When Your Teenager Doesn’t Care About Consequences, Try These Discipline Strategies
Teaching the importance of consequences to teenagers is important as it is how teenagers learn to become responsible and mentally healthy adults.
As parents, you may often feel overwhelmed when your teenager doesn’t listen to you or doesn’t care about the consequences of their actions. You might even feel frustrated when your teenager pushes back on the boundaries.
Conflicts and disagreements can be bad for an individual’s mental health, and they can even be more harmful to teenagers as their brains are more vulnerable during their adolescence. Sometimes, the conflicts between a teenager and their parents can be because of teenage aggression, anger issues, or depression.
Teenagers who often disrespect authority or go against their values are more prone to emotional and behavioral issues. And in some cases, a misbehaving teenager can be struggling with disorders such as conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder.
Does Your Teen Really Don’t Care?
No one says, “I don’t care” more than teenagers, in my opinion. To parents, their teen saying they don’t care can look like indifference but a teenager’s so-called “indifference” can be a mask to hide their feelings.
You can try to understand your teen’s behavior by paying attention to their little actions and comments when you talk to them about discipline.
If their behavior changes after following a consequence, then it can be a sign that your discipline strategies are working, however, if their behavior doesn’t change or changes for the worse, then maybe the consequences you’re using are not the right ones.
What’s The Right Consequence?
If you notice that your teenager’s misbehavior isn’t changing and if they keep breaking the same rules, then maybe you’re not using the right consequences. When it comes to discipline, using the right strategies can help your teenager make better choices as adults.
For example, taking away cell phone or internet privileges may work well when social media is involved but the same consequence will fail to work for a small argument with a parent or sibling rivalry.
The consequences you choose to discipline your misbehaving teenager must directly be related to the misbehavior. Of course, the type of consequence your teenager responds to also matters. For example, a teen may respond well to positive reinforcement while another may respond well to a different one.
How to Discipline a Teenager Who Doesn’t Care About Consequences?
Before we take a look at the consequences, let’s take a moment to understand some ground rules when it comes to teenager discipline:
A. You can’t model your teen as you want. Instead of throwing in the towel if your teen doesn’t change their behavior after following the consequence, think long-term. Sometimes, disciplining a teen can take months. So be patient.
B. Consistency is your friend. You got to mean what you say. Your teen may beg and would even follow your rules to lower the consequence, don’t do it. Stick with what you set. If you keep going back on your discipline, your teen may not change their behavior at all.
C. Understand your teen first. One of the important aspects when it comes to setting effective consequences is understanding your teen. What is making them act disrespectful? Are their emotional needs met? Or do they need your attention?
D. Let your teen express their emotions. You need to understand that your child is growing up and needs independence. If your child talks back, you need to stay calm as it can be their way of taking control or expressing their repressed feelings. However, any kind of disrespect will not be tolerated.
E. Boundaries are to be respected, without fail. Ignoring boundaries is one of the most common types of disrespect a teenager often does. You need to set clear and consistent boundaries to model respect for boundaries to your teen.
F. Don’t make the consequences personal. Setting consequences for your teenager is not about your emotions. Instead of focusing on your teen or your emotions, focus on the behavior. Consequences are about behaviorism, they’re not about personal issues.
These are some of the teenage discipline strategies that you can try when your teenager doesn’t care about consequences.
Discipline Strategies For Teenagers
1. Use Natural Consequences
Natural consequences are those that result from a teen’s actions themselves. For example, if your teen forgot their homework (for the fifth time this week) then instead of rushing over to help them, just stop. Let the situation play it out on its own. Let them face the consequences of their forgetful nature.
2. Walk Away When Necessary
Some teenagers just like to argue and they find ways where they can be verbally active. Teens love to argue even when there is nothing to argue about. If your teen loves to argue, then you can just walk away. Arguing together is not much of a discipline strategy when the teen likes to argue.
3. Don’t Focus On Punishing
Teenagers have a lot of energy and are more likely to do something if they find it interesting or opportunistic. Instead of focusing on punishing your teenager, find ways where they can learn something for their future or enhance their skills. Focus on opportunities rather than punishments.
4. Focus On Intrinsic Motivation
If the discipline strategy or the consequence you’re using lacks motivation, how will your teen respond well to them? Make sure the consequence you use motivates them intrinsically. Intrinsic motivation means that your teen will be more likely to change their behavior if they are allowed to do something because they enjoy the activity, not because they will be rewarded.
It’s always a good idea to have creative consequences in mind when you’re disciplining a teenager. If your teen doesn’t respond to a consequence, experiment with others until you find the right consequences to teach your teenager discipline.
No matter what consequence you choose, remember that it will impact your teen. Remember, that before things get better, they get worse, so don’t lose hope, be patient, and keep working on helping your teen improve their behavior.
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