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Discipline and Consequences

Buffy74's picture

How to disciple teenage children in your home when they have ZERO remorse for their actions and take no accountability?  We are at our wits end.  She is 16, soon to be 17 and this attitude is awful.  She changes the mood of the entire house when she is around.  Help... looking for advice on how to discipline someone who doesn't care what happens to them.

Rags's picture

If you have clear standards of behavior for children in  your home and she violates them... then bring escalating age appropraite consequences to bear. 

Take her car, electronics, the door off of her room, her clothes, etc, etc, etc... until  you land on the effective state of abject misery that corrects her behavior. 

Lather, rinse, repeat.  She is a year from launching.  If she wants a car, smart phone, and her own space then she can launch when she graduates from HS or turnes 18 whichever comes first.  She can puchase it all for herself and finish growing up on her dime and her time.

Your job is to create the burning platform that gets her to launch.  Public humiliation very effectivley creates a level of care in toxic people.  Put her in coveralls from goodwill instead of personally selected clothing and she can wear that to school.

Her level of care will grow infinately immediately.

Have fun with the torture!   Diablo


Buffy74's picture

We listed and provided clear house rules and expectations.  She chooses to break them constantly.  She plays the "I didn't know..." or " didn't tell me that"... Constantly.  She is also now using depression and anxiety as a crutch and using it against her dad.  Saying things like, "...this is why I am depressed..." "...I don't have any friends and now you want to ground me...".... and so on... She would wear disguisting clothing and not care about it.  The only thing she is involved in is dance... I want to take that away, but it is never discussed.  

Winterglow's picture

She plays the "I didn't know..." or " didn't tell me that"... Constantly. 


Then do it SuperNanny style - print the rules out in and stick them on the fridge. Every time she pulls the not knowing stunt, drag her to the fridge and place her nose on the rules. Make her read them out loud.

Rags's picture

Your home, your rules, you enforce them and apply escalating age appropriate consequences.

You and DH are equity life partners and that makes you equity parents to any spawn in the  home regardless of spawn biology.

If daddy doesn't like how you parent and discipline then he can step up and get it done before you have to or he can STFU and have your back until the two of you can discuss it in pivate.

Keep is simple.

ITB2012's picture

and take the door off yourself. Or reprogram the router or relocate the game controllers (a lot less obvious than taking the console and very effective). Or when they aren’t looking confiscate the item they aren’t supposed to have that they lied to their bioparent about. They can’t ask where it is cause that would play their hand. 

Rags's picture

We purchased a small safe and kept in on our entertainment center.  The game conrollers were locked in there. For power cords that were not removable we just put a TSA lock through the holes in one of prongs and locked the key in the safe.

When we bought a new house equiped with a SmartHouse system we just shut everything off. Internet, cable TV, etc... His cell phone was on our account and we shut off his data plan element.

What so many failed and failing parents forget and far too many kids have never experienced is that we have been there and done that.  Old age, experience and treachery will win over youth and inexperience every time.   Most if not all kids at some time go through periods where they "hate" their parents.   As parents it is our job to make sure that that period is a teaching opportunity so show them how their attitudes influence the relative level of abject misery their lives contain. 

And happiness of course. We can't forget happiness.

Learning to have fun torturing the spawn is a huge part of parental enjoyment.

At least in my case.


Buffy74's picture

This is my issue.  And the mother at the other house.  Her parents doen't seem to care or follow through.  And it is disrupting our household.  I feel like I am the one who is always ruling with an iron fist.

Rags's picture

IMHO it isn't about the "iron fist" it is about the consequences for the stupid decisions and behaviors that kids choose.

Consequences are chosen not applied. They choose the behavior, they choose the consequence.  Consistency is the key.

HannahD1020's picture

We have this same issue.  My DH tries to enforce rules and consequenses, but when the skids don't like it they just go running to mom's house (which is 1/2 mile away) and they can do no wrong in her eyes.  If they yell, cuse, hit, anything at her house, there are no ramifications.  Which, obviously, makes it VERY difficult when they are at Dad's house.

classyNJ's picture

I wish I had advice for you. None of the above helped us.  We took everything but his damn bed and even without doors the kid just didn't care!

DH next step was military school, but SS16 decided that since we wouldn't turn phone back on or turn the wifi back on so he could play Xbox he told Dyfus my DH was beating him.

He is now back at his mothers.  Just 12 hours before he was saying he didn't even want to go there for Thanksgiving because they drank too much and he didn't feel safe there.

