Effective Discipline for Teens – MBFLP 261
A reader writes, “I need suggestions how to discipline my 14-year-old son.” She’s finding out what we all discover – if you try to discipline your 14-year-old like he was still six, you’re likely to have a fight on your hands! So what do you do with this young person who’s growing so tall, but still needs a lot of guidance and discipleship? It’s more than behavior management With younger kids, a great deal of our training is behavior – “Don’t tease the cat,” “Don’t touch the stove,” “Stop hitting your brother!” Tedd Tripp points out that Ephesians 6:1 is fundamental for the younger set: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” And external behavior is important – that’s what hurts others and damages things! But as they move into the early teen years, our children need more coaching and discipleship to reach their deepest need – the condition of their heart. They need to be confronted with Right and Wrong in a larger sense than, “Honor your father and your mother.” When they realize their failing and sin, they are more likely to grasp their need for a Savior! And when we recognize that their behavior is more than “You’re on my nerves!” but something rooted on their human fallenness … maybe we can be a little more compassionate and not as quick to react. As they change, we should too A lot of parent-teen relationships are strained or broken because parents don’t adapt to their young person’s changes. When they reach adolescence, they’re not kids any more! We need to understand they aren’t the little ones we’ve raised so far, but young adults-in-training. We can’t just continue the old discipline models and expect the same response. Appropriate correction for a four-year-old is humiliating, at best, to a 14-year-old. More and more, we need to move our discipline to adult responses. What does that look like? Well, consider what happens when we make a mistake or cause an offense as an adult. Are we sent to stand with our nose in the corner until we say we’re sorry? Does our boss or pastor or neighbor give us a sharp swat on the hand? Of course not. Instead, we are likely to experience “natural consequences.” Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Mikado includes the chorus, “Let the punishment fit the crime!” Humor aside, that’s actually quite Biblical. Over and over again in Scripture, you see principles of repentance followed by restitution. We use this as a guide with our teens – if you break it, you fix it – whether it’s a broken toy or a damaged relationship. It’s a hard lesson, but we impress on them that being an adult sometimes means we accept responsibility for things that aren’t strictly our fault. Maybe something happened by accident, or someone took offense by misunderstanding – we still need to step up and try to make things right. Occasionally the problem isn’t actual sin but rather just high spirits or too much energy. Maybe they really are on your nerves, and that’s most of the problem! How did Coach handle it? Sometimes the best correction is just to work it off. How did your high school coach handle it if you were goofing off during practice? What did your drill instructor do at boot camp if you weren’t putting your back into the job? A bit of strenuous exertion can be a lifesaver here! “Drop and give me ten!” – a call for some push-ups is a good manly punishment for a minor but irritating infraction. You can have them run up and down the stairs, or laps around the back yard. Ask Dad for advice, since he’s probably received similar correction in his time! It’s not offensive or demeaning, but it can use up some energy and help your son focus again. It’s not supposed to be easy or fun. Hebrews 12:11 says, Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (continue …) The most important part But the most critical thing to remember is the foundation you’re laying for the long term. What sort of relationship are you building with your teenager? Our relationship with God is more than just crime-and-punishment – that’s part of it and unavoidable, but it’s not the full relationship. If that’s all we know of our heavenly Father, there’s a lot that’s missing! Likewise with our kids. Of course we’ll have times of conflict or confrontation, but the question will remain – what sort of relationship do we have now, and what sort are we building for tomorrow? … Tune in for practical applications! The post Effective Discipline for Teens – MBFLP 261 appeared first on Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.