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Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

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Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby Shopgirl on Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:49 am

We're starting to get a fair amount of sttitude from our preteen (middle schooler) and I'm trying to figure out where to pick battles and what appropriate consequences would be. Just curious what others do and where they draw the line.

Thanks!
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby ttbrown80 on Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:29 am

What works effectively for us is taking away privalleges

No phone (this is a huge one )
No computer
Tv has come out of their rooms
NO tv period

Sit down and talking listening to what their issues are helps a lot to. I find I do this with them and leave my husband out of it as they feed off eachother negative attitudes LOL
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby MarionG on Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:05 am

Letting your child know that bad and sassy attitudes are simply not tolerated. Explain to them why - respect, rudeness, etc. We trained our kids early on that having a bad attitude isn't going to get them very far in this house.

perhaps its time to re-set some of the rules and set a very clear consequence...what ever you feel is appropriate. ie/ taking things away like phone (remember ipods do the same thing) or other privileges.

I prefer to talk it out before having to resort to taking away their stuff, but do it when it seems like the only option.

Good luck - parenting teens is tricky. No two are the same. Our girl was easy peasy. Next in line is a boy and at 16 he is more difficult and challenging.
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby Brenda N on Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:52 pm

For us, consequences (especially taking things away) are a last resort.
We started very early with respectful communication - and that's a two way street. We speak respectfully to each other in our house - all of use. DH and I model politeness - we always say please and thank you to each other and speak nicely - I think this is a key factor as many couples I see do not do this.
We also speak to our children the same way - and expect the same back.

There has never been a time when rudeness was acceptable - so the teen years are no different.

Much teen "attitude" is caused by frustration - we work to avoid frustration by listening to them and giving a proper explanation when we can't let them do/have what they want. If we can't give them what they want we look for solutions on how they can work towards it.

we also insist that the kids take part in making dinner, cleaning up from dinner, making their own lunches, etc. There isn't a time when they are sitting watching tv and we are working at dinner or some family project, and there isn't a time when we are sitting watching tv and they are working at dishes or something - we work together as a family, each to our own level of ability and time (if someone has a lot of homework that is what they are doing instead). By the kids participating in the running of the house/feeding of the family they get a better appreciation for what it takes, and build skills towards independence, and also simply interact with us on a more mature level. Any opportunity to offer/teach independence and maturity I think goes a long way towards better attitude.

Once all these things are in place, then we can look towards "punishments" for giving bad attitude. When this happens (rarely) - it is usually directed at a sibling and a time out for both parties to cool down is usually waht works best.

In all things, I think it is best to work from a basis of mutual respect, love and maturity. I would refuse to cook my teen's dinner before I would take away one of his possessions (then again, I don't buy things for him - I offer him opportunities to earn money to buy them himself - so I don't feel it would be right or respectful to take something he bought away from him). I would withdraw my own services, financial input, etc - but taking away a possession is treating them like a baby IMO.
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby Brenda N on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:25 am

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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby Brenda N on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:05 pm

Believe me, what I do works also. It works well enough that we have zero issues and rarely need to even discuss let alone punish.

And YES my teens get the same respect from us as dh and I give each other.
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby organic momma on Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:10 am

Brenda,
Thanks so much for your input! I'm going to print it out and reread when we need reminders
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby vixx on Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:27 pm

I believe strongly in taking away a privilege. That is why they are not a "right".

IMO there is toooo much discussing issues with children. This doesn't prepare them for the real world.

When a cop pulls you over for driving like a jacka$$ they are not going to discuss with you the reasons you are driving this way. They are going to impound your car - therefore taking away the "privilege" of driving.

I think that there have been a couple of generations now that really need a reality check as to what is a right vs privilege.

Just because you buy something with your own money doesn't make it a right.

I don't believe that i am the only person who sees that the more we "discuss" with our children and allow them to be a part of their own discipline the more issues there are with today's youth. People blame social media, access to more things etc but again right vs privilege.

And this applies not only to discipline. if my child was being cyber bullied I would cut off all access to cyber space that I could.

