Teens: Bribe, Threat, Discipline Using These 5 Steps
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By Steven Cessario, Featured Columnist - November 02, 2014

discipline.jpgWe all want to have disciplined children right? But what if I told you that disciplining your teenager isn’t a good idea? Doesn’t make sense right?

And when it comes to parenting, the word discipline is used very often. Although, it reminds me of a few not so great things such as spanking, rigor, control, and lecturing.

I think a lot of educators want parents to change their perspective on dealing with their children. One person educator and author, Alfie Kohn is one of those people. He writes something very interesting in his essay called Beyond Discipline, he says …

“Discipline, after all, is essentially a collection of bribes and threats…To help students become ethical people, as opposed to people who merely do what they are told, we cannot merely tell them what to do. We have to help them figure out—for themselves and with each other—how one ought to act. That’s why dropping the tools of traditional discipline, like rewards and consequences, is only the beginning. It’s even more crucial that we overcome a preoccupation with getting compliance and instead involve students in devising and justifying ethical principles.”

Interesting opinion huh? Tell us what you think below in the comment section.

Anyways, let’s continue to talk more about what discipline really means?

According to many sources the word discipline is define as “The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.”

So, do you really want to “train” your teen or would your rather guide him? And instead of using “punishment to correct disobedience”, doesn’t it seem better to empathize with your teenager and set boundaries? I think so.

I think these are good suggestions. But we all think differently and can define words differently.

So as you continue to read on, I’m going to give you some food for thought and suggestions which might help you deal with the sulking, arguing, yelling, screaming, lying, or just general rebelling from your teen. And let’s be real, teenagers are immature and can sometimes lack the ability to make informed decisions. And when your teen swears at you or has a night where he gets excessively drunk, you can't put him in the corner and hope he learns his lesson. It’s probably a better idea to try to understand what’s really going on and be patient. When I say this, I want you to try to get to the root of the problem. What is it that is causing the problems and stress of your teen and yourself? Doing this is not easy.

So the next few ideas are going to be about how to manage a lot of the stresses you might be facing with your teenager. And if you’re going through a divorce, a teen who likes to challenge you on a consistent basis won’t make things easier. So I hope this helps!

Here we go …

1. Scream! Or, at least into a pillow.

No. I don’t mean to scream at your teenager. That’s a duh. But, what I mean is to get it all out (the negative energy) before you talk to your teenager about how you feel. Take a moment or a few hours to cool off so you can think clearly. Sometimes people can get caught up in the moment of an argument or knowledge of a lie. We scream, blame and patronize, hurting the opportunity to have a productive conversation. It’s easy to scream and say obnoxious things. So breathe instead, and remember to collect yourself before your express yourself.

2. Let your son fall down the stairs.

Again, no. Don’t take this literally, but I hope you smirked a little.

Anyway, what I mean is to allow your son to make his own decisions. And on his own he’ll likely make mistakes. He’ll mess up, but that’s OK. Mistakes are lessons, opportunities to learn and can be the best way to grow up. Your teen wants to become independent, so give him a chance to. It might be the best way to cultivate the parent/teen relationship.

3. Be a realist.

Huh? I mean be realistic when it comes to expectations. Asking your teen to do something he can't do might be asking for a turbulent ride. And especially don't ask your teen to do something you wouldn't even do. Make sure it's in their reach. If it's not, your teen might become frustrated and even angry at the fact you’re setting the bar so high he can't get to it. It could be a good idea to sit down and talk about goals, his vision, and what you want from him.

4. “Get off your lazy ass.”

Yes, some parents do say this to their teens. Do you? I’ve witnessed it. If you say this please think about how it sounds and might feel. Do you think it works? I don’t think so. The point I’m trying to make is that name calling, swearing, hating, and trying to control, only works if you want a bad relationship with your teen. I suggest more positive words and reactions which build confidence.

5. “Do you think I’m a good parent?”

Well, I’m not sure. What do you think? But can you be a good parent? Yes, of course you can.

You have to believe it to really make it happen. You’re a leader in your family.

Also remember your teenager loves you too even though there are days it’s hard to believe. Becoming someone who your teen feels safe with and can open up to takes practice, patience, and going through rough times together.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

But I think it’s better to say the wisest, most loving and humble people usually have known sadness, anger, defeat, and heartbreak. These people have found their way out of despair and bad days and have grown stronger and happier.

Keep moving forward and growing as a person. If you do that you’ll be more than fine.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope we hear from you in the comment section!

And, for more information about your teenager…Go to TeenageSons.com.

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