Warning – Disciplining teenagers can be hazardous to your health.
“Some people think discipline is making your children do what you want. Actually discipline is how you react to your children when they don’t do what you want.”
–K. McCurdy (my counselor)
I thought this was a profound idea and it put this whole disciplining teenagers thing into perspective, a better perspective for me to deal with at least. It removed the pressure of feeling like a failure if my kiddos didn’t do exactly what I wanted them to do. (As if any of them always behave, right?) This quote above was in essence what my therapist/counselor told me in a session this week when I shared a little about a recent battle with my teenage son.
Being a control freak (yes I admit it) this is something I needed to hear. I get caught up in trying to ‘control’ my children. As they get older and ‘wiser’ this becomes more of a battle and I end up more frustrated with trying to coerce them into doing what they should do – instead of concentrating on simply how I am going to react to them when they don’t.
“But this is a scary stage – raising a teenage boy.” As a single mom – I shared these words with my counselor.
He replied, “Sounds like you are doing a good job. You didn’t engage him, you just told him what would be the consequences of his actions and then followed through by doing it. Now you have to remember there’s no argument: He does this – then this other is the consequence – and just stick to it. You are the parent - you have the authority. (There is no reason to argue. It’s that simple.)”
No argument; Just Consequences
Sounds simple enough. Maybe you have the discipline factor down to a science. But I gleaned from this conversation that day. I can sigh in relief – knowing I just need to work on how I react when they ‘misbehave’ and communicate the consequences that will await them; instead of arguing my point, feeling guilty because they misbehave and I have to punish them for it.
That punishment usually entails losing liberties like spending time with friends, time on the computer, or playing video games. The older my kiddos get – time with friends seems to pinch the most.
This parenting thing…. I am going to get it right… one of these days. (And when I do that - I need to conquer relationship etiquette.) How much time do I have?
What are other consequences to use with teenagers?
Find yourself…keeping it real.