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HomeHealth & BehaviorBehavior & Discipline

Top discipline mistakes parents of older kids make

Page 2 of 2

By GreatSchools Staff

2. Negotiating

The problem: You have made the rule that your child has to do her homework before going online. But when you catch her on the computer with unfinished homework, she says, “That’s not fair. My English homework isn’t due for two days. I just want to finish up this chat. I’ll get the homework done as soon as I get home tomorrow. I swear.” You’re tired of fighting , so you think, “Oh, why not?”

Try this instead: Stick to your guns. She hasn’t followed the rules, and you can’t let her have control of the issue by dragging you into a no-win discussion. Tell her that once she has finished the homework, you can talk more about that rule and maybe refine it a bit. But for now she needs to focus on the main issue: Her homework isn’t done, and she needs to finish. If you give in on a negotiation, your battles will never end. Instead, by showing her that your rules are hard and fast, she’ll stop testing you.

3. Being a friend

The problem: Your child asks to stay up till 11:00 p.m. on a school night to watch a movie on TV. To bolster her case, she tells you that “all the kids at school stay up all the time.” You don’t want your kid to think you’re uncool, and  you don’t want her to be the only one whose parents make her go to bed early. So you say yes.

Try this instead: You are not your older child’s friend. You are her parent. Though in many ways she may act like a young adult, she still needs you to set boundaries. Tweens and teens are negotiating lots of new territory (that old sex and drugs again!), and they need the reassurance of knowing that their parents are still there, setting and enforcing the rules. They also need to know you’re providing the security they need now more than ever. Remind your child that the house rules still apply to her.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

05/21/2012:
"We live with my parents who are forthemostpart healthy. My 13yo son tries me a lot. I work nights, my husband is laid off, but often over his parents assisting with medical issues. So my son gets to have his way often. In grade school, he was wondeful, now in 7th grade, not listening wandering around, talking back, both at home and school. And homework when he does it, it somehow doesn't make it to school. It has taken all year to get him on track and your comments are exactly on point!!!!! Too much pushing he shuts down !!!! "
07/19/2010:
"These are good words. I find myself giving in 'sometimes' and being a constant nag as soon as I walk through the door at other times. It seems to be never ending. My girl is soon to be 12 years old and is testing me with every breath and always has to have the last word. She feels I don't listen and I feel the same about her. But I keep my head up and keep making what I hope are the right decisions. Fun-Fun-Fun. I thought raising boys was hard; it is nothing to what I am experiencing with this one. But all in all she is still the light of my life and we still have some awesome moments. "
07/19/2010:
"how do youdeal witha teen who is quite smart but in the last two years has made a comolete turnaround. Is disrespectful, lazy, has failed the entire school year. Believes school is not that important. Just started counseling, but feels it will not help and can fool the therapist."
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