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​​​​Disciplining Teens Issue1234

Discipline ​​Dispassionately

Remember the last time you got a speeding ticket? The officer who pulled you over ​​​wasn't emotional. He didn't yell at you. Instead, he was very matter of fact. He told you what you did wrong and wrote you the ticket. And how did you drive away? Very carefully, obeying all traffic rules, right?

This is a great model for disciplining teenagers. As with the officer issuing the ticket, a dispassionate delivery of consequences is required when disciplining your teen for a rule infraction. If you go down the alternate road - getting angry, raising your voice, etc. - you not only jeopardize the success of the discipline you are dealing with, but also your relationship with your teenager.

Bear in mind that while you may be delivering discipline in a dispassionate manner, your teen may not act similarly in response. After all, it's natural to be upset when on the receiving end of discipline. That being said, if he or she escalates the response by becoming aggressive or noncompliant, you should not likewise raise the emotional tenor of the interaction. Instead, you simply increase the consequence of the original infraction.

Resist the temptation to get emotional. Because if you don't, you can risk turning a simple teaching interaction into a major confrontation that can set you back.

Teaching Activity

Set Expectations

It's much easier to operate within the rules if everyone knows what they are. Call a family meeting and establish a set of written rules of the house - things like curfews, chores, homework hours, etc. - and get your teen to sign off on them. This way they cannot plead ignorance when one of the rules is broken. You can also establish specific consequences for breaking specific rules. For instance, coming home after curfew may mean that your teen loses video game privileges for a week. If they know that ahead of time, they may be less inclined to break the rule in the first place.

Social Skills

Using Structured Problem Solving (SODAS)

When a teen breaks the rules, it's usually because he or she has made a poor choice. To help avoid this, it's helpful to learn SODAS:

  • Define - the problem Situation.
  • Generate - two or more Options.
  • Look - at each option's potential Disadvantages.
  • Look - at each option's potential Advantages.
  • Decide - on the best Solution.

Coming up in Issue 3

Communicating with Silence


Learn About Their Interests


Expressing Feelings Appropriately

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