I have a question for all parents of teenagers!

Jamilah - posted on 01/22/2009 ( 37 moms have responded )

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What do you do when you teen acts up in school? By act up I mean, mouthing off at teachers, not doing classwork, goofing off with friends.



Do you punish them? Or are they at the age where punishment doesn't really work? Do you try to reason with them and help them to see the implications of their behavior? Or some combination of both?



Please respond! All responses appreciated

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Ginny - posted on 01/24/2009

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Natural consequences are best, and logical consequences are the next best. Let me explain...



Natural consequences are those that just happen without you having to do anything, like "I really don't think you should go to school without a coat because it's only gonna be 30 degrees today." He ignores you, gets cold. The experience of being cold is the consequence. No lecture needed.



Logical consequences are harder and require you to be creative. You have to come up with a consequence that matches the offense. Home 1 hour after curfew, then next time out, home 1 hour earlier than curfew. Caught with your cell phone at school, cell phone stays with me during the school day for the next 3 days.



So, your example is a tough one to find a creative logical consequence, but I'll take a stab at it. Your child is not showing respect or doing classwork and choosing to goof off with friends. Pick the one that you most want to confront and use one of the following to address that specific behavior. For goofing off..... A logical consequence could be to call the teacher and recommend moving your child's seating assignment away from his/her friends. For not turning in classwork..... Call the teacher and ask to be informed if classwork is not turned in. If so, classwork has to be completed as homework, even if it means having to miss out on fun things. For mouthing off to the teacher..... turn the tables. Remind him/her that one of the hardest things adults have to do when kids are being negative is to find positive things to focus on. After all, that's what s/he wants from the teacher. So, have him/her take time to identify 10 things s/he likes and respects about that teacher, write them down and take it to the teacher. Require confirmation of receipt from the teacher. This will be logical for the offense of being disrespectful AND give him/her reasons to respect the teacher in the future.



Hope these ideas help, and no, it's not too late to use consequences and the more logical or natural they are, the more effective they are. Good luck!



 

Maria - posted on 01/22/2009

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Hi Jamilah,



I find that taking away what is "important" to them seems to work. Although I have not had the mouthing off issues, I have had the goofing off, and not turning in work issues.

I take away TV, internet, Ipods, P2P..all things electronic until some "stable' imporvement has been made.



Hope this helps!

Jeanette - posted on 04/25/2013

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tell him if he doesnt shape up u will go in school dressed as a clown and site next to him he should shape up

Dana - posted on 01/28/2009

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Jamilah,



There is a lot of good advise on here.  I am the type of mother who goes to the teachers and principal at the school and discuss what is going on with my child if I see that she is slipping in some way.  I include my daughter in most of the meetings that I have with anyone at the school so that she can hear what they say to me because we all know there are two sides to everything said and somewhere in between is the truth.  Making a child give up what they like the most usually works for that period of time but sometimes as soon as they get their thing(s) back it is back to the same behavior.  Try talking to your teen to see if they will give you more insight as to why they are behaving the way they are.



Hope you are able to make a decision as to how to handle what is going on!

[deleted account]

Been there through three of them now and my three brothers too as teens and mouthy. It is at this age they are expanding their area of responsibility. They are changing into men that will go out into the world and they need real challenge Unfortunately our culture denies them this right. Find a friend that can give him a job part time, get him involved in volunteer work with people in need, give him a direction!

The rules cannot change though when it comes to respect for authority.

Let him grow up and be a man. Expect him to act like a man not a child in a man's body. You will see a real young man come out. The teen idea is truly foolish in my estimation. These are physically young men and women trying to grow into their bodies mentally and we hold them back babying them and telling them they are still kids.

They are still under our authority, but they are no longer children. Give them responsibility and if they do not live up to it let them fall on their faces while you are there to help pick them up and get them moving again!

A good kid still needs the encouragement and direction to take those final steps into adulthood.

My 16 yr old son and 14 yr old daughter got into a fight last night...(argument-not physical) ....she has an adapter to our wireless internet and he has lost his. He wanted to use hers and she said no. He got hurt and angry and responded in anger hurting her feelings and strengthening her resolve to not loan her adapter to him.

