Inappropriate punishment?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2004
Inappropriate punishment?
Wed, 01-15-2014 - 12:24pm

Dear Moms,

I’m Kaylie and I’m 14.  Today when I got home from school, my mom took away my phone and laptop privileges for 5 days because of a bad test grade.  Over winter break I had to study for a map test.  Being as forgetful and I am, I forgot about it until Sunday.  I put it off until the night before, which I shouldn’t have.  I have done this a lot but don’t think it should affect my mom as much as it does.  As long as I do the work well, it doesn’t matter the time I do it.  But I am one of those kids who does not believe that school should be my very first and only priority.  I think experiencing high school and having fun is more important that getting superb grades.  I do think getting good grades is important.  I do get decent grades (mostly B’s and the occasional A or C).  Anyway, I got a D on the test.  I could have studied more but I have a solid B is that class and the quiz only affected my grade by a few (less than 2) percent.  Now, I am not angry because my mom took away my phone, I am more angry because I believe that it was my choice and my future.  I do understand that that I could have done a lot better, but taking away my phone would make me angry and less motivated to do my work in a timely and good quality fashion.  I think she should have chosen a more effective and beneficial consequence, such as being grounded so I would stay home and focus on work not friends and making sure every night I finished my work with quality and really knew the material.  I believe her reasoning for taking my phone is to make herself feel better, not to fix the problem.  I understand she want to feel like it is working, but I know how I feel and I know I’m more irritated than wanting to up my grade.  She has taken away my phone many times before but it never solves a problem but creates a bigger one.  Please let me know if this was an appropriate consequence.  I think it should solve a problem , not create one but still make me regretful like a punishment should.  Please let me know your view on this.

Thank you.

P.S.  I am a good kid involved in dance and community service clubs.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
Wed, 01-15-2014 - 5:27pm

"I am one of those kids who does not believe that school should be my very first and only priority.  I think experiencing high school and having fun is more important that getting superb grades."

Whether it is fair or not, and whether  you like it or not, your performance in school has the potential to have a great impact on your post high school path.  In a few years you will be embarking on the next step, whether it is work or college.  In either case, your opportunities will be shaped by your ability to do work that you don't necessarily care to do.  You should be aware that the workforce you are facing is not the same as it was for your parents: due to economic conditions, many of your peers are likely to be substantially "underemployed" when they join the workforce.  If you choose to experience high school as a sort of social club, you may end up shortchanging yourself rather badly.  The social structure of high school is artificial.  You will probably not experience that sort of regimentation or have a group of peers so close to your age again in your life unless you join the army.  So "experiencing high school" will lose its value very quickly once you are out.

Your mother has taken your phone/laptop because (possibly in addition to a punishment element) she thinks they are distractions.  I'm not going to second guess her parenting techniques.  Every family is different.

But if you want to prevent this outcome in the future, I'd work on building the kind of relationship with her in which she knows that you take her concerns seriously, and that you show that you are able to take on more responsibility.  Be proactive.  Figure out what sorts of things will help you get the work done. 


p.s.  Read "The Teenage Liberation Handbook".  It espouses a non traditional educational path, which you may be unwilling or unable to try, but it also does a good job of showing how and why what you do NOW is you are IN life NOW, not a dress rehearsal for life.