I've talked to many a teen who tells me they "are in jail," or "My parents have me on lock-down." The Correctional Model of Restriction that most parents use includes being given time on restriction for bad behavior. Often even well-intentioned parents are too general, too vague both in the crime and the punishment. "You're grounded until your grades come up." What grades? Up from where? For how long? The next grading period? Christmas? Teens are left with "working the system," sneaking out, hoping parents will forget about the punishment.
The Relational Model of Restriction is a step-down process that helps your teen work toward less restriction. After identifying the rule infraction, impose Judgement. No cell phone use for a month because you lied about where you were and stayed out past curfew. As your teen demonstrates regret, with apology, and shows remorse while tending to chores and responsibilities for a week, you reward his effort. "You're getting it, son. I'm proud of you. I'm showing you compassion. Your restriction is reduced to 3 weeks." As he continues his respect, responsibility, and initiative for another week, you again reward his effort. "I think you've got it. Lesson learned. Good job. I'm showing your Mercy. Here's your cell phone back." This step-down process reinforces your authority with the wording of Judgement, Compassion, and Mercy. It also gives your teen opportunity to earn cell phone privileges back sooner with positive response to the discipline. Any mis-step and full restriction is returned. As he learns his lesson and consistently improves his behavior, he is truly FREE and out of jail.
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