Good punishments for teenagers

Appropriate Consequences for a Teen’s Bad Behavior

Posted on by middleearthnj 33 comments

When a teen breaks the rules or behaves poorly, parents must step in and ensure that there is a consequence. It’s important to understand that punishment is not the goal in a parent’s discipline, but rather providing a lesson. Learning from your mistakes is often life’s best method for growing and improving.

Here are some ideas for appropriate consequences when your teen misbehaves:

Ignore Mild Misbehavior

Ignoring behavior can be a very effective consequence to minor irritations, but it’s very important to carefully choose which behaviors you will ignore. Serious or unsafe behaviors should never be ignored. Mild misbehavior is something that is irritating or annoying, but does not harm humans (including one’s self), animals, or property. These types of unwanted behaviors tend to correct themselves over time, especially if you don’t overreact to them or reinforce them with a great deal of excited attention.

Allow Natural Consequences

A natural consequence is something that automatically results from a person’s action. Natural consequences show teens the reasons for your rules, and provide a correction without the parent having to do anything, which can prevent teens from developing resentment at a parent for “punishing them.” They can experience first-hand why the rules exist and what the results are when the rules are broken. Generally, natural consequences help them learn best. The key is for parents to avoid “rescuing” their teen when a natural consequence occurs. Sometimes the consequence feels too severe to a parent and they want to step in, but that ruins the lesson. Examples of natural consequences are:

  • When the teen refuses to do his homework, he faces the consequence of getting a zero or having to stay after school to get it completed. Parents don’t need to nag him to get it done because the consequence should get his attention better than nagging. Parents shouldn’t rescue their child by letting him stay up late or skip school to finish the assignment.
  • If the house rule is that mom only washes clothes that are placed in the hamper, then the teenager faces the consequence of not wearing the clothing article, washing it herself, or wearing it dirty.
  • If the house rule is that the teen receives an allowance on Friday, but the teen spends his entire allowance Friday night, then the consequence is that he will not have any money for the remainder of the week.
  • If your heavy-footed daughter gets a speeding ticket, the consequence is that she must earn the money to pay for the ticket.


Provide Logical Consequences

Sometimes natural consequences don’t work because they aren’t a strong enough deterrent or because the natural consequence is dangerous. For example, the consequence of not wearing a seat belt could potentially be death, so a natural consequence in an area of safety is not appropriate. In these situations, parents will need to develop a logical consequence to promote the desired behavior. Logical consequences should be directly related to the misbehavior and should not threaten or punish the teen. In our seatbelt example, a logical consequence for getting caught without a seatbelt is losing access to the car for a week. Another example: if your teen is having difficulty getting up in the morning for school, a logical consequence would mean an earlier time for “lights out” at night.

Assign Extra Chores

Sometimes there are not natural or logical consequences for misbehavior, but it still needs to be corrected. For example, if your son speaks disrespectfully to you, you can assign him the chore of cleaning the dinner dishes that evening in addition to his regular housework.

Opportunities for Restitution

When a teen’s actions hurt someone else or damage property, you have the perfect opportunity to allow your teen to make amends as a consequence. This is an excellent lesson in the making and also encourages empathy for others. Restitution gives your child a chance to try and repair some of the damage that may have been done. For example, if your teenage son vandalizes the neighbor’s fence, he should pay to repair the fence and do a few extra chores for the neighbor, or if your teenage daughter borrows her sister’s shirt without asking and then rips a hole in it, she should buy her sister a new shirt and make her bed for a week.

Restricting Privileges

Probably the most common form of consequences parents impose is “grounding” or restricting their privileges. There are a few guidelines for making this work:

Types of Privileges to Restrict. You must take something away from your teen that he really enjoys to make this consequence effective. It should cause your teen some discomfort to lose, but not be out of proportion to the misbehavior. For example, you shouldn’t make your child quit their favorite club or team because they missed curfew one night. Additionally, sometimes you must take away more than one item to really make an impact. For example, if you take away just the TV, your teen may end up watching TV on their computer, so there was no pain. Driving without a seatbelt might mean losing driving privileges for a week.

