Discipline Your Teen by Assigning Extra Responsibilities

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Although there are many ways to discipline teens, assigning extra responsibilities can be a particularly effective consequence. While taking away a privilege or grounding your teen is a passive consequence, assigning extra responsibilities is a way to make your teen have to take responsibility for his behavior in a proactive manner.

Just like a judge may assign community service for a teen who breaks the law, you can assign community service projects for a teen who breaks your rules.

Look for jobs that your teen can do that will help make amends for misbehavior.

8 Ways to Discipline Teens

Why It Works

Sometimes taking something away from your teen isn’t enough. For example, if you tell your teen he can’t go out with friends for the night due to his behavior, he may be content to watch TV or play on the computer instead. As a result, the consequence might not be all that effective.

If you assign extra responsibilities, your teen will need to do some work. You could assign a job, such as cleaning the garage, to ensure that your teen has to do some work as a consequence. Assigning these extra chores will help your teen become more responsible for his behavior.

Also, if you tell your teen he can’t earn back his privileges until he’s completed his extra responsibilities, it empowers him to have some control over when he earns his privileges back. For example, tell your child he can have his computer privileges back once he’s taken out the trash and swept the floor.

Avoid nagging your teen to get his extra responsibilities done. Instead, allow him to decide when he wants to earn his privileges back. Make it clear that it’s up to him to do the work and you’re happy to give back those privileges as soon as the work is all done.

When to Impose Extra Responsibilities

There are many circumstances where it can be helpful to assign extra responsibilities.

If you think your child’s offense is serious enough that taking away a privilege won’t be enough, try imposing some additional responsibilities.

Assigning additional responsibilities can also be used as a form of restitution. For example, if your teen kicks a hole in the wall, taking away his phone might not be enough. Instead, you may need to make him also fix the hole in the wall or do some extra chores around the house.

Examples of Extra Responsibilities

  • A 13-year-old breaks his younger brother’s toy. His parents assign him to do his brother’s chores for one week so he can earn enough money to pay for a new toy for his brother.
  • A 14-year-old loses her electronics privileges and her parents tell her she can earn them back once she rakes the yard.
  • A 15-year-old didn’t do the dishes on a day when it was his turn. The next day his parents assigned him to do all the dishes from both days.
  • A 16-year-old gets suspended from school. Her parents tell her to clean the house while she is home and they give her a specific chore list.
  • A 17-year-old leaves trash in the car. Her parents told her she needs to wash the car and clean out the inside before she can borrow it again.

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