Skip to main content

The right (and wrong) ways to discipline stubborn teens

We all know that teens can be fun to be around, but they also can be stubborn! Whether it is just hormones, they’ve had a terrible day, or they just need extra guidance, they can make life challenging for parents. But there are some steps you can take to help guide them to becoming productive adults.

Two great ways to discipline stubborn teens

Although stubborn teens may be a bit difficult at times, there are simple, yet effective ways to handle them!

The right (and wrong) ways to discipline stubborn teens
George Rudy / Shutterstock

Get involved and be clear

Do not shy away from making your expectations clear. Let your teens know the type of behavior you expect from them. Do you want them to come home at a certain time after they have been out with friends? Consider saying, “Please be sure to come straight home after the party,” “Please come home when the movie is over,” etc. When you make your expectations known — and enforce them — your teens will know you expect them to follow the rules. Also, when you’re working out rules and limits, get your teens’ input. Everyone wants to be heard! Typically, teenagers are more inclined to see you and the situation as fair when they feel like they’ve had a voice.

Consequences are appropriate

Sometimes, you may need to withdraw the privileges of teens. But use this action sparingly or it could eventually become ineffective. Before applying expectations and possible consequences, make sure your teens understand what will happen if their behavior is not acceptable. If the teens you are working with are not cooperating, try taking away something they enjoy, such as television, cell phones, games, etc. A popular choice is the cell phone! Teens hate not having their phone at all times. They will begin to realize that you’re serious about applying consequences for bad behavior.

Two not-so-great ways to discipline stubborn teens

Dealing with stubborn teens may be complicated, but make sure to avoid making the situation worse!

The right (and wrong) ways to discipline stubborn teens

Not making the effort to listen to your teens

We all want to be heard, considered, and understood. When teens are going through changing emotions and growing phases, being heard is often what they need the most. If you do not make an effort to listen to teenagers, they may not feel valuable and considered. Then, they will not feel the need to give you the respect you deserve. When disagreements happen between you and your teenagers, make sure you give them the proper space and opportunity to express their thoughts. Of course, stand your ground, but also give them the proper guidance for the situation.

Applying irrelevant punishments

Consequences are necessary at times, but severe punishments often prove to be irrelevant. If they do not meet your expectation of coming home when a party is over, appropriate consequences – or rather, creative punishments for teenagers – should be applied. You can limit your teen’s social events, take away cell phones, or even prioritize extra chores and homework before going out. In addition, you can even have them come home much earlier if you allow them to continue going out with their friends. Whatever the consequences, remember they need to be relevant to the teen’s bad behavior!

Editors' Recommendations

What is the average screen time for teens? You might be surprised
Know when to worry about your teen's screen time
A group of kids on their phones.

How much time kids spend in front of a screen is always a hot-button topic for parents. Constantly questioning how much is too much, how young is too young for handing over a tablet, and whether there should there be limits on devices are a few worries a parent has to think of. Although parents can monitor screen time more easily when their children are younger, by the time kids become teenagers, parents feel a lot less in control of limits, and the average screen time for teens could become a battle.

So how much is too much screen time for teens? Parents may be surprised to learn just how long the average teen is spending in front of a screen. There are ways to help manage teen screen time without making kids feel like it's a negative thing, especially if you sit them down and explain some of the effects staring at a screen has on their productivity and development. We'll break down the teen screen time battle to arm parents with the knowledge needed to set boundaries at home.

Read more
5 genius house rules for teenagers you’ll wish you’d adopted yesterday
Make life easier with these rules
Teenage girls eating pizza happily together.

Regardless of how much eye-rolling and verbal protest they will be met with, having a set of house rules for teens to abide by is important. Establishing these house rules for teenagers presents a challenge to both parents and teens, but it’s a necessary step toward teaching your kids a vital life skill — which is taking accountability for one’s actions. You’re also keeping your teen grounded in reality by establishing boundaries and communicating the message that every place and every situation has ground rules and that they are accountable for following theirs.

House rules may be a pain for your kids, but implementing them doesn't have to be. We've compiled some great ideas that’ll make the process less painful. Furthermore, if you involve your teen in setting up the rules and consequences, then most likely, you’ll get more buy-in.

Read more
6 reasons why all parents should let their kids have cellphones
Here are the pros for kids having their own phones by middle school
Group of tweens all using cellphones.

To allow your tween or teen to have a cellphone is a tough call. While the wonders of technology are enticing, kids seem to fall down a rabbit hole much like Alice did when they get a smartphone. Life quickly becomes a battle between parent and child regarding screen time. For parents deciding why kids should have cellphones, the pros need to outweigh the cons.

It doesn't take long for a cellphone to rapidly become an extension of your child's hand with online games, videos, social media, and texting. Then, of course, there is the Pandora's box a smartphone opens, like cyberbullying, sexting, inappropriate content, trolls, stalking, social media, privacy, and health concerns.

Read more