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Son Refuses to be Grounded

"We have been following you advice about the 3 day punishment, but our son still will not adhere to the rules. He comes and goes when he wants to. Over the summer he had a few small construction jobs with my brothers and made a couple hundred dollars. We have been giving this to him in small increments on the weekend. We have asked him to look for a job or join a sport, but as you know, you cannot force anyone (especially a hard-headed 15 year old) to do anything is their choice. My question to you is: should we withhold his money this weekend since he won’t stay in after school for the three days you had suggested? I feel as though he should listen to our restrictions and then he can have back his cell phone and computer privileges along with some of his money. Could you direct us asap?"

I think the best way to answer your question is to offer an example from another mother - and member of Online Parent Support - who was going through the same problem.

Her 16-year-old son simply refused to be grounded. He came and went as he pleased with total disregard for the 3-day-discipline. And this went on for weeks. It seemed as though her son had "won the game."


One day, mom finally mustered up the courage to work the program as intended. She had been a "softy" up to this point.

While her son was out gallivanting around, she confiscated everything - and I mean everything!

When her son returned home, he had nothing T.V. computer iPod DVD player cell phone snack food ...not even a bedroom door - nothing!!!

And to make matters worse, she canceled his YMCA membership (which was where he was spending his time while violating the 3-day-discipline).

Needless to say, he was very angry and threw a huge temper tantrum. So mom told him that the 3-day-grounding would NOT start until he calmed down. He got even more angry and ran his forearm across the end table, which sent a lamp, ash tray, and various other items all other the living room floor. Mom said again, "The 3-day-grounding does not start until all of this is picked up."

Well it didn't get picked up that day. But, when her son came home from school the next day and saw that mom had not picked up after him (like she usually did), he realized that the start of the 3-day-grounding was totally up to him. So he reluctantly picked it all up. And at that moment, mom looked at her watch and started the 3-day-discipline.

He stayed home for 3 days (except going to school of course). After 3 days, mom returned all his items and even re-instated his YMCA membership. She reports that his refusal to honor the 3-day-discipline has not occurred since. In fact, she states she has only had to implement the 3-day-discipline one other time to date.

Some parents choose to do tough love, others don't. The ones who don't keep getting what they always got - a huge amount of disrespect and drama.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

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