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Teenage Discipline Requires A Sense Of Objectivity (Page 2)



Let's assume that your fifteen year old son has just come home later than he should have after spending the evening with friends and this has resulted in a heated argument in the lounge. With each of you shouting at the other your son storms off to the kitchen announcing that he is going to get something to eat. A matter of moments later you hear a crash coming from the kitchen and when you enter the room you find your son banging his fist on the kitchen counter and cursing loudly and a broken plate and turkey spread over the kitchen floor. What should you do?

Now you don't know exactly what happened but, because emotions are running high and you and your son are already angry with each other, your natural reaction might well be to respond based on your current anger. But is this likely to be appropriate?

It is quite possible that your son took the plate of turkey out of the fridge and, in his angry state, deliberately threw it onto the floor. It is also possible that, because he was angry, he was wasn't paying attention to what he was doing and the plate simply slipped out of his hand. Another explanation could be that, as he was putting the platter on the kitchen counter, he accidentally brushed his arm up against the kettle, which was hot having been boiled just a few minutes earlier when you made a cup of coffee. The plate was then knocked off the counter when he pulled his arm away from the kettle.

The problem is that if don't take the time to establish what happened before you react you could well act inappropriately, making an already difficult situation worse. The secret therefore is to stay objective, find out precisely what happened and then act accordingly. So, begin by taking a deep breath, compose yourself and then ask your son quietly and calmly just what happened.

Let's consider two possible situations.

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