We’ve all seen or been on the receiving end of teenage rebellion. If you are a teacher, parent, or guardian of a teen, then you know these teenage years can be stressful. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be!
Most theories dealing with teens and teenage rebellion have focused on factors such as physical changes, emerging sexuality, new social pressures, and struggles between being a child and becoming an adult. As young people grow, conflicts arise. A prime reason is that the teen wants to become independent, but adults continue to exert authority with coercion and expect obedience.
Always encourage children and students to look to themselves to solve problems, rather than relying on others. This is critical because many well-meaning parents and teachers too often do things for children that they could and should be doing themselves.
Never take on a young person’s problems if he or she is capable of meeting the challenge. The reason is that every time you solve a problem for someone who is capable of solving the problem without you, you are depriving the person of an opportunity to become more responsible. In addition, the person misses the satisfaction that arises from success.
If you’re tired of continually lecturing your students or children, or if you’re finding that rewards and punishments rarely change behavior long-term, it’s time to start asking reflective questions.
When you use reflective questions, you are directing the other person’s thinking. It is this questioning process that starts the thinking process, both for you and for the other person. This kind of questioning is a gift to the person being asked because it induces clarity of thought. Similarly, the answer can be a gift to the person asking because it is a quick way to obtain and understand the other person’s viewpoint.
Asking reflective questions increases your awareness of a child’s perceptions, thereby significantly increasing your understanding of the child. … >>> “Ask Reflective Questions”
If your children fear you, they cannot be honest with you. In fact, very often lying stems from fear.
Recently someone who purchased the eBook Children of Rainbow School contacted me. She wrote: “My children are fluent in the four levels—so much so that even my 3 1/2 year old is able to identify a given behavior with a particular level. We have two PDF printouts [from your web site] of the hierarchy on our fridge and the levels have become almost table talk. The problem doesn’t lie in the lack of knowledge about the different levels; the problem is a lack of honesty and not wanting to accept responsibility for what they’ve done (‘I didn’t do that,’ ‘It’s not … >>> “Do Your Children Fear You?”
Many parents experience stress when it comes to the topic of children’s screen time. How much is too much? Should you restrict it? Is screen time a necessary evil? Or is screen time a positive thing? The questions are endless.
A reader sent me the following note about screen time.
“My 15-year-old spends several hours on the computer and she does not part with her phone. She does activities and is a good student, but every free moment she has is spent on Facebook or texting. The network she is on allows for free texts to certain numbers. WI-FI is free so she has Internet access on her phone. She feels that if she has done her chores, then she … >>> “Take the Stress Out of Screen Time”
Most parents I know are seeking help with stress management. Between work and family, there is always so much to do. No wonder so many parents turn to rewards and punishments in order to get their children to comply. Unfortunately, using such techniques actually makes the parent’s stress level rise. If you want true parental stress management, you need to focus on responsibility, not outdated parenting models.
Social scientists have determined that we accept inner responsibility for a behavior when we think we have CHOSEN to perform it in the absence of outside pressure, such as a large reward.
A few years ago I read an article about the top traits of good parents. Even though it’s been several years since the article’s publication, the information is timeless and I wanted to share it once again.
The following is from “WHAT MAKES A GOOD PARENT? A scientific analysis ranks the 10 most effective child-rearing practices” by Robert Epstein, Scientific American Mind, November/December 2010, pp. 46-51
The Top Traits of Good Parents
Here are 10 competencies that predict good parenting outcomes, listed roughly in order from most to least important. The skills—all derived from published studies—were ranked based on how well they predict a strong parent-child bond and children’s happiness, health, and success.
One of the keys to effective parenting is to know the difference between implicit and explicit modeling and how you do both each day. The fact is that parents are the first teachers. Parents are always modeling how to behave.
Effective Parenting is All About Modeling
Modeling is accomplished two ways. The first way is EXPLICITLY. The second way is IMPLICITLY. Here is the difference:
Explicit modeling is directed by what you actually say and do, as in always saying “thank you” and urging the young person to do the same.
Implicit modeling is indirect and learned without intentions.
The following examples from the book Parenting Without Stress demonstrate the difference between explicit and implicit modeling.
If you find that disciplining your children and fostering a sense of responsibility in them is stressful or unsuccessful, the use of traditional parenting approaches may be the problem. Why? Because traditional parenting approaches—including lectures, rewards, and punishments—rely on external motivators to change the child’s behavior and for obtain obedience and compliance.
