How long to ground?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
How long to ground?
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 9:30am
Last night 10.5 year old ds took off on his bike with his friend to go get another friend at the other end of the neighborhood (1/2 mile) without asking permission. I found out and was really mad. I send friend home and told ds to come in for the rest of the evening (it was 6:00 p.m) I told him why he had to come in and of course that made him mad. Anyway, he was doing that really mean frown and flipping channels while I was scolding him, which then made me mad. I turned the TV off and said because of his attitude no more TV. He had to go finish cleaning his room.

He stomped as hard (really hard) as he could up stairs sort of yelling and wailing, slammed his door and was stomping more. A full fledge temper tantrum. He is doing this too frequently when he's in trouble. I tell you, it was all I could do not to yell or follow him upstairs and physically smack him. I'm not a hitter, but boy oh boy, do I want to sometimes. DH came home just then and heard him stomping and he did the 'Hey, get down here" stuff. That sort sort surprised ds and it stopped immmediately. My heart was just racing I was so mad at him.

Now, I think one of the reasons he did lose control is because he spent the night the night before at a friends and stayed up until midnight, the got up at 7:00. But...he still needs to be punished for verbally and physically acting out his anger.

I told him he was to spend the remainder of the evening up in his room. Which, is no big deal, it was only an hour after dinner. Plus, this week he could go to football practice, but no outdoor free time after school with friends. He was not going to act like that with no consequences.

My question is: Is all week too long? He needs to remember that it's not worth it to act like that...he was very very loud and banging things upstairs.




iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 10:14am
If he is not allowed to "verbally and physically act out his anger," then what exactly is he supposed to do--hold it inside and get an ulcer? Explode?

I think that you can draw some limits on his verbal and physical manifestations of his anger, e.g., no threats against another person, no attacks on another person or himself, no willful destruction of property. But stomping? What does that hurt? And wailing and yelling--as long as he's not shouting obscenities or telling you to go to he**, where's the harm?

I have an 11yo DS who has Asperger's Syndrome, and we have dealt with major rage issues since he was little. We've learned to pick our battles (see the parameters above). He can't hurt himself or others when he's angry, he can't swear or threaten to hurt or kill us when he's angry, and he can't destroy property. Beyond that, he can express his anger so that he gets it out. This weekend, his dad sent him to his room to cool off after he was getting intensely frustrated with a video game. Chris told us later that he had trashed his bed-- threw off the pillows and stuffed animals, ripped off the covers, and tossed the mattress on the floor. Then he laid on the frame (he's on a bottom bunk) and put the mattress on himself until he calmed down. After the "storm" was over, he put his bed back together and straightened up his room.

I think a week is a bit severe as a punishment for a temper tantrum. A few days for taking off on his bike might be appropriate and the consequence fits the infraction (if you take off without permission, you have to stay home until we can trust you again). But it might be better to sit down and have a talk with him about better ways to express himself when he's angry, rather than just grounding him. After all, discipline is about teaching, and grounding isn't teaching him anything. You say yourself that his tantrum was due at least in part to overtiredness--perhaps going to bed early for a few nights might be a realistic consequence.

Just my 2 cents. Hope this helps.


mom to three DS--13, 11, and 8, and one dd--21 months

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2004
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 12:04pm
I think a week is a long time. What he did was wrong, but small potatoes compared to what he could have been doing. If you give him a whole week now, what happens when he does something worse? Maybe two or three days AND some extra chores, but I wouldn't do a whole week.
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 12:37pm

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 12:43pm
Okay, a week is too long. I will shorten it. I do agree with allowing them to express their anger, but I just don't know where to draw the line. I guess that stomping as he goes upstairs is allowable and crying and wailing would be too. But what he did last night was over the top stomping and the yelling (although there were no words attached to the yelling) was so loud, I could feel that it was directed at me, which I find unacceptable. He was stomping as hard as he could and the floor sort of jiggles the chandaliers, etc. That bad.

He was sorry and calmed down and came to me to say he was sorry. But I was still really angry and told him to just go and sit down for dinner. I told him him that being grounded was not for riding his bike without permission. The only trouble he got for that was he had to quit playing with his friends and come in for the evening. The grounding was for his bad attitude when I scolded him and the temper tantrum. Which, I can't say enough, was over the top.

So, now that my question was answered in that one week is too long, I have another. What do you all deem allowable when your children are mad, as far as expressing physically and verbally their anger?


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 12:43pm
Hello and welcome!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 1:08pm

It wasn't so long ago that I would've done the same thing re: grounding for a week.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2003
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 3:26pm

I would say that it depends---is this something he has started doing lately or is this the first time.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2004
Mon, 08-30-2004 - 10:27pm
As far as behavior not being allowed, the reality is that even 10 and 11 and 12 year olds throw tantrums. The fact is they are still learning to control that anger. My son has this down to a science. I agree with the initial advice poster that anger must be allowed and understood. We do have rules however that our children have to follow. They can NOT scream and be disrespectful (stomping, slamming) because it sets ME off. If they do stomp they have to come back and walk up and down the stomped area quite a few times (like 25-30)until they feel they can walk without being outwardly disrespectful. The same with slamming doors. Having had my hand slammed in one, I can say that there is no part of that that is not destructive. So sometimes it takes 20-30 times of them opening and closing the door properly for them to get it. (And to be honest... it hasn't happened yet that they don't end up laughing while doing the door. They get goofy and exaggerate the motions of opening and closing very softly or my personal favorite acting like they are going to slam it and at the last second softly click the door shut and reopen for the next time...)I do agree tho that they have the right to be angry. They have the right to NOT like what I am saying. And I have the right to not have to listen to them. So we each have our space. They can go and be mad and scream and yell and cry in their room and then recupe and come back and join the rest of us when they are done. I don't agree with grounding hardly ever. More or less it's just punishment for me. Again, I agree with the original advice poster that the punishment should fit the crime. Take away the bike, go to bed early for a few nights, Don't allow sleep overs for a while. In extreme cases (if the friend is the ongoing suggestor of bad ideas) maybe the friendship needs to end. For sure, take the time afterword to put his and YOUR anger into words and talk about what made him mad and ways that you can avoid this next time. (come ask to go, remember you need permission, talk about the danger of riding so far by himself, etc.) HTH L
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2003
Wed, 09-01-2004 - 11:45am
We do three days for the first offense. If that same offense is repeated we move to 1 week. BUT if it was really bad we will move straight for the one week. It usually makes a pretty good impression on the kids.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Wed, 09-01-2004 - 2:39pm
Hi, I am new to the board and found this discussion very interesting. my 10yo ds started with the attitude and tantrums last year in 4th grade. I have been struggling with ways to help him express his feelings in a more approiate way than crying, threatening, yelling, slamming doors and throwing things.

I am not having much luck. I know I yell too much, but it seems like I have to be heard over him. He has no neighborhood friends. He spends too much time inside by himself. His school friends live too far to see all the time when we are struggling for gas money just to get to work.

When he gets angry I usually send him to his room to calm down and give him a time he has to stay there. I usually start with one hour and increase it each time I have to ask him to go to his room if he does not go the first time I ask. But, since he does not spend much time outside, going to his room is mostly just a cooling off period for him.

I was raised in a family whose father believed in beatings with a belt and I promised myself I would never beat my kids. So far so good! But, what can I do to get him to listen, do chores, and not talk back since grounding does not work.

He can be a very sweet and kind young man most of the time, but when he gets into these moods I just don't know what to do. DH is no help. His idea of disipline is yelling and threatening and "They wont listen to me" comments.

Thanks foe listening.