1. Read literature and attend parent education classes to acquire strategies for effective parenting of teenagers. (1, 2)
2. Initiate strategies that help the teenager develop
1. Assign the parents to read about strategies of positive discipline (e.g., Between Parent and Teenager by Ginott, Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay, or Children: The Challenge by Dreikurs and Stoltz).
2. Refer the parents to a positive parenting class (e.g., Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of Teens by Dinkmeyer, McKay, McKay, and Dinkmeyer, Discipline with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay, or The Parent Talk System by Moorman and Knapp).
3. Teach the parents to use four steps to teach the teenager a responsible behavior. (3, 4, 5)
3. Verbalize the awareness that all teenage behaviors have a social purpose and all misbehavior is goal oriented. (6, 7)
responsibility (e.g., return car on time), use a mistake to create a learning opportunity (e.g., teenager fails to act responsibly), combine consequences and empathy to teach responsible decision making (e.g., "Sorry, but the car will be off limits for three days"), and give the same task again (e.g., teenager allowed to use car again after three days) (see Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Cline and
4. Instruct the parents to use the phrase "Please make a different choice" when the teenager engages in an inappropriate behavior (e.g., using inappropriate language) to require that the teenager make a more appropriate choice. (See Parent Talk by Moorman.)
5. Assign the parents to teach the teenager skills important for future independence (e.g., washing clothes, performing car maintenance, doing yard care).
6. Teach the parents the four goals of misbehavior (e.g., attention, power, revenge, and overcoming feelings of inadequacy); ask the parents to reflect upon how they are reinforcing this misbehavior by their reactions (see Children: The Challenge by Dreikurs and Stoltz).
7. Teach the parents to eliminate reinforcement of negative actions and to encourage appropriate behavior (e.g., ignore attention-seeking behavior and give attention for positive
4. Utilize natural, logical, and delayed consequences to redirect inappropriate teenager behavior. (8, 9, 10)
5. Allow the teenager to learn from the results of mistakes. (11, 12)
behavior; refuse to engage in power struggles and use problem solving; resist being hurt by revengeful behavior and treat the teenager with fairness and respect; don't criticize in areas of low self-esteem and use encouragement).
8. Define natural (e.g., naturally occurring in the environment) and logical (e.g., created by the parents) consequences and outline their effectiveness as part of a positive discipline strategy.
9. Help the parents design several logical consequences to deal with chronic inappropriate behavior (e.g., teenager breaks weekend curfew, curfew reduced by one hour the following weekend).
10. Teach the parents to use a "delayed consequence" to address inappropriate teenage behavior when no consequence is immediately obvious or the misbehavior is extremely upsetting and creates anger (see Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Cline and
11. Assign the parents to allow the teenager to cancel out an impulsive action by reformatting it into a more acceptable action (e.g., teenager yells "You never help me with anything, I hate you!" then after some reflection reformats the statement as "I really need your help, when will you be available?") (or assign the "Rewind Game" activity from the Parenting
Implement effective communication strategies with the teenager. (13, 14, 15)
Set behavioral limits using choices, and enforceable parameters. (16, 17)
Skills Homework Planner by Knapp).
12. Assign the parents to allow the teenager to learn the principle of cause and effect through experiencing the consequences of personal choices and to respond with the encouraging statement: "Don't worry, next time you'll have a chance to make a different choice."
13. Instruct the parents to focus on the inappropriate action rather than attacking the teenager's self-esteem when dealing with discipline issues (e.g., "Underage drinking is illegal and against the family rules" versus "When you drink you're a juvenile delinquent and an embarrassment to this family.").
14. Role play with the parents the use of "I" statements (e.g., "I feel . . . , when . . . , because . . .") as a first step in addressing teenager behavior which disturbs the parent (see Parent Effectiveness Training by Gordon).
15. Assign the parents to listen for and reflect feelings to communicate respect and concern, and to strengthen the relationship through compassion and empathy (or assign the "Listening with Empathy " activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner by Knapp).
16. Instruct the parents to define the limited options for the teenager and to encourage responsible decision-making (e.g., "Would
Grant specific freedoms consistent with the teenager's demonstrated level of maturity and responsible behavior. (18, 19)
9. Teach appropriate behavior through modeling and defining what is expected. (20, 21, 22)
you rather do the dishes or drive your brother to soccer?" versus "Do you want to help me or not?").
17. Teach the parents to use enforceable statements (see Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay) to direct behavior in a positive manner (e.g., "Feel free to go to the party as long as Justin's father assures me that he will be there to chaperone" versus "You're not going to that party until I know it will be chaperoned").
18. Emphasize to the parents to extend freedoms only after responsibility has been demonstrated by the teenager and brainstorm a list of acceptable and unacceptable privileges (or assign the "Earning Privileges and Freedoms" activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner by Knapp).
19. Teach the parents to use the phrase "Soon you'll be on your own" to encourage the teenager to earn freedom from parental monitoring by demonstrating the ability to complete a task independently and to respond with "When you show me you can handle it, you'll be on your own" when the teenager complains about too much supervision (see Parent Talk by Moorman).
