26 answers

Fair Punishment?

I have a 17 year old son who plays Yugioh, which is a card game similar to magic or Pokémon. He won an invite to a national’s competition in Pennsylvania after placing in regionals. We allowed him to drive there with 3 others young adults. Their ages ranged from 19 to 23. We specifically asked him before he left to supply us with the name of the hotel, address, phone number and his room number. He said he would text it to us. He was at the hotel from Friday to Sunday. My wife had to text him several times, just to get the name of the hotel, the town and room number. He never supplied us with the address or phone number. He told us in the text, “look it up on the internet.” Now this trip was not a normal thing, it was the 1st time we’ve ever let him go this far from home without either myself or my wife’s supervision. So, when he got home, after a big discussion between my wife and me, we decided to ground him for a week, which is actually on Tuesday through Sunday. We explained to our son, that our request was simple and he neglected to be responsible and follow through with what he promised he would do. He also has a history of not doing what we ask of him, but him doing things the way he feels fit. My question is, are we being too hard on him, by grounding him for a week?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your input and advice! It was very helpfull!

Featured Answers

No, and the next time he goes away without parental supervision, he would be 18, have his own car and be paying for all his expenses.

Blessings...

4 moms found this helpful

I think you were WAY to easy on him. A week is just a good start. At my house there would be loss of the car, phone, extra chores, basically if I can think of it, its now going to affect him. If I would have told my parents to "look it up on the internet" they would have and then they would have come to get me right then. In my opinion he just proved he isn't ready for "adult responsibility" so the next time he asks to do something like that I would go with him and "shadow" him for the whole weekend.
Respect is a two-way street. If you want it you have to give it!
Best Wishes.

4 moms found this helpful

Are you kidding me...too hard on him, I would say to easy on him. He's got to understand that this is a privelege to go do something like this all by himself and he's got to prove he is responsible enough to get to do this again. You said he's got a history of doing this, sounds like you haven't been hard enough on him for a long time now, so he thinks it's ok to do what he did.

He wouldn't be going to far from home without a parent for awhile if it was me and my husband.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

This isn't a question about whether the punishment is "fair". This is about setting limits and enforcing consequences.

What I don't understand is why you didn't have the hotel information (sans room number) before you even let him leave. Did you even have the cell numbers of the guys he traveled with? Had you met them before? If not - lazy.

It sounds like you give your son a lot of freedom and then wonder why he thinks he can do whatever he wants. Either set limits and enforce them or don't, but I feel this is too little too late.

10 moms found this helpful

If my son had text me "Look it up on the internet". I would have looked it up on the internet, gone there and picked him up, offered his friends a ride home and left with the car.

If you feel that grounding him for a week after that behavior, then you raised him to act like he did and to NOT RESPECT you and your wife and your rules. At 17 its a little late to start over and teach him, but not too late. If he has graduated from High School, you have less control than if he is a senior.

I would attach rules and requirements to using the car, jobs to do around the house, school work, part time jobs and saving for a "rainy day", etc.

Good luck to you and yours.

6 moms found this helpful

I would not have even let him go without the info up front. Grounding is not too harsh, but will not do any good if you do not follow things through each time he does not give the info you need to make sure things are safe. I even call my mom and let her know when my family is going away and where we will be staying just in case. If you need info and he will not give it, he loses. Plain and simple.

6 moms found this helpful

Pshaw.

You didn't look it up on the internet and go pick him up right then and there (which is what my parents would have done), and then have him refund you any and all money you spent on the trip.

I've grounded my EIGHT year old for a week for less disrespectful behavior.

I cannot say what I would do in your place, since my son is 9. But what I DO know is that whatever you do will set the tone for any future trips.

But I TOTALLY get you double checking/sounding board with us... I'm about to do the same.

5 moms found this helpful

You are not being hard enough IMO. When I was 16 a week from 17, I went to a friends' party and it got late, I had a few drinks earlier in the night so I crashed at my friend's house but I never told my mom that I was going to crash overnight or answered my pager. Next morning I called home and drove home quickly because if I didn't get my butt home my mom was going to take my junker and I was going to have to bike 7 miles to & from work for the next several months. It was already late September and I knew my mom would have me walk in the snow to make sure I knew that driving was a privilege not a right. I ended up grounded for a month without my car. I never made that mistake again, even when I was an adult living under her roof.

