Making Discipline Work with Teen Boys

The teenage years can be hard on parents and kids alike. Raising a teenage boy may have challenges you never even considered when your child was a baby or toddler. Some parents are shocked to find that their sweet, open-minded boy has become a surly teenager who doesn't follow rules and doesn't seem to listen to anything his parents have to say. However, there are ways to implement discipline with your teenage boy and increase the harmony in your home.

Set Reasonable Rules

Think long and hard about the rules you want your teenage son to follow. Decide which rules are most important to you and make these a priority. For instance, being home by 10 p.m., no food in his bedroom, unloading the dishwasher on weeknights and handing all homework assignments in on time might be a reasonable list of rules for a younger teen. Pick your battles: do you really want to enforce and fight about a rule you've made that your teen can't wear his ratty old sneakers to school 2?

Be Clear

After you've made your list of rules for your son, sit down with him to discuss them. Explain what the rules are and what the consequences are for breaking them. Then post the list of rules in a conspicuous spot, like on your fridge or in your teen's bedroom. Make sure that he knows the rules and understands them, so that there won't be any confusion later about what's expected of him and what potential consequences he faces.

Remain Consistent

The rules have to be the same from day to day as much as possible. This means that if one day you let your son slide on taking out the garbage or clearing his own dishes from the table, it will be much harder to make him do it the next day. Consistency is key.

Follow Through on Punishments

Sometimes it's hard if you're juggling your job and caring for the rest of your family to have enough energy to keep track of what your teen is doing and discipline him when necessary. However, it's extremely important to follow through on what you say you're going to do. For example, if you've told your teen that if he breaks curfew, he will be grounded the next weekend, he really needs to be grounded the next weekend, no matter what the family's plans. Even if you're tired of hearing loud music thumping through your house or if he's unpleasantly muttering under his breath or stomping around the house, hold your ground. If you don't follow through on punishments, your son will learn that following the rules isn't important and that you aren't to be taken seriously.

The Difficulties of Raising Boys

In many ways, raising a teenage girl or boy is similar. However, there are a few statistics concerning teen boys that parents should be aware of. According to, teenage boys are 30 percent more likely to drop out of school than their female counterparts, and boys are less likely to earn a college degree. If you're concerned about your son finishing his education, consider making that the focus of your discipline. Keep in contact with his school to ensure that he is doing what's expected of him, and praise and reward good grades and extra effort on school assignments.