My 6 Year Old Is Out Of Control At School Parenting Your Teenager: 6 Tips for Effective Discipline and Consequences

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Parenting Your Teenager: 6 Tips for Effective Discipline and Consequences

A parent writes in, “We have a hard time in our family deciding on appropriate punishments when our teen breaks the family rules. We can’t tell if we are too strict or too lenient. What can we do?”

This seems to be a place where many parents get involved. Questions of appropriate punishment and consequences are extremely important.

Now notice, if you will, that I said punishment and consequences, not just punishment. This is because I believe there is an important distinction to be made.

The difference has to do with what our aim is in dealing with inappropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

If it is to vent our anger, control the teenager and instill resentment, punishment is the way to go.

If, on the other hand, our goal is to send a clear message, to manage and guide the teenager, and to give guidance about life, consequences are the way to go.

The purpose of establishing consequences for behavior is to teach about the real world.

There are basically two types of effects – natural and logical.

Natural consequences occur naturally, as a result of behavior and choices. In the adult world, if we run red lights, we can get hit and hurt; if we don’t show up for work without reason, we can be fired.

In the world of children, there are times when it is too dangerous to allow natural consequences to occur. A parent should not allow the natural consequences of running into a busy street, for example, to occur.

When natural consequences are too dangerous, it is time to create logical consequences. Generally, these include the loss of certain benefits as a result of negligent behaviour.

There are two general models that I use when structuring appropriate logical outcomes.

The first one was designed by Stephen Glenn, author of “How to raise self-reliant children in a self-indulgent world.” It includes the three R’s of logical consequences: relational, respectful and rational.

Related. Related just means related to the behavior. If a child breaks curfew, makes him stay late at school or mow the lawn, he is not related. There is a temporary loss of the privilege of dating.

Reverend. We must avoid two things here: The first is humiliating the teen-ager; the second is inconvenient for the adult.

reasonable. “You are fixed for life and will never see the light of day again” is unreasonable. “Your behavior and choices have caused you to lose the privilege of going out tomorrow night” is reasonable.

I have found Glenn’s model very useful in my work with families. With those three R’s, I’ve added three S’s: strong, fast and short-lived.

Strong “Honey, I really wish you wouldn’t come in so many hours after your curfew” is not strong. It is strong to lose the privilege of going out on the next opportunity.

Sweep. Adults and teenagers differ in their perception of time. As adults, if we’re told a project is due in two months, we know we need to move yesterday. For many teenagers, two months equals an eternity, which does not equal motivation.

For consequences to be effective, they must be closely linked in time to the misconduct.

For teenagers, it is not effective not to be able to go on a trip six months from now to remove a test. It is quick and efficient to spend extra time in the next three days studying and thus lose the privilege of free time in the afternoon.

Short term. When I was 13 years old, my parents gave me a foundation for life. (If you want to know why, come to one of my seminars!) For logical consequences to be effective, they must be relatively short-term. Again, this goes back to the timing issue.

For most teenagers, anything that lasts more than a few days or weeks (as long as the product is strong and fast) becomes ineffective. Anything longer breeds resentment, contempt and revenge, and negates any life lessons that might be taught.

The purpose of parenting teenagers is to prepare them for life on their own. Using the R and S effects can allow parents to take charge and teach life lessons.

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