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How to Ground Teenagers

by Kathryn Hatter, studioD

Parenting teenagers is a real challenge because adolescents are vying for more independence while struggling with maturity lapses and confronting natural limits on their freedom. After setting house rules and limits, parents need to follow-through with consequences if teenagers don't comply with them. Consistency and promised consequences will show teenagers that you mean what you say. Grounding a teenager can be a common discipline technique because it generally gets the teen’s attention quickly and teaches an effective lesson.

Discuss the infraction with your teenager so she understands where she went wrong. For example, if your teenager has a curfew of 11 p.m. and she came home an hour late, she has broken her curfew. Tell her that you’re sorry she didn’t abide by the house rules about coming home on time. You might also tell her that you were waiting for her and you were concerned.

Tell your teenager that because she broke her curfew, you are grounding her as a consequence of breaking the rule. Give your teenager the exact details of the grounding so she understands the terms, including the number of days and the activities your child won't be able to do while she’s grounded.

Follow-through with the grounding as you promised so your teenager learns a lesson about disobedience. Maintain the grounding after you set it without reducing it. If you reduce the grounding after you set it, you teach the teenager that she can probably cajole or coerce you into changing the terms if she pressures you to reduce it.


  • Avoid grounding in anger because the heat of the moment might cause you to ground your child for an unreasonable amount of time. Once calm, you will be ready to discuss the infraction and mete out the consequence so your child learns an effective lesson. Reasonable grounding teaches an cause-and-effect lesson; whereas, long-term grounding can cause resentment, according to the Empowering Parents website.
  • The Texas Woman’s University recommends adjusting the grounding punishment for teenagers. Create about 10 household chores that the teenager could perform and write them down. Chores such as cleaning the garage, cleaning the basement, washing the windows, reorganizing the linen closet and washing the kitchen walls might be appropriate jobs for the list. If you ground your teenager, offer the teen the option of working her way off grounding by performing one or more of the chores on the list. With each chore completed, the teenager can reduce the grounding time. A mild grounding might only require one or two chores. A significant grounding that encompasses a week might require three to five chores to work her way off the grounding.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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