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Monday, September 21, 2015

YOU’RE GROUNDED! - a cranky re-run


This cranky re-run is from September 2013

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.  
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.


  1. I only ever grounded one of my kids once. One week, school and home were his world. Because? He and a neighbour boy, same age, disappeared for an afternoon. They were six and both families searched for hours without finding them. They eventually came home as the sun was going down, we questioned them, they said yes, they knew we were looking, they'd heard us calling but had decided not to answer. (It was the other kid's idea, we all knew that and his dad made him say so). We grounded our boy for a week, they grounded theirs. We made it stick, the other kid was roaming the neighbourhood again the next day.

    1. The best way to punish kids is by taking away their cell phones. Then they can't text. Can't call anyone, (nobody knows phone numbers anymore). Life=over without cell phones

  2. I raised my kids all ready. Good Luck to the next generation. Grounded probably means more cell phone time or more google time anyway.

  3. Exactly! The sooner you start, the better the results.

  4. I don't remember ever grounding our son, but I don't think the "disappointment technique" would have worked on him. Of course we raised our son a long time ago and things have changed dramatically since then. But I still agree with you; the sooner you begin to set rules for your child, the better.

  5. I was raised without electronics or even TV, and my children "suffered" the same. Interestingly, when I acquired grandchildren there still was no TV and I did instill respect for themselves (and me) by confiscating electronics when required and showing my disappointment. it can be done, even at ten and thirteen years of age. Fifteen didn't work.

  6. I think a lot of people just don't know how to be good parents and it's not easy to get it right. Personally I think the key is consistency. Make the rules and abide by the rules, don't waver. I'm not a fan of grounding, I think it's more of a punishment for the parents but if you do do it then stick to it.I don't always see eye to eye with Miss Mac and, as she gets older, I concede that she can make many of her own (even bad) decisions but I'm not letting her have a scented candle in her room however much she keeps on about it and however many times she tells me that she WILL keep her room tidy so it's not a fire hazard. Frankly, it's one thing I DON'T want to be proved right on!

  7. I agree, starts with day one and I agree with the commenter who said consistency. The kid has to know if the parents says something they will follow through with it. Had a friend who in her teens would occasionally come home from a party with having had too much to drink. Her parents didn't really say too much in words but had her get up the next morning early to help with chores; chores that would take all day to do (outside type of chores). She eventually figured out excessive partying wasn't worth it.


  8. Not going to say what I may or may not have done/said/threatened to my two kids, who are now adults. Damned near middle aged. Just glad I don't have to raise any more.
    Change the wifi password? That's the only punishment that I can think of that I could possibly put here in print.

    1. It ALMOST makes me glad I'm old!!

  9. Oh the trials and tribulations of raising a know it all teen. They are pitiful for so long and then they figure out we were right. Things get better than. I so remember.

    Have a fabulous day Cranky. ☺

  10. Like Fran,I am almost pleased to be old. I am so glad I have no family members in that terrible group called "teen". I was grounded when a kid and envied those who were spanked. At least spanking was over and done with. Grounding lasted so long but then in those days, grounding was effective.

  11. You know what I hate? Those parents who do the countdown. "Johnny! No! Stop that or you're going to timeout! One...two...two-and-a-half...two-and-three-quarters..."

  12. This made me remember the Facebook meme about parenting teenagers: Raising teenagers is easy. It's like nailing Jell-O to a tree.

  13. Or you could put them up for adoption.

  14. If I'd misbehaved as a child, my mom would have whipped me with a rose bush. If DHR had come around, she would have whipped them too, and so on.
    She was basically a kind and just woman, but she could smell bullshit a mile away.