Chief Technology Officer & Photographer | Irvine, CA

Grounding Your Kids

I’ve got a great kid…but I’ve got a great kid with behavioral issues.  He’s been on a “soft” grounding for almost 2 weeks now (no personal TV time, or Xbox) because he’s consistently been talking back the past few weeks, getting in to fights with his sister (my ex-step-daughter) at school, and so forth.  I remember I was effin’ scared as hell to get grounded as a kid – which is probably why I kept my nose out of trouble (or at least didn’t get caught) and only got grounded twice during my whole childhood.

Today we had another eruption at the place where Dom spends his afternoon’s after his summer camp/class thing.  Well, it was a big enough issue to where his teachers approached me as I walked in and said “we’ve got bad news”…ugh.  Today, Dom’s sister hauled off and kicked him square in the stomach, and as a retaliation tactic (which is understandable, but he’s getting busted for it) was to haul off and punch her.  War broke out…

Alexis – my ex-step-daughter/daughter – has had behavioral issues since she was little.  I’m willing to put money on the fact that the only consistent thing in her 7 years has been change that has caused all of this.  I know it’s the 21st century and all, and divorce rates are through the roof, and major life changes are more apparent now than ever before, but there’s got to be a solution to the madness.

Its obvious that we can’t separate them, as they are brother and sister, and they need to deal with it and learn to be around each other, but how the hell am I supposed to get that through to them?  I know they are going to fight sometimes…I fought with my older sister when I was a little boy…but it was never like this.

As of right now, I’ve completely taken all of Dom’s toys away from him.  He’s got the option to write, draw, or god forbid…play outside like I did when I was a kid!  His TV time is also taken away, and I’ve informed him that if the TV is on and Chuck or myself is watching it, he’s to go to another room as he’s not allowed to watch TV until he earns it back by acting properly.

I don’t know – am I being too rough or not rough enough?  Am I possibly not involved enough or something?  Ugh…I hate grounding him…I hate being 100% disciplinarian…I want to have fun and play video games and all that fun stuff.

I’m also having a call tonight with his mother and getting Lexi’s dad on the phone to setup a pow wow between all of us to figure all of this out as both of the kids are equally to blame for all the madness at the afterschool program.  Suggestions are welcome from seasoned parents!


  1. Crozbe says:

    I’m definitely no seasoned parent, but I was a teacher and took several “developmental” classes. My first question would probably be what consistency there is since he’s living in two different homes? Now, I’m not implying that one is right and one is wrong, you (and your ex) just have to be consistent with whatever way you decide to go and do it from now on, every time. I don’t even know how old Dom is (I seem to remember 5?) so I also think it’s important to comment on his behavior before it gets out of control. It’s easy to let little “snarky” comments slide and build up to the talking back you mentioned. Either way, I think it’s something you need to address at the moment, every time, big or small, and make sure that he understands why it was inappropriate, or rude, or whatever. Getting him to understand not only that it’s wrong, but why it’s wrong, is a big thing.

    So to sum it up, I think two important things are: make sure he understands why his behavior is inappropriate, and you and your ex have to be consistent in punishments and don’t let the little things slide. That was a big thing in teaching, if you say “no” 99 times, but “yes” once…they’ll have it the back of their mind that if they push hard enough, or do it enough times, there’s always that one time you let up.

    Hoped that help some :/

  2. WhiskeyChick says:

    It sounds like punishment for the fighting really aren’t having an effect… Sounds a little hokey but maybe they need something they are forced/convinced to work together on until they figure each other out. If there’s an age gap that can be tough, but a building project, hobby, class, or other “team building” activity can work just as well on kids as it does with adults.

    Most sibling rivalry is over jealousy, especially in split/mixed families which are common these days. Is she not getting enough time with the “cool parent”? Is he being babied by the more full-time parent rather than being taught how to properly express himself? Look at your reactions to the behavior and make sure they don’t match the behavior itself.

    Let me know if you want to get into more specifics. With a 13 yr old stepdaughter, and 3 of my own from my divorce, I’ve seen a lot of this behavior and worked the bigger kinks out so far.

Speak Your Mind