|13 + years
||By now you’ve laid the groundwork. Your child knows what’s expected of him or her and knows that you mean what you say about the consequences of bad behavior. Don’t let down your guard now – discipline is just as important for teens as it is for younger children. Just like the 4-year-old who needs you to set a bedtime and stick to it, no matter how much him or her whines, your teen needs to know boundaries, too.Make sure to set up rules regarding homework, visits by friends, curfews, and dating and discuss them beforehand with your teenager so there will be no misunderstandings. Your teen, although he or she will probably complain from time to time, will realize that you are in control. Believe it or not, teens still want and need you to set limits and enforce order in their lives, even as you grant them greater freedom and responsibility.
When your teen does break a rule, taking away privileges may seem to be the best plan of action. While it’s fine to take away the car for a week, for example, be sure to discuss with your child why coming home an hour past curfew is unacceptable and worrisome.
It’s also important to give a teenager some control over life. Not only will this limit the number of power struggles you may have, it will help your teen to respect the decisions you must make for him or her. With a younger teen, you could allow him or her to make his or her own decisions concerning school clothes, hair styles, or even the condition of his or her room. As your teen gets older, that realm of control might be extended to include an occasional relaxed curfew.
It’s also important to focus on the positives. For example, have your child earn a later curfew by demonstrating positive behavior, rather than giving your teen an earlier curfew as punishment for irresponsible behavior.