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Question: You are a working single parent of a 16-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. Your son has an 11 PM curfew on weekends, but

11 Feb 2024,10:19 AM


Consider the following scenario:

You are a working single parent of a 16-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. Your son has an 11 PM curfew on weekends, but recently, he has been ignoring curfew and coming home after midnight. When you try to address this with him, he either ignores you or gets angry and starts screaming at you. When he's at home, he tends to shut himself away in his room. His latest report card shows that his grades are slipping. You are getting very concerned, but you work full-time and parent by yourself, so you are getting frustrated as well.

At the same time, your daughter has been telling you that she doesn't feel well and doesn't want to go to school. After some prodding, she shared that she has been getting teased at school and bullied online.

After reviewing the learning resources for this week, come up with a strategy for dealing with your children that is supported by the literature on adolescent discipline. What are some of the things that you need to take into consideration? What actions would you implement to try and address the problematic behaviors you are witnessing? What actions would you avoid?



Dealing with teenage behavioral issues can be challenging, especially for a single parent juggling work and parenting responsibilities. Here's a strategy for addressing the problematic behaviors of both children, taking into consideration the literature on adolescent discipline:

  1. Open Communication and Understanding: Start by creating a safe and supportive environment where both children feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgment. Schedule individual one-on-one conversations with each child to discuss their concerns separately. Listen actively to understand their perspectives and feelings without interrupting or judging.

  2. Addressing the Son's Behavior:

    • Set Clear Expectations: Reiterate the importance of adhering to curfew and explain the reasons behind it, such as safety concerns and the need for responsibility.
    • Establish Consequences: Clearly communicate the consequences of violating curfew, such as loss of privileges or increased responsibilities.
    • Identify Underlying Issues: Explore the reasons behind his defiance and anger. Is he facing peer pressure, stress from school, or struggling with personal issues?
    • Encourage Positive Communication: Provide opportunities for him to express his feelings constructively. Encourage him to share his concerns and frustrations without resorting to yelling or shutting himself away.
  3. Addressing the Daughter's Bullying Experience:

    • Validate Her Feelings: Reassure her that her feelings are valid and that she's not alone in facing bullying. Offer empathy and support.
    • Report and Address Bullying: Take immediate action to address the bullying behavior, both at school and online. Contact the school authorities to report the incidents and work collaboratively to find solutions.
    • Promote Self-Esteem: Help her develop resilience and confidence by focusing on her strengths and encouraging involvement in activities where she feels competent and valued.
    • Seek Professional Help if Needed: If her distress persists or escalates, consider seeking guidance from a school counselor or mental health professional to provide additional support and coping strategies.
  4. Implementing Positive Reinforcement:

    • Acknowledge Positive Behavior: Reinforce positive behavior by praising and rewarding both children for following rules, showing respect, and making efforts to improve.
    • Quality Time: Spend quality time with each child individually to strengthen your bond and nurture positive parent-child relationships.
    • Consistency: Be consistent in enforcing rules and consequences, ensuring that both children understand the expectations and repercussions of their actions.
  5. Avoiding Counterproductive Actions:

    • Avoid Reacting Emotionally: Refrain from reacting impulsively or emotionally to your children's behavior. Stay calm and composed during discussions, focusing on problem-solving rather than escalating conflicts.
    • Avoid Blaming or Shaming: Avoid blaming or shaming either child for their behavior. Instead, focus on understanding the underlying issues and finding constructive solutions.
    • Avoid Ignoring Warning Signs: Take any signs of distress, such as changes in behavior or academic performance, seriously and address them promptly.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a supportive and nurturing environment for your children while effectively addressing their problematic behaviors. Remember to prioritize open communication, empathy, and consistency in your approach to adolescent discipline.

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