Punishing Children Productively: Choosing Effective Discipline

How to choose effective discipline for your teens.

Little kids, little misbehaviors. 

Bigger kids, bigger, more serious, behaviors. 

Why can’t our children just make all the best decisions, all the time?  Why do they insist on doing things that will get them into trouble?  Don’t distress!  Instead, take advantage of your children’s misbehavior and make the situation work in your favor.  Punish your children – more Productively. 

Read more to learn how to turn your children’s negative behaviors into some positive outcomes.

Many parents of teens seem to use several of the same types of punishment techniques.  Most reprimands seem to involve removing some type of privilege which is often electronic.

Most Common Teen Punishments

Loss of cell phone

Loss of TV, video games, iPads, tablets or other electronics

Loss of car keys or use of the family car

Loss of social time with friends or Grounding

Often these punishments become less effective over time so why not mix it up and make it more exciting!

Let the kids wonder:  What she will make me do this time?? 

A good friend of mine says that as parents, we spend their whole childhood finding out what makes our children happy so that we can take it away when they get older! 

I didn’t have too much need to ground my kids in the past.  Now, I will ground my children if needed but I don’t like them laying on the couch doing nothing so I decided to put my children to work around the house instead.  Why not take advantage of their new, homebound status and keep them from being bored?

Since I have been using household chores as punishments, my housework hasn’t been piling up as much.

Recent Punishment Jobs Have Included:

  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher, for a month.
  • Helping to put the all the mulch down in garden and carrying all those heavy bags.
  • Scrubbing, bleaching and hosing down all the patio furniture for the season.
  • Raking and bagging leaves and yard waste
  • Vacuuming a room, a flight of stairs or the whole house
  • Trimming the hedges around the house
  • Scrubbing the mold off the white fencing
  • Dusting all the furniture
  • Vacuuming the pool
  • Cleaning the bathrooms
  • If you were very mean to a sibling, you can do their chores for the next two weeks!

There are so many jobs I can give my kids to keep them from being bored when they are punished! 

Many years ago, when I was still in high school my aunt shared a story of what happened when her friend’s teenagers decided to take out the family car for a ride.  The problem was, neither one of them had a driver’s license, only the son had his learner’s permit.  The parents were on their way home from shopping and happened to pass their own car driving in the opposite direction.  It wasn’t like the kids could duck down or hide in the bushes, they were caught in the act.  While the kids were punished during their first week home for summer vacation, Cecily, their mom took advantage of her children’s new homebound status.  Her basement floor was in need of repainting so their job was to clean out the basement, paint the floor and put everything back again.  Legend has it that the brushes she gave them to use were quite small. This idea always stuck with me, simple yet brilliant.

I currently have two young teens and two pre-teens so I’m not talking about punishing little children in this post at all.  If your children are middle school and above age wise, they are well aware of their behavior.  Teens should be able to understand the possible consequences of their actions and should certainly know better than to do stupid things, particularly at school.

Disciplining kids gets trickier the older they get.  It was so easy when I could say: “I’m so sorry that you were not nice to your brother today.  No cookies for you tonight!”  Now teen discipline has arrived in our home.  Deciding on an effective punishment that will encourage your kids to think before acting and to make better choices seems to be an on-going process.  More than once, I have had to rethink my strategy.  So far I’m liking my new punishment project, it has some excellent potential.

Possible Outcomes for New Productive Punishment Project

To me, my new punishment has the potential to be a win-win situation.

  1. Either, I will get a lot of extra chores and house maintenance accomplished whenever my children decide to behave badly. = Win

  2. Or, my kids will dread getting in trouble for fear of constant grounding paired with unpleasant manual labor.  So, they will make some better decisions and not get themselves into trouble. = Win

I am sure there are several possible backfires to my plan.  Not that this is even a “plan”, it just happens to be what is working at the moment in my house.  My Real Plan, is for my kids to be responsible, reliable and always make good decisions, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that just yet.  Raising and disciplining my children is most certainly a work in progress that is constantly evolving according to their needs.  Every time I figure out what works with my kids, it works briefly.  Either my kids change or circumstances change.  We will see how long this project lasts.  So far my house getting cleaner is a plus.  What punishments are working in your house?

Related Posts:

Reduce your Laundry by 80% – How I did it!

Teaching Kids About Money– budgeting for kids

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