When she left he turned to me and asked why she was being so mean to him ,,,with real tears. He really thought she had been unfair and mean. He has borrowed her adapter before and not returned it until I had to get involved, and been very rough with her emotionally. I looked at his sad face and knew he really did not understand so we took an hour to discuss how women think and why she was hurt with him and how he had created this response in her with his dismissive way of treating her at times and a disregard for her feelings which are so differently wired than his are. He understood why she had responded as she did and went and apologized to her for not being sensitive.

She immediately said 'You are still not getting the adapter!'. My son said that was not what he wanted, that he just wanted to apologize for being unkind to her over the use of her adapter and that he understood her feelings.

He was allowed by his younger brothers to listen to the story in their room last night instead, and he has been gentler with his sister today.

Train them teach them and most of all understand the root of their actions.

As mother's we know how best to get to their hearts and reach them.

I did not get involved in the fight and I was sitting between them. I let it play out and when it was over told my son that he could listen to a cd on his computer instead of the online story he wanted. I was willing to step back and listen then available to help him understand.

Disrespect to authority leaves a young man vulnerable. Lack of something to conquer leaves a young man vulnerable.

Restrictions are good, but he needs an outlet that draws him out of himself and into another because men are all narcissists...that means lovers of self first and foremost. If we teach them to stretch they will.


He is now a man and trying to become a man mentally and emotionally too. Guide him and direct him. That includes following the law!

37 Comments

View replies by

Sue - posted on 05/03/2013

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Hello. I have a 16 year old son in 10th grade that will not take school seriously either. He is behind credits from the previous year as well. I have treatened to take his cell phone away and disconnect his cable box as well. He seems to be doing a little better, but far from where he needs to be. My son is just not doing his work in class, he either says its to hard or it's boring. I tried both approaches I have talked to him several times about his grades and explained that high school grades count and will show up on his transcript for college and with bad grades he will not be able to get a scholarship to college and that I can not afford to pay for it either. I didn't give him an option as far as college is concerned. I told him that he didn't want to have to take out loans because he will be paying them for the rest of his life. BUT hit him where it hurts, take away his phone, video games, tv, computer ect. If your teen is allowed to go out with friends take those privileges away first. I hope this helps.

Tiffany - posted on 05/03/2013

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Does your child go to a state or private school? My daughter goes to a bording school and teachers are very good at dealing with problem making teenagers! You should say to him/her that if they don't shape up to your standards you will send them to a military school! That should scare them enough to make them learn their lesson!

Jeanette - posted on 04/25/2013

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my sister is 18 months younger then my and my dad stoped us killing each other now i hate her now as an 44 more then i can say best to let them get on with it they will thank you in the long run. buy them boxing gloves it will better for them

Jamilah - posted on 01/28/2009

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Quoting Lynda:

I read in either an article or book on parenting that when it comes to punishment you should give a boy extra chores to do and you should take away a privilege from a girl. I think the logic is that boys (whatever the age) will find something else to occupy their time if you take away the cell phone or TV for example. Making a boy do chores above & beyond their normal is "cruel & unusual" according to my boys. However, a girl will do anything to keep her privileges, but extra dishes or laundry won't hit them where it hurts.



That is a very interesting point! It is so true that my son will stare at the ceiling and not really care about not having whatever it is I took away.  He would however try to call child services if I made him clean the bathroom...thanks! Great advice!!!

Marla - posted on 01/27/2009

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I have never had to do any of these things with my son. He just does what he is supposed to do because that is what we expect of him. I have only told him that he doesn't want to know what will happen...must have scared him!!! :)
I have a 10 year old girl who is the mouthy one....I'm sure my time is coming!!

Marcia - posted on 01/27/2009

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I have to agree with what the other moms are saying. When you start taking away their lifeline(cell phone, computer, etc.) to their friends that will make them start to think about their actions. I also don't put up with the mouthing off to teachers. I will call the teacher with my child present so they hear the conversation that I am having and that seems to help stop that behavior.

Julie - posted on 01/27/2009

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hi, we have the same problem with our 14 yr old son. My husband grounds him for 1 or 2 weeks and wont let him on the computer or his xbox. I think thats too harsh and we end up arguing over it! What is the best punishment? Is it just their hormones going wild? I feel sorry for him and he knows it

[deleted account]

I think you need to find out whether this is an issue with not being able to do school work or is he just being a brat. Some kids act up if they are having problems with the school work. If he is just being a brat there has to be consequences for him from the school and at home. And stick to it.

