It occurs to me that there is one road I have not pursued in relationship to my teenage son’s proclamation that he wants to drink and do drugs: PUNISHMENT.
That probably seems lame. Not lame to punish, but lame that I never thought of punishment as a viable option. I decide to do some research to develop my arsenal, and I am surprised to find that when I search “best punishments for teens,” there is plenty to mine!
This was not true when I googled ways of talking with a teen who wants to be honest about drinking and drug use.
It’s said that you can tell a lot about a society by their prison system, but I think this search is just as revealing, as are the names of the sites with punishment tips:
- Parenting Squad
- Super Nanny
- Troubled Teens
- Teen Boot Camp
People are actually searching for this stuff, like this person who asked:
What is the best punishment for a teenage dad?
On my own blog, a parent suggests that I do drug testing on my son to make certain he’s clean. While another shares that they use motion sensors in their home to keep their teens in at night.
There’s an elephant in the livingroom.
The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.
Before my search on punishment, I tried bribery; but to my son’s credit, he’s dismissed it. Even a car. (Shocking.)
“I wouldn’t feel right doing that,” he says.
Of course, we’ve simultaneously released every bear we can think of--all the tragic stories of loved ones lost to death or addiction or deadening of dreams.
As a last option, I would use punishment if I thought it would be effective; But then I’d have to spend my days in suspicion in order to catch my son in crime so that I can punish him. That seems like a lousy end to what has been a integrity-full relationship.
So I’m going to keep my eyes there–on integrity; on right relationship–and let that inform the way (though I’m not above mentioning the arsenal of punishments out there or trying a few more times with the car.)
Kelly Salasin, November 2011