You already know that parenting teenage boys is not easy. He has a mind of his own and the last thing he wants is to abide by your rules. Yes, this is a normal part of being a teenager, but that doesn’t mean he can get away with it. So what are you supposed to do when the usual grounding or taking away his electronics doesn’t seem to work? How about give one (or all!) of these unique discipline ideas a try:
When he doesn’t pick up after himself:
For some reason, teenagers tend to think their parents are also their maids. You know this isn’t the case, but you need to get him to understand it. There are a couple of methods you can try.
- First, there’s the option of confiscating anything he leaves in the living room at night. From his video games to his sports equipment, everything needs to be put away, and if it’s not, make him buy it back from you for one dollar per item.
- Another choice is to pick up the items yourself, but don’t put them where they go. Instead, hide them somewhere around the house and refuse to tell him where they are. It won’t take long for him to figure out it’s just easier if he picks them up himself.
When he has an issue with the meals you serve:
You’d think by now your son would get the point that he needs to eat what you serve without complaining. But, alas, there always seems to be some kind of criticism about the food being burnt or that he dislikes the way it tastes. No problem, he can do the cooking for himself for the next 24 hours, and you will just worry about the members of your family that appreciate what you make for them. After several bowls of cereal and PB&J sandwiches, he will be begging for your forgiveness.
When he talks back:
Ah, the teenage attitude. It sure is something else, isn’t it? So what can you do about it besides simply ignoring him? First, give him one chance to respond correctly. If he can immediately change his attitude and talk to you appropriately, proceed as if the first episode never happened. If that doesn’t work, give one of these a go:
- Have him write you a letter instead. This way, he can get his frustrations out, but you won’t have to be attacked. Chances are, once he gets it all written down, he won’t even want to give it to you.
- If he can’t use proper language and insists on outbursts or profanity, take his talking privilege away for a few hours. It won’t be long before he gets your point: Talking is indeed a privilege, and he better not take advantage of it.
- What is one thing every teenage boy despises? The Barney Song maybe. If your son insists on treating you with disrespect, make him listen to this lovable song on repeat for ten minutes.
When he lacks responsibility:
The teenage years are when it’s crucial for your boy to learn how to take care of himself. He will be out on his own before you know it, and it’s your job to make sure he’s prepared. Sometimes, that requires a little bit of tough love. For example:
- Chances are, you’ve gotten a panicked phone call from your teen because he forgot something at home (like the report due next period). As hard as it is, don’t take it to him. He can’t rely on you for everything, and it’s better that he learns this lesson now.
- If you notice your son trying to shoplift while you are out, have him pay for the item then leave the item at the store. In rare cases, teenagers shoplift because need is the issue. Some are looking for attention, or lashing out at authority, or to fit in with peers. Trying to stop shoplifting is not so easy without some support. It can be challenging because shoplifting can become a habit… or even an addiction and it may have criminal consequences. Have your teen visit the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR SHOPLIFTING PREVENTION for help with shoplifting.
Teenage boys are definitely a challenge, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be completely charming and pleasant too. If you can figure out a way to combat the tough times, you can get back to enjoying the amazing person that your son is.