An important lesson you will teach your teenager is the lesson of cause and effect. The Child Welfare Information Gateway recommends that consequences relate to behavior to make them effective for teaching and motivating your teenager to change behavior. When your teenager breaks house rules, institute punishments that connect to the broken rules.
When your teen has a specific curfew that she needs to follow, either on weeknights or weekends, it’s imperative that you enforce this expectation with your teenager. If you fail to enforce the curfew, you send your teenager a confusing message about your expectations and about what is acceptable, states the University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line. Possible curfew consequences include docking your child’s next time out by the same time she was late or removing going-out privileges for the next weekend.
If a teenager fails to perform household chores or performs them in a substandard fashion, you have several options for remedying the situation. The ABCD Parenting Research Centre Program suggests withholding your help and cooperation from a child when the child fails to perform. Perhaps you won't have time to do your child's laundry or give her rides because you will be busy picking up her slack with undone chores. This consequence teaches the concept of a cooperative two-way street with your child – your child performs according to your expectations and you perform to help and support your child.
School and Grade Consequences
Teenagers may have issues with completing schoolwork on time and earning the minimum grades you require. A natural consequence of not completing a school assignment would be requiring your teenager to resolve the issue with the teacher without your assistance. The Iowa State University recommends that the teenager explain the situation truthfully to the teacher without receiving support or an excuse from you. If your teenager is not earning minimum grades, a logical consequence may be an earlier curfew, no cell phone use or no activities with friends to give him the time he needs to study.
If you discover that your teenager is engaging in deception – either lying to cover up behavior or failing to give you important information about activities and behavior, it’s important to teach your teenager the magnitude of this misbehavior, states the Psychology Today website. Have a direct conversation with your teen, telling her that lying exacts a significant penalty, both to her and in her relationships. Discuss the situation to determine why it happened and then inform your teenager that you won’t accept anything but the truth from her. Give your teenager an opportunity to atone for the deception, perhaps doing some extra chores around the house. Once she’s worked off the infraction, you may decide to keep closer tabs on her, requiring extra telephone calls and checking up on her whereabouts, until she satisfies you that she will be honest.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Setting Rules and Consequences with Teens
- University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line: Positive Discipline and your Teen
- ABCD Parenting Research Centre Program: Setting Limits and Using Consequences
- Iowa State University: Using Consequences to Promote Responsibility
- Psychology Today: Adolescent Lying: What it Costs and What to Do
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