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How to Correctly Teach Your Child Discipline

Updated on October 6, 2010

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Teach Your Teen How to Become a Responsible Adult

   There are ways to get your kids to grow up and become the kind of young adults that are able to set goals for themselves, and achieve them, go to college and stay there long enough to learn the things they need to build their careers, and to have the discipline they need to build a lifestyle that will give them the financial and moral structures needed to start a home and family.

   Believe  it or not, all the things that I am referring to above, are learned at very early ages, not later as teens or young adults.  By the time a child is a teen, it is too late to give them all that they need to learn to do the right things to make all of these dreams a reality.  If you wait until the teen years to try and give them the strength that discipline builds, you will be headed for disaster, for not only do they become very rebellious, but they are not interested in improving their lives, and especially are not interested in learning anything their parents then consider important..  All these basic rules, routines and ethics must already be in place, for then and only then will they do the right things on their own, for they have come up with these ideas for their future on their own.

     No matter what rule or good habit you are trying to teach the child, consistency is the key to success.  If you only enforce a rule sometimes, or even most of the time, a child will interpret that to mean that rules are meant to be broken, or you can get away with the things you are not supposed to do, sometimes.  When limits or boundaries are put into place, the child will test them every time to see if you really mean it.  If one time the child is punished, and then another time nothing is done about the broken rule, this confuses kids, for they do not know what to expect the next time it comes up.  

     Teenagers are driven to see if we mean what we say.  They want to know if you are strong and will be direct with them when they break the rules of the house.  They want to know that when you say to them, "The next time you do that you will  grounded, or you will not be able to play your game system." if you really mean it, or if you are just bluffing.  If they find that you are easy to manipulate, or if you say it, you will be as a stone wall, and they will not be able to move you an  inch.  If you give an inch, you will lose miles of control and order in your household .

     A teen or preteen is always pushing boundaries.  A change in you by allowing them to get away with something, even once means or is equated with weakness in their eyes.  When rules are consistently not enforced, a teen will see interpret this as a lack of caring or loving them.  In short, boundaries and rules to them equals love.  A teen who has no rules and is allowed to come home late, smoke or any of these things, will then continue to act out in hopes that eventually he will find something that you will not let him do,. therefor proving your love to him or her.

   Another very important aspect of teen discipline and learning is the material possessions that they all want and need so badly.  These possessions we must remember are not things that are not a matter of life and death so far as their importance in their lives.  No matter what they say, the main reason a teen wants what they want, is usually because their friends have them.  The pressure is extreme on them to keep up with the others.  If these possessions are given, and are gotten from you rather easily, it is almost a given that they will not be appreciated or taken care of very well.  Unearned possessions carry a very unimportant value, and the term easy come easy go applies here in the strongest sense of the meaning.

   I must also add, and I cannot say it  enough times, giving of gifts has many many negative effects on kids.  The act of getting something you didn't earn instills a value in them for life that says that they do not have to work for the things that they want.  They pick up very easily the ideas that it is OK for them to ask, beg, pressure, blackmail, or even so far as strong arm others into giving them what they want.  This value also teaches them to be lazy and sometimes with some teens lead them to a life of crime.

     If a teenager is not taking care of their belongings, or is not putting their things away when they are finished with it, they should be told about it.  After a couple of warnings about this problem, if it happens the magical third time, as in baseball, they are out.  Whatever item is at the center of the offense should be taken away from, them, and the only way that they would be able to get them back is to work for it.  

   By the time a child is a teenager he should be learning to do his own laundry, cleaning his own room, taking care of his own bedding, and dealing with all of their own personal belongings.  They should also be responsible for helping out with at least a small portion of the household chores and mealtime preparations.  These small chores will be a good way of showing them what an adult does with many hours of their lives daily.  The daily structure of everyday life will prevent your child from becoming the lazy, sloppy,  and messy person who has problems with procrastinating the things he does not like to do. 

     Having one day a week that is his to make dinner for the family is a good and fun way to start a teen into cooking and showing them what is expected, for if he never has to do anything like this now, he will need to find a wife right away upon leaving home to replace those things that mom has done for him most of his life.



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  • ddsurfsca profile image

    ddsurfsca 5 years ago from ventura., california

    Again, I truly feel that a little hard work never hurt anybody, and that it is a great way to learn about the reality that life brings. If you do not want your kids to lean on you for things, teach them to work for things themselves.

  • annescripts profile image

    annescripts 5 years ago from Gilbert, AZ

    I rarely read parenting advice that I agree with... but you nailed it! In a world of parental bribing and insanely low expectations of children, this is a refreshing piece. What you say works. I have a teen and a pre-teen, and I can vouch for the effectiveness of this type of thinking. Voted up and useful!

  • ddsurfsca profile image

    ddsurfsca 6 years ago from ventura., california

    Thanks for the comments, and I have to say that this method of teaching kids responsibility has worked with my three sons. None of them have kids yet, even though they are ages 35, 32, and 30, and one is married. (He does all the cooking too). They all have finished college, have good jobs, and have begun to purchase houses, cars, and furniture. My only complaint is that they do not call me or visit enough, for they are too independent, and busy with their own lives.

  • profile image

    bri36 6 years ago

    This is huge advice that lots of parents have either never heard of or don't think will work. I am a true believer in this kind of discipline. It instills a sense of real life in a child's mind that leads to making the right choices later on in life. My kids were raised this way and believe it or not both of my Girls are in their early 20's and neither has any children yet because one is still in college, and her sister is engaged to be married soon.

  • Missi Darnell profile image

    Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

    Excellent advice! Agree wholeheartedly. I believe that kids of all ages should have responsibilities (chores) which are age appropriate. I'm all for letting my children cook or helping in the kitchen. I've been known to say in response to I dont have any clean clothes! Here, let me show you how the wash machine works.

  • Michael Shane profile image

    Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

    Great topic!