10 Reasons Grounding Your Child is Not Working

Posted on by admin | in Nanny

Grounding is a method of behavioral modification that’s been around for generations, and enforces the idea of suspending privileges and freedom as a result of breaking the rules. Though the longevity of the method seems to suggest that it’s effective, many parents are finding that not to be the case. If your child isn’t responding well to being grounded, here are 10 possible reasons that this method of discipline isn’t working.

  1. It Creates the Need to Be Sneaky – Grounding a stubborn kid can often make them a sneaky stubborn kid. This is usually because they feel that they’re forced to result to subterfuge in order to circumvent their punishment.
  2. Grounding Removes All Motivation For Good Behavior – The very nature of being grounded for a specified length of time removes all motivation for good behavior, as kids feel that they’re going to be forced to continue their confinement “no matter what.”
  3. It Quickly Becomes a Cycle – When kids result to lying and sneaking around to get out of their grounding, they usually get caught, which then leads to a longer term and even more lying. The cycle repeats ad infinitum, resulting in frustrated parents and kids.
  4. Parents Can Be Tempted to Shorten Terms – Living with a kid that’s been grounded for a few days is miserable for the entire household. When life with a surly kid becomes too much, parents often relent and leave kids feeling as if they’ve been rewarded for their bad behavior.
  5. It Prevents the Possibility of a Dialogue Between Parents and Kids – Kids get angry when they’re grounded, and angry kids don’t typically have any interest in speaking to their parents, let alone engaging in a constructive conversation.
  6. Kids Become Defiant – When kids know that they’re going to be grounded for small infractions, it makes them defiant and more likely to engage in higher-risk behavior because they know that they’re going to end up on restriction for the slightest slip or the biggest blunder.
  7. Kids Sometimes Overcompensate For “Lost Time” Later – All too often, teenagers bide their time and live through excessive grounding by reminding themselves of exactly how much high-risk fun they’ll have in college or after they’ve moved out. In a bid to overcompensate, these kids are usually the ones that end up in big trouble.
  8. Excessive Use is Counterproductive – Being grounded excessively leaves kids feeling as if they’re on indefinite house arrest, with no end in sight. The motivation to behave in even a barely acceptable manner is removed, and kids can become almost impossible to control.
  9. Grounding Doesn’t Help Kids Learn to Make the Right Decisions – Being grounded in a fit of anger only teaches kids what not to do; when they’re sent to their room in solitude, they’re never being taught what the right decision would have been.
  10. It’s Not Uniformly Effective – Grounding works sometimes, for some kids, under some circumstances. It’s not even a surefire method from one day to the next with the same child. Like any other blanket option, it usually isn’t tailored to the specific needs of an individual.

The most effective method of teaching kids and teens right from wrong is to create an environment where they feel as if they can speak freely and be heard without judgment, and where parents can calmly explain the consequences of bad behavior. Any methods used in anger are likely to be ineffective or to backfire.

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One Response to 10 Reasons Grounding Your Child is Not Working

  1. Great post. I agree that grounding isn’t effective, although I do take away TV time etc.
    Only after giving him a choice and time to work it all out.


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