If you’re looking for a list of logical consequences for teens, you’ve come to the right place!
There are so many different ways to discipline children, tweens, and teens, and while some still opt for more extreme techniques like removing their child’s most prized possessions, grounding them for long periods of time, or giving them the silent treatment, many are opting for a more positive approach to discipline. Positive parenting techniques are designed to improve parent-child relationships, reduce power struggles, increase emotional intelligence, and encourage open and honest communication, and can be extremely effective in the teenage years.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about logical consequences, including important DOs and DON’Ts, tips for getting started, and 11 logical consequences for teens that work!
8 DOs and DON’Ts of Disciplining Teens
While it can be tempting to dish out punishments when a mouthy teenager continues to disregard your rules, consequences tend to be more effective as they offer an opportunity for a child to learn from their mistakes. Enforcing the right logical consequences for teens can also teach responsibility, accountability, and problem-solving skills. Here are some DOs and DON’Ts about using consequences to discipline teens:
- Criticize. Remember that the goal behind using consequences is to provide an opportunity for your child to learn from their mistakes, not lower their self-esteem.
- Blow things out of proportion. As you’ll see in this post, in order for logical consequences for teens to be effective, they should be natural and logical. For example, enforcing extra study time is a great natural consequence if your teen receives a poor grade on a test. Grounding him or her for a month is not.
- Give long-winded speeches. While it can be tempting to try and make your child see your point of view while dishing out consequences, this will likely just aggravate the situation further and result in a power struggle. Be firm, get straight to the point, and walk away instead.
- Negotiate. Once you’ve given your teen a consequence for his or her behavior, stand your ground and move on. Don’t engage in discussions or arguments, and do not under any circumstances negotiate an easier consequence as that will do nothing but undermine your authority.
- Ignore bad behavior. If your teen is misbehaving but isn’t causing harm or doing anything dangerous, ignore it. Don’t engage with your child, and avoid eye contact until he or she stops the behavior in favor of something more acceptable. You can then offer praise and positive interactions.
- Use consequences that have meaning to your child. It can be really difficult to come up with appropriate logical consequences for teens in the moment, so spend some time devising a list of ideas so you have something to draw from when the need arises.
- Be consistent and follow through. In order for consequences to work, you must resist the urge to intervene and always follow through. This is not always easy with a moody teen, but it’s so important!
- Discuss what happened when everyone has calmed down. Once your consequence has been handed out and everyone has calmed down, take a moment to sit with your teen to discuss what happened and brainstorm ways to avoid the situation from occurring again. This will enable you to validate your child’s feelings while also explaining why his or her reaction may not have been appropriate.
Natural Versus Logical Consequences
Natural consequences occur inevitably as a result of a child’s behaviors or actions:
- If your child refuses to eat, they’ll feel hungry.
- If your child fails to study for a test, they’ll likely receive a low grade.
- If your child insists on going outside without wearing a coat in winter, they’ll feel cold.
You get the idea…
Logical consequences, on the other hand, require thought and involvement from someone else, such as a parent, teacher, or caregiver, and are designed to help children replace poor behaviors with more appropriate choices:
- If your child fails their math test, they’re required to spend more time studying after school.
- If your child doesn’t turn off their smartphone or tablet when you ask, it’s taken away for a period of time.
- If your child is late for curfew, they aren’t allowed to stay out late the following weekend.
While both kinds of consequences are effective, natural consequences don’t always occur as a result of poor behaviors, making logical consequences an effective behavioral strategy.
How to Develop Logical Consequences for Teens
While the idea of using logical consequences for teens sounds easy in theory, they can be challenging to implement. When your teenager is being difficult and disrespectful, it can be really hard to keep your cool and remain calm and rationale, and coming up with creative consequences in the heat of the moment can feel next to impossible.
Before you start handing out punishments that are completely unrelated to your teen’s behavior, do these things instead:
BE CLEAR ABOUT RULES AND EXPECTATIONS
While you may have used behavior charts with your kids when they were younger, chances are you aren’t still giving your teens a gold star when they clean their room, finish their homework, and obey curfew. That level of behavior management simply isn’t necessary, but you still need to have a conversation with your kids about your rules and expectations as they move from one stage to the next. The teen years are a time of self-discovery and pushing limits and boundaries, so its’ important to take the time to clearly outline what you will and will not accept. The easier the rules are, and the more consistently you reinforce them, the easier it will be for your teenager to meet your expectations.
When your teen is acting out and you feel your blood pressure rising, take a deep breath, gain control of your emotions, and take inventory of where you are in that moment. Set a good example by refusing to let your child’s behavior upset you, and remember that his or her actions aren’t a reflection on you as a parent, but rather a normal part of the teenage years. Knowing this can help you to pull back, regain your composure, and be proactive instead of reactive.
CONSIDER THE REASONS FOR YOUR TEEN’S BEHAVIOR
If your child tired, hungry, or sick? Have their been changes in your home recently that could cause your child to feel extra stressed or emotional? Is there something going on at school that could be creating anxiety and worry? Figuring out the WHY behind your child’s behavior can be extremely eye-opening. Not only will it allow you to connect with and help your child better, but it will also enable you to be proactive and avoid a repeat experience in the future.
USE THE THREE R’s OF LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES
In order to be effective, logical consequences should be:
- Relevant. To help your child to make a connection between the behavior and the consequence, it’s important that the 2 are tied closely together. For example, enforcing additional study time when your child receives a bad grade on a test is a reasonable consequence that directly corresponds with the behavior you are trying to change. Taking away a child’s TV privileges for a month due to a poor grade is not.
