I do not have words to express how grateful I am to have listened to you for the last 15 yrs; you wise counsel has guided us through some difficult and wonderful times as a family!
When our son Pat was 16 years old, without asking permission, he went out with his cousin with the intention of meeting a girl at the movies. We don't allow one-on-one dating (only groups), and only with young people we know. Since he wanted to go, but knew if he asked us the answer would be no, he went anyway.
Oddly, his cousin was the one to give him up. I sent Pat a private message on Facebook, which brought him home in a hurry. He was so angry, he started a fight with his older brother--a real fist fight, not just words or pushing and shoving. I found that interesting, but let them go at it – his older brother won, which helped a ton, putting number 2 in his place.
Nonetheless, and despite Pat generally being a great kid and easy to live with, his dad and I knew we were going to have to come down on him like a ton of bricks in order to make a lasting impression. Contrary to popular opinion, boys can, if properly motivated, think before they do things. He lost his license, access to friends unless a parent was around, and had no phone. Just about every privilege he enjoyed was removed, plus he received extra chores.
He was insufferable for months, but the removal of privilege and chores remained, until he finally asked what he had to do to start getting his privileges back. I told him he needed to figure it out - it took nearly 6 months for him to finally come to us and apologize for disrespecting our rules. Slowly, we returned his privileges as he earned them and now, 3 yrs later, he is a respectful, thoughtful and considerate young man of whom I am very proud.
I truly believe if we had let this seemingly minor infraction go without the extreme measures we took, Pat could have taken a very different path. Thankfully, and mostly due to listening to your show and your sage advice, we knew what to do.
So, parents: nip it in the bud. The first time you catch them, make it memorable, and you are less likely to have to repeat yourself to your children to get them to follow the right path.
Peace be with you,