Talking Points: what’s an acceptable punishment for teenagers?

Charlie FanRachel Wong

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

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Charlie Fan, 16, Pui Kiu College

Temporarily take away something that teenagers value most, for example, their smartphone or laptop. Today’s teens actually can’t live without these electronic gadgets, so by depriving them of that pleasure, you are sending a serious message.

Faced with this kind of punishment, I don’t think they’d do something bad ever again.

Ady Lam, 11, Beacon Hill School​

Easy. Many teenagers nowadays can’t go even a day without their mobile phone. So, instead of leaving a child in the woods, which is a very silly thing to do, you could just ban your teenager from using their phone for a certain period of time, depending on how bad their behaviour was.

Arora Tanisha, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College

Corporal punishment. This is very harsh but the end result is really positive. It teaches a teenager to understand their limits, and show more discipline in future.

I am aware that a lot of people oppose corporal punishment, but every punishment has its negative side.

Serbuja Belita, 17, St Margaret’s Girls’ College

First, the teenagers should be told that what they did was wrong. If they do it again, they should be forced to do charity work like helping out at an elderly home for a week. It’s a punishment that would benefit society, too, and I am sure the elderly would welcome some extra help with their daily chores.

Rachel Wong, 15, St Stephen’s Girls’ College

The silent treatment. During this “time-out” period, teenagers should reflect on their wrongdoings and promise to improve their behaviour. Once they’ve done that, parents should make them earn their privileges and be really strict with them until they are well-behaved.

However, parents definitely shouldn’t scold or embarrass their children in public. This will only cause more conflict and lower the children’s self-esteem.

In our next Talking Points we’ll discuss:

What movie would make a useful addition to your school's curriculum and why?

We are now accepting answers from readers for this new topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry) to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday, June 6. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line!

Ahmad Anum, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

What teenager would want their personal items or gadgets to be confiscated? As a teenager myself, I wouldn’t dream of this. Apart from that, the most mainstream punishment would be grounding, as no one wants to have to stay home for a week or even more. These punishments may seem futile, but at this age, even the smallest thing may irritate teens. Of course, no teen wants to obey rules, so perhaps we should also ask: what is a suitable punishment for adults?

Tawian,17, St Margaret’s Girls’ College Hong Kong

What better way to discipline a child than talking it out with them. When harsh punishment is the only way you cultivate and develop your child, the right message often gets hazy . The child should be aware as to why they are getting punished rather than being beaten or treated with aggression. That will never solve the issue.

Meagan Remaldora, 18, St Margaret’s Girl’s College, Hong Kong

A good punishment would be a person to person talk. Talking them about the issue and listening to them seriously will definitely help them learn a lesson as they are aware of their doings.

Sharma Bala, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

The worst possible punishment for a teen is without a doubt, having their phone taken away. Their phone is as important as a limb and taking it away will leave them crippled. With no possible way to check Instagram or Facebook, they are sure to succumb to the parents wishes.

Ansar Aneeta, 17, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

Making a home-made lucky draw of different types of punishments would be a great idea.The child would not be able to argue or back out since he or she is the one to choose the punishment.This will make the person think twice about what they do the next time.

Sharma Vidhi Haresh,16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

The best punishment would be to deprive teens from using electronic gadgets. These have become a big part of our life, so restricting naughty teens’ access to electronic gadgets can be an effective light-handed punishment. This would help teens think about their mistakes without any corporal punishment.

Kawaljot Kaur, 17, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

If a child commits a mistake, and the parent is able to effectively talk it out and discipline him/her, it’s way more effective than punishing the child physically. Corporal punishment would just have a short-term effect, as the child may only remember the pain for a while, and then forget the consequences of doing something wrong. However, if a parent is able to change the habits and correct the wrong, now that’s an accomplishment!

Daing Nicole Fleur Mei, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College Hong Kong

What runs through my mind is that corporal punishment would be a rather suitable punishment for naughty teens as they will try to avoid repeating the same mistakes. They may become more disciplined and it will train them to think twice before they act.

Angela Pun, 17, St Margaret’s Girls’ College Hong Kong

They could establish rules within the household. Certain duties and responsibilities to discipline them. If that does not do the trick, then they have all the rights to carry out corporal punishment. That might get them back to their senses. No matter how old or young teenagers are, slippers and cooking utensils have the ability to scare the daylights out of them.

Armaja Kalpana, 18, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

While punishing a naughty teenager, parents should avoid physical/corporal punishment as it will make children think that violating someone physically in an anger or adverse situations is an acceptable reaction. Instead, parents should guide and discipline them to realise their responsibilities. It is always better to communicate with them about their behaviour and its consequences.

Nimra, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

To punish naughty teenagers, taking away privileges like freedom and enjoyment is the best plan of action. This will not physically hurt the teenagers and can be effective, as nowadays the youth has a strong appetite for freedom.

Teenagers would avoid repeating the same mistakes again, and will learn to respect their parents’ decisions.

Camille Alconaba, 17, St. Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

For troublesome teenagers, punishing them with violence would be of no use as it could push them into getting into more trouble. Thus, grounding them is the best way. Confiscating their smartphones or setting a curfew could bring discipline to them as they could reflect on their actions while they are not with their gadgets.

Mohammad Maria, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

There’s always more than one way to skin a cat! Instead of being too harsh, just minimising privileges can be the best punishment for the naughty teens. For instance, not giving them pocket money or anything they want will help them realise their wrong doing and consequently they’ll avoid repeating the same mistakes again so they can get what they want. This punishment will not only teach them a lesson, it also won’t hurt them physically nor leave any negative childhood memories or shadows of fear.

Gurung Alina, 17, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

Preventing teenagers from using their electronic devices is a great way to keep them disciplined. Not being able to use their cellphone can really bother someone. If they cannot use social media or contact their friends, it can make them realise the mistakes and they won’t ever repeat it again.

Gurung Agisha, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College

It’s almost impossible to know the mindset of teenagers. They point one way and run the opposite way. Sometimes they end up going the wrong way, so how exactly should they be punished? For minor mistakes, reflection on their wrongdoing and apologies. For a larger scale penalty, being grounded or cutting their pocket money would be reasonable.

Nichole Asley Cheng, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

Grounding teenagers is the best way to punish them. It is not only effective, but it limits their freedom. Parents’ want to nurture their teens to become well-disciplined yet well-mannered adults, and grounding them can help teenagers understand what they have done wrong.

Kamalpreet Kaur, 17, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

Punishment as strict as that for adults should be given to teens as well. This can easily decrease the amount of teen delinquency related crimes and fill teens with fear that they will get no mercy if found breaking the law.

Rossa Gurung, 16, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

When I was a child, my mum used to hit my palm with a hanger. Now, as a teenager, my parents use their words to make me realise what have I done wrong. So, I guess hitting is the best punishment for children and scolding is the best punishment for teenagers.