My job as a parent is to prepare my children for the real world. IMO this is something that is not happening. Parents are now bringing up their children to live in an unrealistic utopian society that doesn't exist.
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby vixx on Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:28 pm

sorry for the rant
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby Brenda N on Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:16 pm

vixx, I COMPLETELY understand what you are saying - and agree with most of it too. I think I'm not making myself clear at all.
To me, there's a big difference between a priviledge and a possession.

Something my child purchases with their own money (they get a very tiny allowance and barely any birthday money from relatives - max of $50 all together so they would have to save for a LONG time to buy themselves something) is a possession and by the time they are 13 I am respecting their right to purchase things and keep them (although, not necessarily to USE them - as that depends upon the item)

Something I do for my child (cooking dinner, driving them places), or provide for my child (WiFi, Cable, etc) is a priviledge. I would take away a priviledge before I would take away a possession.

HOWEVER. What I am trying to say is that by the time they are 13 if you are now and still having to resort to taking things away, probably you haven't already dealt with the situation the most effectively. I don't think kids become completely different when they hit their teens. My 15 and 13 year olds defintiely hit some horemones and became much more sensitive and more likely to be frustrated or angry - but they didn't suddenly develop completely new personalities. I really think its a much more gradual process and we need to start very early.

In our house, we are very strict with the kids from the age of about 2 or 3 on. Hitting, name calling, disrespect and unkindness are not ok. We don't tolerate this at all, not towards each other and certainly not ever towards us or other adults. Not ever. We would for sure be taking away possessions (because at that age whatever they have is really mine anyway), privledges, and freedoms at that age. By the time they are 5 in my house they KNOW what is ok and what is not. Their friends also know what is ok in our house and what is not. At 5 we punish, we take away possessions and priviledges, and we discuss afterwards and in general.

And, I think MOST importatntly, we model the behavior we expect. Dh and I are always always always polite and respectful to each other and the kids (unless we are yelling at them :-) ). I am not saying we don't get mad or have consequences, but we are never rude to the kids, or them to us.

Too often I see parents who are rude to each other and/or to their kids - what do they expect to come back to them? Too often I see parents who tolerate rude/disrespectful behavior and only crack down on it when they feel others are noticing. It has to start from the beginning - from 2 or 3 or 5 - not from 13.

So, for us, by the time they are 13 we are softening up on them. We have the same expectations, but we are more willing to discuss potential infractions and expectations and feelings. By this age we want them to have their own moral compass about what is right and wrong - and disrepecting people is just wrong. None of my children would ever be rude intentionally to us by this age - and unintentional rudeness is called out right away as well. They just know that is not ok. They are afraid of the consequences even though nothing specific has ever been threatened - they just know it would be so NOT ok. I asked them what they thought would happen if they rolled their eyes at me and surprisingly they had a list of possible consequences including confiscating possessions.

Not to say they are perfect and we don't ever get mad. And not to say that their good behavior is the result of superior parenting skills - we have definitely been lucky in so many ways. We do our share of flying off the handle when chores are not done or fights happen between them - and the kids have their share of frustrations and angry outbursts - but its all super short lived and recognized for the frustration it is and not lightly repeated.

I am not preparing my children for a utopian world - I am teaching them to make their own choices and not just behave because otherwise I will take something away. And I'm trying to teach them that they deserve the same respect they should give to others. To me a lot of people lack emotional maturity and understanding your own self worth is a big part of developing emotional maturity.

I guess my points are:
-we need to start with consequences very very early.
-The lines of communication and respect need to go both ways and be clearly laid out.
-Respect has to be modelled, and given.
-by the time they are 13 we need to have the groundwork laid and just be reinforcing
-all discipline should be respectful and not spiteful. Consequences should relate to the infraction.
-its important to decide whether you just want to make your children speak nicely to you - or whether you want them to internalize the morals and benefits behind respectful communication.

