How can you best discipline a strong willed teenager? The following are a few parent-tested guidelines.
• First, give clear messages about household rules and limitations. Let them know what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t.
• Second, accent the positive. “Do’s” make a stronger impression than “Don’ts”.
• Third, give your teen increasing responsibilities for his choices and actions. Don’t dilute the effectiveness of rules by having too many, or erode your teen’s sense of self-confidence by denying him the right to make some of his own decisions.
• Fourth, be consistent and united. Agree as parents on the rules and stick together.
• Fifth, take the anger out of discipline. Punishment is a way of releasing anger. Disciplining means teaching your teen the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
• Sixth, criticize the behavior, not the child.
• Finally, realize that discipline is a lifelong gift of love. It will help your teen to achieve, to get along with others and to grow in his capacity to have mature and intimate relationships.
An expert in the field of adolescent behavior, Ms. McCoy has authored eleven books on the subject including the best selling “The Teenage Body Book”. Additionally she has written hundreds of articles for major national magazines. Coordinator of the Clinical Ph.D. Program at California School of Professional Psychology and Staff Counselor at the Center for Individual and Family Counseling in North Hollywood, California.