The teen years may make you long for the good old days of early childhood when most problems could be solved with a stern talking to and an afternoon without cartoons. Teenagers can make you worry and test your patience in ways you never imagined. When your teen is breaking rules and acting up, you may be at a loss on how to punish her. KidsHealth reminds parents to discuss the rules ahead of time, as well as what discipline will be enforced for breaking the rules to avoid confusion later on.
Consider a good, old-fashioned grounding as a form of discipline. What this means may vary from household to household. For some parents, grounding means your teen doesn't leave the house except for school and extracurricular activities and no one comes over. Other parents don't let their children go out but do let the teen's friends come to visit. Others take grounding to a another level and also don't allow television or electronics during the grounding period.
Taking Things Away
For some teens, losing favorite possessions or privileges can be a powerful punishment. For instance, if your child has a car, consider taking it away for a week and letting him become familiar with the school bus again if his infraction included the car or missed curfew. Many teens are also very attached to their cell phones, and taking away the cell phone for a period of time can really get your point across about what constitutes acceptable behavior.
While many parents think the timeout method is just for young children, it can be used effectively for teens as well, according to the Healthy Children website. When your teen is being argumentative or having a fit, send him to another corner of the room to cool off, telling him he can come back and join you when he's calm and can have a reasonable conversation again. The timeout area for your teen should be within your sight but in a boring place. In other words, don't send him to his room with his magazines and music. The dining room or a boring part of the kitchen is better.
For serious infractions, consider implementing an equally serious punishment. For example, not letting your son go to a concert in a neighboring city that he's been looking forward to or revoking your permission for your daughter to go to a special dance at school are examples of serious consequences for bad behavior. Examples of serious infractions include things like driving your car alone without your permission armed with only a learner's permit or stealing money from your pocketbook and trying to lie about it. Also consider making your teen do extra chores or take on extra household responsibilities for a bit as a consequence.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images