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How to keep children and teens out of trouble? Tips from a therapist: By: Ask Jan

Do you enable your child's behavior?
Do you enable your child's behavior?
Photo by: Jenna Ruth
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Do you enable your child’s poor behavior? Do you rush in to rescue your child whenever there is a problem?  If you are guilty of enabling your child you are teaching your child that “the rules do not apply to them.”

Parents often think that they are doing their child a favor by preventing them form experiencing the consequences of their behavior. When parents do this they are teaching their child that the rules don’t apply to them. Most of our prison population thinks that the rules did not apply to them. This is not the message that parents need to send to their children.

Children need consequences to learn in order that actions have consequences both positive and negative. For instance if a child fails all of his classes in school and the parents fail to take action then the child learns that failing his classes is “not a big deal.” When that same child is not promoted to the next grade the child will experience harsh consequences of embarrassment and watching their friends move on to the next grade while they stay behind.

Children whose parents have enabled them throughout their lives may turn to delinquent behavior and in some cases incarceration. Delinquent behavior includes the following:

Destruction of property
Physical fights
Alcohol abuse
Abuse of prescription medications
Illegal drug use
Gang activity and much more

Not every child that has turned to delinquent behavior has been enabled by their parents. Parents are not responsible for their children’s poor behavior. Parents are responsible to teach their children that there are consequences for their behavior both positive and negative.

Allowing children to feel the consequences of their mistakes will encourage them to make better decisions. As parents we can encourage our children to be responsible law abiding citizens however we can not control the outcome.



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