Disciplining Pre-Teens

Published on by CMe



Does your preteen ignore when you speak to him/her? Does he/she come home late and forget to call? Or does your child always protest against your rules? Don't worry, you are not alone. There are million parents who have preteens with this discipline problem. Well, it's a common parenting problem, don't you think?

Factors to consider about discipline

  • Deep attachment
    A child is wired to follow the lead of those key caretakers with whom they have a solid and durable attachment. One of the prerequisites for engaging a child’s willingness to cooperate is to ensure that the connection between you is strong. I can’t underestimate the importance of fortifying a loving connection with your child as a way to override their tendency to resist and defy your requests.
  • Clear authority
    Another important element in disciplining children is to make it absolutely clear that you’re genuinely in charge. Children are biased to lean on whoever exudes confidence and authority. If you negotiate with your child over every request you make, or try to convince them to allow you be in charge, you come across as desperate and weak. Telling a child that you need them to do something—anything—creates a reversal in authority, handing over far too much power to them.
  • Managing frustration
    Finally, it’s essential that parents help a child manage the frustration that comes up when they have to do something that isn’t—well—fun. Kids are motivated to enjoy themselves as much as possible; when they have to stop playing video games to start doing their homework, or go to bed when everyone else is still up, they will be disappointed. Parents who understand how to help a child manage their upset are far better able to discipline their child in ways that don’t fuel their anger or aggression.

    When you take charge as the Captain of the ship in your child’s life, help her navigate her frustration, and maintain a strong attachment between the two of you, she’ll be more receptive to your discipline and guidance. Even when she doesn’t particularly want to take out the trash or stop teasing the dog, she’s more likely to comply when you’re cool, calm and connected.

Discipline, children, and parenting. If you have a tween, you're up against some serious discipline challenges. Tweens are known for testing the boundaries, and they should be very aware of the consequences of their actions and behaviors. If you're the parent or caregiver of a tween, these child discipline techniques will help you teach discipline and develop a plan of action.

  1. Never yell, spank, or use sarcasm for the punishment
    That's not discipline. Discipline is a positive concept, same with loving, respecting, and accepting your preteen. So, yell, spank, and something like that are big No-nos! If you have to punish him/her, use punishment that can make him/her learn something from that.
  2. Child Discipline: Why Tweens Misbehave
    Most of the time when a tween pushes the limits, it's perfectly normal. Tweens need to know what they can and can't get away with, and the best way for them to find out is through experimentation. Your tween wants to test his independence and acting out is the result. Acting out can include lying, copping an attitude, using bad language, failing to finish homework, or any number of behaviors.

    It's easy to lose patience with a tween whose broken the rules, but parents should keep in mind that while tweens can at times be very mature, their brains are not yet fully developed.  The result is they don't always make good decisions. When you teach discipline, children have a better understanding of where the boundaries are and why they are there.
  3. Discipline, Children and Rules
    The best way to teach your child discipline is to prevent bad behavior before it starts. Explain exactly what your rules are to your tween. Assuming he knows that he's not allowed at a friend's house after school without permission is assuming a lot. Unless you've specified that he must call first to ask permission, he won't necessarily make the connection.

    When it comes to discipline children need specifics. Be sure you explain why the rule is in place, so that your tween understands you're not arbitrarily coming up with rules for him to follow.
  4. Use "Do's'", not "Don'ts"
    "Do's" give stronger impression than "Don'ts. Using word "Don'ts just make your preteen more eager to do what you actually don't want him/her do.
  5. Be Specific About Consequences
    When you discipline children it's also important that you communicate that actions come with certain consequences. If your tween has been told time and again to clean his room, but doesn't, it could be time to dole out a disciplinary punishment. One word of caution: when it comes to punishment, let the punishment fit the crime. You might say, "If your room isn't clean by dinner tonight, there will be no television for you later this evening."
  6. Enforce Your Rules
    When it comes to discipline, children understand punishments. Often times, the threat of losing something is enough to motivate a tween into action. But not always. If normal disciplinary measures such as taking away treats, television, time with friends, or other consequences don't jolt your tween back to his sweet self, it may be time to take a harder look at what's going on. Angry, defiant behavior can be a sign of something more serious. 

    Your tween may be acting out because he wants your attention, or because he's having trouble at school. If your attempts to get to the bottom of the situation don't work, it could be time to seek professional help from an expert who can offer additional child discipline strategies.
  7. Be consistent and united
    You and your partner have to work as a team. So, when you say A to your child, then he has to say the same thing too. Don't make your preteen take advantage from your inconsistency! So, agree as parents on the rules and stick together!
  8. Criticize the behavior, not the child
    Never-never use bad words to your preteen! What you don't like is the behavior, not your child. So, never say, "You're stupid! Why did you do that?" Just say, " I am disappointed with what you did this morning. It made me sad, and I don't want it happen again next time".
  9. Allow Mistakes
    Sometimes, experience is the best teacher of all. Allow your child the opportunity to learn by mistake, as long as that mistake won't put him in jeopardy. And remember that teaching a child discipline can sometimes be harder on you than it is the child.
  10. Child Discipline: Rewards Still Work
    When your tween was a preschooler or in Kindergarten he probably came home with stars for good behavior. Rewarding good behavior still works with tweens. When your child goes out of his way to be thoughtful or helpful, or cleans his room without being told, be sure you acknowledge his behavior positively. You can say, "I saw that you helped empty the dishwasher, and I want to thank you for being so responsible and helpful." A hug is also a great reward, as is a little time alone with mom or dad playing cards, listening to music or watching television. Remember, sometimes discipline, children and parenting requires positive reinforcement.
  11. Be Careful What You Say
    Tweens are very sensitive and may assume that you're disgusted with them, rather than disappointed in their behavior. Make sure you criticize your tween's actions, not your tween. For example, you could say, "Skipping school was a very bad decision," rather than, "You're so bad for skipping school."

    Also, make sure you engage your child when you're calm and reasonable. It won't do you any good to impose an unreasonable consequence, only to take it back when you realize you went too far. If necessary, discuss the situation with your spouse, parenting partner, or a friend before you sit down with your tween. Keep your tone calm, and do not allow your tween to push your buttons. Remain in charge, firm, but kind.
  12. Review Family Rules
    One reason tweens act out is because they are ready for a little more independence. Every now and then review your family rules to see if you can give your tween a little more wiggle room. For example, if your tween is refusing to do his homework, ask him for suggestions on how he might tackle the project. He may decide to finish homework after dinner, or take it in bits and pieces over the course of the evening. Giving him some control over the situation may help him adjust his attitude.
  13. Remember Safety
    Parents are wise to choose their battles carefully. Giving in a little on small infractions may keep the peace in your family, and show your tween that you're willing to compromise. But when a tween engages in behaviors that are dangerous or puts his safety in jeopardy, it's up to you to put an end to that behavior, right away. The hardest part about discipline, children and parenting is being consistent with your rules, rewards, and consequences.
  14. Be patient!
    Teaching your preteen discipline is like a long journey for you and for him/her. So, be patient and learn to enjoy it!  Just do them all, and you're ready to "conquer" your preteen behavior without yelling each other! Now, teaching your preteen discipline won't be a problem anymore!

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