What Are Good Punishments for Teens Who Have Snuck Out?

Even teenagers who generally behave well might be caught tip-toeing to the door one night. Whether your teenager snuck out or made the attempt, several punishments can make him think twice next time. Family members and friends might also have advice on how they disciplined a teenager in a similar circumstance.

Punishments Related to Sneaking Out

As a rule of thumb, the punishment should fit the crime, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Removing privileges, including using the car or the computer for a set time, might be an effective measure, according to KidsHealth, a child development site 1. Parents might also want to ground teenagers, preventing them from leaving the house except to go to school. It can also be an effective idea to let your teenager recommend what his punishment should be for sneaking out, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Whichever punishment you choose, discuss why sneaking out is unacceptable with your teenager. Lay out the rules and go over them with your teenager so he is aware of what is at stake next time.

Punishment Rules

Grounding your teenager for a month and making him do all of the housework might seem like an effective means of punishment, but it will likely breed resentment, according to KidsHealth 1. Only pick punishments that you can stick with, and remember that punishments tend to be less effective if they last more than a day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Consistency is also important. If you choose not to discipline your teenager for sneaking out one night, but punish her the next, she might gradually lose respect for you and your limits.

Punishments to Avoid

It might seem like an effective idea to make a teenager visit a relative he dislikes or help you volunteer or do housework as punishment. However, this punishment will not teach your teenager about his behavior and it might cause him to resent helping others in general. Spanking, hitting and screaming are also not effective disciplinary methods, according to KidsHealth. Give yourself a time-out if you feel yourself getting heated while disciplining your teenager 1.

Additional Help

Try out various methods of punishment. Your teenager might respond better to some than to others. But if discipline is a consistent problem in your household, you might benefit from family counseling or behavior therapy, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics 4. A trained worker might be able to help you figure out more effective punishments for your teenager and what you can do to increase the odds that your teenager will follow your rules in the future.