition.
End Result of Teen Discipline
Keep in mind that the key is not just to have a disciplined teen: it’s to have a self-disciplined teen. When your teen leaves your home to go to work, to college, to vocational school, to join the Peace Corps, you will not be there all the time overseeing his or her activities. The teen years are not just the time to keep a child in line and protect him or her from bad companions and bad choices: they’re the time to cede responsibility for him- or herself into the practiced hand of the teen.
Related Article: Teen Violence >>