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Ideas for Grounding a Teen

by Jaimie Zinski

From missing curfew to underperforming at school to lying, grounding is a catch-all punishment many parents utilize. When it comes to successfully punishing a teenager with grounding, it's up to parents to determine if physically preventing their child from leaving the home or limiting access to certain items is the best way to utilize this classic strategy.

Grounding In

Grounding in is the option that limits your teen's ability to leave the home or his bedroom. When grounding your teenager in the home, Texas Woman's University recommends parents sit down with their teens to define the term “grounding” and their expectations. Grounding could simply mean staying in the home, and could be used to punish less severe offenses, such as missing curfew by 30 minutes or failing to complete a chore. On the other hand, grounding could also mean being confined to the teenager's bedroom and could be used to punish a more severe offense, such as repeatedly missing curfew. Whatever the case, Texas Woman's University urges parents to limit a teen's access to the television, cell phone or computer, as well.

Grounding To-Do Lists

Help teenagers view grounding as more of a punishment by creating a grounding “To-Do” list. Sit down with your teenager and explain that in addition to being grounded inside the home, he will be expected to perform certain tasks. For instance, while grounded it's your teen's responsibility to bathe the dog, do the dishes, sweep the floors, clean the windows or perform any other task you see fit. Failure to perform these tasks will result in an extension of the original grounding.

Modified Grounding System

The Texas Woman's University provides parents with another option that rewards teenagers for good behavior by lessening their punishment. Under the terms of a modified grounding system, parents provide points each time their teenager behaves and sticks to the terms of the original grounding. For instance, give your teenager points for completing homework, keeping the television off or performing chores around the house. The points are then added up and used to lessen the time your teenager is grounded. Conversely, points are taken away each time your teenager is rude, disrespectful or doesn't follow the house rules.

Loss of Privileges

According to KidsHealth, losing a privilege, or grounding your teenager from an object or activity, is the most effective punishment. When it comes to grounding your teenager from something, pay attention that the punishment fits the crime. For instance, if your teenager missed his curfew by one hour, ground him from using the car for one day. If he continues to break curfew, increase the punishment by grounding him from the car for an entire week. If he is consistently getting in trouble for texting in school or at the dinner table, ground him from his cell phone.

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