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Punishments for Teenage Rebellion

by Amy Morin, studioD

As teenagers yearn to establish autonomy, they often rebel against authority. Mild rebellion usually isn't harmful and can be quite common. However, more serious rebellion, such as crime and substance abuse, can have dangerous consequences. If your teen rebels, provide punishment that discourages further rebellion and helps her establish independence and autonomy in a safe and appropriate manner.

Ignore Inappropriate Bids for Attention

Sometimes, teens rebel to gain attention and shock adults. If the behavior appears to be for shock value, ignore it. For example, if your teen arrives home with purple hair, don't make a big deal out of it. Paying too much attention to minor behavior problems may encourage your teen to continue them. Ignore other minor rebellious behavior, such as whining, talking back and sulking. However, avoid using the silent treatment in a passive-aggressive manner, warns HealthyChildren.org.

Natural Consequences

When it is safe to do so, allow your teen to experience the natural consequences that result from rebellious behavior. Natural consequences help teens learn from their own mistakes, according to the Iowa State University Cooperative Extension. For example, if you allow your child to set her own bedtime and she chooses to stay up late, the natural consequence is that she will likely feel tired when she has to wake up for school the next morning.

Impose Restrictions

Restrict your teen's privileges to deter further rebellion. Avoid making the punishment too severe or too lenient, recommends HealthyChildren.org. While taking away TV privileges for 24 hours may work for one teen, it may not work for another. Look for restrictions that will matter to your teen so it will be effective in changing the behavior. Ask your teen for input into what the punishment should be. After hearing her ideas, make the final decision.

Assign Community Service

Assign a community service project to your teen if the rebellious behavior has damaged property or hurt anyone, recommends the Austin Psychology and Assessment Center's website. Look for community service activities that are related to the behavior. For example, if your teen runs away from home for a night, punish him by making him volunteer in a soup kitchen that feeds homeless people. Punish a teen who destroys public property by making him pick up litter in the park.

About the Author

Amy Morin has been writing about parenting, relationships, health and lifestyle issues since 2009. Her work appears in many print and online publications, including Mom.me and Global Post. Morin works as a clinical therapist and a college psychology instructor. Morin received her Master of Social Work from the University of New England.

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