When our teenagers misbehave, setting up agreement frames can be a great way to manage consequences and it develops accountability in them. We do this by having a discussion about the situation, asking questions and coming up with an agreement of consequences. We can ask questions like:

  • How do they feel about what they have done?
  • What do they think their consequence should be?
  • What would they learn from their consequence?
  • What have they learned from the situation?
  • How painful is their consequence to them?
  • What will they do going forward?

Parent and teenager need to agree that the consequence has enough pain to teach them going forward. Very often they know better than we do what the most suitable consequence should be. When THEY set it, it takes away the personal attachment of us as parents “punishing” them. It also holds them accountable and they have no one to blame for their discomfort. When they are not carrying out their consequences we refer back to the agreement/decision they set which is also separate from us. It is very important for us to have a very clear boundary and hold them accountable every time. If they do not stick to the agreement frame the next level of consequence needs to be agreed. This process may be bumpy at first, but persevering will result in lasting accountability and less frustration for us.

Keeping our emotions out of it

It is important for us to keep our emotions out of the agreement. When we are angry, frustrated or have an intended outcome, we give our power to them. Our frustration is about our need and we can ask ourselves at the same time – how can we get what we need regardless of the outcome with them? The moment we need them to behave in a certain way in order for us to be happy, they hold the power which fuels our frustration even more. Often the answer to our question here is giving to ourselves or self-care. When last did you do something for yourself? Are you making decisions based on what you want or arranged around their schedule?

Once again it is about separating ourselves and our needs from the way we parent and discipline them, that way we can remain happy during their learning process.

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