Don’t tell them I told you this but my children are generally pretty awesome and we have a great relationship. They constantly amaze me with the things they do and they genuinely make me proud every single day.
That’s not to say that they’re perfect though and there are times when they misbehave and they need to be punished because no matter how rarely they’re naughty, if I don’t let them know that their actions will have consequences then I wouldn’t be doing my job as a parent, would I?
I don’t shout at them when I’m punishing them (or at least I try not to) because when I do I tend to ‘over-punish’ them because I’m angry myself. I remember once a couple of years ago, Miss Frugal had a really bad attitude and I grounded her for a day as punishment. She had her stubborn face on and pretended that she didn’t care so I upped the grounding to two days and then three and then four. We got to a week before she actually looked like she was bothered and apologised.
I believe you should always stick to punishments rather than just threaten them so she ended up grounded for the full week for a little bit of attitude. The punishment didn’t fit the crime in this case but I stuck to it anyway to prove a point so she had a week where she wasn’t allowed to go out or to use any of her electronics.
I’ve honed my discipline skills over the years though and I have some pretty foolproof methods these days that hit them where they hurt (not literally) but before I tell you my tried and tested ways to punish a teenager, here’s the do’s and don’t that I’ve learned over the years….
Don’t discipline them in front of their friends
Do wait until you’re at home in private
Don’t deal with things while you’re so angry you know you’ll shout
Do tell them to go upstairs and wait until you call them down
Don’t threaten punishments that you won’t follow through on
Do stick to anything you say.
Don’t get so angry that you ‘over-punish’ them
Do try and make sure that the punishment fits the crime
Don’t just give them their punishment and send them back to their rooms
Do make sure they understand what they’ve done wrong and why you’re upset
Always make sure they know you love them and never hold a grudge – once you’ve dished out the punishment then it should be done with!
Here’s the ways that I use to punish my children when necessary:
1) Sometimes nothing more than sending them to their room is necessary because yes they shouldn’t answer back or be rude and yes they should always be well behaved but growing up these days isn’t easy and it should be expected that there’ll be the odd incident. When it’s just a one off or they seem to be in a general bad mood then I’ll send them upstairs to their room for a while to chill out. I’ll leave them for a while and then go up to make sure everything’s OK and that there aren’t any underlying reasons that I need to know about. We’ll generally have a hug and then all is forgotten.
2) We have an electronics prisons where the ‘naughty’ child is told to put their electronics (phones, tablets, Xbox controllers etc) when they do something they shouldn’t. This is usually for attitude over and above what I’ve described above when it’s not worthy of a grounding but something needs to be done so they understand that it isn’t acceptable. They can get them back pretty quickly by changing their attitude and doing an extra job around the house on top of their daily jobs.
3) If I discover that their rooms are a mess or they haven’t done their daily jobs then I’ll take the chargers for their electronics away and they don’t get them back until their room is tidy. This usually happens when I’m at home during the day and they’re at school so they’ll come home to be told they need to tidy their rooms and it’s always dine in super quick time because they can see their phone batteries going down bit by bit and they want their chargers back before they turn themselves off completely.
4) I have occasionally deducted money from their pocketmoney as a fine for repeat offences but I make sure that I give them a warning beforehand to give them the opportunity to stop this from happening. A repeated messy bedroom is the only thing I can think of where I’ve done this and it worked like a charm.
5) Grounding is still the punishment that is the hardest to take as it cuts them off completely from their friends seeing as they can’t go out or use their electronics. This is usually just for a day or two as they’re not naughty enough usually to warrant any longer but I would be wary of grounding them for too long as it becomes harder to stick to the longer it goes on for.
By not shouting at them and always making sure that I’m calm before we talk then I’m able to make sure that they understand what they’ve done wrong and why I’m annoyed with them which I think helps them deal with the punishment better.
I’ve never had the dreaded ‘I hate you’ thrown at me or the mean ‘you’re ruining my life’ words shouted at me (although Miss Frugal did say that when I brought Master Frugal home from hospital when he was a baby as she was expecting a turtle for some reason) so I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
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