I'm about to speak in general, which is always risky, and I'm going to do it anyway.
For parents, in general, punishment is about venting our own anger at a situation or person. It doesn't teach much about the real world.
Consequences teach teens about the real world. A consequence is a result of what they did.
For a consequence to have it's best effect and to best teach about the real world, it needs to have the following six features: related, reasonable, respectful, swift, short-term and strong enough to get the attention of teens.
Let's take a brief and closer look at each of these six criteria:
1. Reasonable - “You are grounded for life!" is not a reasonable consequence, for teen or parent. “You have lost the privilege of using the car next weekend because you came an hour late" is a reasonable consequence.
2. Respecitful - You want them to feel bad about what they did not about who they are.
3. Related - The consequence needs to be related in some way to the rule broken. This helps teach causea and effect.
4. Swift - The consequence needs to come as possible after the rule is broken.
5. Strong - The consequence needs to be strong enough to get the attention of the teen.
6. Short-term - The teen needs to have an opportunity to better next time as soon as possible as well.
Visit ParentingYourTeenager.com for tips and tools for thriving during the teen years. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 5 day e-program on The Top 5 Things to Never Say to Your Teenager, from parenting coach and expert Jeff Herring.