Sometimes, as parents we are too involved. Other times we are not involved enough.
When you are unsure what consequence or reward should be given, try asking yourself, “What do I want them to learn from this?”
As kids get older, many times the consequence will happen without any parent intervention. So, maybe the fallout they are getting from school, friends, or a coach is providing the lesson already.
When you do need to step in, try relating the consequence directly to their behavior. Instead of simply drawing a hard line, explain that you have reasons for your decisions. They probably won’t agree, and that’s okay. I am not suggesting you get in a battle of convincing them you’re right.
Show them the connection between their choices and their freedoms by saying things like, “I would love for you to be able to go out with your friends, but as your parent I wouldn’t be doing my job if I let you go knowing that you’re not making responsible choices.”
Again, they won’t magically like the consequence. But when presented this way, it gives them a new perspective to think about their actions.
Similarly, reward them with explanation. Let them know when they are able to stay out later, it is because their responsible choices have earned more trust.
Adolescence is the transition to adulthood. The good and bad consequences issued ideally prepare them for what they can expect in their future job, relationships, and overall independence.