Logical Consequences for Teen Misbehavior

Discipline Your Teen with Logical Consequences

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While natural consequences can be effective teaching tools in some circumstances, there are many times when you'll need to supply a logical consequence to teach your teen an important life lesson. An effective logical consequence is one that will teach your teen to learn from his mistakes.

Logical consequences are the consequences that are most closely related to the behavior. They work well because they help teens remember why they received disciplinary action in the first place.

That helps them remember to make a better choice next time.

Loss of Privileges

A logical consequence may involve restriction from privileges. If your teen’s offense involves his video games, don’t take away his bicycle. Remove his video game privileges. Relate the consequence to the behavior.

 Here are a few examples of logical consequences:

  • A 13-year-old doesn’t do his chores so he doesn’t earn an allowance.
  • A 14-year-old doesn’t get her homework done because she’s texting her friends all night. Her parents create a new rule that says she has to complete her homework first before she can earn her cellphone privileges.
  • A 15-year-old doesn’t get his homework done. He has to stay after school the next day until it’s finished.
  • A 16-year-old is caught accessing inappropriate websites on the computer. He loses his computer privileges for one week.
  • A 17-year-old doesn’t tell her parents where she is going so she gets grounded from seeing her friends for the rest of the weekend.

    Restitution as a Logical Consequence

    Logical consequences can also include things along the lines of “you break it, you buy it.” If your teen’s behavior hurts someone else or affects someone else, restitution may be the best consequence.

    If your teen breaks one of his own belongings, he’ll receive a natural consequence when he no longer has that object anymore.

    However, if he breaks someone else’s belongings, a logical consequence is likely in order.

    Here are some examples of teens paying restitution for misbehavior:

    • A 13-year-old kicks a hole in the wall out of anger. His parents assign extra chores so he can earn enough money to pay for the damage.
    • A 14-year-old misses the school bus. She has to do chores to earn enough money to pay for her mother’s gas for driving her to school.
    • A 15-year-old rips a hole in her sister’s sweatshirt. She has to buy a new sweatshirt for her sister.
    • A 16-year-old throws eggs at a neighbor’s house. His parents make him volunteer to do chores for the neighbor for a week after cleaning up the mess that he made.
    • A 17-year-old forgets to come home on time to drive a younger sibling to her basketball practice. She has to take the younger sibling wherever she wants to go on Friday night.

    Time-Out as a Logical Consequence

    Although most teens are too old for an official “time-out,” you can still send your teen to his room as a logical consequence. If your teen is getting angry or frustrated and needs help calming down, sending your teen to his room for a few minutes can be a good solution.

    It’s healthy to send the message to your teen that says, “We’re not okay with you treating us in a disrespectful manner so go to your room to be by yourself now.” You don’t need to set a timer or refer to it as a time-out.

    Instead, tell your teen he can come out when he’s calm and able to behave in an acceptable manner.

    Problem-Solve Behavior Issues

    If your teen continues to repeat the same behavior problem, engage in problem-solving. Try something new if your current consequences aren't working.

    Consider your teen's behavior a sign he's not ready for increased responsibility. Provide a little more support along the way and try new consequences until you find one that is effective in helping him learn from his mistakes. 

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