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What's Fair Game?

Dear Mark,

I've been reading your e-book, My Out-of-Control Teen, and I've gotten some good ideas already. One thing that I'm not sure how to handle is taking away things as a discipline. Our 16-year-old son has a computer and video games that he bought himself with money that he earned at his part-time job. When we threaten to take these away from him, he says we can't because he paid for them. How should we handle this?

Thank you for your help.



Hi S.,

First of all, here's the link to the page of the eBook that most applies:

Look for the section entitled ==> When You Want Something From Your Kid

Secondly, if he EARNED his computer and games, then you shouldn't take those items away as part of discipline; however, he does live in your house ...and you pay for the electricity. So, in using the strategy in the section listed above, you can add one caveat:

Issue a warning by saying to him, "If you choose to __________________ (the behavior that is unacceptable), then you'll choose the consequence, which is as follows: You will be charged a fee (to be paid within 7 days) for using the electricity in my house, and if you cannot - or will not - help pay the electric bill, then you'll choose to (a) have the electricity shut off to your room or (b) loose the power cord to your computer (for 1 - 3 days)."

If he engages in the inappropriate behavior after the warning, then follow through with the consequence. If he refuses to accept this consequence, then take everything away (except the disabled computer and games) and ground him for 3 - 7 days.

This may sound ridiculous, but he needs to understand that using your electricity for his entertainment is a privilege - not a right.


P.S. This is representative of how the "real world" operates. That's why you're doing this - to prepare him for the real world.

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