Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Every parent struggles with the proper methods of disciplining their teenager. We’re on our fourth trip through the teenage years, and it seems much more challenging now than it was before every kid wanted a cell phone and had access to all the information in the world via the Internet. We do our absolute best, hoping that each decision is the right one.

Now that three of our kids are adults, we’re starting to get the idea we did ok. Our oldest son is in the Army; our daughter is getting her master’s degree at Columbia University, and our other adult son, who has Down syndrome, has a great personality and is fun to be around.

But here we go again…perhaps armed with more knowledge and experience, but still mired in the attitude, emotion, and burgeoning independence that comes with the teen years. Yes, it does sometimes feel like we’ve woken up with an alien in the house who has replaced our adorable little kids, but what we have learned is that you simply can’t give up.

The Secret to Raising Awesome Teenagers

The secret to raising awesome teenagers is to be consistent and follow through. If you tell your teen he will lose his cell phone if he doesn’t do his homework before turning it on, be prepared to take the phone. If your teens have chores they are required to do before they’re allowed to socialize, don’t simply let them whine or cajole their way out of their responsibility. And when your teen makes a bad choice, allow him or her to experience the consequence of that choice, whether it’s consequences you’ve warned them about or disciplinary action at school.

Leading by example is one of your best weapons. If your teen sees you behaving differently than you expect him or her to behave, don’t expect them to do what you say. It’s far more likely that your teen will do what you do. Take responsibility for your actions, be sincere and honest in your relationships, and be forthright with your teen when answering the tough questions.

No one can advise you as to what is the best way to handle your out of control teen. Every situation is different as well as every child. However, whatever method you choose it needs to be something you do together. Your teenager needs you now more than ever.