- Realistic. Consequences should also be reasonable. In the example above, implementing an additional 30-60 minutes of homework each evening and/or hiring a tutor after receiving a bad grade is realistic, but taking away all of your child’s privileges and expecting him or her to spend 6 hours a night studying is over the top.
- Respectful. Logical consequences are designed to provide your child with an opportunity to learn from his or her mistakes, not lower his or her self-esteem. Use simple, concise, factual language and avoid negative emotion so as not to embarrass your child and make him or her feel defensive.
FOLLOW THROUGH NO MATTER WHAT!
As parents, we often hear about the importance of being consistent and following through with consequences, but it can be so difficult to do in the heat of the moment – especially with teens! Just remember that if you fail to follow through, your child won’t take you seriously, learn accountability, or figure out the difference between right and wrong. Dig your heels in and stand your ground no matter how hard it feels!
11 Logical Consequences for Teens that Work
When it comes to enforcing logical consequences for teens, it can be really difficult to think on your feet and stay in control. A great way to prevent you from losing your cool and coming up empty handed in the heat of the moment is to spend some time anticipating challenges and negative behaviors you’re sure to experience with your teen, and then devise a list of consequences for each that are relevant, realistic, and respectful.
Here are 11 logical consequences for teens to inspire you!
1. LOSS OF PRIVILEGES
When it comes to logical consequences for teens, this is a really easy one as it can be applied to so many different situations. If your child doesn’t clean up his or her video games, they’re taken away. If your child is rude when you ask him or her to put their phone away, phone privileges are removed for a period of time. If your child misses curfew, he or she has to be home earlier the following weekend.
2. REMOVAL OF VALUED OBJECTS FOR A PERIOD OF TIME
If your child constantly leaves his or her video games, electronics, clothes, makeup, etc. lying around the house, or refuses to clean his or her room when asked, put everything that isn’t put away properly in a bin and take it all away for a period of time.
3. CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR OWN ACTIONS/INACTIONS
As parents, it can be really hard not to step in when our kids mess up. We may excuse them from class if they forgot to study for a test, drive their lunch to them if they forgot it in the fridge, stay up late baking cookies for the bake sale they committed to but forgot to tell us about, or meet them at soccer practice with the gear they forgot in their bedroom. It feels good doing this for them, but over time, it can become problematic in that they don’t learn responsibility or accountability and begin to take our time for granted. If you’re looking for logical consequences for teens who are forgetful, allow them to suffer the consequences of their own actions (within reason, of course!) and they will soon learn to set reminders and appreciate all you do for them!
4. MORE RESPONSILBITY
If you’re looking for logical consequences for teens who like to complain about the things you do for them (the food you buy, the meals you prepare, how often you do laundry, etc.), a great one is to STOP DOING THOSE THINGS. Your child needs to learn how to cook, clean, grocery shop, do their own laundry, etc. anyway, so once they start voicing opinions on such matters, it’s time to teach them a valuable lesson.
5. TIME DEDUCTED FROM TASKS THEY ENJOY
If your teen constantly argues with you about doing homework, completing household chores, etc., consider taking the additional time they spend arguing about it away from more desirable tasks, like playing video games, talking on the phone, or watching TV.
6. IF YOU BREAK IT, YOU FIX IT
If your teen has a tendency to get frustrated and take his or her feelings out on objects (hello, smartphone!), a great logical consequence is to require them to earn the money to fix or replace items that become damaged or break.
7. SPEND TIME WITH THOSE THEY’VE HURT
If your kids exercise a healthy dose of sibling rivalry on the daily, or you learn your child has been mean to a classmate at school, a great logical consequence is to require them to spend more time with that person. This could mean a sleepover in their sibling’s room, organizing an outing with an ostracized classmate, etc.
If your child is being disrecptpful and rude to you, don’t be afraid to ignore him or her until they start speaking to you the way you expect. It may take some time for them to understand the reason you are doing this, and you may want to discuss this logical consequence beforehand, but it works like a charm! This is also one of my favorite logical consequences for teens who like to argue.
9. LOSS OF TRUST
If you’re looking for logical consequences for teens who have a habit of lying, the most obvious one would be a loss of trust and the associated consequences of that lack of trust. For example, if your teen lies about studying at a friend’s house when they are really somewhere else, the logical consequence could be that you check in with his or her friend’s parents next time they visit their house, or you might decide they can’t be trusted with access to a car and drive them to and from their friend’s house.
10. NO WORK, NO PLAY
If your child refuses to do his or her chores, don’t be afraid to take away the things he or she enjoys doing until they are complete. Once your child realizes they will lose their phone, video games, etc. until they are finished helping out around the house, you (hopefully) won’t have to nag as much the next time.
11. TEND TO OTHERS FIRST
The last item on my list of logical consequences for teens is perfect for families with pets. If your teen is responsible for taking care of your dog, cat, bird, hamster, etc. but puts up a fuss about it, do not allow them to enjoy certain things until they have fulfilled their responsibilities. For example, they must feed the animals before they sit down for their own meals, they must take their animals for a walk and/or clean up after them before they can spend time on their devices, they must play with their animals before they call their friends, etc.
While logical consequences require upfront thinking from parents, teachers, and caregivers, they are extremely effective in helping kids replace poor behaviors with more appropriate choices when used correctly. Remember to be clear about rules and expectations, consider the reasons behind your child’s behavior, and use consequences that are relevant, realistic, and respectful. The list of logical consequences for teens in this post are designed to provide your child with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, not lower his or her self-esteem. If you take the time to anticipate and plan ahead, you will be much better equipped to deal with disrespect and poor behavior in a more positive and effective manner.