Explain Restriction Limits. Parents need to specifically tell their teen when or how they can earn back those privileges. Sometimes it makes sense to take something away for a set amount of time, while other times it’s more appropriate to have your teen “earn” back the privileges. Parents should not be vague – like “You can have your privileges back when you start behaving” – which will lead to frustration and resentment. Let’s look at the two types of restrictions:

  • Time Limited Privileges. This is when you take something away for a set amount of time. You tell them they cannot do something specific for 24 hours or a few days for a more serious or repeated offense. Never take something away for weeks or a month because it loses its effectiveness.
  • Earning Back Privileges. This is when a parent establishes a clear guideline of how their teen can regain their privileges. It’s important that your teen understand exactly what they must do to get his privileges back. A good example of this type of restriction is if your teen is late for his curfew, set his new curfew one hour earlier. Tell him he needs to behave responsibly for two weeks by being home on time and getting all of his chores done on time before he can earn back his later curfew. Then, leave it up to your teen to take responsibility for earning privileges back.

Following through with Restrictions. Restrictions only work if parents don’t give in or give up just because their teen whines or promises to behave. You must see the consequence through in order to see behavior change. If you don’t think you can actually follow through on taking his phone away for an entire day, don’t threaten to do so. You lose all your power. Only take away those things you are willing to live without and then follow it through. By choosing good restrictions and following through on those consequences, parents will see the behavior change they want.

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Creative Punishments For Teenagers That Actually Work

Appropriate punishments for teens beyond grounding

By Lauren Barth

Teenagers are like toddlers — they know how to push your buttons and they love to test their boundaries. It’s in the teen handbook and unfortunately for parents, teen angst comes with the territory of growing up and becoming independent. Of course, teens will make mistakes along the way. Some adolescent errors are forgivable while others have more long-term repercussions. As a parent, it is important to make sure your teen is being smart, safe, and respectful while navigating his or her way through adolescence. If teens aren’t, then you need to find appropriate punishments for teens. When a punishment is needed to discipline your eye-rolling, knows-everything teen, you want to choose one that teaches a vital life lesson. Sometimes punishments do call for tough love, which isn’t always easy for parents.


  • Good punishments for teens
  • Ways to help teens make better choices

Not all punishments are created equal. Some are more effective than others, which is why it’s important to choose an appropriate one. You’ll want to think long and hard about how you will make a punishment a learning experience for your teen. Here is a creative and impactful list of punishments for teenagers. Creative and meaningful punishments for teens can make all the difference in the world.

Good punishments for teens

Once your child reaches a certain age, some punishments no longer feel practical. Time-outs and dessert deprivation just don’t cut it with a teenager and neither does grounding for every offense. Looking for a list of punishments for teenagers? Here is how to discipline a teenager with some more effective and age-appropriate strategies. Creative punishments for teenagers can ensure that certain behaviors don’t repeat themselves.

  • Take away screens: Want to get your teenager’s attention? Take away their cell phone, laptop, and tablet along with their access to video games. Nothing spells business like the removal of all forms of electronics. Of course, while this punishment doesn’t get to the root of the issue, it does serve as a reminder to think twice about their behavior and actions. You can take away screen privileges for a day or two, but be sure to set the time frame in advance. Teens will have to find other ways to keep themselves entertained during this time, and you’ll simultaneously want to see an improvement in their attitude.
  • Remove social situations: If your child tends to get in trouble when they spend time with a certain friend or a group of acquaintances, you will want to keep stronger tabs on who they’re hanging out with and what they are doing together. Moreover, if your child is punished, you can restrict their ability to see friends for a certain period of time.
  • Face the music: Sometimes, the best course of action to not to take a specific punishment at all. That is not to say you are letting your teenager off the hook. Rather, in this instance, you are taking a step back and allowing the natural consequences of their actions to unfold. If you are the parent who typically saves the day when your child is in a lurch, this is a way to teach them to take ownership of their lives and accept the consequences of their actions.
  • Bulk up the chores: If your child tends to get into trouble because they are bored, you might consider adding more household chores and responsibilities to their daily and weekly to-do lists. This serves two purposes: It keeps them busy so they can’t stir up mischief and reminds them that they may want to do better next time.

Ways to help teens make better choices

Meaningful punishments for teens are important, but it is also critical to think more long-term and hopefully help set your teen on a better path. You want your teen to learn from his or her mistakes and not make it a pattern. Here are some ways to help your teen successfully navigate the muddy waters on the way to adulthood.

