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