Guiding your kids to do the right thing happens through our parenting actions—teaching them to be kind and thoughtful and to develop their own core values. Our kids are often pushing boundaries, especially when they start to experience more as teenagers and are exposed to other kids, teachers, and adults. There are times when my own kids have made poor choices, simply by doing something without thinking it through. Other times, they blatantly disregard my rules. Dishonesty is something that we don’t tolerate, and in our household, being dishonest means there will be consequences.
When I was a teen, being grounded meant losing privileges. I was lucky enough to have a car as a teenager (most kids in my Prairie town did) and once I lost the use of it for the whole summer. It was a painful lesson, but I adapted and got around other ways. For my teenagers, the collateral that holds the most weight is their mobile devices. So we, like many other parents we know, have used that to impose punishment by taking away the privilege. But it’s just not that easy because our household has numerous electronics—older model handheld games, iPods, iPads and more. It’s also the way that we keep in touch with our kids when they aren’t with us, so completely taking away a device just isn’t so simple.
It’s very easy to get angry, yell, and threaten and impose some kind of punishment, then a few days later when it all dies down, to lighten up and forget about it. Especially when the dust settles and it becomes inconvenient to impose your own rules. This is where things seem to get tricky; more than once, I have grounded my kids, then changed my mind in haste after-the-fact. But then just a few months later, I’m right back dealing with the same issue that they were originally grounded for. Obviously, that’s not the best way to teach a lesson.
After a bit of trial and error, the times that we’ve had to impose grounding, I’ve found that taking away apps (via changing passwords) has been the most effective. Losing access to Snapchat seems to hold the most weight, with Instagram being a close second. And after my daughter lost the privilege of using it for a few weeks for the first offence and then for a month for the second offence, I know that the lesson was definitely learned.
How have you adapted to imposing consequences in 2017?