“Correct your children while there is still hope; do not let them destroy themselves.”
I went on a call with one of my officers a while back where a 15 year old had called the police on his parents. I met him outside the house and he told me he was having problems with his parents. They had grounded him, taken away his computer, and revoked a number of his other privileges. I asked him what he had done to bring this on. He said, “Nothing. I just borrowed their car for a little while when they were gone and they think it is the end of the world.”
I can’t really repeat all the things I said to the kid, but suffice it to say he was in tears when we finished our chat and probably will not call the police on his parents again. When we spoke to his mom and dad, I could tell that they were nervous about the police being there. We quickly let them know that they had not done anything wrong. I encouraged them to keep applying the pressure to their son until his behavior changed. These parents provide some great examples of how to discipline an older child. Spankings are probably not going to be effective. It was clear that they had hit a nerve by grounding him and taking his computer away from him.
Remember that our goal as parents is to raise responsible adults. As our children get older, they need to have rules that are clearly spelled out and what the consequences will be if they don’t follow them. This is why it is so important to talk to our children. If they know that they are supposed to be home by 11:00pm and also know that they are going to be grounded if they aren’t, there are no surprises.
This is real world training. What is an employer going to do if they are consistently late? They are going to be out of a job. One of the worst things that a parent can do is not to follow through on discipline. This sends the message that we are weak and don’t mean what we say. If our older child is consistently violating the rules that we have put in place but we are not holding them accountible, we are hurting, not helping them.
In the last installment, I will talk about some worst case scenarios.