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How to Discipline a 15 Year Old

By Leah Williams ; Updated April 18, 2017
Disciplining a 15-year-old son may not be easy but it is important.

The teenage years can be a difficult stage. On the verge of independence but not yet ready to strike out on their own, teenagers may start to misbehave for a multitude of reasons. As a parent, you may feel challenged and unknowing what to do after such acts of disrespect. Discipline is an important parenting tool during any age setting. Remember to stay firm in your decisions and let your teenager know that he is still a subordinate in the house.

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Teach your teenager to earn his privileges. For example, if your house has Internet access, then it stands to reason that, although he has a right to use the computer for research purposes, any extra activity is a privilege. If he breaks a house rule, then he may have some of his privileges taken away. Explain that he can earn back this privilege at any time. This structured situation places the teen in charge of his own destiny. Another chance for earned privileges is curfew. If your teen works hard in school and is obeying the house rules, then extend his curfew by a half hour as positive reinforcement.

Start an open dialogue with your teen and be consistent. Make sure he knows exactly what you expect of him. Select the best time to talk to him about your expectations. It is not a good idea to talk to your teen after you both have had an altercation. Instead, pick a time when tempers are not flaring, so that you can have an honest discussion about house rules.

Adjust the discipline to the "crime" or misbehavior. Choose an amount of time for grounding that is appropriate for the situation. While your son may have made you mad enough, grounding your teenager for an undue length of time is not realistic. Select your grounding for at least a few days but no longer than 1 week. Longer punishments breed resentment, contempt and revenge, and your teenager may feel like he needs to move out of his "oppressive" situation. This could lead to further rebellion. By choosing a reasonable grounding time, you are giving your 15-year-old son sufficient time and discipline to consider his misbehavior and strive to improve his conduct.


Be on the lookout for your teen's behavior. If you feel that he is troubled or may need professional assistance, consider counseling as a way of curbing his behavior. A mental health professional counselor may be able to get to the root of the problem and discover why he is acting out.

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About the Author

Leah Williams has written for many newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites, including the "Mt. Vernon Register-News" and "Nightlife." She has her bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University and is now working on her graduate degree. Williams likes to write about parenting, arts and entertainment, education and features.

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