Parenting is likely the hardest job you’ll ever take on, and each new phase of a child’s life brings with it new challenges. Take punishing your children, especially teenagers. The teen years are frequently a time for self-expression, a time to discover one’s individuality, and a time of rebellion.
A little rebellion is natural, and a good thing — you don’t want your teen cowing to every demand put upon them. But if your teen is constantly acting up, then it can be incredibly hard to connect with them while you are trying to be stern. When you impose consequences on your teenagers, the goal is teaching them to change their actions, particularly when those actions lead to dangerous situations. Grounding a child is often the first line of defense for a parent, but it can also be a punishment that serves to alienate an already moody teen.
Here are some ways to connect with your child who is always grounded, in order to strengthen your relationship.
1. Use consequences that have meaning
As a parent, it is easy to make empty threats without any follow up. This will only teach your child that you are not serious when it comes to discipline, or that they can weasel out of the punishment. Be prepared to take away an object or a privilege that has meaning to your child, to explain why you are doing so, and to enforce the removal. It is important to determine what you want your child to learn from this situation, and the lesson should be attached to the consequence.
2. Do not yell
It is never a good idea to yell in the middle of a heated argument, as your child will shut down, become irritated, yell back, or all of the above. Neither should you try to appeal to their emotions with long speeches; instead, wait to talk to them when both of you have settled down. Remember not to lecture, but to have an open-ended conversation where your child can have their thoughts heard. The goal is connection, even in the face of discipline.
3. Consider therapy
If your child is routinely acting up for seemingly no reason, then it may be a good idea to introduce the idea of counseling. Your child may be suffering from depression or another mental illness, and individual counseling is a great way to figure out what is going on. About 11% of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18, and since half of all Americans with a mental illness do not seek treatment, it may be incumbent upon you to make the first steps. If you choose to go this route, expect 10 to 20 weeks of treatment, along with four to six weeks for any medication that has been prescribed to take full effect.
If you believe therapy is the best route for your child, contact the professionals at Pax Renewal Center. They specialize in counseling services for those who are going through a difficult time with interpersonal relationships, personal issues, and life changes. Call today.