When it comes to punishing your teenager who is acting out, the first thing most parents tend to think of as an option is taking something away from them that they care about or use often.
This often comes in the form of taking away tv rights, disconnecting from the internet, taking any handheld gaming devices, and most likely the removal of their phone. Without having that ONE thing they really want in their hands right that moment, they feel a great feeling of loss.
Remove Social Interaction
Of course, another form of punishment is to remove any social interaction. This is especially effective for teens who have an extremely active social life. To most teens, talking to and interacting with their friends is just as good as breathing. The sting of reality and what they are being punished for tends to sink in. The plus side for parents is that not only are they able to restrict, they are also able to rewards or give permission for something. I believe the best approach to correction and punishment is to try and not be so judgmental of them.
The teenager already knows that their parents are extremely angry, and it does them a disservice to couple the punishment with an attack on their capabilities or character. It is much more beneficial to your child if you just emphasize your displeasure with their choice. Some other tactics you may wish to try are;
Have Them Give Back To Others
This is a punishment that also doubles as a good deed and will teach them something more than just what they did was wrong and will help them build a strong moral character. Giving to and helping others is also rewarding in that your child will feel the pleasure it is to see the happiness they have personally provided someone else.
Go On Strike
If your teen has been disrespecting you, or just generally unappreciative of everything you do for them, try going on strike. Teens are old enough to feed themselves, make their own beds, find their own things, and do their own laundry. Let them see what it feels like without you for them to run to every time they need to shout “MOM! I CAN’T FIND MY (insert any item here)”. Let them see what it feels like to not have their lunch made for and then served to them. They should quickly gain a new appreciation for what you do for them.
Revoke Their Privacy
This one is a popular one for parents who have teens that abuse their privacy (by doing things they shouldn’t be when no one is looking) or by those of teens who have a tendency to slam doors. It generally only takes once or twice of going for a day without their bedroom door for a teen to straighten up.
Take Away Their Toys
It’s the same method as mentioned above, and that you have likely used since they were very young. Can’t behave or treat your things nicely? Then you do not deserve to have them (right now).
Head to the Thrift Shop
Along the same lines of giving to others, make your teen go through all the mountains of clothes they don’t need and instruct them to fill a garbage bag, of good articles of clothing. Preferably with a couple pieces, they currently wear, then take them to hand donate the items.
Wait Before You React
Rather than dish out their punishment immediately, if it is possible to wait to address the situation, wait until they want something from you. Then as they pester you over and over for the newest video game, or new t-shirt or a ride to their friends, kindly remind them of the time they were rude and disrespectful and let them know that because of that, you will not be doing this for them.
Have a Conversation
Try talking to your teen. Sometimes teens act out and misbehave with the same behaviors over and over because they don’t know or understand why that particular behavior is so unwanted. Sometimes all it takes is explain it to them for their attitudes to change.
Try a Tiny Bribe
We all know it works. “If you go scoop the dog poop from the yard, we will pay you X amount of dollars”. You could pre-emptively offer your teen a reward for reaching a milestone like pulling up their boots and working harder at their homework (or to stop neglecting it all together).
Reward Good Behavior
Everyone likes being rewarded for good behavior. Try starting by giving your child a small reward any time they do something good. This way they know the next time they think of misbehaving that they won’t be getting that nice thing any longer. This can be anything from a bonus in their allowance, or to be taken out for a quick bite out.