A few things I’ve learned about teens, conflict, and discipline

I like teenagers. Good thing, too, as we currently have five teenaged kids living in our house (as well as two kids who have graduated to full-blown adulthood). They’re so much nicer to be around than when I was that age. They’re fun to talk to (well, sometimes); they’re funny (well, sometimes); they’re creative and interesting and helpful (well, sometimes). I like teenagers.

Well, sometimes. A lot of the time.

But still, there is conflict.  A teenager’s body grows in fits and starts, and not always in graceful proportions; and their psyches are doing the same thing. Even when they’re not suffering from hormonal tumult, they’re trying to make what is truly an excruciating transition from childhood to adulthood. It can get ugly. And no, I’m not always patient and understanding. But I’m also not always the raging volcano of injustice and retribution I was afraid I would be.

Conflict, and the need to impose discipline, are pretty much inevitable when you’re raising a teenager; but unless there are serious mental health problems and/or your teen is doing something massively dangerous or destructive like using hard drugs or running away from home, it should be possible to have a relationship that includes things besides conflict and discipline.

Here are a general principles I’ve learned…

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly.

Image: by daveynin via Flickr –  Creative Commons

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One thought on “A few things I’ve learned about teens, conflict, and discipline”

  1. Three teens and a twenty something at our house…one of our biggest struggles is around Mass attendance. The transition to making their relationship with God their own vs. Mass attendance is mandatory, because Mom and Dad day so (and those pesky 10 Commandments) is the hard one in our house. I’d love to hear your thoughts on supporting teens/young adults in this transitional stage. I feel like I’m failing miserably in this department. And the thing is, it’s like a domino effect. If the oldest exerts her gift of Free Will and chooses to skip, EVERYONE else thinks they should be able to do so. I’m open to suggestions from families who’ve navigated this issue. Thanks!

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