I myself do not have teenage children, but I do have a 5 year old and a 2 year old.
Consistency was mentioned earlier and I could not agree more. Children are a lot smarter than many adults give them credit for and they pick up on things like inconsistency, etc. They know just how to push mom and dad’s buttons and they also know how far they can push. You have to push harder.
There have been many times my daughter has not listened to my husband or me or has been defiant and no matter how badly you want to cave in once you say something like no tv, or no toys/computer, whatever, you just cannot. Children must know they do not make the rules, parents make the rules. However, a parent must also know how to pick and choose their battles. If a parent punishes a child too much, the child won’t care anymore; they will remain defiant because they will feel they will get in trouble no matter what they do. On the flip side, if you don’t punish enough, the child will know they can get away with almost anything and will go as far as they can. It’s a very delicate balance.
One thing mentioned that I disagree with, however, is a parent should not be a friend to their child/children. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more. I feel parents should be their child/children’s BEST friend and always make sure they let their children know they can come to mom and/or dad with anything. The last thing any parent wants or should do is to build barriers between them and their kids. It’s not good for the kids and definitely not good for the parents. Not only should a parent make their child feel secure in coming to them with anything, it’s equally important to let your child know how much you love them. Teenage years are hard. There is usually a lot of pressure with school, friends, grades, school activities and while to most adults, that may pale in comparison to adult life, for a teenager, it can be quite stressful. Teenagers are still figuring out who they are and it can be a confusing, stressful time in a teens life. I know I wasn’t always a perfect child, but I was nowhere near a bad child either. I was a teenager and my parents understood that. I did have rules, but I also had freedom. I was allowed to make mistakes and for the minor mistakes, I was not punished; my parents gave me room to learn from my mistakes. My parents have always been my best friends, I know I can go to them with anything and I could even when I was a kid. They always left the doors of communication open and never punished me over little things. I strive to be the type of parents my mom and dad are; I have always known they love me, even when they would get mad at me. And, they never left a “fight.” They would make 100% sure there was resolution; that I understood why I was being punished and always ended any argument with a kiss and hug and I love you.
Honestly, I think you are in the right in the decisions you have made in regards to your child’s punishment. Kids need to know there will be consequences to negative actions, just as an adult would face consequences to negative actions, whether it be at work or in general. I think most important of all though is to let your daughter know, calmly, even if it’s in a note you write to her and have her read with you sitting right there, how badly she has hurt you and how badly she makes you feel. Also let her know you love her; she is your child and you would do anything for her, but her actions are way out of line and in order for you to respect her feelings and needs, she must respect yours in return.
I wish you luck in your situation and hope there is a positive resolution for all of you.