I don’t know how to punish my teen for “bad behavior” – nothing works

Question of the Month: I don’t know how to punish my teen for “bad behavior” – nothing works and I am frustrated and angry.

This is so common- the punishments and rewards we used on our children when they were younger, do not work when they become pre-teenage and teenage. We need to parent differently and it isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips to make it easier on you and them! 1. use phone/ TV/ internet as rewards and/or punishments, but in SHORT time frames; when we take things away for too long a time, they lose interest, and feel like they will never dig themselves out of the hole they created- a day, a weekend of losing a privilege is usually a long enough time, although I have taken my daughter’s cell phone away until her grades got up to C’s (which took much longer!). 2. the same time frames should work with grounding- don’t let the hole get too big- even day by day is a good time frame to get cooperation and compliance. 3. when they are earning rewards, shorter time frame again- letting them know they are making progress toward BIG rewards is good, such as putting money aside for the cell phone/ipod, etc. 4. try and let the “clean your room”, not be your standards- it’s a losing fight with most kids so just close the door and ignore it. 5. follow through- do not make idle threats- they don’t work and your child knows that. 6. pick your battles – say yes when you can and NO when it really counts. 7. Talk to them often, focus on their good qualities, let them know you see the good in them, and remember the teen brain is still developing. It will get easier. I promise!
Devona L Marshall sees teens, individuals, families and couples in her practice. She is a parent of 3 and understands the challenges and rewards in parenting as our children start to spread their wings. She can be reached at Devona@kettlemorainecounseling.com

We have openings for new clients and accept new referrals! We are on most insurance panels, and we have day, evening and weekend hours for your convenience.

We also have 2 new therapists starting in the next few weeks who will join our experienced team. The September newsletter will highlight those ladies and their expertise.

August 2010 Newsletter of Kettle Moraine Counseling Services!

This summer hasn’t been easy without central air conditioning! The mugginess really got to me, but as I write this newsletter, the weather is perfect- high of mid 70’s during the day and lows in the 50’s at night- very good sleeping weather.

We have been trying to get the kids on a better sleeping regiment in anticipation of school starting- but it hasn’t been going too well. Thank goodness we have a few weeks yet to change these habits.

Most of us as parents want to start the school year off on a good foot. Here are some tips to make that happen:

  • Start the sleep schedule a few weeks ahead of time.
  • Try and be consistent with schedules and meal times. Healthy eating and exercise can go a long way in helping us feel strong and adapt to change.
  • Make homework a priority and part of the routine. When doesn’t matter, but a routine does. As your children get older, give them more responsibility for it. Parents won’t always be there and giving them the responsibility is good for their development.
  • Encourage a lot of sleep the first 2 weeks because the adjustment can be difficult on their bodies- from the lazy days of summer to all day in school.

Have fun on the weekends! The summer will still be here for a few weeks after school starts, and make it a point to enjoy it while it is still here- swim, look at the stars, grill out- just enjoy those last days of summer.

Research Update:

August 6, 2010, USA Today Web use may be linked to depression. Teens who spend far too much time on the Internet run the risk of developing depression, a new study suggests.

Traumatic sexual incidents may cause serious mental health problems in the years after the events. From Medical News Today July 2010.