Loving parents discipline their children.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Also remember every parent makes mistakes.  Model the grace of God when you do, and ask for your teen’s forgiveness.

1. Treat children with respect—don’t embarrass them, especially in front of their peers.  When you treat them with respect, they will be more likely to treat you with respect.  You must model the behavior you want them to display.

2. The sooner you begin to set limits, the easier it will be.

3. Mom and Dad must agree on discipline- they should support each other in discipline decisions.  If they do not, discuss your differences behind closed doors, never in front of your child.

4. Spanking, if used, should be preceded and followed by expressions of love and support.  Do not ignore or give the silent treatment.  If you give time out’s, be specific as to how long it is for, and what behaviors would get them “out” of time out, and what behaviors would get them “more” time out.  If you are angry, tell your teen you are taking a time out, and will be back in 5-30 minutes to set the limit and the consequence for their behavior. Make sure the punishment is in proportion to the misbehavior.

5. If you tell your child that you are going to give a certain punishment, always follow through.  This shows them that you mean what you say and can be trusted.  Sometimes, there needs to be a waiting period before the consequences, to “cool off” if you are frustrated.

6. Use the problem behavior to have discussions with your teen about responsible, godly actions and character.  Sometimes these produce teachable moments if handled without anger and criticism.  Remember, you are launching your teen and preparing them for adulthood.  Give them just a little more slack and allow them to make mistakes, while they are living with you, so that you can use them as teaching opportunities.  After they leave home, the consequences of the same behaviors will be much more severe, i.e. divorce, job loss, accidents and disease.   Realize that your time is short and be grateful for the mistakes they make while they are still with you.

7. Don’t name call or attack the teen’s character or make statements that are rejecting and hurtful in a moment of anger (Example:  “You are so lazy, stupid, and irresponsible” or “I wish you were never born”).  Instead say, “When you left the stove on all day, I felt scared and angry.  That was an irresponsible action, and could have had serious consequences.”

8. Don’t expect other children to discipline or be responsible for younger children on an ongoing basis.  You are the parent and they are not equipped emotionally for this.

9. Do not argue with your teen.  Once the limit is set do not change the consequence.  Set clear boundaries.

10. Let them clearly know in advance, if possible, the consequences for their improper behaviors.

11. Don’t slap or hit your teen with hard or hurtful objects. 

12. Follow the golden rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

13. Give lots of hugs

14. Talk to your children often.  Read articles on the internet with them, books and magazines.  Sit on the side of their bed at night.  And yes, tuck them in and pray with them before they go to sleep at night.  Think about what blessings you can pray over them, and in this way, they will know your positive regard for them without a doubt.

15. Listen to them with full eye contact.  Spend quality time at this.  Stop what you are doing and just listen.  This communicates that they have something important to say, and builds their self esteem.

16. Praise and encourage them often:  Say things such as “You are so thoughtful”, “You handled that beautifully!”, “You are such an encouragement” , “I believe in you”. 

17. Let them know early if they are adopted. 

18. Don’t give false hopes or break your promises, if at all possible.

19. Help them to feel secure.

20. Select positive quality television for them to watch.

21. And last, but not least, love them unconditionally especially when they don’t deserve it.