When it comes time to punish your children it can be a challenge as spanking has become out of favor and many children rarely seem to respond to this. However, grounding has also become a labyrinth that must be dealt with, and many people are not always aware of the challenges that grounding can face. One of the biggest being how long should ground your child for it to be effective?
Toddlers should only be grounded for a few hours as beyond this it becomes ineffective, while preteens and teenagers should only be grounded for a few days. Grounding any children for more than a few weeks becomes entirely ineffective. If you reach the point where you are considering grounding them it shows that the form of punishment is not effective.
Knowing how long to ground your children depends heavily on what their past behavior has shown, as well as how old they currently are. Many times, people forget that they cannot punish the youngest child in the same way they would punish the oldest. This leads to people punishing the oldest child much more harshly than their younger sibling. Finding the right balance is vital to raising all of your children to be successful in the world.
How long should you ground a toddler?
Toddlers should only be ground for a maximum of one day and should never be grounded after they have gone to bed. This is because toddlers are much less likely to feel that the punishment is fair, as it takes a bit more explanation and repeated punishment for them to learn the exact mistake that they made. Having the punishment for too long can cause them to be confused or mistaken on why their behavior was bad. (Source: WikiHow)
As your toddler grows older and their personality starts to grow stronger you may need to change the punishments that you are using. Simply confining them to their room may mean they forget what was bad about their behavior, which can happen with more headstrong children. Many times, parents start losing their minds when their youngest child does not respond at all in the same way their oldest children did.
To ensure that you are not causing too much confusion or pain for your children you need to learn what punishments will work. The oldest child usually becomes calmer as they grow up and raises the expectation that the youngest should be the same, however, you should always remember the age difference. When the oldest is too old for grounding to be effective, it does not mean that the youngest should also be allowed free roam.
How long to ground a teenager?
Teenagers are the trickiest and hardest to deal with simply because they are becoming more than just the children that you have raised. Instead, teenagers are when grounding can become the most effective, as they have friends and places that they want to go to. This is when grounding will start becoming effective but it should not be used without care.
Grounding a teenager should be because of clearly defined rules, not because your teenager tries something new that makes you mad. This is a mistake that many parents make when their children grow older, punishment without prior understanding of what has been done wrong. If you have made a rule and your children break the rule then you should punish them, however, if they do something wrong for the first time a light punishment should be applied.
Once you do start grounding your children you should remember not to do it for more than two to three weeks at a time. Even reaching this length can be negative and the effect of the punishment will start to fade drastically. Your children should clearly understand why they are being punished and the punishment given should fit the crime. Above all, your children should not be punished for the mistakes that you or others have made.
How do you make grounding effective?
As the punishments start to grow and your children adapt to the punishments that you have created you need to create and change the punishments. Especially as the children grow older they may find their rooms are their safe spaces and adjusting punishments should work on this. This is not to say you should remove the door and deprive them of privacy it is the opposite. (Source: Very Well Family)
Understanding how you can control and properly punish your children and keep the act of grounding them effectively you need to have a clear line of communication with them. Creating a system that perfectly punishes them as they grow up will ensure that you do not punish them the older they get. It may seem unlikely but as your children reach their mid-to-late-teens grounding may become completely ineffective.
Apply the consequences
When your teenager or child has done something wrong it may be a lot better to have the natural consequences of what they have done take hold. Not grounding them at all and letting the consequences take hold, a good example of this is when they break something, having them work to pay for the fixes. It may seem hard at first, but this builds the fundamental understanding that you cannot be an awful person without some consequences happening.
Further, this teaches responsibility, your children should not be afraid of doing something because they are afraid of the punishment you will give. Instead, they should learn to naturally appreciate and consider what will happen because of their actions. Teaching your children, the consequences of their actions earlier on will greatly save them from making massive mistakes as they grow up.
Don’t ground for too long
Sometimes you lose your temper and you shout that your child is grounded for 2 months or more, and this simple mistake can be greatly damaging. Grounding should never be too long, and you should always ensure that the punishments do not last too long. Especially critical with the length of the punishment is making sure they are comparatively right.
A broken window should not carry the same punishment as purposely ignoring a rule, and many times the punishments between siblings should be applied equally. Even if you feel that one is overall a lot less likely to break a rule if one is punished less or for shorter periods for the same crime, you will find grounding meaning nothing. Having a balance between length, intensity, and severity is always important.
Enforce the rules
Once a rule has been made you need to enforce it equally and properly, with the punishments for breaking the rule always being the same. The rules that you are making should always be enforced by both parents, with the punishments that are given never overstepping what has been defined in the past. Many times, a parent punishes too harshly based on when a rule is broken rather than what the rule is that was broken.
Further, never change the rules for seemingly no reason, explaining why you may prefer your children to follow the rules that you have set out or why you are changing a rule will greatly benefit you. When rules are broken you need to enforce a punishment, not look the other way until the rule has been broken when it was least convenient.
Grounding your children should be used sparingly, only when you feel hopeless and you are not sure what to do anymore. Controlling how you ground and how much you are grounding your children will play a vital role in their growth into young adults. Always ensure that you use it sparingly and never ground for longer than 3 weeks.
Remember, that if you do not make it clear why they are grounded they will be unable to learn from their mistakes, thinking that it is always unfair!