Kim - posted on 01/26/2009

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Hi Jamilah, I also take away all things important to her. Cell phone, Ipod, laptop, etc. Grounding comes last because that usually effects the whole family and does not usually work. I stop driving her places, I stop doing things for her, etc. It's pretty effective. Although I do not have the mouthing off problems, just the school work problems! My daughter is VERY social, so if you hit her where it hurts, she tends to take notice!

Erica - posted on 01/26/2009

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My child (13) doesn't act out so I am not speaking from experience. I can tell you if she did I wouldn't hesitate to pull a Dr. Phil on her. Door off the hinges and everything but the mattress gone. Of course, depending on the severity of the offense. She would have to earn each and every item back! To each his own, though. What works for one may not work for another.

Lynda - posted on 01/26/2009

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I read in either an article or book on parenting that when it comes to punishment you should give a boy extra chores to do and you should take away a privilege from a girl. I think the logic is that boys (whatever the age) will find something else to occupy their time if you take away the cell phone or TV for example. Making a boy do chores above & beyond their normal is "cruel & unusual" according to my boys. However, a girl will do anything to keep her privileges, but extra dishes or laundry won't hit them where it hurts.

Jamilah - posted on 01/24/2009

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I have to say that I agree with Lori that punishment creates resentment. My son is a good kid overall and my concern is that instead of him "falling into to line" he might decide to REALLY act out. I cannot take away his cell phone because we live in NYC and the cell phone is so I can stay in touch with him.



I also agree with Ginny that for my kid he does not draw a connection between no tv and doing better in school. I just think somethings you cannot force, you have to let them learn on their own. For example he has a problem being late to school. I tried taking away TV...so he would just lay awake in bed and still be late. The natural consequences is that if he fails the class (and the regents) he will have to take it over. One of the discussions he and I have often is his perception that I want him to be perfect and any deviation from that brings on disappointment or punishment. I do want my son to think that you have to be perfect in order to be happy or successful. I believe that we learn from whatever we do...good or bad. I want my son to do his best but to also that life is not about having to get it right everytime. Can anyone relate to that?

[deleted account]

Hi<



I have to say that I agree with KVR, a day or two going from class to class changes things. Also meeting with the teachers with your child let everyone kspeak their part. Most of all make sure that your child is not using this as a cover up for something. A learning disability that they might not even know that they is hard if no one ever noticed it before.



Best Wishes,

Kris

User - posted on 01/24/2009

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Take away electronics for a week like their xbox or any system they have. 



Taking away their fone is a killer



 

[deleted account]

Hi Jamilah,



My husband and I punish and reason.  The first time my daughter got in trouble at school was her last time, because we took away all of her privileges at once.  It was a little extreme because the thing she did wasn't that bad, but we told her we wanted her to think before she ever did anything like that again.  Each week, if she had a good attitude, she got one of her privileges back.  This was over about a month and a half.  This happened a year ago and she has been fine ever since.



Hope this helps!

Pati - posted on 01/24/2009

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Hi



First off, Yes punishment works on teens. In addition to some more space and bigger cloths and less hugs in public, They need discipline and rules and consequences.  I would be looking at what is changing or going on in their life. How old he is and what grade he’s in could have a lot to do with it as well. Is he trying to show off with or to his friends? Trying to fit in? Struggling with the work and maybe getting behind? Check in to tutoring at the school, he can meet at lunch or nutrition or after school for extra help if he needs that. Talk to him and see if he can express why he feels the need to act up.  Make sure that it is clear what you expect from him and what the consequences are if he strays from that. And then enforce it!



 When My daughter started slacking off in school (and I ruled out drugs or other issues) then I had to enforce the rules. she lost "her" things like tv and computer and cell phone time. I also had her cheer coach who would get on her case in a way I could not. I have always compared school to a job with her, that is her job and she has to do her best. I have a rather bright kid and so I do expect her to bring in good grades. I do not think a C is acceptable and she gets nothing for them (I pay her for her grades like a job) and anything lower than a C she is grounded until the next progress report which is every 5 weeks. She has been pretty good the last year and a half, but up through 10th grade was tough. If she acted out in school, I would have been going to class with her, and she knew that. . Once she got in big trouble at home, I grounded her for 6 months and took everything away and I walked her to the office and picked her up there for a few days. Embarrassing for her no doubt, this was in high school.  Bottom line I need her to take life seriously and get an education. I have been consistently strict when it comes to school She has become pretty excited this year being a senior she is on top of her homework and really doing well.

