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Grounded for 2 months?!

Hi Mark,

I'm asking for some advice regarding a certain situation with my son. I had given you a little background in an e-mail I sent you earlier this week. My son is 15, has a girlfriend, and since she has come into his life, my son has changed quite a bit.

The girl and her family are not the kind of people I care to have my son spending time with. She has an older brother, and he is a very negative influence on my son. He lives the "thug" life, acts like a thug, and I simply don't trust him. He is soon to be 18, lives at home with his family, doesn't have a job, and just recently received his GED. He's very "sneaky" in the way he acts.

I have my suspicions that this boy has influenced my son with things like drinking, cigarettes, and possibly marijuana. I have no proof, but I have my suspicions.

My son is grounded at this time for sneaking out of his bedroom window and going to his girlfriend's. The mother and girlfriend both lied to me when I called the morning I realized he wasn't in his room.

This being said, my concern is when school starts on August 25th, and my son is back into his "school routine", he will be associating with his girlfriend once again. I told him he would be grounded for 2 months, and he told me that he WON'T be grounded during school. He will come home at 5:30 for dinner (this has always been a non-negotiable rule with me) but other than that, he will do what he wants after school. He said if my husband or myself goes to school to pick him up, he will just "wave at us and walk by".

I know I need to be careful what I say about his girlfriend and her family, because I don't want him to rebel in an extreme way. If I were to tell him that he is forbidden to spend time with them, I'm sure he will do whatever he has to do, to get away from me/us, and go over there.

What is your advice for this situation? I'm really dreading school starting.

Thank you,



Hi M.,

Grounded for 2 months?!

No offense, but it doesn’t sound as though you watched all the Instructional Videos in the online version of the eBook?

All parents dread the day when their son or daughter comes home with a new love interest. There will be many relationships that you know will not work out. And while you might be tempted to share your opinion with your child, I would suggest you didn’t.

One point I can’t stress enough is to never tell your child you disapprove of his girlfriend. This will only make him that much more attracted to her. If he asks your opinion, you can say that the girl isn’t the person you would have chosen for him, but it’s his life and he has to figure that out for himself.

If you keep telling him how bad of a person his new fling is, she could turn out to be your daughter-in-law. I know this from first hand experience. My wife hated my daughter’s high school boyfriend - even forbid her from seeing him. All this did was make her want to see him even more. At one point my daughter said to me, “When my boyfriend and I would have disagreements, I would not see that the relationship wasn’t working. I would only see that I had to make it work to keep mom from knowing she was right about him all along.”

You have a Romeo & Juliet phenomenon on your hands that will need to be diffused (if not, they will work harder at sneaking rendezvous behind your back).

Unfortunately, if your son wants to be with someone -- he'll find a way, no matter what you say or do. Parents can only guide their children in the right direction and hope for the best. If they do a good job, their children will make the right decision all on their own.

Since you will not be successful at keeping those two apart, you must adopt a philosophy of “if you can’t beat ‘em - join ‘em.” In other words, they should be able to see one another within limits, and you decide what those limits are. Maybe your limits will look something like this:

· They can be together at your house only during those times that you are home and can monitor their behavior (if not, she has to leave)

· Or you could schedule some activity for them in which you would be a distant chaperon (e.g., take them to a shopping plaza and tell them to meet you back at the coffee shop in exactly one hour)

· Or your son is allowed to go over to her house for a designated time period (if he violates the time limit, there is a consequence that is commensurate with the “crime”)

Figure out a way for your son to see his g-friend in a way that will keep him safe. This is the best you will be able to do. Otherwise, you are likely to get sucked into weeks – if not months – of power struggles.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Consequences need to be logical and related to the "crime." I used to tell mine that if they had all that energy to get into trouble, then i needed some walls washed and floor scrubbed, which was a far better use of their energy. They were also in sports 2 hours a day for six days a week, which also wore them out enough that they did not have the desire or energy to commit mayhem... also it was fun to be at a home!

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