How to Properly Discipline Your 17-Year-Old Child

By Lynda Moultry Belcher

Disciplining a 17-year-old requires some creativity and insight into the things that are important to him. Since you can't just put him over your knee and spank him anymore, and many teenagers are experts at tuning out the adults in their lives, particularly when it comes to discipline, you need to be more consistent and creative. From limiting extracurricular activities to frequent conversations about the issue, there are several key components to disciplining a teenager.

Communicate clearly and specifically as to the reason for the discipline. You don't want your teen to be confused about the issue or lack an understanding of why he is being punished. Point out clearly and in simple terms what he did wrong and why it warrants punishment.

Avoid being physical. Your teen is beyond the point of spankings or taps on the hand. Being physical at this point will only build anger and resentment and likely won't get you anywhere. In fact, a 17-year-old is at the point where she may fight back, leading to a bad situation. So, whatever you do, avoid putting your hands on your child.

Reduce or eliminate privileges. This hits teens hard, particularly 17-year-olds who are used to more freedom than their younger teen counterparts. Take away car keys, late nights out with friends, cell phones, computers, TVs and anything else that is a privilege for them to have access to. This hits teens where it hurts.

Give your teen extra chores or responsibilities in light of his actions. This is an effective way to deter 17-year-olds from getting in trouble. They want to be with their friends, not dusting every knickknack in the house or raking the yard. The infraction should dictate the job; coming in after curfew may mean vacuuming extra rooms the next day, while flagrant insubordination or name-calling may mean a month on dish duty.

Don't backtrack on discipline. Sure, you hate to see your child upset or sad once your anger dies down; but you don't want her to become accustomed to waiting you out until you are no longer angry and punishments fly out the window. Stick to your guns on this issue and see disciplinary action through.

About the Author

Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.