Discipline doesn't stop being important during the teen years.

Creative Punishments for Teenagers

by Eliza Martinez

Having a teen can be a struggle, even on the best day. With the increase in independence and surge in hormones, your teen might be testing the limits. This means you could be having a difficult time keeping order and peace in your home. Creative punishments for your teen are effective for getting his attention and putting a stop to undesired behaviors while also encouraging the ones you want to see.

1. Stop Social Freedom

Most teens place a high value on their social lives. This makes removal of their social freedom a creative way to keep them from breaking rules, according to Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., on the Psychology Today website. Have your teen hand over her cell phone, musical devices and laptop. Tell her she can't spend time with friends, other than at school for a set amount of time. This means no friends, no shopping, no movies and no school dances. You might have to suffer through having an angry teen at home for a few days, but chances are your teen will learn her lesson quickly.

2. Practice Good Behavior

If your teen usually forgets to take his dishes to the sink, put his clothes in the hamper or hang up his coat, make him practice doing it, suggests the Focus on the Family website. Have him take his plate to the sink or put his clothes in hamper several times in a row every time he forgets or doesn't do it without a reminder. This also works for leaving shoes in the middle of the floor, failing to put his homework into his backpack or pushing his chair in when he leaves the computer table. Having to stop what he's doing to take the time to repeat the task several times might be enough to help him remember next time.

3. Remove Desired Items

Teens have an invested interest in their privacy and appearance, so stopping poor behavior by making these aspects of his life disappear can be extremely effective at shaping desired behaviors and stopping undesired ones. If you have trouble getting your teen out of bed, turn off the hot water to his shower. If he slams his door when he's angry, take it off the hinges. If your teen takes your razor or shampoo, send him to the store to buy more, but make him pay for it with his own money. Put things away for your teen when he doesn't, but don't tell him where they are, so he has to spend time looking for them. Confiscate items, such as his cell phone or favorite video game, if he fails to put them away on his own.

4. Embarrassment

Many parents swear by embarrassing punishments while it makes others uncomfortable to enforce them. If you feel it's appropriate, embarrassing your teen can be effective when she breaks rules since most teens spend a great deal of time worrying about what others think of them. This might mean taking over your child's social networking site and posting a detailed description of what she did or having her ride in a wheelchair if she gets caught texting while driving to show her what could happen if she caused an accident. Some parents have teens wear signs that say what they did wrong and others require a public apology to everyone involved.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images