WHAT TEENS AND THEIR PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
I wrote this for a grandmother and grandfather who were trying to finish raising an unruly granddaughter (16 years old). The granddaughter was running the home, had no boundaries, disrespected her grandparents and was on the verge of being sent to YDC for truancy, running away, and other things. Unfortunately, the grandparents were not willing (or able) to implement these principles (or maybe it was too late by the time they tried). The young teen did end up being arrested and sent off for about 18 months. After getting out of YDC she reportedly was on drugs and living in a motel.
I don’t believe in abusing children by any means but I do believe it is our responsibility to discipline our children and teach them how to make good decisions. I think those of us raised in the seventies got carried away with trying to boost our children’s self-esteem and otherwise try to make it easier on our children as they were growing up. Unfortunately, we went too far I think in some ways and the current generation of young people are slightly (or greatly) spoiled and have a sense of entitlement. Children nowadays expect to be paid for helping around the house, expect a car on their 16th birthday (a new one not a used one), expect a cell phone on their 12th birthday, expect name-brand clothes, and etc… If I had to do it all over again with my three grown children (who are fine adults in spite of my failings), I would have not let them date at all until 18, and probably would not have handed them keys to a car they could call their own until 18 as well. With that being said, the following are the things teens and their parents need to know.
- It does not have to be fair (life is not fair).
- Families are not democracies.
- Adults are in charge.
- Adults make the decisions.
- Adults do not owe children explanations.
- Anything beyond basic food, shelter and clothing is a gift not an entitlement.
- Disrespect earns punishment/consequences.
- Any amount of disrespect needs to be punished.
- If disrespect is a pattern, all extra privileges need to be revoked including spending money, computers, cars, stereos, phones, special-requested groceries/food items and not be returned until earned.
- Physical punishments are not the best forms of punishment for teens. Usually, money, items and privileges are the best areas of punishment. Other ideas include: writing reports, writing sentences, writing definitions, doing extra chores, academic work-sheets, book reports, etc…
- Punishments are best if a natural consequence of the misdeed. For example, if a teen gets their ears pierced without permission then they could be placed on restriction until the piercing grows back up.
- If a teen argues back about a punishment then that is a new punishment. Start with something small like a 300 word report then add words each time the child argues back.
This is just my 2-cents worth with the full confession that I made a lot of mistakes and that raising children is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do (and it’s the greatest honor too).