Disciplining Your Teen

As your child grows up and becomes a teenager, you may notice that forms of discipline that worked when your son or daughter was a child no longer work. Teenagers bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. During this time, your teenager will probably be more defiant or rebellious as they try to figure out their new role as young adults.


As you work to set boundaries with your teenager, remember that you are preparing your son or daughter to live on their own and make their own decisions. As such, it is a good idea to include your son or daughter in the process of setting limits and developing consequences. This will help your son or daughter develop skills that will help them develop self-discipline.

The first thing that you might want to try with your teenager is explaining why you have a curfew for them, or why you have certain expectations of them, such as filling up the has tank when they use the car. Help your teen realize that these are not arbitrary rules meant to make their life miserable. If your teen disagrees with an expectation or household rule that you have, allow them to voice their concern. Be willing to listen to your son or daughter, they may have a valid point and the rule or expectation may need to be amended. You want to encourage your son or daughter to voice his or her opinion and take them seriously when they do.

As you discuss rules and expectations with your teen, be sure to talk about consequences for not meeting expectations or following rules. This is also a good place to ask for input form your teen. Ask them what they think would be a fair consequence for breaking a rule. Often times, teens will come up with punishments that are harsher and more appropriate than you would have thought of.

If you have a willfully defiant teen who consistently comes home late or abuses privileges, it is important that the punishment fit the crime. For example, if your teen comes home an hour after curfew, perhaps the consequence would be that they are required to be home an hour earlier than curfew next time. It is also a good idea to wait until you have your emotions under control before confronting your son or daughter. If you do not have control of your emotions, you may say something you regret and make a bad situation worse.

Also, when your son or daughter breaks a rule or does not meet an expectation, ask yourself if it was an act of willful disobedience or immaturity. Remember, your teen is not quite an adult, but not quite a child. They will still make errors in judgment that are not meant to be defiant. Your response to your teens behavior should take this into consideration.

As you work with your teen to get through these crazy times, remember that you are preparing your son or daughter to be a responsible adult. These times may be difficult and test your patience, but through it all it is important that you keep the lines of communication open with your son or daughter and take your teen seriously.