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  Children's Ministry Today    

Today's Featured Article

Teens and Discipline                    
by Audrey Okaneko


I had the most frustrating conversation with a friend. It was frustrating enough to lead me to write this article.

She was very upset her son came in at 3 a.m. when his curfew was 1 a.m. She came to me asking for my advice on what to do. This was not the first time he’d broken curfew. I asked if she was going to ground him. She explained she couldn’t as he had ball practice and since he’d be seeing his friends anyway, grounding him was fruitless. I asked if she was taking away his car privileges. She explained that with work and ball practice it was not practical to take away his car privileges.

I asked if she would limit his cell phone use since he did not use his phone, which she pays for, to call and tell her he’d be late. She explained that he needed the phone in case his boss or coach called him. I asked if there would be any consequence for him coming in at 3 a.m. and disrespecting her and her rules. She then told me she just didn’t know what to do as nothing worked, and she truly felt she had no choices and no options.

I should state that I’m “just a mom”. I’m not a psychologist or child expert. As a mom I know that if we as parents allow the above scenario, then it continues. It does not magically get better on its own.

Just using the above scenario, I do not believe having to call a friend and ask for a ride to ball practice is “horrible”. I don’t believe having to take a bus to work or catching a ride with a friend is “horrible”. I don’t believe allowing work and ball practice with no social activities for a week is “horrible”. And I don’t believe saying “tell the boss and coach to call the home phone” for a week is “horrible”. Any of these would make it very clear to the teen that there are consequences for his actions.

It has always been very important to me to help my kids understand with certainty that for every action there are consequences. This is NOT a negative phrase. If we plant seeds, a tree will grow. If we smile at a stranger, they just may smile back. If we choose to ignore or disobey a rule, there are also consequences. I think most reading this article have probably had a speeding ticket. We chose to go faster than the limit and we dealt with the consequence.

I attended a class through my daughter’s high school. The man running the class was an MFCC who specialized in teens. I remember him addressing a woman who also felt there was nothing she could do. He asked if the teen had a bed, a dresser, a phone, a car, and even a door for privacy for his bedroom. He went on to tell this woman that not one of those items was a necessity, and not one of those items was required by the state to be provided.

As parents, we do have choices and options if our teen decides to disobey our rules. Both of my kids know that the door on their bedroom is a privilege. Neither one of them EVER slams their door. It is their choice to not slam the door as they wish to keep the door right there, on the hinges.

Once you decide to take control, you’ll discover that you really do have many options.

Article by:  Audrey Okaneko is mom to two girls. She can be reached at audreyoka@cox.net or visited at www.scrapping-made-simple.com

Web www.childrensministry.org





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