We are having a huge problem with our oldest son, he’s 12 now and it’s just a horrible experience right now. He’s defiant, argumentative, secretive, he lies, he steals, he fights, he cries, he has temper tantrums and more. He’s getting horrible grades, they’ve all dropped and I just found out this morning he’s getting an F in one of his classes now. This was a kid who we were proud of for getting excellent grades and being in gifted and advanced classes and being praised for his skill at his musical instrument. Everything has changed though, a complete turn around and I’m not sure what to do or how to help. There’s nothing I can figure out to do. He just doesn’t care and he says so. Trying to talk calmly to him doesn’t work, he just yells and screams at you even though you’re talking calmly to him and not yelling at him. He will not commit to anything, he can’t or won’t answer a simple yes or no question even if you direct him to answer yes or no, he won’t do it. The answer is always ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know’ or ‘possibly’ or ‘could be’.
We’ve tried rewards and we’ve tried punishment, neither works apparently.
We try not to punish or ground our kids severely, we try to be nice about frankly. Yes it’s punishment but we try to be nice, as nice as you be with punishment I guess.
Grounding is usually you get to do nothing, no going out, no friends, nothing special, staying in your room etc but we try not to go to that extreme and actually never have. Grounding is usually no computer or console games or maybe extra chores like doing the dishes everyday or taking care of the dogs. It kind of all depends on how severe what they did is or was as to how they get grounded.
We even let them choose, like my oldest was just grounded over this past weekend. He choose this past weekend for being grounded. We try to be fair, as fair as you can.
He was grounded because he ripped a page from his Algebra book and threw it away. Now I was sitting there and he was doing his homework and he didn’t think I was watching closely. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him rip the page from his book, crumple it up and then get up and throw it away. He then sits back down and proclaims ‘the next page is missing from the book, so he can’t do his homework’. I knew what he did, and saw him do it. I asked him about it and what he just threw away and he tells me it was an old paper from his Reading class. I mean really? Did he not realize how easy it would be for me to walk to the garbage and get the piece of paper? So I went and got it out of the garbage of course and proved to him he was lying about it.
Now though his mother and I are the liars according to him. We are lying about him and what he did. We said he ‘destroyed’ the book so he’s getting grounded. He says we’re lying and we’re liars because he didn’t actually destroy the book because destroying it would mean it could be never be used again, but the book can still be used. So we are the liars and we’re lying about him. This of course really pissed me off, and rightly so I think.
My oldest is extremely defiant and if we do not specifically define things for him, and I mean down to the last point or definition he will argue with you about it. If we use a word wrong he will call us on it. Like the whole ‘destroyed’ the book thing above.
Another example would be this past weekend. To him he wasn’t grounded on Friday after school, because to him that’s NOT the weekend. I have to define what a weekend is to him and prove it to him as well.We prove things to him and even then sometimes that isn’t enough for him. Even with hard proof from numerous sources, he still doesn’t believe it.
In our house we have notes everywhere. We have to define everything and remind about everything and even then they ignore the notes usually. They have chores and they alternate cleaning on the weekends, upstairs and downstairs and their rooms and we had to create a list with specific things to do listed in print and right there for him to see or he will say he didn’t know he was supposed to do it even though it’s been the same for however many years they’ve had to do chores. He conveniently ‘forgets’ he had to do something.
So I had to come up with yet another note or sing for the house to put up to define things and make sure they are understood. This one is about being grounded or grounding.
I thought I would share it:
Grounded or Grounding
Grounding is a form of punishment given to older children, preadolescents or adolescents by their parents (or teachers or headmasters in a school setting) for bad behavior and poor performance in school or other duties.
Every now and then, a young person who is grounded is banned from leaving home or his/her room to go anywhere other than to attend required activities such as school, meals, church, music practice, etc. Grounding does not necessarily mean people are unable to come over, only going out is prohibited. It is commonly combined with the withdrawal of privileges such as the use of computer, Internet, video games, television, telephone, cars, mobile phones, prom, slumber party, shopping malls, movie theaters, iPod, Summer Camp, etc., and some children may even be sent to bed early. Some groundings can last from as short as a day or two, to as long as a month or year, while some last an indefinite amount of time.
The term most likely originated in the aviation community. When an aviator is restricted from flying due to misconduct, illness, or other reasons they are said to be "grounded."
Grounding may include, but is not limited to:
-No games (can include but not limited to, consoles, handhelds, iPod, and tablet)
-Early to bed
-No going out which can include, but not limited to, extracurricular activities like Boy Scouts and other weekend outings or special happenings and seeing friends
-Doing extra chores like, but not limited to, cleaning, dishes and/or taking care of dogs
-Staying in your room doing nothing
Please note this list is not complete, things can be added at the discretion, decision, and/or judgment of the parents.
Please note also the grounding can include all of these things, some of these things or one of these things, it is at the discretion of the parents as to which ones are included in the grounding.
Many things factor into the grounding like, but not limited to:
-The severity of the action or non-action that caused said grounding
–Severity can vary by degrees which is at the discretion and/or judgment of the parents as to how severe an action or non-action is
-Your attitude towards said grounding
-Your general and overall attitude
-The reason for the action or non-action that is the cause of said grounding
–For one example: lying about action or non-action would be cause for the grounding to be more severe
–For a second example: destructive or damaging actions, either fully or partially destructive or damaging, would be cause for the grounding to be more severe
–For a third example: Extreme physical or verbal reactions would be cause for the grounding to be more severe
— Physical and verbal reactions can include, but are not limited to:
—-Temper tantrums (see definition below)
—-Throwing things, throwing anything at all
—-Physically or verbally assaulting siblings or parents
Length of the grounding can vary by severity and can be, but not limited to: one day, one weekend, one month, multiple weeks, multiple days, multiple weeks, and multiple months. Length is determined by the severity of the action or non-action and is at the discretion of the parents.
Definitions of Weekend:
Merriam-Webster Definition of Weekend:
The end of the week; specifically: the period between the close of one work or school week and the start of the next
Parents Definition of Weekend:
The end of the school day until the time you go back to school. It can be two days, two and half days for Friday to Sunday, three days or more depending on how long you have off for a break or a vacation.
–For example: Thanksgiving holiday was Wednesday after school until Tuesday Morning when you went back to school, that is still considered a Weekend or long-Weekend.
Definitions of temper tantrum:
A tantrum or temper tantrum is an emotional outbreak, usually associated with children or those in emotional distress that is typically characterized by stubbornness, crying, screaming, defiance, angry ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification and, at some cases, hitting. Physical control may be lost, the person may be unable to remain still, and even if the "goal" of the person is met he or she may not be calmed. A tantrum may be expressed in a tirade: a protracted, angry, or violent speech.
Childish display of bad temper: an outburst of anger, especially a childish display of rage or bad temper
Merriam-Webster Definition of Tantrum
: An uncontrolled expression of childish anger: an angry outburst by a child or by someone who is behaving like a child
Medical Dictionary Definition of Temper tantrum
A loss of mental balance or composure, esp. by an outburst of anger or irritation; also called tantrum