21 answers

Appropriate Punishment for Teenager

My daughter will be 13 next weekend. She pulled a stunt today that deserves punishment, however we are unsure of what to do. She had permission to walk the mile home from school. She was over an hour late because she took it upon herself to stay after school and talk to her boyfriend. She didn't attempt to call to let us know what was going on.

We consider this a severe breach of trust and safety and that she would be punished appropriately once we decided what to do. For sure there will be no socializing with her friends for some time. Any other ideas on what would be appropriate? The other problem is that school is now done so not letting her talk to her friends/walk home doesn't faze her since she wouldn't get to do that now much anyway.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow! Thanks for all the responses. We did punish her by not letting her talk on the phone or going to visit her friends. We also are setting some very strict guidelines that she needs to follow for the future. She is basically a good kid, but has been focusing more on friends and has been letting her grades and chores slip, so we are keeping a very close eye on those things also.

Featured Answers

I would take the all phone privelages away (cell and house), Computer time also. If she isn't going to have the respect to call and tell you where she is or what she is doing than she doesn't need to be in communications with any of her friends.

1 mom found this helpful

For punishment as well as for the fact that she is only 13...don't let her have a boyfriend. Do not allow her to spend the summer days alone at home, or babysitting her siblings. You could tell her you will delay her the privilege of attending driver's ed/getting her temps when she is 15 1/2 by one month every time she is irresponsible like that. I suppose you could make a chart for it.

1 mom found this helpful

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As others have said, yes punish her but dont make it very long or severe. You have to pick your battles very carefully at this age.

I can only offer what I did w/ my children at that age. I did the whole yelling "You could have been kidnapped and blah blah blah!" They didn't get much from that cuz it happened again and so I changed my tactics (my children are years apart so this had to be repeated for each). 1st; I ground them for the weekend - no computer, cell phone or friends coming over, basically no life outside our home and family. 2nd; I had them do everything w/ me for the weekend - no leaving my side except for bathroom or bed. They helped me do all my chores and let them know it was cuz I was sooooooo very afraid I had lost them! I over did it so I could make my point. 3rd; this came 2 or 3 weeks later - I came home late w/ the excuse "I was talking to my friend and forgot the time!" and my kids were panicked cuz they couldn't get into the house and they didn't know where I was cuz I left the original place I was going. I got yelled at! And grounded for 3 days! LOL! I ended up doing their chores w/ them as they wanted me in their sight at all times! LOL! Boy, did that ever make a point!

Sit down now (you and hubby) and think of certain situations your child(ren) could break the rules. Rank them, think of what would be worst and least offenses. Then have an idea of how you may respond to each. Not cut and dry cuz teens have a wonderful habit of finding loop holes in every rule. You may want to share a few w/ your kids but not all of them. Tell them 1 severe and 1 not so severe consequence and then say "You get the picture." This gives them the thought of what you expect and what they can expect BUT it leaves things open for you to alter something when needed.

Most of all be consistant! A will get you B. This way they will have clear guidelines in which to live by.

And just to be real honest here, my baby (a full fledged teen) can easily get round me on groundings! I was so good w/ the others! Anyways, I have had to get more creative for him! LOL! Sometimes, it's nothing more than doing the "gotta pinch your cheeks and kiss that sweet face" routine in front of friends. But I can follow thru w/ grounding for a particular activity (like Homecoming) or a particular item (no more minutes on his cell phone). Or worse yet! He had to attend a family function! Those are the big things in his life right now.

What I'm trying to say is that you can change things up a bit for each child. They are different people so they can have different consequences just not different basic rules.

Oh this is a book I lived w/ in my hands when my oldest put me thru the wringer! Get Out of My Life but first could you take me and Cheryl to the Mall? by Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D. You may be able to find it at your library or at www.PaperBackSwap.com or www.bookcloseouts.com.

4 moms found this helpful

I'm a high school teacher of 8 years, and just want to throw one caution out there--if you punish her severely, and hand it down like a judgment from God, you may lose your ability to communicate with her--and 12/13 is awfully early to lose that kind of communication with a teenager. I'm certainly not recommending ignoring it, and I'd be sure to stress the importance of safety and how worried you were and how not knowing where she is for an hour is a huge concern, but IMO, getting her to understand, truly, why not contacting you was wrong is a bigger issue than how to punish her. Walking the line between her desire to be "adult" and her need to be parented is very hard, and I'm definitely not saying I have the answers, but I do know that not recognizing her belief that she's growing up and into an adult (whether she acts like it or not) can easily result in her simply being disgusted with her parents and ignoring them entirely.

3 moms found this helpful

I think you are seriously overreacting. Was this willful disobedience or did she just get caught up in the moment and loose track of time? If you punish this as severely as you plan to, she will likely find ways around your rules to do what she wants. Give her your rules and some reasonable consequences and then work with her to help her be respectful of your needs and desires. It is important that she follow through with what is expected and she needs to know that this is not OK. But if you use your big guns on this issue, you may run out of ammo before you get through the whole war.

