Positive Reinforcement

Parenting a Teen through Positive Reinforcement

Most parents can agree: the teenage years can be rough! Hormones are raging, they are trying to gain more independence, and they spend a lot of time away from their parents and their home while hanging with friends. One minute they love and adore you, the next minute you ruined their life. Can many of you relate?

When tempers flare and disagreements are happening, it’s hard to not resort to yelling and harsh discipline, but studies are showing us that positive reinforcement may be the key to success, not just in the home but also in their school life.

We’ve all heard the saying, “The one who is hardest to love needs love the most.” It’s very hard to set emotions aside and give positive feedback to a student or child who is constantly difficult and making your day-to-day life challenging. It’s easier to yell and put them in their place. Yelling is only making tensions higher and your teen angrier, so let’s try a different approach and see how it works!

As a student at My Virtual Academy, your teen will have weekly interaction with their teachers and mentors. We work hard to provide positive reinforcement during these interactions and bring to the forefront things that the student is excelling with, while still discussing and resolving any areas of concern. These weekly interactions are vital to your student’s success and we want them to be a positive experience that they look forward to.

In regards to school, if you notice your student is struggling, take a different approach and instead of getting mad or grounding your teen, commend them on something that you noticed they did well. Maybe they are having a hard time solving that math problem but they knew what method to use. Give them credit where credit is due. This makes them less defensive and they’ll be more open to your help and guidance.

Keep in mind, teens are facing difficult decisions on a daily basis that could impact their future. It’s hard to not cave into peer pressure and make the less popular decision, but it happens all the time and teens should be rewarded when the right choice is made.

When we think of “rewards” our mind usually equates that with a monetary value. That’s not necessarily the case and we’ll show you some different ways to entice your teen to be a good, productive student and member of society.

Remember, you DO NOT and SHOULD NOT give a reward for every good thing your teen does. This is a tool in your tool belt to reward them when you see fit. It’s an alternative way of parenting because they’ll be receptive to the rewards and these little rewards will help keep them on the right track. The rewards will let your teen know that you notice the good things they are doing, not just focusing on the bad.

Here are some reward ideas that will reinforce good behavior and deter the bad:

  • Does your teen have a special hobby or interest? Build a reward based on that. Extra skate time at the local skate park or new paints and canvases for their art projects are sure ways to let them feel rewarded and appreciated.
  • Teens always love freedom. How about rewarding good behavior by adding an extra half hour onto their curfew time? This will not only build trust between you, but will give them extra hangout time with their friends.
  • Cook them their favorite meal. Let them know tonight’s dinner will be one to celebrate their successes and ask them to plan the menu so they get their favorite things to eat.
  • Lengthen your teen’s car privileges. If your teen has been on good behavior or did something worth noting, why not give them longer access to the family car? They’ll love the independence and will surely thank you for it!
  • Allow your teen to skip setting the alarm on the weekend. Every teen loves sleep! That’s just a fact. Let your teen know that because of their good behavior, they can sleep in as late as they’d like on the weekend. It’s great not having to wake up to an alarm, and they’ll love it too!
  • Lastly, don’t forget the power of a hug and saying, “thank you.” Thanking them for doing well on their schoolwork or for helping out around the house can go a long way. Show them your love and appreciation and let them know it makes for a much nicer, calmer home when they are keeping up their end of the bargain (getting good grades and doing chores around the house).

Teens are just like us. We don’t like it if all we hear is the negative from our boss at work, so why would your teen respond positively to yelling or nagging? They won’t. That’s why it’s so important to try another approach and always remember to never forget the power positive reinforcement holds!

At My Virtual Academy, we make it our daily mission to help students in grades 5-12 excel and work towards their goal of obtaining their high school diploma. Your student’s success is our number one focus. If you would like to learn more about our virtual school, click here to visit our website, follow us on Facebook, or give us a call at 800-297-2119.

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