Cindy - posted on 01/24/2009

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My child attends a school that does not tolerate that kind of behavior.  The school is a small (780 K-12) college prep charter school.  They have the students read and sign a contract at the beginning of each school year.  The consequences include suspension for certain offense and they lose the priveledge of attending for others.  There is a wait list every year for spaces that become available.



Last semester I had my child in an after school program to help get the grades up.  This caused the oposite to occur.  This semester A's and B's so far three weeks into it.  College readiness is finally kicking in.  Good luck!

Lori - posted on 01/24/2009

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My girls have never acted out in school so I am NOT speaking from personal experience, and am only offering my very NON-PROFESSIONAL opinion........



Have seen alot of teens come and go in my house, though, and have seen a pattern of universal truth - they will behave according to how they are ALLOWED to behave.



If the problem is at school, that's where the solution needs to lie. Contact the teachers and administrators, and let them know that you are not condoning this behavior, and that you are authorizing 'tough love' on their part to manage your child's behavior. And if THEIR 'consequence of actions' does not begin to get a handle on the behavior, implement the same things at home. 'Punishment' breeds resentment, in my opinion - emotional teens don't see the connection between loss of XBox privileges and a smart mouth four hours earlier. But for every smart comment, if said teen is required to perform a service directly in benefit to the person whose time has been wasted dealing with him/her, it becomes a consequence of action and turns into a life lesson: 'If this, then that.' Implementing these consequences IMMEDIATELY upon misbehavior, and in front of peers, might be just enough deterent to make said teen realize how foolish he/she looks - and it might pass quickly. Can't tell you how many times my girls have come to me with stories of kids using disruptive behhavior, and how it disgusts them, that THEIR time is being wasted, and that the 'class clowns' are 'idiots, and don't even realize how stupid they look'.



You cannot reason with the unreasonable - regardless of age. Have you ever watched the movie 'The Ultimate Gift'? Lots of good life lessons there too! Good luck - it's just another 'phase', hope it passes quickly!!!

Janice - posted on 01/24/2009

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Hi Jamilah: I have tried everything with my youngest. I think it depends on the child. I grounded him, I tried helping him with his homework, I tried ignoring him, I tried talking to him. Then I was so mad I decided to meet with all of his teachers, had him present, it worked for about 2 weeks. I've even called some of his friends parents. Sometimes kids are just defiant and it doesn't matter what you say. I find that other young adults that they respect and look up to usually knock more sense into them than their parents.

Tammy - posted on 01/23/2009

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try talking to them but u need to let them know their are consequences, try taking away some privledges like ipod,cell phone,play station3 or what ever and of course the computer - you need to be firm - i know when i do this they will try and bother me all night cuz they are bored so they think if they bugged and agravate me long enough i will give in and give their things back - no dice sostay strong, i know it's not easy. you are not alone:)

[deleted account]

Do they live in your house?

Do they pay the bills or buy the food?

Until they do they are under your rules even when away from home. If they can't live with that them help them pack the essentials and tell them you will let them move on.

They are your business until they move out or pay their own way in life.

You are in charge and they do not even have to have a bed!

Amy - posted on 01/23/2009

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HI,



I agree with some of the other posts here. You have to find what is meaningful to your child and take it away, only to be earned back by doing the appropriate things. Good Luck!

Hillary - posted on 01/23/2009

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Yes, united front is the absolute way to go.  Have the teachers and counselors at school become involved with you and all bring together the many different solutions they ave to offer. 

Jamilah - posted on 01/23/2009

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Thanks for all the responses. I guess I struggle with the idea that at 15 the only reason you are making good choices is because I will punish you if you don't. My son will graduate at 17 and wants to go to college far away from home. What will the incentive be for making the hard but best decisions when I am not standing over him with threats?

[deleted account]

I absolutely do not stand for the mouthing off or goofing off from my kids so what i would do is taking away things that they find important to them...internet, tv, ipod, cellphone (hurts the most) and possible a weekend. My respond to them is all ACTIONS have Consequences.