So be careful if they do a sudden change from demon kid to angel - its a trick!


Buffy74's picture

I completely get your point of view.  She doesn't seem to care about anything.  And her mother and step dad control her phone.  She can never keep track of her own charger and takes everyone else's stuff.  We have even put locks on the other bedroom doors so she can't access her sister's stuff, our stuff or my son's.  I'd be happy if she decided to go live with her mother full time, but I know it would devistate her dad.

Survivingstephell's picture

Devistate her dad?  Then make HIS life horrible than.  Either he parents or she leaves.  This might be a better approach to get  results for you.  

So go ahead and make life uncomfortable for her.  If she pleads depression, offer to take her for a psych evaluation and hold a the local ER.  Be sure the paint that picture of what that looks like and how that plays out.  Restructure you home so that she doesn't have easy access to the things she needs/uses.  In a sense, make it so miserable that she looks at BM's house as the goal.  Its easier to deal with a sad husband than a moody teenage.  They are probably feeding off each other and adding to the misery.  

She sounds like a drag on the rest of the house and is bringing you all down.  

Rags's picture

So, why wasn't she loaded in the car kicking and screaming and driven to Military School?  This is not a choice. The kid either goes or she suffers.  Make her suffer.

Trust me.  I experienced that drive myself. As did my son, my younger brother and my father.

Military schools are expert at dealing with smart, lazy, toxic kids and turning them into post cards of character and performance.  There is nothing quite like a younger OldCadet ripping a new asshole into an older NewCadet/RAT.  Invariably one of more of the NewMeat crew will try to bow up on their Cadet leadership and choose nonconformance.   Diablo

That is when it gets fun for the OldCadets.  Shower parties, Rat Fucks, Blanket Parties, PT Till You Puke, countless hours of marching in a square with a 50Lb pack during what is supposed to be your free time, etc, etc,etc....

There is nothing quite like seeing the faces of a formerly concerned and now relieved mom and dad who come for Parent & Family Weekend after their formerly PITA child has spent 6-12 weeks being formed and assimilated.  Standing tall, proud, great grades, sharp and polite.  Don't get me wrong. That same kid will lose it when they go out to dinner with mom and dad over the weekend sobbing to go home and how much they hate it.  But in front of their peers and the Corps of Cadets they will lock down the tears and perform.

When I was a Cadet leader I cannot count the number of tearful Moms who hugged me and thanked me for helping their sons and daughters, how many Dads shook my hand and thanked me and how many of those same parents tried to get me to marry their daughters and offered to take me on their family vacations.

My Military School story initiated after my (first) Sophomore year of HS at a prestigious Liberal Arts boarding school ended in my being invited not to return for the next year. I didn't get kicked out, I just did not have the option to go back. That school still has the "Rags Rule" which requires underclass year students to go to breakfast at the butt crack of dawn every school day. Several of my classmates at that school sent their own children there and when they tell their kids that they were in school with the "Rags Rule" guy their kids expound on how I an universally cursed by underclassmen at that school.

 I  did not perform. I was more interested in Rock Climbing, Skiing, partying and girls than I was school,  not getting out of bed in the AM and generally doing what I wanted to do rather than what I should do. I got in no trouble. I just didn't do ... anything other than exactly what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

Boarding school was not an option for me. It was a necessity for the period I grew up as a 3CK/Expat kid.  School only went through 9th grade for Expat kids where we were living at that time. So we all went off to boarding school after 9th grade.  I was a Nat Jr. HS honors performer in Jr. High so I got into all of the schools I applied to. I "earned" that choice with my school and behavioral performance.

So after I dropped the ball at my school of choice my parents informed me that I had my chance to go where I wanted to go and now I would go where they knew I would perform.   That summer I stewed on it and a few days before I was to start at Military School I informed my parents that I would not go. I was 16 at the time.   We were waiting in the gate at the departure terminal for my dad to return back home overseas.  He looked at me intently for a few seconds, opened his brief case, pulled out the check book and wrote me a check for $500.  He then handed me the check and told me "You are 16.  You don't have to go to school at all. This is our contribution to you moving out on your own. Don't forget to write to your mother when you find a job and a place to live."  We all sat there quietlly about 15 minutes until they called for boarding at which point I handed the check back to dad, gave him a hug and off to Military School I went.