The next year after I was 18, I went to a convention at a hotel for a weekend that I paid for including the hotel room. My mom had the hotel information, the number for the hotel and the convention organizers, the names of who I was going to be with and their cell numbers, and I had to call a few times while there to check in. I did it because my parents made it very clear that once I turned 18 and was out of high school that I could live with them and follow their rules or move out. I knew if I didn't do as expected of me I would be coming home to my mom helping me pack and told when I was expected to move out.

5 moms found this helpful

No, and the next time he goes away without parental supervision, he would be 18, have his own car and be paying for all his expenses.

Blessings...

4 moms found this helpful

Not sure, as my kids are much younger, but it sounds to me like you're doing things in the wrong order. You said he often does not follow through, but maybe you need to make sure he does everything before he can leave.

Do not let him leave until he gives you all of that information. Maybe you need to be getting it from him a few days before he goes.

"He also has a history of not doing what we ask of him, but him doing things the way he feels fit."

It won't be long before he turns 18. You really need to begin to require things ahead of time. Otherwise he is learning that he may or may not get caught for not doing what you want. Teach him to be responsible by requiring him to be responsible in order to get what he wants. You're not going to teach him responsibility by grounding him after the fact.

Positive reinforcement is always much more effective than punishment.

4 moms found this helpful

I think you were WAY to easy on him. A week is just a good start. At my house there would be loss of the car, phone, extra chores, basically if I can think of it, its now going to affect him. If I would have told my parents to "look it up on the internet" they would have and then they would have come to get me right then. In my opinion he just proved he isn't ready for "adult responsibility" so the next time he asks to do something like that I would go with him and "shadow" him for the whole weekend.
Respect is a two-way street. If you want it you have to give it!
Best Wishes.

4 moms found this helpful

Are you kidding me...too hard on him, I would say to easy on him. He's got to understand that this is a privelege to go do something like this all by himself and he's got to prove he is responsible enough to get to do this again. You said he's got a history of doing this, sounds like you haven't been hard enough on him for a long time now, so he thinks it's ok to do what he did.

He wouldn't be going to far from home without a parent for awhile if it was me and my husband.

3 moms found this helpful

You think you might have been too hard on him? Really? He put you two through all kinds of hoops, worrying about where the heck he was, letting him do something SO grownup as going to a hotel with friends away from home for a weekend.

I really hope you aren't this wishy-washy in front of him. I hope this is just coming here to strangers to check yourself. This young man needs a reality check. You did something really nice for him and he thumbed his nose at you both. The next time he asks to do something like this, you need to tell him no. And yes, he should be grounded.

If you don't teach him respect and consequences, who will? His boss down the line will give him real consequences, like firing him for insubordination.

Stop feeling guilty for expecting better from him. If he wants to be treated like an adult, he needs to act like one.

D.

3 moms found this helpful

No. You're not being too hard on him. You've done a lot for him over 17 years, and he owes you a simple text so you can have peace of mind while he's off on his own for the first time ever.

Not responding to your wife for three days was rude and uncaring. I have a 17 year old son too, and I know how they like to have their independence and not have mommy and daddy checking up on them, but tough. I've done too much for that kid to deserve him letting me freak out with worry for three days.

And who bought him the darn Yugioh cards, anyway? And drove him to the card shop for years?

He has to learn to think of other people. Go ahead and ground him.

2 moms found this helpful

I would ground him longer. I would also take away his cards......that will be a real punishment.

2 moms found this helpful

Too fair of a punishment, IMO. I think he deserved way worse. He proved he couldn't be responsible or follow the rules.

I couldn't imagine letting my (not yet) 17 year old daughter go out of town with people older than her, let alone not knowing her whereabouts.

Are you certain there even was a tournament?

2 moms found this helpful

You are not being too hard on him. It sounds as if he was trying to be an adult and felt that he didn't need to tell mom and dad where he was. Explain to him that you trusted him enough to go on the trip, but you also trusted him to tell you where he was staying. Explain that things happen in this crazy world now, in the blink of an eye. What if he went missing? What if something happend and you were questioned as his parents and you knew nothing? Tell him how that would make you feel. Grounding isn't enough. He needs to understand why it's so important to tell you where he is and whom he is with. I remember even in my 20's, not living at home, I would still call my mom every time I was going out of town and gave her all of the information. I didn't feel that I was a little girl that needed to tell mommy everything. I did it to be safe. I wanted her to know where I was in case she needed me for a family emergency or in case something happened to me, she would be able to tell people what she knew. That's really the lesson he needs to learn.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you did the right thing. You gave him a chance and he did not follow through. You need to be consistant and follow through.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the posters who say they would have gone and brought him home. He was practically inviting you to do that anyway. More importantly, how did he leave without providing you this info BEFORE HE LEFT? This is one thing that makes no sense to me. How do you know he was where he says he was? I would say 1) no car, 2) no driving in friends cars, 3) no Yugioh, and about as much misery as you can possibly dream up or you are in for a world of disrespect.

