For the first time ever, we “grounded” a child this weekend. It was a plan that totally backfired in our faces.  I won’t go into the details of what happened but it boiled down to us giving our seven year old a choice.  He could do something he didn’t want to do, or suffer the consequences.

Hubby threatened, “either you go do this or you will have to be grounded this weekend.  That means you are stuck inside all weekend, no electronics, no TV, iPad or computer and no friends over.”

We had planned on going to the zoo that next day so it also meant no zoo trip, which my son had been looking forward to all week.

“You have 5 minutes to decide which you would like to do,” he added.  We both safely assumed Nate would make the rational decision and suck up the thing he didn’t want to do because… duh.

We all stared at the clock while no one said anything, but I wasn’t worried.  He’ll obviously make the right choice, I thought with confidence.

But as parenting is unpredictable, Nate did the unexpected as the five minutes ended: “Fine. Ground me.  I will do that instead.”

My reaction: Oh, shit.

We were all in and had to carry it out, of course.

But here’s the thing – the punishment ended up being just as hard on us as it did on him.  We had to alter our weekend plans significantly.

And the toughest part was having him watch hubby and his little brother head off to the zoo – because while I wanted to do was reschedule, it wasn’t fair to Cole to keep him home too.

As his time of grounding ended, Nate said, “I didn’t realize how bad grounding would be Mom.”  And when I asked him if he wished he had made a different choice, he said yes without hesitation.  Lesson learned but it wasn’t a good time for anyone involved.


  1. Like a knife in the heart. So difficult to see your children suffer . . even if it is ‘for their own good”. . When parents say ” this hurts me more than it does you”, it is usually so true. I also maintain that although the joys of being a parent are infinite, sometimes the tough emotional parts arethere too- parenting is indeed THE most difficult job sometimes. . we have to remember though, the job does come with great benefits :o)( of course a few more exceptions stand out like dirty diapers and teaching the 16 year old how to drive. . . . . etc,etc LOL) Almost forgot: another very good piece of advice: two sayings that must be in your parenting manual that are most useful: “Becasue I said so” and ‘You’ll thank me some day” :o)

  2. A positive move on your part and a valuable lesson that Nate learned. I’d call this a success!!!
    I’ll bet his little brother learned from this experience as well. Good for you parents!!!

  3. It back-fired on your plans, sure. (and, ahem, those of us who hoped to squeeze in a playdate 😉 ). But, overall? I don’t see it as backfiring for you. I love that his reaction was so mature. He realized the choice he made wasn’t the best one. What a great learning opportunity! And good job to you and J for sticking with it. It’s REALLY hard to do.

  4. “Backfired”? I don’t think so. Nate learned a lesson. His mother and father learned a lesson.

    Life if full of things we don’t want to do. We do them because we must. We do them with good humor and diligence. If we do not, we will utterly fail.

    The most difficult lessons are often the hardest to learn. This was a grand lesson that will generate positive dividends.

    My father had a great saying that I will always remember: “Hard is easy. Easy is hard.”

  5. True enough. If he learned his lesson and fears the “grounding” next time, then it was a good thing. I think only time will tell if it really worked because although he said he learned his lesson, I won’t know until the next time this comes up again.

  6. Ugh. I detest grounding and I don’t think I’ve ever used it . . . for the reasons you state. However, you did the right thing by sticking to it after you delivered your ultimatum. You had to, but I’ve seen so many parents back down or make concessions. And he obviously learned a lesson too. So, all’s well that ends well. But I hear ya, it really does punish everyone. 🙁

  7. Can I just say that I did a little dance when I saw that Oompah commented?! WOW! When Pop comments on one of my blogs there will be pigs flying for sure!

  8. LOL Julie, I thought the same thing too! Thanks for the comment, Dad! Comment more!

  9. Oompah makes sense!!!! What a great dad and granddad!!!

  10. Thanks for all the nice feed back. Felt a bit compelled to coment in that I was an “advisor” in the decision process. Love my kids and grand kids massively.

    Being an old guy, I’ve been through fun times and hard times. I’ve learned a bit along the way. Still make plenty of mistakes, but try hard.

    I hope that “fear” is not a part of the equation when Tater makes his next decision. I hope that “reality” is the motivator. We all are faced with decisions multiple times during the day. Some decisons have a more dramatic effect than others. The more good decision we make the better off we are. We all make good and bad decisions, and learn from both.

    Tater is a very bright little guy. He will remember the result of his “bad” decision. It may have to be reinforced again, but he will remember.

    One step in the right direction!

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