  • Lead by example: Your teenager might not want to admit it, but they look to you for guidance and see you as an example and a role model. So, practice what you preach. No, you don’t have to have a curfew or adopt a set bedtime. This is one of the perks of adulthood. Instead, you can and should show kindness and respect to others. Stay true to the commitments you make to your family.
  • Be clear about the rules: Set specific rules for your teenager so that they have clear guidelines to follow. The lines can become gray if there is room for interpretation. Don’t make the rules vague because teens will find a loophole.
  • Keep communicating: There may be a reason your teenager is acting out or behaving badly. If punishment is becoming the norm in your home, it is probably time to sit down and have a conversation with your child. Better yet, do not wait until issues arise. Keep the lines of communication open at all times. You want your teenager to come to you with problems before they manifest as behavioral faults. Teens need parents more than ever during adolescence.
  • Earn privileges: If you want to encourage good behavior, listening, and positive actions, consider a privilege system where your teen can gain more screen time, an extra half an hour on their curfew, or download a new video game if they continue to show positive changes. It’s basically a more mature version of a young kid’s behavior chart — but it can work!
  • Make sure the punishment fits the crime: It is also important to make sure your punishment is appropriate. There are big offenses and small ones. Teenagers are still kids and they will make mistakes. Remember adults make mistakes too.
  • Seek professional help: If behavioral issues or punishable offenses are severe enough to warrant major concern, talk to a professional and seek help or therapy. Your child’s school may have resources to help. Professional help is available in-person or online.

Teenagers are learning the ropes and figuring out what they can and can’t do. Of course, teens will try and see what they can and can’t get away with. Behavioral issues are par for the parenting course, especially as your child begins to approach young adulthood. Hang in there, and show some empathy, support, love, and, yes, sternness — as necessary. It takes creativity and patience to parent a teenager. Life doesn’t always hand you a list of punishments for teenagers. Disciplining your teenager isn’t the most pleasant part of being a parent. With older children come bigger problems. Setting boundaries and a clear set of rules goes a long way in providing teens a support system at home. When teens to trip up, make sure the punishment is appropriate and packs a lesson.

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How to punish a teenager?



How to raise a child?

How to punish a teenager?

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  • Expert advice
  • teenager
  • children in the family
  • family relationships

At the word “punishment”, something negative pops up in the mind: retribution, restriction, prohibitions, aggression… It may seem that the use of this concept in education is outdated, because we live in a “humanistic society”, where the cult of “personal freedom” reigns .

However, this is not entirely true. Despite the fact that many types of punishment are indeed a thing of the past or should be there (for example, physical and psychological violence, boycott, etc.), it is very difficult to do without them in the educational process due to objective reasons:

  • punishment defines the boundaries permitted: a teenager often lacks a sense of proportion - he cannot stop at the right moment, and sometimes he just needs outside intervention;

  • Punishment teaches responsibility: in the world there is not only freedom, but also responsibility - a teenager must be ready to answer for his actions;

  • Punishment disciplines: it forces one to think before acting and to calculate the probable consequences of an act.

See also

Punishment or senseless humiliation?

Punishment as a method of pedagogical process

Destructive punishment

All this refers to constructive punishment. However, there are also frankly destructive ones. Let's look at a few examples.

Sometimes you can come across recommendations from the category of “fight with fire” - when, for example, a teenager who smokes is forced to smoke a large number of cigarettes so that he develops an aversion to them. Such a strategy is questionable, to say the least. Firstly, its effectiveness cannot be considered fully proven, and secondly, one should think about the physical and psychological health of the emerging personality.

The second example concerns the validity of punishments. One of the portals contains an appeal from a mother who complains about the disobedience of a teenager: her son spends a lot of time with friends. The author of the message writes that she needs to learn effective methods of punishment, but at the same time adds that she has no time even to punish the child, because she works all the time.

Maybe the reason for disobedience in this case lies not in the obstinate nature of the son, but in his inner feeling of loneliness? Therefore, before punishing a teenager, you need to find out whether he is really to blame for what happened.

How to punish a teenager for the benefit of a developing personality

  1. Punishment should be based on the rules worked out together with the child and accepted by him. This is a kind of “contract” between parents and the child.

  2. All types of violence should be absent from the forms of punishment.

  3. Punishment, if possible, should immediately follow the offense. A delay is possible in case of illness of a teenager, his stay in stressful and other unfavorable emotional states.

  4. One offense cannot be punished twice.

  5. The punishment must be commensurate with the offense.

  6. If the parent has warned about the punishment for misconduct, then you must adhere to the chosen line.

  7. When punishing, show sincere emotions, but do not give the teenager a reason to think that now you have begun to love him less than you loved before the offense.

