How to Discipline Teen Boys

by Brenda Scottsdale

It baffles many parents when their formerly cooperative, pleasant and rule-abiding son turns into an argumentative and defiant teenager. Although questioning parental authority is normal for teenage boys, a teen's need to assert his independence can conflict with family rules. Your teenage son needs you to set limits and rules while he's exploring his independence. Disciplining your son is an important part of boundary-setting because it keeps his behaviors in line and prevents him from making serious mistakes.

Step 1

Communicate openly and directly with your teenage son about what the rules and consequences are. Involve him in creating reasonable limits and consequences and it will be less difficult for him to argue with you when you need to enforce the rules later on.

Step 2

Respond to misbehavior in a cool, non-emotional tone, according to the website ParentFurther. Getting angry will only escalate an already bad circumstance. Remind him of the consequences and be prepared to repeat this message several times during your conversation.

Step 3

Choose consequences that are natural results of his behavior to help him grow and learn from his mistakes. Be supportive and instructive, wherever possible, rather than dictatorial and judgmental. For example, make him responsible for telling his friends that he cannot attend the concert this Wednesday because he didn't study all week to prepare for a test that is occurring the next day.

Step 4

Respond to your teenage boy's misbehavior immediately and consistently. Don't let him bargain his way out of consequences with you. Setting the consequences beforehand will help discourage manipulation, according to the website ParentFurther. Although you might think you are cutting him a break, letting him get away with misbehavior without intervening establishes what is known as in intermittent reinforcement schedule, according to behavioral psychologists such as B.F. Skinner. Your son will try even harder to manipulate you next time, if there's even the slightest chance he might succeed.

Step 5

Give seven times more positive feedback than negative feedback. One of the reasons teenage boys quit listening to their parents is they feel unheard, interrupted or lectured to, according to pediatrician and child expert Meg Meeker. Meeker says, "No son wants his father’s advice if he is repeatedly interrupted or criticized."

Step 6

Seek counseling if circumstances spin out of control, you are unsure what appropriate limits and boundaries are or you find yourself overwhelmed with the problem, according to the website PsychCentral. Deal with your own emotions and use your therapist as a sounding board so you'll be able to maintain your boundaries with your teenage son.

About the Author

Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.

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