After a year of doing nearly nothing accademically  (One D for the entire year. The rest of my course grades were F) I repeated my Sophore year and finished HS at the Military School.  The school had years 7-JC2 so I graduated HS with most of my first two years of college complete. Graduated with honors and as the Outstanding Graduating HS Senior which was the highest award for graduating Cadets and included Accademics, Military, Athletics and Community Service. I had the highest GPA in the class.

I was in the process of applying to the Naval Academy and US Military Academy when I was Dx'd as a T-1 diabetic so that career option was out for me. Though I could not have a Military career, an environment of accountability, performance standards, character standards and structure put me on a path that has stood me in good stead my entire life since.

Your SD needs that boot up her ass. IMHO.

We did the same thing with our son (My SS) when he was 15 after his Sophomore year of HS.  Sadly my family's historic Military School closed 20 years after I graduated (11 years after my younger brother graduated) so we found a great alternative for our son.  He thrived with that same boot up his ass. He went in a fluffy sullen underperformer and a few short weeks later was a 40lbs lighter lean mean performance machine.  He went from low grades to straight A's, he was selected for leadership develoopment, he was on the Military Rifle Drill Team that went to the Nat Championships both his Jr. and Sr. years.  He did great...until his SpermIdiot hacked the school fire wall and they would stay up all night WoWing my Skids way back home to have  his mom's and my foot up his ass.... but that is a different story.

Ultimately it was that experience that set him on his current path in the USAF. 

So, your Dh needs to quit leaving the gate open for SD-16 to run to mommy and drag that kid kicking and screaming to  a new performance and accountability based existence and environment.

IMHO of course.

It works.

Good luck.

Wrong Way Diva's picture

Where can you find a good accredited military school?   Do the parents pay tuition?  

I've heard horror stories of kids being sent to ranches where they were abused instead of disciplined.  

I have many friends with kids dabbling in drug addicition I think this would be helpful for.

Rags's picture

There are a number of very good fully accredited Military boarding schools.  Some are extremely expensive, others are reasonably affordable.

Here is a link to the 2018-2019 top Military boarding schools list. There are many more that are also very good but most of these I am familiar with and have no reseravtions in recommending.  There is also a link about some myths regarding Military schools.

Robert-Land and St. Catherines I am not familiar with.  The rest I am familiar with and are highly regarded.

The school that my dad, younger brother and I attended closed in 2002.  Both MMA (Missouri Military Academy) and St. Johns were key rivals of my school and are very good schools.  Both are on the list.  My son attended NMMI and IMHO NMMI is a premier choice from a cost/benefit/qualty/tradition perspective. NMMI is also on the list.

Yes, parents generally pay tuition.  Scholarships are usually available at most credible schools.    You will need to investigate the specifics of schools you are interested in regarding admissions, costs and scholarships.

Gucci's picture

I literally just lived this tonight with my ss14. I took his door off the hinges myself. He said terrible thing to me and dh that I won’t easily be able to forgive/ move on from. He was legit saying he didn’t care about anything and we could do whatever we want and he has nothing to lose. He already lost his phone, tv, video games here because of stealing from dh’s wallet then getting caught vaping at school. We just took away his door and being able to play outside last night. We are all going to my alma matter’s college football game tomorrow and I’m trying to find a babysitter for him. DH said if we can’t he will stay home with him but that would feel like the kid won to have dad all to himself, and not with me ‘that thing’ he married. 

Rags's picture

Don't punish yourself.  Take the Skid with you to the game.  He can sit and be sullen and the rest of you enjoy the game. 

We learned this fairly early in the snarky pre-teen years.  Keep the punishments focused on the kid and not the rest of the family.  When he was grounded writing tens of thousands of sentences all in perfect hand writing, gammar and spelling he did that from the moment he walked in the door until we all left for dinner, a weekend trip, etc.....  When he chose to screw around when he was supposed to be working he could work when he was supposed to be screwing around.

To this day he cringes when he hears the word "sentences".  The bonus is  that he has the most beautiful handwriting I have ever seen.

So, find the state of abject misery that modifies the behavior. If he has lost everyting then put him in donated work coveralls from GoodWill and he can wear that to school.  See how he likes complete public humiliation in front of his peers.

Stay the course, escalate the consequences, find a bahvioral modification bootcamp in the middle of nowhere, send him to Military School (we did this one).  He will either comply or suffer.  His choice.   When he turns 18 he can either launch and finish growing up on his own time and his own dime or he can follow the rules.

Keep it simple. Don't worry about anything but results. His suffering is his choice.

Bring the abject misery.