3 moms found this helpful

My son is 13 and he also walks a mile home from school. We learned from experiences like yours, that it is his time to dawdle and talk, socialize and daydream. His school is competitive and hard and he does do chores when he gets home. Believe me, I've had a few harried moments of not knowing where he was, but I'm learning to change my expectations. I know he's a generally cautious and responsible person - who is definitely prone to acting like a difficult teenager. From what I've read about raising teens, the most important thing is to keep communication open and to set limits for them... which they will push back again and again. If you decide on a stern punishment, then I would suggest also countering it with a lot of really positive feedback about what your daughter does well and how you're proud of her. I also ask my son what he thinks a reasonable punishment is - the kids all talk among themselves about punishment - so-and-so is grounded, so-and-so has to clean the bathroom, and all the kids do compare whether their parents are reasonable or not (none of us are, but there is still comparison and I for one want to be considered fair). I like the tactic of taking away privileges for a short period of time (a day or a weekend) and then letting it go. My son recently confided in me that he has found that the kids at his school with the most lenient parents are the most obnoxious kids - but I'm not supposed to tell his friends he said that!!!

2 moms found this helpful

Teenage years are so much fun:-S. She made a mistake on not calling you or following the agreed upon privelage so I can understand why you are angry with her. Thing is you are acting out of fear along with teaching her how to think of others and act responsible. If you go overboard on punishment with this, she will rebel on you in the years to come. I was a pretty strict mother and my kids hid so much of what they did (now that they are adults I am finding out just how much). If I had to do it over again I would home school them out on a ranch and keep them from any other person until they are 20! Ok I am just kidding on that, but after talking with her letting her know how scared you were and telling her if it happens again these will be the consceqences... Taking her phone for a few days or taking away her internet/computer/video games for a few days might be enough to teach her to be more thoughtful. If you punish harsly over a hour late home from school (how many times do we get caught up when we get to visiting our friends and forget the time?), then what will you do for something like drinking, lying, stealing, back talking and rebellion? I would also say don't give out punishments that you can't control. I use to ground my kids when they were teens and with me working, I couldn't be home to see that they abidded by it. Needless to say, it didn't work very well. Although my daughter when she was grounded would clean my house from top to bottom and then ask to go somewhere. I always felt it was a way of appologizing and would let her go. My youngest was grounded and asked his sister how she got off being grounded and was told he needed to clean the house. He said he tried that and it didn't work (surprised me, I didn't know he tried cleaning house :-O) so she told him he had to clean it really really good! The next day while I was at work I recieved flowers (thinking of you mom) from him! See flowers to get out of trouble must be a inbred thing.

Anyway, good luck with your daughter and be prepared, it does get worse before it gets better (when they move out and find out they had more freedom at home with you paying the bills) and know that this too shall pass.

Something to remember, aliens come down and clone our good children and take them for about 4 years. They leave this clone which gives you fits who looks like your child but you know it isn't cuz yours wouldn't EVER act that way! They do bring them back though and it is secret what they did while gone. I asked my kids and they just rolled their eyes and said "Mommm". Keep a sense of humor and know some day they too will be the mom or dad of a teenager!

2 moms found this helpful

I dunno she's 13 it's the last day of school. I would have done the same thing. I think there is alot worse things kids do these days.

Ground her for 1 week and be done with it. If she was caught smoking,having sex,stealing,something along those lines I would be as upset as you are.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi T. -- Did you make it clear to your daughter that she was supposed to come directly home when school was over? That she must call if she wouldn't be home by a certain time? Those things may be obvious to us, but sometimes they have to be spelled out for a teenager! If you just relied on her common sense without defining your terms, it might be wise to go easy on any punishment this time. Maybe you & your husband & she could sit down and CALMLY discuss the issue. Describe the safety benefits of you knowing where she is and/or when to expect her. (She'll probably pooh-pooh that.) Describe the benefits to your (the three of your) relationship of you being able to rely on her -- you'll be able to trust her with more responsibility, give her more freedom, etc., as she proves herself. Remind her that in the real world courtesy goes a long way toward making life pleasanter for everyone.

I'd be interested to see how she responds to your calm, fact-based comments. I would think that if she seems contrite and/or understands the wisdom of what you're saying, maybe you could say something like, "Well, since we weren't clear about our expectations before, we'll let it go this time, but now that we all understand each other you realize that if you goof up again there will be serious penalties. If you're not sure how we'd feel about a situation you can always call one of us."

On the other hand, if she is obstinate and says you're crazy, all the other kids do it, etc., you have to show her that irresponsible behavior has consequences.

1 mom found this helpful

For punishment as well as for the fact that she is only 13...don't let her have a boyfriend. Do not allow her to spend the summer days alone at home, or babysitting her siblings. You could tell her you will delay her the privilege of attending driver's ed/getting her temps when she is 15 1/2 by one month every time she is irresponsible like that. I suppose you could make a chart for it.

1 mom found this helpful

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