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Consequences for Teen Misbehavior

by Chris Oldenburg

Parents experience challenging times as they struggle to find effective measures to discipline their teens. Having the right tools and techniques to set consequences for your teens' misbehavior can contribute significantly to their behavioral development. However, finding the right balance between respecting your teens' freedom and managing their behavior is not always easy. The purpose of consequences is to instruct and help your teens rectify their behavior for the good of their future.

Withdrawal of Privileges

The Austin Psychology and Assessment Center encourages withdrawing some of your teens' privileges for a short time when they misbehave. For instance, if they always come home late on the weekends, restrict them from going out again for a while. Prior to withdrawing any of their privileges, have a candid conversation with them, explaining why you found it necessary to make the decision. Your conversation with them should be meaningful and reflective, letting them know the connection between their behavior and your expectations.

Natural Consequences

Natural consequences revolve around the duties and responsibilities of everyone in your home. Tell your teens you will only wash clothes that are in the hamper or serve supper at a specified time. The natural consequences of failing to put dirty clothes in the hamper or coming home late are having your teens do their laundry themselves or prepare their own meals. The consequence you choose to enforce has to be relevant to your teen for it to be efficient, according to the website, "Family Education." If, for example, your teen does not care about wearing dirty clothes, failing to wash their clothes won't be effective.

Apologies and Restitution

Your teens' misbehavior may sometimes harm their peers or other people in your community. You can have them write an apology letter and accompany them when they deliver it. In cases of damaged property, such as breaking a door or window, they can repair or replace it. Making restitution is an effective problem-solving skill, which enhances positive behavior change. The process of repairing or replacing something they damage helps your teens to be mindful of the possible implications of their negative behavior.

Practical Punishment

Iowa State University recommends using practical punishments when other techniques do not work. When your teens' behavior results in the disruption of other people's peace, for instance, you can have them perform some community service, such as working in a concession stand for charity or in a nursing home. Misbehaving at home can result in having your teen clean his room or wash the family car. The severity of punishment should be related to the grossness of their misbehavior.

About the Author

Chris Oldenburg has been writing on parenting topics since 2001. Her work has appeared in "Better Parenting" Magazine and the "Behavioral and Brain Sciences Journal." Oldenburg has worked as a child psychologist since 2004. She holds a Master of Arts in child psychology from South Georgia College.

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