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Parenting Teens: How to use discipline effectively.

Updated on March 18, 2013

Use Discipline Wisely.

As parents, we use different methods to get our teens to meet our behavior expectations. Some parents prefer to reward positive behaviors, keep communication channels open, other parents prefer to use strict disciplinary measures, and some use a combination of the aforementioned.

However, it is important to note that overly strict and controlling environments are usually met with anger and resentment and this can cause rebellious tendencies in your teen. Because of this I do discourage any parent from using this style of parenting.

While discipline is sometimes necessary, we shouldn’t rely on it as our main method for controlling our teens. Use it when absolutely necessary, but do not overdo it. Instead, encourage good behavior through praise, expressions of pride, and encouragement.

Click here to find out how to bond effectively with your teen.

If your teen has transgressed boundaries and you have decided that discipline is necessary, here are some things to keep in mind:

First and foremost, calm down first. If you discipline your teen while you are angry with them, there is a good chance that you could let your emotions get in the way, and in so doing say things that you may regret later. You can tell your teen, "I need some time alone to calm down. We will speak about this when we are all calmer." If your teen tries to push you into a confrontation, you have to be the bigger person and control the situation by refusing to rise to the bait. Make sure they understand that you will only engage with them once everyone has calmed down, by saying firmly, "No. I said we will discuss this later."

Discipline your teen in private. It is important that you do not humiliate your teen by reprimanding or disciplining them in front of others. This type of disciplining can cause a rift between you and your teen that will be difficult to mend. There is also a good chance that they will try to 'save face' in front of their friends and will become cheekier and more insolent towards you. This will, in turn, exasperate an already tense situation.

Explain the transgression. Ensure that your teen understands why they are being disciplined. Discussing the rules and why they need to be upheld, will help your teen to think logically and at the same time it will cement the standards that you expect from your child. Even if your teen argues with you about your reasoning, they will think about it later.

Make sure that the punishment fits the ‘crime’. If you impart discipline that is too harsh you will begin to erode your relationship with your child. On the other hand your teen will not take your rules seriously, if the discipline or punishment is too gentle. Ensure that you have different consequences for different levels of transgressions. Your child arriving home drunk from a party should have a larger consequence to him or her refusing to do their chores. It is also a good idea to choose a consequence that fits the crime, for example, if you teen breaks your neighbours window get them to do extra chores in order to “pay” for the window rather than just grounding them. Discuss the consequence with your teen. If your teen has been part of the negotiation as to what consequence they should suffer, they will be more willing to accept it.

Present a united front. Make sure that both of you, as the parents, agree on the discipline before you speak to your teen. Your teen will not only get mixed messages, which will confuse them, but if they realise that you are in disagreement with your partner, they will gladly manipulate the process.

Follow the discipline through. If you promised to ground your teen for a month, make sure it is a month, also don’t make threats that will not be carried out; saying things like: "I'll send you to military school." or "I'll take your phone away for a year." are empty threats and your teen will pick up on that. As parents, it is important that your child knows that they can be given a second chance, but at the same time it is important that our teens know you mean what you say.

Conflict Resolution. Click here for the best steps to take in order to


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    • Marina Goetze profile image

      Marina 4 years ago from Cape Town

      Thank you for the positive feedback. I agree with you most definitely not impossible. With the right methods, parenting teens can actually be the most rewarding time in a parent's life.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago


      parenting teens is a difficult time but not impossible

      knowing the right way to go about it is great

      thanks for the information and sharing this hub with us

      Voted up