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How to Punish a Lazy Teen

by Maggie McCormick, studioD

It can sometimes seem your teen thinks his job is to lie on the couch and watch TV. If you've been encouraging your teen to be more active around the house, whether by pitching in on chores or getting outside for exercise, and he's not doing it, it's time to take a more drastic actions. Punishments for laziness might help your teen shape up.

Cool down. If you're angry and resentful because you've just spent two hours cleaning the house, while your teen was sunbathing, you'll likely be upset. Any punishment you impose at this time might be unreasonably harsh. Instead, wait until you've had a bit of time and can think more clearly. The punishment is then more likely to fit the crime.

Remove your teen's privileges. Teens enjoy a lot of privileges that might be contributing to laziness, such as watching TV, texting or talking on a cellphone, Internet use and computer games. Taking some or all of these away until she shapes up might motivate your child.

Assign extra chores or responsibilities. If your teen isn't following through on his usual chores, a few extra chores will not only get him active, but it will help out around the home. Chose chores he can do and be specific about the way you want them done.

Revisit the punishment if behavior improves. Your punishments shouldn't be indefinite. As your teen starts to get more active, she deserves to be let off the hook.


  • Set the expectations and consequences for lazy behavior well ahead of doling out punishment. When your teen knows what to expect from his actions, your discipline techniques are fair.
  • Teens often respond better to positive wording, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Rather than saying, "Stop being so lazy" to your teen, you might say something along the lines of, "Once you've picked the clothes up off of your bedroom floor, you can watch TV."

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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