A teenager's need to assert his independence through acts of disobedience and rebellion isn't a foreign concept to many parents. However, what might be difficult is finding ways to discipline an unruly teenager that will actually help enforce your rules and provide structure without resulting in knock-down, drag-out fights. When it comes to disciplining a teenager, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to keep their cool and remain consistent.
Implementing New Rules
The Kids Health website recommends parents sit their teenager down to discuss punishments, including how and when they're enforced. For instance, let your teen know that breaking curfew by one hour would result in a set punishment, such as coming home one hour earlier the next night. Whatever the punishment, Kids Health urges parents to also explain how the bad behavior could result in an unfavorable outcome. Staying out past curfew is not only a punishable offense, it also makes you as a parent feel worried about your teenager's safety. When it comes to assigning punishments, allow the teenager to have some say. According to Kids Health, even a small amount of control helps prevent unnecessary arguments later, simply because the teen played a role in the process.
Loss of Privileges
One of the most effective disciplinary tools is loss of privileges, according to Kids Health. Make sure the punishment fits the crime when implementing this strategy. For instance, if your teenager is texting during class or at the dinner table, punish him by taking away the cell phone for one day. If the offense involves using the family car without consent, punish your teenager by limiting access to the vehicle for one week. Whatever punishment you choose, the AAP urges parents to remain fair and consistent.
Parenting as a Community
The AAP recommends looking to the parents of your children's friends when establishing more consistent, universal punishments. Sit down with the parents of your children's friends and come up with a curfew and set of rules that could apply to the all the teens when out together. For instance, establish a strict 11 p.m. curfew for all the teenagers in the group. If any of the teens disobey, the punishment is the same for all. However, the AAP also cautions parents against compromising their standards for the sake of the group. If you believe another parent's punishments or rules are too lax, don't be afraid to stick to your own standards when it comes to your teen.
Disciplining your teenagers with additional chores is another option, according to the AAP. For instance, if your teenager's job is taking out the garbage every Monday morning, add on an additional responsibility of cleaning up the front yard if he neglects to perform the original chore. Increasing the teen's household responsibilities during a grounding is another option.