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4 Parenting Tips for Disciplining Teens

     On the popular television show Survivor, they utilized the motto “Outwit. Outplay. Outlast.”  I had a friend explain to me once how she thought this applied to parenting teenagers and I had to agree.  You must constantly be thinking ahead about what schemes they may come up with – Outwit.  Then, you have to implement strategies to stop them from doing stupid stuff – Outplay.  Lastly, you must be able to keep up with any consequences you give them when disciplining – Outlast.

These are 4 tips that help when trying to outwit, outplay and outlast in the world of disciplining teens.

  1.  Remember the goals.  On the show Survivor the format involves a group of contestants who are in a remote location and compete for a cash prize.  The goal is the cash prize.  In parenting, the format involves a group of family members connected by the relationship. They may even reside in multiple homes due to divorce or separation.  The goal is to raise respectful, well behaved, smart children with positive self-esteem.  When you are disciplining your children, remembering this goal will assist in keeping you focused on making rational decisions.  Otherwise, you may end up handing out punishment based on your emotions at the moment, such as trying to spank a 16 year old boy who is twice your size.  

  2. Try to make the consequences match the infraction.  As a child, I remember hearing my mother tell my oldest brother, “you are grounded forever.”  The big problem with that punishment is that it usually had nothing to do with what he did and both of them later would forget why he was even grounded.  This is not effective discipline.  Matching the consequence to the problem will usually get better results.  For example, if your teen stayed up past bedtime watching television and didn’t do homework, you would remove the television from his/her room.     

  3. Give opportunities for successful reconciliation and accomplishment.  Allowing your teen to earn back privileges when they are following the rules will help he/she understand that responsibility and respect can be earned.  If your teen completes all of his/her homework you would allow them to watch television again for a period of time in the evening.

  4. Celebrate when they get it right. As parents we are often quick to complain about bad behavior and disrespect exhibited by our children.  We have to be just as quick to celebrate them, otherwise we could be affecting their self-esteem.  

Having multiple children that span the ages of 10 to 26 has improved my disciplining skills greatly  – not to say there still aren’t some surprises.  However when I stick to these tips and remember the goal, it helps me focus on what I’d like to see happen or learned by my teen and not just on my feelings of anger, disrespect, and disappointment.

Sometimes we need an outside resource to assist with developing positive relationships with our teens and effective discipline strategies.  If you need help, please seek out a professional counselor.  These tips are meant to help you but are not a substitute for professional assistance.  

At Transformation Counseling & Consulting, PLLC, Miyesha Swayne, LCSWA specializes in working with adolescents and young adults who are struggling with anxiety and/or depression.  She provides virtual session to any North Carolina resident.  Call today to schedule an appointment!