Disciplining young children takes time and diligence and can become stressful, but disciplining teens can take some added strategy, advanced planning, and innovative techniques. Here are three ways that we’ve found to be effective!
The first is to use natural consequences as discipline. I describe it in this post.
The second is to take away a privilege. When one of our sons was an hour late for his curfew, after a lengthy discussion, making sure that he understood why we had a curfew for him, we had him spend his evenings for the next week at home with us, his dear parents. He had plans for some of those evenings but……there are consequences of disobeying authority.
The third is to STRONGLY suggest that the teen demonstrate the desired behavior for a certain length of time. For example, last week two of my teen daughters were throwing ‘barbs’ at each other. While their conversation appeared to be civil, I could hear the slight hostility and criticism in their tones. I don’t allow my children to fight each other and/or disrespect each other. We look at our home as a training ground for the ‘real ‘world, so we try to work things out accordingly, according to God’s word. In the ‘real’ world, we shouldn’t disrespect people or fight or talk about people behind their back. If we are having a problem with someone, we should go to them and respectfully use communication to work things out and try to understand each other. I asked to talk to my two teens in my ‘office’, (the bathroom in our mudroom :) ), and I let them know of my concerns and observations. They were not happy. I decided to help them see that the benefits of walking in love FAR outweigh allowing their flesh nature to ‘shine’. I asked them to make a point to compliment each other for the remainder of the afternoon, and ONLY say positive things to each other. They began laughing immediately because we have been through this many times before, and they now know, in advance, that the outcome of this ‘discipline’ is fun. It works doing things God’s way! We need to understand that we were bought with a very high price, we are not our own, and we need to CHOOSE to speak and walk in love, ( 1 Corinthians 6:20). It is always a heart issue.
By the time my children are tweenish my goal is for them to understand that their dad and I are striving to help them hit the mark for which they were created. That involves disciplining them. Once our children ‘get that’, discipline becomes a partnership with them, not what we are doing to them.
I’ll have more examples in the next post!