Parenting teenagers is probably the most challenging task ever in every parent’s life. Teen age is synonymous to rebellion attitude and clueless parents usually revert to harsh punishment tactics to deal with their visibly unruly teenagers.
Regardless of your kids age, what you as a parent need to first do is to ‘understand your child‘ and his point of view before reverting to punishment or disciplinary actions. To do this ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you trying to punish the child for the very first offense?
- Do you have over expectations out of your child or set unreasonable expectations?
- Are you the kind who likes to highlight only the wrong doings but never praise the child for his good behaviors and achievements?
- Do you often compare your child’s current lifestyle with your own teenage experiences and limitations you had then?
- Do you often make statements and remarks about your teenage child with a tone that you have ‘written them off’ or given up on them?
If you got ‘YES’ as answer to couple of the questions above, then you have to first change yoursef. If not, proceed to the punishments that work for teenagers.
Appropriate punishment for Teenagers
Instead of enforcing a punishment mechanism, what probably will work best is a reward system for achievements or complying with a predefined and mutually agreed upon set of behavioral practices.
1. Reward system
Children may be provided with their little rewards for good behavior, helping with chores and being good at studies thereby adding a small bit at a time to their allowances or pocket money. At the same time for any misbehavior, swearing or violent attitude, you need to deduct a smaller amount (than the reward point) from the same allowance. Basically if they cause a lot of trouble, they aren’t going to get any allowance or money to spend. This can really work over a period of time. However, this system cannot work with all kinds of offenses and misbehavior.
2. Cut privileges
Next level of ‘acceptable’ punishment would be be cutting off privileges such as Gaming, Internet access, mobile phone access, play time etc. Based on the severity of the error or misbehavior on your child’s part, you may decide what should be done. Again, it is good to have a pre-established and mutually agreed set of rules regarding what privileges will be cut off under what conditions.
This is probably the third degree of punishment where by the kid is not allowed to stepped out of the house – and sometimes not out of his room – except for schooling purposes. Along with the movement restrictions all his luxuries such as access to phone, gaming, television, radio, mobile phone, Internet etc will be cut off.
Grounding can have severe negative impact on the child if not dealt with care. Some kids can become permanent rebels with one episode of grounding. It is hence good to sit with them and tell in advance that under what conditions what grounding rules apply. It is more like a jail like situation when you ground your child and hence you might want to put yourself in that situation and assess before taking a decision on the same.
You may not ground your child for more than two or three days and never over a week. Prolonged grounding can have very bad psychological impact on the child and can even affect his or her confidence. Under certain circumstances, if you feel that your child has to be grounded for a month or even an year, you have to consult a counselor before taking such an extreme step.
Understanding your child and growing with him/her is the key to success with teenage parenting.