10 Ways to Make Your Teen See Reality!

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By Harry H. Harrison Jr.

Today, many parents have relinquished control of their children to umm, their children. This makes little sense with a fifteen year old, but even less sense when dealing with a five year old. But these formative years spell out what kind of teenager your child will turn out to be. If you demand respect, insist on kindness, eat dinner as a family, bring God into your life, instill responsibility at a young age, you will have a great teenager.

There will be teenage issues sure, but they know the rules and you’ll have a lot less meetings with principals, teachers, and lawyers.

But lets say in the name of “friendship parenting” where you treated your child as your equal only now he or she has entered their teenage years and they now treat you the parent as a child, you realize you have a major problem on your hands. They don’t do anything you ask, they don’t show up for dinner, they stay locked in their room all night, strange looking people show up at your door, you have no idea where your kids are at 10 pm, they always want money and they’ve taken the position, “You’re not the boss of me. You can’t tell me what to do.”

You have two choices. Live a life of utter hell for the next ten or so years praying they move out soon or take immediate, hardcore action. This won’t be easy if you’ve been too busy being their friend, or you don’t want to make them unhappy God forbid. Or you can be the parent God wanted you to be in the first place. You can expect screaming, crying, raging, door slamming, cold silence (not a bad idea really) and foul moods. But you can change all this and turn your teenager into someone ready to face the adult world.

So what to do?

  1. You and your spouse must agree you’re in lock step on these changes. A teen’s first response is to divide and conquer. If both of you aren’t in agreement something needs to be done, stop now. Just accept you’ll live in misery many more years.
  2. Have what we call a come to Jesus meeting with your teen. Inform them you’re making some changes as a family and they will cooperate or there will be consequences. Your teen may get angry. If they do, or if they don’t follow the new house rules, see the bottom of the list for consequences.
  3. Set a firm curfew. There will be resistance, especially if they’re used to running wild in the streets at all hours of the night. But the curfew is important.
  4. Eliminate risky people from their life. The best way to do this is not allow these friends into your house, or allow your kids to leave with these people. You are who your friends are. That’s one of life’s most important rules.
  5. End the allowance. Insist they get a job. All most kids know about money is dad and mom will pay for anything they bring home. They will have a new experience when their boss chews them out for being late or lazy or looking sloppy.
  6. Insist on respect. “Yes sir.” “No mam.” “Please.” “Thank you.” No screaming or shouting. How they talk to you is how they talk to other adults, like teachers who are enemies they don’t want. Again, this is real world preparation. Both you and your spouse have to respect this too. Mom screaming at dad just teaches her daughter how to argue.
  7. New rule: no cursing. Watch your language. Have your spouse watch his. No cursing from you or your kids ever. Or else there are consequences.
  8. Give them chores. Have them make their bed every morning. That’s one thing they will have accomplished. Clean their room. There are two things. Clean the dishes. Do the laundry. Make dinner. Don’t wait until they’re an adult to learn for them to leave how to stay alive.
  9. Have them study at the kitchen table. If their grades are failing, they’re doing something in their room besides studying. Don’t do their homework for them. Just make sure they do it. And then review it.
  10. Invite God into your family. Start going to church, start praying as a family, talk about right, wrong, morals and values. Don’t be embarrassed to say let’s pray. Act like a parent. Just do it.


  1. Remove their computer, iPod, pad and phone. Tell them to study, read a book or volunteer.
  2. Grounding them. Without any electronics, trust me they will hate it. Especially on the weekends.
  3. Take away car privileges. If you’re 16 and car-less, there are no words for where you rank in teen society.
  4. Absolutely, positively end any allowance. A teen with no money is forced to get a job.
  5. Wake them up at 5 am and take them to work. My son came home late once. When he was standing at a printing factory at 5.45 helping me check proofs, he swore up and down it would never happen again. I kept him until noon. He was never late again.

Remember the teenage years come with rebellion and emotions. But they don’t have to rule your house. Get them ready for adulthood. Act like a parent now.

Harry H Harrison Jr. is a NYTIMES best selling parenting author with over 3.5 million books in print. He has been interviewed on over 25 television programs, and featured in over 75 local and national radio stations including NPR. His books are available in over thirty-five countries throughout Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Norway, South America, China, Saudi Arabia and in the Far East. For more information visit



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