Cathy is a 17 year-old from Seatac, WA. She spends her time watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reflecting, and listening to various types of music as she’s writing her thoughts away. She hopes to live through her passions.
If you think back to when you were a teen it is probably a fuzzy collection of both good and bad times. Like the time you told your parents you were going to the football game and how after you ended up going to a friends party. You probably also remember how mad your parents were when you came back home almost two hours late. They took your car keys and grounded you for two months. You fought with them and yelled at them and didn’t learn your lesson because you did it about two or three more times in the following months. Now it is your turn to discipline your teen and you are having the same problem your parents had. It is tough being a parent, but keep these seven tips and ideas in mind from my personal experience and observation. It might help.
1. Do not ground them so much. Grounding them constantly will only make them used to it. It begins to lose its threat and eventually they continue to do what they want without fearing any consequences.
2. That being said do not ground them for long periods of time. Over time they will only forget why they were being grounded in the first place and you might too. Pretty soon it doesn’t feel like they are grounded and life resumes as if they were not grounded. I have seen it happen. Do not ground them for long periods of times such as a month long, especially without explaining why what they did was wrong. Which brings us to point number three.
3. Many times we are told we are grounded and that is the end of the discussion. We both know wrong was done, but that is not always enough. Take advantage of the situation and use it as time to talk. Explain why it was wrong and how you feel. It helps you set ground rules that you can both live with.
4. Constantly grounding us can have an effect on us in a different emotional level that you might not expect. Sometimes it can feel like no matter what we do we are always wrong. No matter what choice we make it is always bad. Being constantly grounded might begin to make the teen feel like a bad seed causing them to act out because of it. This is when grounding stops working and in fact, makes things worse.
5. Do not forget the power of sincere emotions. Sometimes just seeing your disappointed mother’s face is enough to set us straight. The one thing we can’t bear to hear is that we disappointed you. This would be a good time to switch gears. Tell them they are not grounded but that the trust is gone. They will think twice about asking you to go out next time, and make the effort to improve on what they did wrong. They will want to prove you can trust them and that they are capable of being responsible.
6. Do not rely on taking things away from them, such as their cell phone. They know they will eventually get it back. Remember to open up to them and talk about it so the punishment is more of a learning experience than it is a week without something they know they will get returned.
7. Keep your emotions in check. I know you may be angry and your first instinct is to yell but before you do remember this: you have control over the situation. You set the tone. If you begin yelling you will only get them to start yelling. You will both have your defenses up and nothing will get through. We react to you. The quickest way to stopping the lines of communication is to start it off by screaming at them. This just makes both sides feel like they are the right one. Constantly yelling creates distance between you. Set the tone and calmly talk through it. It will bring you closer and you might even learn something from each other.
Discipline can be really hard for the parent and teen. Remember that discipline should be a learning process. Most importantly, remember that you are looking out for the well being of your of your son or daughter and let that be reflected in your conversations. This way you both benefit.
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