Disciplining Your Teen with Composure

When it comes to disciplining our kids, we would all do well to take a lesson from some of our trusted police officers that dedicate themselves to public service.  Think about it.  When they pull you over for a traffic violation, they don’t rant and rave over how fast you were going.  They don’t raise their voice and threaten to revoke your license. They state the violation, let you know what your rights are, and issue the punishment usually in the form of an expensive ticket.  If he or she is following protocol, the officer maintains complete control over his tone of voice and behavior no matter how adamant you may become about not speeding or how insistently you assert your innocence.  As we leave the officer’s presence, ticket in hand, we almost always have a different frame of mind.  Our hands are, once again, on ten and two.  Our signal is flashing as we merge onto the main thoroughfare, and we make sure our speed is under whatever is posted.

This consistent method of delivering consequences serves as a great model for parents to emulate when dealing with adolescents who break the rules.  Although, most of the time, both parents and children can be guilty of escalating matters unnecessarily as they argue their side, those parents who can fore go getting angry and shouting will be more successful at getting their point across and guiding their children into compliance.   A raised voice and a threatening stance do nothing to enhance a parent/child relationship that may already be very fragile.

Staying in Control

Parents don’t set out to lose their cool, but living with a tween or teen can be nerve racking, to say the least.  Hormones are constantly fluctuating as the transition from adolescents to adulthood slowly takes place both physically and emotionally.  Along with moodiness and stress, this ebb and flow of unpredictability leads to a greater tendency to challenge authority.  Since every conversation can potentially escalate into a verbal altercation, wise parents always check their own emotional state before attempting to administer discipline their adolescent.  No matter what the situation is, a calm parent is always better received and, thus, more effective.

Choosing the Battle

Employing selectivity is another tactic parents can use when considering the time-consuming, emotionally draining battles that often take place.  Just as police officers are willing to let some offenders go when the offense is relatively minor, parents would do well to analyze whether their child is simply trying to push their buttons, or if the offense, in fact, requires a level of corrective action.  If the discipline doesn’t teach your teen a meaningful lesson then it may not be worth the energy expended.

Parenting is a difficult job that is often complicated when matters of discipline are dealt with while emotions are running high.  Just like law enforcement officers, parents who learn to deliver simple and straightforward consequences in a calm manner can affect powerful change in disobedient adolescents.

About Melissa J. Murphy

Melissa Murphy is in the business of building self-esteem, instilling confidence, and restoring hope in those who have given up on life. She is currently completing her degree in psychology, and has worked as a life coach and faith-based counselor for more than a decade. By bringing her personal life experiences into her work, Melissa is able to help others survive their wounds, heal their pain, and live a life of success despite having incurred overwhelming emotional scars. For the last few years, she has discovered the joys of writing and has published a growing number of articles. Melissa currently resides in the Houston area with her husband and her two wonderful children.

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