Hope this helps

Shelly - posted on 01/23/2009

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depending on your child.  Our 15 yro has been pulling the tipical teenage garbage and we tried everything then we found hiis akeelys heel we took everything out of his room except his bed and dresser.  No tv, No game boy, No cd player, etc....and he had to earn everything back and if he messed up as he's trying to earn them back we would take it away again...If he wanted to watch TV he had to watch it with us ans watch what we wanted to watch.  It's amazing how wellit worked OHHH and he had to earn back time with his friends to he could not watch TV in his brothers room either only in the family room. 

Iyanna - posted on 01/23/2009

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sit with him just before he goes to sleep....let him know that you love him first off all. If you did not what he did at school would not matter to you but it does...you do not want his to be troubled with a negative life and this will be his future if he does not make the effort for himself, not mom or dad or friends. i agree with the other replies, taking away things he wants helps but it should be done systematically. After this chat you have a week to improve..if reports are still not being handed in and if disrespectful chat continues you'll loose your first item during that week if you improve you can have it back, if not you loose another item and so on...try it it works with me and my 14 yr old...remember to always beging and end your conversations with I love you

Holly - posted on 01/23/2009

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I would agree with those who say to take something important away from them, but I would also tend to ask myself if there may be something else going on.  Is there anything going on at home that they may be acting out against, is there something going on with friends or do they have new friends that may be encouraging this as well (either directly or indirectly).  Is there something that's bugging them that maybe they  just doesn't find school important to them anymore or maybe there's something going on with one of their friends that they just aren't sure how to handle or they're relating it to themselves somehow? 



I know they're at that age where they don't like to talk, but I've found there are certain places my kids tend to talk alot more than normal --driving in the car, at night when we say goodnight and the lights are off, watching TV - it seems anywhere they don't have to look directly at you might be a good time for casual questions to try and find out what may be going on.  Try asking questions where the answers won't be just "yes/no".  Just be prepared to hear anything and tell yourself NOT over-react to whatever may come out or they'll clam up and you'll have to start from scratch.  Get what you can out there and figure out where to go from there.  Maybe there's more to it than goofing off? - Just a thought.

Jayne - posted on 01/23/2009

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I find with my 13 year old whom can be quite mouthy i make the rules and keep to them. I tell him that for every phone call i get from the school he is grounded with no money or friends in. He hates that and it do work. Our rule is also no school no out and that works also. It is hard and often feel like your grounded youself but if it works. I also have a jar and for every day hes good a pound a day goes inti it but6 when hes out of order or i get a call from school then a pound comes out along with the grounding. Hes not allowed to just have the money though its to be saved for when he wants an xbox game or for cloths, not to just have cause then they would think its xmas and spend it on fags ect. I hope this gives you some ideas cause it works for me.



                                          jayne

Adrienne - posted on 01/23/2009

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I agree with everyone on this. My daughter is slipping in her grades and I know high school can be tough....But I took her T.V., PS2 and ipod away until I see her progress. The next step is to sit with her. My brother happens to be a teacher at her school so thats helps..LOL

Kathie - posted on 01/22/2009

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HI Jamilah,



While reading the other responses, it made me think of the movie, "Road to Glory".  You should see it!  Besides being funny, it made me think of what the lady did to her son.  When he didnt do what he was suppose to, "momma came to school."  Sat with him and let him "know" that she would be there until he got it right.  It's a crazy idea, but maybe it may work.  I dont know what the teachers would say, but if they go along, it is worth the shot.  He will get the "picture" really quick if momma is going to go to school.  :)   A little embarrassment may get him to "rethink" his plan of action...  Just a thought......  (Watch the movie.  It is really cute!)



I have also taken away what is "important" (videos, DS, X-Box) if they have not preformed in school.  Maybe it is Facebook or hanging with his friends or taking the phone away. 



Best of luck!  KVR

Inga - posted on 01/22/2009

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I have experience with missing homework issues. My son is a JR in HS & he is thinking "scholarships". I casually mention this otherwise he gets defiant. When parent/teacher conferences arrive, I have him attend. He needs to know we are a united front.



 



As for your other issues, is there a consequence at school for the mouthiness? Losing face in front of their peer group can be punishment enough.Keep in contact with teachers & school counselors. As much as the kids writhe in your presence in their life now, later thaey will be thankful.



 



Good luck! You aren't alone in this! :)



 



 

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