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What does positive discipline look like with teenagers?

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  • What does positive discipline look like with teenagers?

    I've read what is out about AP and older kids on the API website, but I'm having a hard time finding information about kids as old as 12 and up.

    For instance, what is an appropriate response to not being home by curfew? Repeatedly?

    What about refusal to do homework? The "natural consequence" of this is receiving poor grades. Do we just let that happen? Or refusing to turn in things such as community service hours documentation, which is a requirement to graduate from high school?

    Are there any good books about preteen and teenager discipline? I do understand the concept of children only behaving a certain way in response to a need they have, and I guess that the teenager's need in this case would be to feel in control. We offer up choices in many arenas so that our older kids feel that opportunity, but it doesn't seem to be enough.

    Also you should know, in case you haven't read my other posts on other topics, that these particular kids (my stepkids) just moved in with us a year ago. They were 11 and 15 at the time, and had essentially raised themselves up until that point, with few consistent rules. They had also experienced physical and emotional abuse in their previous environment, and lived with an alcoholic parent. So it's not as though we've been able to raise them since birth. We've always been in their lives, but were not the primary caregivers.

    Thanks for reading,

  • #2
    Yes! Try Positive Discipline for Teenegers by Jane Nelsen


    • #3
      Thank you Kelly! I just reserved the next available copy at the library!


      • #4
        Most parents of a voluntary control of teenagers have tried very hard to regain control - but with or without much success. And it seems that the more the parent tries, the more the teenager acts out. This acting out may be the frequent loss of temper, argue with adults, etc. It is very common behavior for teens and often lead to the origin of the hustle and bustle of a house.


        • #5
          positive discipline for teens

          Does anyone have ideas for teaching a child to self-regulate , self-motivate when he is emotionally immature? We have made great strides in AP over the last two and 1/2 years, but the bad days with the 11 yr old are pretty bad and he shuts down emotionally. It is typically over some sort of control issue. I try to give him as much control over his homeschool schedule as possible with lots of time to move and play with his brother. Sometimes, I think that leaves him feeling too unsupported. I am having a hard time finding the middle ground.
          He does not seem to be falling into any sort of family routine with the rest of us, which keeps us from getting out and about to do fun activites. I thought gently pointing this out would help, but it doesn't turn into consistent self-motivation. When we schedule something spectacular ( tea with friends, a trip to visit friends far away, a shopping trip) he gets up , gets going, and does his work without complaining. I do not want to plan a fun-fest everyday just to get him up and going! He is fully capable of all the work I have assigned and I have given him as little written work as possible, as I know that is where a large portion of his anxiety lies. Dictation and narration have been successful in small ,do-able doses.

          I know how we got here. Our background is steeped in Authoritarianism and I would say this child is ambivalently attached. He gets lots of snuggle-reading time at night with me and dad but still has great difficulty winding down for bedtime. I have offered to let him sleep with me, but he says no. I am sure to greethim warmlyin the morning, especially if I have to wake him. I try to give voice to his frustrations with sibs when he can't seem to get out the words. He gets a good balance of outdoor/indoor time and we eat most meals together. More than anything I stop and listen to his stories and try to rev up my sense of humor ( it's not so natural for me sometimes) and I have employed many strategies learned from API reading.

          But on these anxiety -ridden anger filled days, I feel discouraged and deflated.

          Here's a real-life example of his anxiety. The whole fam was out to eat at a lovely restaurant - a big deal for us and we were having a great time. I ordered dessert and misunderstood him to say he didn't want any after such a big meal. He did want dessert. Rather than communicate that to me and let me order it, he began to disparage the "crap food" served in this stupid restaurant in a very loud voice. These outbursts are not as common as they used to be, but they still happen. I am sometimes on edge in public or at family gatherings, not knowing what land mine he will detonate.

          Any ideas for what to do or say when these things happen? When he threw the contents of his room down the stairs last month, I sat quietly in his room for 20 minutes until he began slowly, silently putting things back with me. Turns out he was frustrated with his sister (control issues) and didn't feel I was helping.

          How do I give him the reigns if he won't /cannot effectively take them? When he seems stuck , I say things like, "What is your plan for getting your work done by 3 today? It is lovely out and your friends will want to paly ball." OR "I am available to help you with Narration now as your brother is watching Little Bear. Can we get started?" I frequently get ignored or told he's not ready. Then, he's ready when I have moved on to something else. Begging doesn't seem like the right strategy.

          I am venting, yes. But I sure wish I had more stamina with this particular child, 5th of six. He's handsome and funny and so charming on the good days. It breaks my heart to see him gripped by anxiety, but I know where he gets it!