Telling young people what to do, rewarding them if they do as expected, and threatening or punishing them if they don’t are counterproductive, increase stress, and diminish strong parent/child relationships.
Whether the approach is telling-based, rewards-based, or punishment-based, the bottom line is that it’s manipulation, which is never permanent. All of these approaches are something you do to another person and have little long-lasting effect. This is in … >>> “Parenting without Rewarding”
When I ask parents of young children if they ever say “No” to their children, I always receive an affirmative answer. “Of course.”
After all, isn’t it natural to teach young children that they can’t have evrything they want?
Yes, young people need to learn that they cannot get every thing they want. The question is, however, how do you communicate this while at the same time not not having the child develop negative feelings toward the parent or the situation.
The answer lies in adding a simple word to “NO!.”
Simply say, “Not yet.”
This simple phrase doesn’t prompt the negative feeling that “No” does while, at the same time, giving future hope.
Let’s assume your child has a number of things to do and is lackadaisical about doing them. You remind the youngster—to no avail. Time passes. Another reminder is forthcoming with the same result.
Rather than become increasingly stressed, have a chat. The conversation will revolve around those things that are to be done by the youngster. After listing them, establish a procedure for each—VERY SPECIFIC procedures.
For example, if the task is homework, the procedure should list exactly when preparations start, where the activity will take place, what materials will be used, and an understanding that there will be no distractions such as viewing television. If the activity is play of some kind, cleanup time and procedures are also listed.
Acknowledgments encourage and motivate. They serve to give recognition without the disadvantages of praise. Praise has a price. It implies a lack of acceptance and worth when the youth does not behave as the adult wishes. Using a phrase which starts with, “I like . . . .” encourages a young person to behave in order to please the adult. By contrast, acknowledgment simply affirms and fosters self-satisfaction.
Notice the difference in the following examples, first of praise followed by acknowledgment. “I am so pleased with the way you treated your brother,” versus “You treated your brother with real consideration.” “I like the way you are working,” versus “Your working shows good effort.” “I’m so proud of you for … >>> “How to Write an Acknowledgement As an Incentive”
While browsing through a thrift store, I picked up a book that a good friend had mentioned to me. Seeing it for sale at 50¢, I had no excuse not to pick it up. I’m so glad I did; it’s a great read!
The Happiness Project describes the year-long program that author, Gretchen Rubin, designed for herself in an effort to become more appreciative of the good life she already had.
To quote the book cover:
At one point [Gretchen] realized that time was flashing by and and she wasn’t thinking enough about the things that really mattered. “I should have a happiness project,” she decided. She spent the next year test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies,
No one likes to be told what to do. Think of a time when someone told you what to do or told you that you had to do something. Notice how it conjures up a negative emotion. I grew up with a friend who, when told what to do by a parent, would find an excuse not to do it. Even if it was something he wanted to do, such as going outside to play, he would find an excuse to stay indoors just because he was told.
Social scientists have determined that teeagers accept responsibility for a behavior when they believe that they have chosen to perform it in the absence of outside pressures.
Giving rewards for what you want is external pressure—really a bribe—because it is used to control. It may get teenagers to perform a certain action, but it won’t get them to except responsibility for the act. Consequently, they won’t feel committed to it. The same is true of a strong threat; it may motivate immediate compliance, but it is unlikely to produce long-term commitment.
This has very important implications for rearing teenagers. It suggests that we should never bribe or threaten them to do the things we want them to believe in.
To understand how much more powerful it is to influence youth rather than overpower them, consider this short story:
A young boy was to start kindergarten the next day and was protesting that he would not go. A normal parental reaction would have been to banish the youngster to his room and tell him that he had better make up his mind to go because he had no choice. (Note: the youngster may have had no choice as to the decision but he certainly had a choice as to how he could react to it.)
Rather than taking this approach, the father reflected, “If I were my son, why would I be excited to go to kindergarten?”
Discipline Online is now available for teachers, parents, and anyone working with young people.
If you are at a school, home, or youth setting where discipline and behavior are out of control and where young people are not acting responsibly, then Discipline Online will be of great assistance. If you are a leader, teacher, or parent that imposes punishments, lectures, nags, or uses time-outs or detention, then Discipline Online is for you. If you are still rewarding young people for things they should be doing anyway, learn a better way.
You owe it to yourself—and to the people with whom you work—to use a more effective approach than any of those mentioned above. Learnhow to deal with behavior challenges … >>> “Discipline Online”