Some teenagers break the rules just to test the limits of adults, to see how far they can stretch the rope. For example, if parents tell them that such behavior will have a certain consequence, they can do that to see if they will actually suffer the promised consequences. Adolescents are prone to deviate from the rules when parents do not apply the announced punishments or when the limits are not clearly defined.
Even too rigid rules do not give results
Some parents try to keep their control over the teenager by imposing an endless list of rules. When the child does not obey, the adult gets angry and imposes some other rules, maybe even more restrictive. More often than not, tensions escalate. The more you try to control your child’s life, the more he will resist. Of course, discipline is beneficial when applied in moderation. But discipline does not necessarily mean punishment, causing suffering.
After the deed and reward
What matters is that the teenager becomes aware of his responsibility and, above all, tries to fix what he did wrong. Did he not fulfill his obligations related to household chores? He will receive other tasks, perhaps more unpleasant. Did he insult someone? He needs to apologize. Did it cause damage? Repair or pay the cost of the repair out of pocket. Did he exceed the time he was told to arrive home? Will have to come earlier next time. It is more effective to put him to work, than not to let him leave the house for a few days or to apply other punishments that deprive him of certain freedoms. The ultimate goal is for him to admit that his actions have consequences and that it is his duty to accept them.
Read also: How to help the teenager to be more responsible
Express yourself clearly. A teenager needs to know exactly what you expect from him and what consequences he will face if he doesn’t listen. Suggestion: Write down the rules you want them to follow. When formulating them, ask yourself, “Is this too much? Or too few? Are they useful right now? Is my teenager mature enough to understand these rules?’
Show consistency. If a teenager is punished this week for something he did last week, he will feel that he is being wronged and will not understand what is happening. Tip: Make sure you apply the punishment immediately and that it fits the “crime”.
Adapt the rules on the fly. Give the teenager more freedom as he becomes more responsible, set the rules together with him.
Tip: Take the time to discuss the rules with the teenager. You can even ask him about his views on possible penalties. Teenagers are much more willing to respect the rules that they also contributed to establishing.
Help him to form his character. Your goal is not just to get your teen to follow orders. It is necessary for him to develop his conscience and form his character.
Avoid physical violence. Resist the temptation to snap: physical violence is a recognition of weakness. In short, express your deep disagreement. Control yourself and announce in a calm tone that you will call him in a quarter of an hour, to discuss seriously. Silence also has its role – and if the moment is well chosen, it can be more effective than a bushy speech.
Education based on consequences, not punishment, is what parents need to learn. In the office, we correct the idea of punishments and rethink education based on natural and logical consequences (the logical ones are established by the parents, and the teenager must be informed about them, so that when he makes choices, he will do it consciously).
Thus, the number of situations in which the adolescent feels humiliated by his parents decreases and, at the same time, the number of conflicts and violent manifestations that occur as a result of punishments decreases. And which affects not only the relationship between parents and teenagers, but also the relationship between parents as a couple and also leaves deep traces in the psyche of those involved.