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Saturday, September 28, 2013


A cranky opinion for

Cranky Opinion Saturday 

Warning!! The following parental advice comes from a cranky old man with no accredited expertise in child rearing whatsoever.  He has been at least partially responsible for bringing three human beings into the world as productive citizens who have never been arrested for a crime or been targeted as major drug abusers*.  He is currently working on a fourth and hoping for similar results. 

Opposing opinions are welcome, wrong, but welcome and please no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid head. 

How do you punish your children in today’s world where any form of physical abuse can be reported and you may lose your child to social services?  You can’t verbally abuse them either.  Many children know all this and even threaten to report and or sue parents that do not follow acceptable parenting practices.

You can withhold their allowance.  Somehow kids manage to still get what they need.  You can take away TV privileges. That means you also have to take away their phone, i-pad, i-pod, and PC.  

These punishments just don’t work.  Without these electronic toys, they will drive you crazy and they won’t be able to do their school work. 

You can ground your child. 

Grounding is the most useless punishment of all.  Essentially it is an extended “time-out” which is often successful with toddlers.

Grounding to a teen is a joke.  A teens first reaction to almost anything is to rebel.  Grounding is giving them something extra to rebel against.  
A grounded teen will either sit out his punishment with all his fancy electronics and do their time as easy as standing on their heads;


They will pester you with constant questions and whining and the “grounding” will be more torture for the parents than the teen.

TV shows always make grounding look like an effective disciplinary tool.  When a TV teen acts up the TV dad always just calmly says,

“That is it young lady, you’re grounded…one week.” 

“THAT’s not fair daddy!”

“Not fair? Make it two weeks!”


“Wanna try for four weeks?”

“No daddy.”

I guarantee these scenes are written by idealistic young people who are not yet parents themselves.  I wonder how many young real parents fall for this great TV fantasy scenario.

In real life, after the “Not fair? Make it two weeks” decree, the teen’s response is,

“You might as well make it ten years, my life is over, I wish I was never born!” 

This is followed by slammed doors, broken stuff, hysterical crying, and ultimately results in participating in a Dr. Phil segment where the parents are forced to read “Life Code,” Dr. Phil’s latest best seller which is published by his son (Dr. Phil works that into every show he does.)

What is the answer to disciplining a teen?

It starts the day you bring your child home from the hospital.  Parents have to be in control, have to be the leaders of their pack, and have to have the child’s absolute respect.  Parents have to be firm but fair from day one.  They have to be calm assertive and the child needs to be calm submissive.  (See Cesar Millan “The Dog Whisperer.”)

When this relationship is established, discipline is simply a matter of showing disappointment.

My dad never raised his voice (hardly ever.)  If any of his children were caught misbehaving he would get a look in his eye and his body language would scream DISSAPOINTMENT.  When dad was disappointed and even HURT by our behavior it was a punishment worse than any yelling, beating, or grounding could ever be. 

After the look of hurt, came the explanation of the why, and the “don’t let me hear of this again.”

That was it!

You want to discipline your teen, start before he can walk.  Be a leader; be calm, be fair, be firm, and be consistent.  When you make a mistake, admit it.  When they are teens, they will fear your disappointment more than any punishment. 

And you don’t have to be perfect, you just need to try.

Or, you can ground them…good luck!

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management...Mrs. Cranky.

*Not to my knowledge


  1. Yes, that sounds good, no one likes to disappoint. But wouldn't it work even better if you withheld their banana ration as well?

  2. LOL! I love that you compare child discipline to training a dog! Very accurate, if a little disturbing.

  3. Totally agree Joe, as far as I'm concerned grounding is far more of a punishment for parents than children and is something I've only resorted to once (after the infamous non party episode) but I think my extreme disappointment was far more of a punishment for Miss Mac.

  4. Well, I had excellent success with taking back everything electronic, down to the last plug. Earning them back, one at a time, by respectful behavior. I only had to do it once.

    But then, I'm the grandmother.

  5. My kids (who are only 7) are terrified of being 'grounded' because they keep seeing it on TV and movies - even though I've told them what it means. When one of my kids admitted to me something she did recently she asked tearfully, "Are you going to ground me?" She's 7. Where does she ever go that I'm going to ground her??

  6. respect. that's the key. we respected our parents and they never laid a hand on us or really had to punish us at all.

  7. Benjamin Franklin was many things but a great father he was not. He once said that the best way to raise a teenager is to stuff them in a barrel and push food through a small opening until they're no longer a teenager, at which point you can let them out. This isn't abuse, is it?

  8. My parents believed in the 'spare the rod; spoil the child' method along with how imperfect and shameful my not being perfect was. grounding? that would have been novel!

    Their method resulted in my being a heading into the 60's rebel. Just showed scenes from Rebel Without a Cause on TMC… wow was that 1955?

  9. My dad once told me he was very disappointed in my behavior. That hurt more than any spanking my mom ever gave me!!

  10. I've never grounded my kids... i knew they'd just find ways around it... like you said, i started when they were young, i gained their respect... and it's my disappointment they fear most...... i think it worked, i've got pretty good kids (not perfect - but who cares about that) but they are what i would consider upstanding citizens.... the value my presence too... :)

  11. I received an occasional spanking up until my early elementary years, and was never grounded once. I am pleased to report that I turned out to be a fine upstanding citizen, and harbor no ill will toward my spankers. They made a valedictorian out of me. Different strokes for different folks' kids.

  12. AMEN, Cranky. Grounding not only is silly but it means there has to be a parent to enforce the confinement. That's usually more punishment for the parent that the offender.

  13. Excellent parenting Cranky. Today too many parents want to be their kid's best friend. That needs to wait until they're grown.


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