The key to teen discipline is consistency. If the teen knows what the boundaries are, and what the consequences are if they overstep the boundaries, they will have an easier time conforming to the rules. That is not to say that they will never buck the system. Teens will press the line to see how far they can get and how much they can get away with. That is why it is so important for teen discipline to be consistent. For example, if the consequence for staying out too late is a week of being grounded, then that has to be enforced, no matter what the special occasion that week might be.
The purpose of teenage discipline is to teach teens that their actions have consequences. Teen discipline gets teens ready to face the real world. The real world gives us consequences for our actions. If we speed while driving, we get a speeding ticket. If we steal from our employer, we loose our job. Your teen needs to learn that his or her behavior brings consequences. Bad behavior brings a negative consequence, but conversely, good behavior brings a good consequence, or a reward.
Parental unity is an important factor when it comes to teen discipline. Teenagers are experts at “playing the system.” If one parent is likely to give a teen his way, then he is going to pick up on that quickly, and go to that parent when there is a conflict. The parents need to communicate and ensure that they are on the same page when it comes to the consequences for actions. And those consequences need to be enforced. There are not exceptions or deals to be made.
Another important aspect of teen discipline is that the teens need to know the reason for the rules and consequences. That does not mean that they will accept the reasons, but they need to know that there is a reason for rules. This teaches them why we have regulations in life. It can be as simple as “you will come home on time because you need your sleep,” or something more complicated, such as “I am punishing you because when you get out there in the real world, you will not be able to keep a job if you do not learn responsibility.” Always tell your teen that you love them, even when they are being disciplined. This balance of love and discipline will help you to gain their respect.
Respect is another aspect of teen discipline. Teens do not respect their parents automatically. They have to be made to respect authority. Parents must demand respect from their teens, and when a teen behaves disrespectfully, there needs to be a consequence. Respect for parents is the foundation for learning to respect other authorities in the teen’s life.
These tips will help you keep your discipline with your teenager consistent, but that does not mean that it will always be easy. Disciplining a teen is a challenge, there is not doubt about that! But stick to your guns, be consistent, and you will be able to raise a well-adjusted adult!