6 Sneaky Parent Tricks to Keep Your Teen in Line


finger wagGreat, another reason to be terrified of the teen years. A judge in the UK just punished a teenager for a string of burglaries by taking away his most prized possession -- his Xbox. And here my parents told me I couldn't use the phone for a few days. Which actually meant something in the days when the family phone was connected to the wall by a giant twirly cord.

You see where I'm going with this? Forget the sex talk, folks. That doesn't scare me quite as much as having to come up with creative teen punishments every time the kid screws up. A word of advice, y'all, friend parents with kids who are older than yours. The mother of your teen babysitter will do. Then ask them. I did. Or, you know, just save this list I came up with from all my asking:

Make them show you affection. What better way to ensure your surly teenage son never again forgets to take out the garbage on his way to the bus stop than to show up at his football practice and give him a big smackeroo on the cheek, then proceed to hold his hand all the way back to the car. If the memory lapse continues, advise him that all movie theater outings for the foreseeable future will happen with you. And by with you, you mean he will be sitting in the seat beside you, sharing your popcorn. Make sure your hands brush in the bowl.

Door removal. A messy room is a parent's cross to bear, but eventually you reach a point where you decide: do I call the exterminator or do I finally force her to clean it up? Take the door off, that floor will be clean enough to eat off in no time. Then call the exterminator (because those mice will be hungry, and you don't need them moving on to your kitchen), and please, put the door back.

Community service. What is it they can't appreciate at home enough to respect? Are they giving you grief about dinner? Oh, that food bank could use some volunteers. Always breaking curfew? How about lending a hand at a homeless shelter for teens? A dose of reality goes a long way. OK, so it's not creative, but think of it this way ... it also gets them out of the house, so you can have an afternoon free of "sulky, cranky teenager." Oh, and your bathroom will be free for that afternoon too.

Data plan removal. Oh, they can have their cellphone to call you after school. They can be a calling fool. They just can't use Facebook or text or do anything ... um, fun, with that cellphone. Cackle. Cackle. Consider it the modern day equivalent of the "no phone calls."

Favorite food preparation. See, a mean mom would cease all preparation of her naughty child's favorite food. A devious mom would make her bratty kid's favorite food at breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. For a week. See who complains about the spaghetti and sauce from a jar the next time you've been working late.

Clean their room. Torture for you? Oh no, darling. Just put everything in a big black bag, and then place said bag somewhere in the house. Don't look through anything -- especially not diaries (do kids even keep those anymore?) -- but let them THINK you did. That's punishment enough.

Notice none of these punishments are truly cruel or inhumane. Like, you know, taking away their Xbox (my husband would be a puddle in the corner).

What do you have up your sleeve to keep your teen in line? Is it truly devious?


Image via Lara604/Flickr

behavior, family


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Putri... PutridyCorpse

I like the door removal one lol

GlowW... GlowWorm889

The cleaning the room one would drive me nuts, both because all my stuff would be in a garbage bag and I was/am a little OCD about where stuff has to go. My poor sister went in and cleaned my room one day, trying to be nice (that and she was sick of looking at the mess); I yelled at her for twenty minutes because I everything was out of order and I couldn't find anything. Okay, maybe not twenty minutes. But I did rip her head off. I apologized later, but she never tried to clean my room again. :P

Other than that, I love these all. Althought I wouldn't allow my teen to have a cell phone. At least not one that I spent my money on. If they want it, they have to pay for it themselves. I'd also like to add that along with volunteering, a little manual labor helps, too. We have family who live in a rural area and always need extra hands to haul brush, remove stumps and dead trees, brushhog fields of tall grass, plow sod for gardens, weed a roughly 3-acre garden, pick vegetables...the list goes on and on. And that's just in the spring and summer.  And did I mention they start at the crack of dawn? And stop only when it gets too dark to see?  And that there's no internet or cell phone reception? ;)

MrsDex MrsDex

Yup. Love this. I don't have teenagers (yet) but the door removal and cooking their favorite meal all day everyday... Mwahahah. I'm so gonna do that. I might even try it with my husband, LOL.

nonmember avatar JoanOH

In his mid-teens, my son repeatedly came to the dinner table in his underwear. Every time I'd have to ask him to go put his pants on and he'd roll his eyes and tell me he didn't know why he had to blah blah blah before he'd go get his pants. I got tired of the repeated bad behavior, so the next time he came into the kitchen in his underwear, I said if he could dress that way, so could I and started to unzip and drop my pants! I've never seen him run so fast. Needless to say, we never had underwear at the dinner table again.

kisse... kisses5050

 A girl at my school when I was in seventh grade was coming to school and changing clothes...then getting into trouble for dress code her mother found out from a friend she was looking "pretty trashy at the movies and skating rink" So one day during the passing period before lunch whenthe halls where at the fullest her mom came walking through dressed in the most ridiculous outfit  and  walked down the hall loudly saying her  daughters name and follows her into the cafeteria and sits down next to her, " that's what you you like to my friends parading town looking the way you do! How people reacted to me are how they are reallllly reacting to you you dont look attractive you look avaliable knock it off"

ta2di... ta2dirishlass

I am so saving these suggestions for the teen years.

nonmember avatar Shane

I have to say, the first one really creeps me out. Unwanted physical contact forced on another person is never okay, and I would say this example crosses the line from embarrassing to humiliating and invasive. Taking an action that is supposed to be an expression of love and twisting it into a punishment is a pretty damn good way to assure that your kid will be less comfortable with/likely to show you appropriate physical affection in the future.

ilove... ilovemymonsterr

being the stage of mixed teen angst and mommyhood, i find this article appalling but also see myself using these horrible tactics in the future..

Pua Smith

For curfew breaks, I already have one planned out. I am keeping record of all their most embaresing moments as infants, babies and toddlers. And if they break curfew, their boyfriend or girlfriend or crush or whoever will be invited to dinner with their entire family. And after dessert? A presentation of mortifing moments they never wanted anyone to set eyes upon.

kisse... kisses5050

Curfew? My roomate at universty use to tell the story of how her father would make her dates put a 100 dollar deposit down on her! if she was home on time  they got the money back if she was late he got it!

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