I have three children: 10, 13, and 15. They are all polite, respectful, emotionally mature kids - to us, to everyone. I know lots of other parents with similarly polite, respectful kids who are older and they have all told me the same thing - by the time they are 13 most of this battle is already won or lost. I have always been on the lookout for "good kids" in families with older childrne and have always asked for advice - and this is always the answer I get - be strong and more disciplineed when they are young - right from the beginning....and treat them the way you want them to treat others.....with respect, compassion and understanding.
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby Brenda N on Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:22 pm

Incidentally, with reference to "the real world" - this is another "discussion" we have in our house all the time with my kids. There are some things I am ok with, that aren't ok at their schools (uniform infractions, etc) and they know that they are bound by those real world rules and will face those real world consequences (detention, whatever) if they break the rules - even if I don't care one way or another about that rule. And they know that neither of their parents will come to their rescue. I won't ask for an exception because my daughter prefers a different style of shirt or hair elastic - if she is going to break that rule I will let her - and absolutely support whatever consequences the school offers. This is a tiny thing - but in the bigger scheme they know that if they break real laws, they will face the consequences. The very FIRST thing we say when they are in trouble is "What could you have done differently, what should you know better for next time?"

We are not the parents to rush forward and believe our poor little baby has been unjustly accused or treated. Nothing frustrates me more than parents who are unwilling to see the roll their child plays in their own "misfortune" or misadventure. Again, its about respect and responsibility. Sometimes my kids have been "guilty by association" and I expect them to accept those consequences and learn from them. That is real life and real consequences.
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby vixx on Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:27 pm

Brenda N - not to commandeer this post but

isn't saying I won't take away the phone but I will take away all of the services available to it basically the same?
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby Brenda N on Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:45 pm

Somewhat, sure. As I've said, by this age my preference is not to take away anything - but if that becomes necessary I take away privildges rather than posessions. I don't disagree with cutting off WiFi priviledges, etc - but would need some real provocation to want to do that. And, Frankly, we are talking about real life consequences. In real life, I can buy a cell phone or a tv but I cannot force the service providers to provide me with service unless I pay my bill and follow their rules. And if I break their rules and don't pay my bills, they can withdraw service, but they cannot take away my phone. I would have a legal case against them if they tried to take away my possession - this is real life.

DS has purchased his own Ipod touch, X Box, and Television in his own room. However, it doesn't mean he's allowed to use them whenever. If those things were getting in the way of homework and he was refusing to use good judgement and comply with house rules, I'd for sure disconnect the cable to his television and take away the Wifi. The difference to me is proving a point. You are welcome to purchase things with your own money - but in our house we have a code of conduct that may not allow you to use/wear what you have purchased.

In our house, a cell phone is actually a priviledge and a responsibility - I have purchased the phones so that they can be in contact with me - they are responsible to be in contact with me. The priviledge is that they get unlimited texting to their friends at the same time. Personally, I'd be loath to take that away except under extreme circumstances. My goal is not to just get a reaction - but to get some thought and change of attitude based on a desire to do what's right - not based on a desire to keep something. I absolutely will not pay for a dime more than the basic small number of minutes, free connection to my phone and home phone - and that comes with unlimited texting. If they want more, or data or something they are going to have to pay for that themselves.
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Re: Approproiate consequences for (pre)teen attitude?

Postby TazDevil on Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:15 pm

I agree with pretty much all of what Brenda has said.

For me I would want to know why the attitude is happening and what she is lacking in (attention, love, listening, understanding, etc) to cause her to feel irritable and upset enough to talk/act like that?

If my goal is to eliminate the attitude then I want to get to the ROOT cause of the behaviour and deal with that cause rather than worrying about the symptoms.

I know by analysing myself that if I get annoyed with DH or my kids there is always an underlying cause. Maybe I am tired or hormonal or not getting enough attention from DH etc.

My kids are the same. Usually if DD gets obnoxious she really just needs some hugs and some positive attention so I completely IGNORE the bad behaviour (I will say once "Sorry I don't respond to that tone") (don't feed it with attention) and then at the first opportunity when she is acting normal again I take the time to sit and hug and just chat or we go out for the day.

Kids misbehave to get attention or because they are crying out for help/love/support. If you feed it with negative attention (punishment) you just reinforce the misbehavior really.

I also believe heavily in respect. I would never do to my children what I would hate to have done to me, now as an adult by DH or as a child by my parents.
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