As practice shows, disobedience is most often observed in families where emotional contact between a parent and a child is broken. This is possible in families with underprotection, where a teenager feels unloved and unnecessary, left to himself, and with his inappropriate behavior he attracts the attention of significant adults.

This also includes families with overprotectiveness, where the demonstrative behavior of a teenager is a desire to escape from the yoke of excessive care.

If harmony, mutual understanding, and trust reign in the relationship between parents and children, then punishments are rarely used.

And one more thing. Before punishing a teenager, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How would I feel if I was punished in this way?

  2. Does the teenager understand why he is being punished?

  3. Would punishment be good for the child?

Only then make an informed decision. Keep in mind: the frequent use of punishments devalues ​​them.

A teenager is no longer a child, much is clear and accessible to him, therefore the most effective punishment is an understanding of what he has done, remorse.

Margarita Logvinova

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5 Effective Strategies for Punishment and Consequences for Adolescents


  • Is punishment appropriate for teenagers?
  • How to plan appropriate consequences for adolescents?
  • Effective Strategies for Punishing Adolescents
  • Common Mistakes in Punishment
  • How to help a teenager avoid punishment?

Your teen broke a ground rule and what he did could end in disaster for him and others. You know they need to be held accountable for wrongdoing. They must understand how wrong they were and why they should never repeat that mistake. This raises the question of punishment.

Many parents let their anger and frustration get the better of them and use punishments that hurt their teenagers. This can backfire. Your teen may become more rebellious and the relationship between you may deteriorate.

Read on as we tell you about the appropriate punishments or consequences for your teen's misbehavior, and the do's and don'ts for punishing your teen.

Is Punishment Good for Adolescents?

If your teenager is misbehaving, you should use age-appropriate punishments to prevent it from happening again. Punishments work in some cases, and in others they have the opposite effect. If your parenting style relies heavily on harsh punishment, it may prevent your child from learning self-discipline. In addition, a very harsh punishment strategy can turn a teenager into a rebel and make him lie or hide something from you.

Punishments are necessary and they really work if they are done in the right way and with the right approach. When your goal is to discipline a teenager and enable them to make better choices or deal with similar situations more effectively, the punishment you design will achieve its purpose. It is up to you to decide what consequences will benefit your teenager and help him demonstrate good behavior.

A good starting point is for the adolescent to be actively involved in establishing strict but clear house rules and to impose appropriate penalties for breaking them. The involvement of a teenager gives them the opportunity to control the situation and encourages them to obey.

How to plan appropriate consequences for adolescents?

When planning the consequences of bad behavior, consider the following points:

Consequences as a way out of action: remember that you intend to correct the teenager, help him correct his behavior and understand the problems that he caused. The best way to do this is to make sure that the consequences or punishment are aimed at solving the problem. For example, a teenager who breaks a neighbor's window must personally apologize to the neighbor and repair the window with their pocket money. Although this is not always possible, your goal should be to keep the effects in sync with the problem.

Consequences are proportional to the wrongdoing: make sure that the intensity of the consequences is proportional to the problem or wrongdoing. For example, a teenager forgets to take out the trash. Don't overreact and ground them for a week. Instead, let them take out the trash on the weekend.
However, if a teenager becomes violent in a fight with peers, don't take it lightly and pass it off with little consequence. This requires a much stronger, more intense response and consequences in proportion to the seriousness of the wrongdoing.

Consequences in terms of self-respect: never put down a teenager or attack his self-confidence when imposing punishment. The consequences, which are humiliating, cannot teach teenagers anything, but only make them rebel.

Effective Punishment Strategies for Adolescents

As a parent, you know what punishments are best for your teen because you know their likes, dislikes, and preferences. However, here are some common and effective punishment strategies used by teen parents.

No access to electronics: If a teenager ignores academics and stays tied to his cell phone for hours, or if he presents a very rude picture to guests during dinner, constantly checking his social media updates, a suitable punishment strategy is to force them to give up their phone privileges for a week.
This works well with all electronic gadgets, especially if the teen's favorite gadget is their phone or laptop. The "no electronics" punishment works well when a teenager ignores you and their assigned tasks and prefers to remain immersed in their digital world.

Limited time with friends : If your teen engages in inappropriate behavior with friends, a break in contact with friends is a good outcome. A stronger message would be to cancel weekend walks with friends for a while.
Stricter house rules: Violating house rules may mean a teen loses more freedom. This is a great deterrent and keeps the teenager willing to follow the agreed house rules. For example, if a teenager breaks a curfew for half an hour, set a new curfew half an hour earlier than your original one.