20. Assign the parents to practice remaining firm yet kind when disciplining the teenager and to withdraw from the conflict by taking a short timeout when
Convene weekly family meetings to discuss family issues, make family plans and create a feeling of connectedness. (23, 24)
Differentiate between parent problems and those that belong to the teenager. (25, 26)
they feel themselves becoming angry.
21. Teach the parents to use the "Describe, Describe, Describe" technique to help the teenager replace negative behaviors with positive actions: (1) Describe the situation to the teenager, ("The gas tank is on empty"); (2) describe the parent's feeling ("I feel annoyed"); (3) describe what needs to be done ("Gas needs to be added when the tank reads below one quarter full") (see Parent Talk by Moorman).
22. Identify for the parents the power of using referential speaking (explaining while doing) while completing tasks to model and define for the teenager the importance of completing the tasks.
23. Assign the parents to read about "The Family Council" (see Children: The Challenge by Dreikurs and Stoltz) or The " Family Meeting" (see Parenting Teenagers by Dinkmeyer, McKay, McKay, and Dinkmeyer) to understand the process of meeting to discuss family issues.
24. Encourage the parents to initiate weekly family meetings to discuss concerns, reflect on and plan positive events, coordinate activities, and discuss responsibilities.
25. Teach the parents to differentiate problems that belong to the teenager (e.g., friends, homework) from problems that
12. Encourage the teenager to solve personal problems alone or with guidance. (27, 28, 29)
belong to the parents (e.g., messy kitchen, disrespectful behavior).
26. Instruct the parents to use proactive discipline strategies (e.g., "I" statements; describe, describe, describe; consequences; enforceable statements; choices) to modify behavior that is creating a problem for them and supportive interventions (e.g., active listening, brain-storming, problem solving) to assist when the problem belongs to the teenager.
27. Advise the parents to use the statement, "I think you can handle it," when the teenager is asking for too much assistance in solving problems; suggest that they offer affirmations when a courageous attempt to problem solve has been made.
28. Brainstorm with the parents strategies for assisting the teenager to complete chores and homework (e.g., maintain eye contact when delivering instructions; encourage questions; give specific, sequential directions; offer guidance on an as needed basis).
29. Assign the parents to manage problems with their teenager by exploring alternatives for possible solutions: (1) Understand the problem using empathy and reflective listening; (2) brainstorm possible solutions, (3) discuss the pros and cons of each idea; (4) help choose the best idea; (5) create a plan for implementation (see
Actively involve the teenager in developing strategies for correcting inappropriate, self-defeating behaviors. (30, 31)
Assist the teenager to identify personal strengths, attributes, and talents. (32, 33)
Parenting Teenagers by Dinkmeyer, McKay, McKay, and Dinkmeyer).
30. Advise the parents to deal with chronic inappropriate behavior by requiring that the teenager develop a "change in behavior plan" which must be implemented before the teenager may participate in any privileges or freedoms granted by the parents (e.g., television, computer time, car or phone use); urge them to reinstate privileges only as long as the plan results in a positive change in behavior.
31. Encourage the parents to empower the teenager to take ownership for both positive and negative outcomes by using "Attribute Awareness" (see Parent Talk by Moorman) to point out how the teenager's actions have created specific results (e.g., "You earned an A on this paper, what do you attribute that to?" "You can't find your car keys. What caused that?").
32. Assign the parents to collaborate with the teenager to create a list of personal strengths, attributes and talents that the teenager has.
33. Council the parents to affirm the teenager by pointing out or noticing cooperative or helpful behavior (e.g., "I noticed you walked and fed the dog." "You played with your sister this afternoon, thanks.").
15. Report a reduction in power struggles resulting from strategies designed to enlist the teenager's cooperation. (34, 35)
16. Promote independent behavior using encouragement and support. (36, 37)
17. Promote positive character development through family discussions, analyzing literature and media examples, loving interactions, spiritual training, and community involvement. (38, 39)
34. Assign the parents to collaborate with the teenager to create a list of mutually enjoyable activities (e.g., shopping, working on the car, attending a sports event); agree to participate in at least one interactive activity each week.
35. Assign the parents to practice methods of sidestepping power struggles (e.g., use broken record, "I" statements, choices, enforceable statements, time out, delayed consequences).
36. Request that the parents use "Act as if' in response to "I can't" language (see Parent Talk by Moorman) to encourage the teenager to make an effort despite fear of failure (e.g., "Act as if you felt confident about inviting someone to the school concert.").
37. Instruct parents to use the statement, "Check Yourself' (e.g., "Tomorrow is your job interview, check yourself to make sure you've revised and printed out your resume.") to help the teenager develop the ability to prepare successfully for upcoming events (see Parent Talk by Moorman).
38. Discuss with the parents the significance of regular family attendance at the church, synagogue, or other spiritual organization of their choice for the teenager's character development, moral training, and awareness of the family values.
39. Assign the parents to read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families (Covey) to learn strategies for attaining a positive family atmosphere.
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