Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Helping teens Obey

(source: davisk-12.ut.us)

As important as it is for your children to know how to follow rules, it's even more important for your teens because they have the potential to get into more dangerous trouble if they don't.  If you've taught your child when they were young, this should be easier than you think.  However, if you treat your teens like you treat your little ones, you may have a full blown rebellion on your hands.  Teens want to be treated more like adults.  They want more freedoms and you can help them learn responsibility through this desire.

 Keep in mind that the best way to change behavior is using the "Love languages" I've mentioned before.  But sometimes teens may need a little extra incentive to work with the family instead of in their own interests.  The best way to help teens continue to obey rules that will help them to be happy is to link their freedoms to those rules.  In real life, privilege comes with responsibility.  So you can teach your teen in your home that they only get to "drive the car", or hang out with friends, have a cell phone, or be on the computer if they are following the rules.  You can teach them that freedom comes with responsibility this way.

You will be amazed how well this works.  You don't have to get mad.  You don't have to lecture.  You just set up the rules and the freedoms that come with following them.  And when they don't do it, you take away the freedom linked to the rule for that day or until they follow it again.  For instance, if they are late to school, you take away their cell phone for the day (tell them, "I'm sorry you chose to lose the cell phone by being late.  I hope you'll do better tomorrow) (Make sure to show an increase of love throughout the day to help them know you love them).  Then if they are on time the next day (and they will be) you give it back.

You can talk to your teens about how they are getting more freedom as they grow more responsible.  Make sure you give them more trust and freedom as they show their responsibility and point it out so they have some positive reinforcement of their good choices.  For instance, as they prove that they are responsible about getting homework done and being on time for curfew, you can give them more time with their friends.  You should be eventually helping them to become completely independent as they show their competence.  You want them to be able to leave home and be independent eventually, so you'll want to give them more and more freedom and independence as they grow.

You'll find that your teens are much happier when they can control themselves and are following the rules.  They have higher self esteem and they'll do better at home and in school.  This method has worked wonders for our kids and if you are consistent even when they are not happy about the consequences, you will find it works great for you too.

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