Disciplining a teen can be very, very frustrating. And here’s the truth. It is a kid’s job to push the boundaries. Particularly when they become a teenager. They’re becoming independent. They’re sort of over-correcting, course correcting, figuring out what’s appropriate and what’s not.
But just as it is a kid’s job to push the boundaries, it is a parent’s job to hold the boundaries. Let me give you an example. Have you ever been in a roller coaster and they put that lap bar thing down. You know what I’m talking about?
Well if you’re anything like me, I tend to be OCD, I tend to wiggle, push, test, and prod it. Now why am I doing that? Am I pushing it and prodding it and testing it hoping it will fail and give leading to my inevitable death on the roller coaster? Of course not.
I’m pushing it hoping it will hold. Because when I push it, prod it, and it holds, I know I’m safe and everything will be fine. Listen to me. Your kid, your teen is doing the exact same thing. They’re not pushing and prodding and testing hoping that you cave, hoping that you give in. They’re pushing and prodding and testing to confirm that you will indeed hold.
They’re not always going to tell you that. They’re not going to say mom, I’m pushing your boundaries in the hopes that you’re really there to give me a nurturing and safe environment. Of course not.
But behind that frustration, behind their behavior, that’s what’s really going on. So the whole key with consequences, particularly with your teen, which is a little bit different than when you have a kid, but with your teen, these should be pre-written. Here’s the privileges that you have the luxury of having. Here’s what we expect, aka the rules. And here are the consequences should you choose to break one of the rules.
So now your job as a parent is to simply hold that boundary. You did what we expected. Here’s your privilege. Thrilled to give this to you. Hey, you made a decision not to do this thing that we all agreed to. Here’s the consequence. It’s not emotional. It’s not a roller coaster of up and down emotions. There’s no screaming. There’s no arguing. You are simply holding your ground.