Discipline and Teenagers

A few years ago my mother said, “You know, you boys weren’t disciplined a whole lot growing up.”  I looked at my brother and he looked at me.  For a brief moment we wondered if Alzheimer’s was setting in.  That’s sure not the way we remember it!

Now I’m not saying we didn’t deserve it…in fact we probably deserved more than we got. But while there was indeed discipline, the style of discipline that we received from our father made it less effective than it could have been. His style was to simply whack us when we got out of line. Along with it came a lot of anger and yelling, and the whole family got upset. Continue reading “Discipline and Teenagers”


Teen Intervention and Recovery

We received an email recently from a desperate mother who wrote: “My son has been deeply depressed and is refusing to go to counseling.  The school suspended him because the counselor there deemed him to be suicidal.  He’s very precious to me, but I’m at a loss what to do.”  This is a classic case where intervention is needed—when if something isn’t done quickly, the child may not be around long.

It’s important to understand up front what intervention is…and what it is not.  Intervention is not about getting justice for your teen’s misbehavior (for terrorizing the whole family); intervention is about saving them from themselves.  It gives kids an opportunity to step back from the brink and begin dealing with the underlying issues that are causing the symptoms that have brought things to a crisis point. Continue reading “Teen Intervention and Recovery”


Getting Control of Teen Anger

Whether angry at the world, angry at America, or just a psychopath, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner struck out with homicidal anger this past weekend in Tucson, taking the lives of six and critically wounding Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. It has become an all too common scene; younger individuals expressing anger by snuffing out the lives of others in public places.

Whenever such tragic events occur, I receive phone calls from parents wondering if their child may be the next news headline, since their teen also seems angry all the time, listens to the same music, smokes the same dope, wears the same clothes, or has other similarities. I assure them that teens don’t become homicidal just because they are angry or because they have the same interests as the latest mass-murderer. Barring mental illness or being hyped up on alcohol or drugs, most kids wouldn’t think of hurting another individual, let alone taking a life. (Though it does make sense to keep guns locked away from any teen who is expressing anger or is exhibiting depression). Continue reading “Getting Control of Teen Anger”