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When your child was little, you thought his headstrong streak was cute.  But now that he's in middle school?  Not so much.

    Raising a strong-willed preteen can be challenging.  If you make it work at home, the results will show in how he behaves at school.  The key is to use common sense in your approach to discipline.  Here's how:
  • Be clear.  Let your child know what's expected of him-from how much TV he can watch to how clean his room should be.
  • Focus on the positive.  Instead of telling him what he can't do, remind him of what he can do.
  • Be consistent.  When you do make rules, enforce them.  If you don't follow through, your child won't take rules seriously.
  • Offer choices.  As much as possible, let your child take responsibility for his own behavior and actions.  Don't weigh him down with rules
  • Keep you cool.  Try not to get angry when disciplining your child.  Discipline is about teaching him right from wrong.  It's not about punishment.
  • Criticize the behavior, not your child.  "I'm upset that you forgot to clean the kitchen" is better, than "You always forget!"
  • Focus on the big picture.  Setting limits now will help your preteen throughout his life.  Your efforts will pay off.

Source: Kathleen McCoy, Ph.D., "Disciplining Your Teen with Love and Common Sense".