How should I punish my teen?
Real Mom Problem
“My son is 14. When he does something wrong and I take away privileges, it has absolutely no effect on him. None! Any other ideas?”
- 1. Many teens respond well to privileges being taken away, such as less computer or cell phone time
- 2. Other moms put their kids to work when they misbehave. Get them to handle major household chores
- 3. Try positive discipline techniques to promote good behavior and decrease power struggles
Real Mom Solutions
Are you unsure what to do when your teen misbehaves? Try out these different discipline techniques suggested by moms.
Some Moms Take Privileges Away
Loss of privileges or technology works great for my teens. I also find I have more discussions with them about what they did and the natural consequences since they are better able to reason and use executive functioning.
The only thing my teen can't stand losing is her "freedom," which basically means that she is my shadow for the time she is grounded. Wherever I go, she goes. If I am upstairs working she is up there, too. If I go to the grocery store she does, too. She hates it; my daughter prefers to be locked up in her room.
Take activities, friends, cars, cell phones, or computers away. Every kid has a price.
Other Moms Put Their Teens to Work
With my 16-year-old I use extra chores for other people (elderly neighbors for example), I take away his electronics, I make him write dictionary, Bible or encyclopedia pages. I also ground him. I am fortunate that I rarely have to punish him and have NEVER spanked him, EVER for any reason. We also talk about choices and consequences.
Labor works with my boys. They are not really attached to anything, so taking it away is not a huge deal. A few things I have had them do for punishments are washing walls and floors, organizing garage, and yard work. You can make him your personal assistant for a day, put your feet up and watch your house get clean.
This Mom Suggests Positive Discipline
I have found that positive reinforcement works better than after-the-fact punishment. When your teen isn't causing you any problems, make sure you notice, praise, and encourage this behavior. Make sure that every time you give permission for him to go somewhere you note that you are able to give him that freedom because he has proven trustworthy. Trust = freedom. No trust = no freedom. So as long as he continues to be where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be there, and as long as he is communicating and being honest with you, then you can let him do more.
Also make sure that he knows that his privileges are his because he keeps his grades up, does his chores, or whatever behaviors you expect of him. As long as he does those things, he will have privileges, but if he doesn't, he won't.
This tactic goes a long way in promoting good behavior because believe it or not, teens really do want their parents to be proud of them and they respond to praise and appreciation. It feels good, boosts self esteem and self reliance.
Then, if you must punish him, try to match the consequences with what is natural and logical. If he breaks curfew, then he won't be trusted out as late. If he doesn't keep his grades up, then he can't have time on the internet or playing video games because he needs to study more. Teens respond to logic better than arbitrary parental power struggles.