Preparing Kids for the Teen World

By Jim Fay


The way we discipline our children in grade school determines the type of teenagers they become. In elementary school, both right and wrong ways of disciplining work! However, while inappropriate methods may work during a child’s younger years, they fail to prepare a child for adolescence.

By following a few guidelines during the grade school years, parents can help their children glide through the teen years with minimal difficulty.

Guideline 1:

Give your child as few rules as possible and as many as absolutely necessary – Generally, it’s best to let the child make mistakes. Their consequences are usually far less severe in grade school than in high school.

Guideline 2:

Let natural consequences occur – Grounding, anger or lectures teach the child to resent the parent rather than learn from natural consequences. Wise parents, taking a cue from the airlines, say, “We’re leaving at eight o’clock. If you are ready at that time, you may go with us.”

Guideline 3:

Wise parents impose consequences to take care of themselves – Effective consequences that parents impose include isolation of the child or having the child perform extra work around the house to “pay the parents back” for family items they have abused. Wise parents say, “Why don’t you take a walk around the block and cool off? We’ll be happy to see your face again when there’s a smile on it.” When we take care of ourselves, children learn how to take care of themselves.

Guideline 4:

Get the child’s opinions and thoughts first – We ask with interest and without accusation.

Guideline 5:

Parent should mean what they say, and only say it once – Often parents give warnings: “Now I mean it!” (which implies the parent usually doesn’t!) Try instead, “Will you guys please take it outside now?” the kids may say, “What did we do?” A good response is, “Outside is the place to figure that out.”

To make these approaches more meaningful, discuss their pros and cons with your spouse or a friend before implementing any of them with your child.

People who are really successful implementing this skill purchased Oh Great! What Do I Do Now?


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©Jim Fay
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