1 mom found this helpful

No, you're not being unfair in grounding him for a week, it would be much more fair to you & to him if you grounded him for a month. He's clearly got no respect for you two & he needs to know you two are serious! He is setting the rules by getting everything that he wants. You two either need to both agree on giving him a grounding & support each other on the amount of time that's to be given, Or... not be united in agreeing on how little or more of a grounding he should get. If you choose the latter choice, then you two wont make any headway into getting him to see he has to respect your choices as well. A question I'd like to ask is this. Why did you two allow him to go to this Yugioh competition/event unchaperoned? Sure there were other youth's that were younger and slightly older than your son going there but you shouldn't have allowed him to drive to that event without either one of you two going with him. 17 years old is still not old enough to be left to adequate protection while at an event such as this! With all of these terrible headlines that we read on a daily basis of how this young 8 year old boy (Leiby Kletzky) got lost on his way home from day camp, only to be found days later, dead, mutilated and left if plastic bags in a freezer, you'd think that parents would want to make sure their children are better protected?! You & your wife are being far too lenient in punishing your son for part of a week, (A week is a full 7 days & not Tuesday through Sunday). I apologize if what I said offends you but you asked if it was too hard of a punishment & so I felt you needed to know that it wasn't. You're lucky that he didn't get into any trouble while in Pennsylvania because had he, the Police there may had called asking one of you to go and retrieve your son. I hope that you three don't have to worry about anymore serious situations in the near future, good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Absolutely not!! You and your wife gave him all this trust to go out of town on a trip that you two knew he would really enjoy AND let him drive with 3 other young adults in the car!! I think you guys gave him a lot of freedom and asked a simple thing....The punishment is necessary : )

1 mom found this helpful

This is way too lenient in my opinion. He would not have driving priviledges for at least a month b/c he clearly doesn't respect that priviledge. Did he pay for this trip himself? If not, he should also be doing work around the house to pay for the cost of the tournament. He shouldn't have been allowed to leave the house until you had the required information.

Personally, 17 is way too young to go away for the weekend unsupervised with "older" adults.

1 mom found this helpful

no. You have every right to punish him. If you go easy on him, he will continue to push you as far as he wants.

1 mom found this helpful

Please. You are being way to easy on him. If he has a history of not following directives. I don't think I would have let him go. Especially without a real adult chaperon on the trip. I don't know who these other young adults are, but they don't think much of you all if they didn't encourage him to let you all know the info you asked for. He's a minor. I'd ground him for two weeks or disallow the whole Yugioh stuff for a couple of weeks and next time he want to take a trip with out real parental or adult chaperon - he'd be out of luck.

Certainly not. Next time (if there is one) the hotel information should be provided before leaving (except room, of course). No hotel info, no leaving. Plus, next time he pays his own way if he wants to go.

you were far more than fair with the boy. I mean wow. Grounded for a week? If I would have done that when I was 17 I wouldn't have seen daylight or spoken to friends for at least a month. I haven't read the other responses yet, but I can't be the only one who thinks you were going easy on him.

Definitely NOT too harsh to ground him for what is actually even less than a week! He is lucky with his history of being untrustworthy you even allowed him, a minor, to go off on his own as you did. Very sad that he did not appreciate your trust and comply with your simple request. That showed a great lack of respect. I think more than a grounding is needed for this young man. Family counseling might be in order if you can get him to go.

NO! You are not being too hard with your punishment. The one rule that never changed in our house growing up was you must tell mom and dad where you are going. I was grounded 2 weeks around Christmas one year because I went to the store with a friend (12 years old) and was gone a while and did not tell my parents. Never broke that rule again!

NO you are not being too hard on him. That was terrifying and frightening to you I'll bet. Well, at least every time I went through something like this and it was for me. At seventeen they are so young but they have older bodies and think they know so much. It is just not acceptable information. What if something had happened? What if something happened to one of you or a family member and he had to be reached. Texting is all too often making people lazy about actual communication. I hate to sound strict but that was severe.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.