Common Mistakes Parents Make when Parenting Teens – Parents don’t agree on discipline

Mistake – Parents don’t agree on how to discipline – one person tends to be strict and the other permissive.

Solution:  I had friends who would ground their child for a week.  By the next day one of the parents would say, “You aren’t grounded.”  In this situation, one parent seems like the ‘heavy,’ while the other one is trying to be a ‘friend.’  What often happens in this situation is that the kids are in control of the household – not a pleasant thought.  You can have fun and enjoy your teens but you are not their friend.  You are the parent.  You must set clear rules, limits and give the child warnings for consequences of breaking those rules, which are important for your sanity and your child’s success.

It helps if parents take a parenting class together so you have some similar background and learn techniques for how to discipline.  There is a lot of psychology you need to use when being a parent.  For positive discipline it is critical to have a united front for your children.  Without the children around the parents can agree on how they will handle situations that come up.

If you are a single parent, you don’t have the problem of disagreeing with the other parent.   Be mindful of the example you are setting.  If the parents are divorced and share parenting time, it can be a challenge if the parents don’t like each other.  Try to agree on what is expected from your children and at least be consistent.  Problems arise when you are not consistent.  It will confuse your teen and make them feel less secure because they don’t know what to expect.

I have found it helpful to have family meetings to discuss concerns.  If your teen is not coming in on time, you could discuss it at a family meeting.  It works wonderfully if everyone can agree on what will happen if they come in late again.  They know what to expect so it will be no surprise when you follow through.  The important thing is that you follow through.  Again being consistent is key.

Has agreeing on discipline been a problem for you?  What have you done that works for you?

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