Making amends as a punishment: If the teen was responsible for someone who suffered a loss, ask the teen to fix it by repairing or replacing what was damaged. If the damage cannot be resolved in this way, ask your teen to come up with a way to lessen the impact of the loss. For example, if a teen bumps into an elderly neighbor who has a sprain, let the teen take the neighbor to the doctor and also get them some basic supplies for a few weeks. Make sure the consequences are directly related to the problem.

Deal with Music Alone: ​​Let your teen deal with the natural consequences of their actions without you stepping in and softening the blow. This is a great way to prepare them for adulthood when they have to face music alone. Let them deal with an irate neighbor who demands to know why a teen destroyed their flower beds, or a car owner on the street who wants to talk to a teen about the scratches on his new car from the teen cycle.

Common Mistakes When Punishing

Parents can sometimes get exhausted and nervous about a teenager's latest antics. This is when they tend to err in the application of punishment or investigation. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

Using the wrong words: things like "I knew you'd screw up", "You're just like your worthless uncle", "You can't do anything right" don't encourage a teenager to listen to you. On the contrary, these statements may lead the teenager to believe that he is not able to achieve more. This is not what you need.
Failure to comply: You tell a teenager that he will have to go without a phone for a week, but in the middle of the week you return his mobile phone to him. This tells the teenager that you are not serious about punishing him and he does not need to take it seriously.
No mention of the exact problem: your teen needs to know what they are being punished for. Do they lose their driving license due to a car run out or speeding? Tell them exactly what the problem is so they know what will get them into trouble next time and avoid it. When you set the rules, make sure they're very clear so your teen can't misunderstand them.
Establish consequences that do not affect them: For a teenager who loves being alone, being sent to a room can be a reward, not a punishment. Design the punishment based on your teen's personality and characteristics, not your own or other teens you know.
Do not tell how to fix the situation: the teenager may deeply regret his action and will seek to restore lost trust. Tell them how they can do it. Once they've done the right thing, leave the incident behind and don't keep bringing it up to taunt them.
In addition to avoiding these mistakes, always let the teenager know that everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but they get a second chance if they sincerely regret the mistake. Help your teen understand why they made the mistake, how to avoid repeating it, and what to do to avoid similar mishaps in the future. The key to this is to communicate openly with them, preferably after they are done with the punishment. This gives them time to look back and also fully understand the impact of their actions.

How can you help a teenager avoid punishment?

Just as you, as a parent, have a responsibility to correct your teenager by administering punishment when necessary, your job is also to help him avoid situations that require punishment. Here are a few things that will encourage your teen to follow the rules and avoid punishment:

Maintain an open, friendly relationship with them: in adolescence, your child is no longer dependent on you for all tasks, but you can still play an important role in their life showing interest in their activities and doing something with them.
Activities that allow you to give them positive attention, such as playing a game they enjoy or discussing a book or movie they enjoy, can help set the stage for a strong relationship with them. When your teenager shares a friendly and good relationship with you, they are more likely to discuss their problems with you without any restrictions.

Be available: Let your teen know that if they need help or advice, they can come to you at any time. Be available enough so that your teen can get in touch with you quickly before doing anything important. You can always give them specific hours when they can't disturb you at work, or ask them to let you know if you can't contact you immediately. Make sure you respond as quickly as possible in these situations.
Set a good precedent: be a good role model for your teenager. Make the decisions you want them to make in difficult situations and make sure they understand why you did things a certain way. Involving them in decision-making processes is a good idea because it gives them first-hand experience of how to consider different aspects before taking action.
Set clear rules: what you expect from a teenager should be crystal clear and not ambiguous. If necessary, write down the rules of the house, as well as the consequences that you came up with with your teenager. For example, "Be home by ___ pm weekdays and ___ pm weekends." When a teenager knows what is expected of him, he is more likely to remember and obey.
Avoid Arguments: A little flexibility can go a long way in helping your teen follow the rules of the house. Avoid strict rules, especially if you know it can lead to endless arguments. Instead, settle for a reasonable compromise. For example, instead of arguing with your teen about taking out the trash right now, give them a more flexible deadline, such as before bed. However, make it clear that the deadline is non-negotiable.
Creating an atmosphere of respect and sensitivity in the home also does wonders for getting teenagers to behave. After all, if they like to be treated with respect and attention, they must also prove that they deserve it.

Your teenage years can be your most difficult when you treat your child like a parent.

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