42 answers

Grounding from Sports?!?!?! YES or NO?

Hi mamas,
I need some help. My son just got his 4th detention in 7 days of school. I'm fed up. (He's 11 and in the 5th grade.) The detentions are all for screwing around in class; making faces, not staying in seat, giggling while the teacher is talking, talking out of turn, passing notes. The teacher is pretty intolerant of children's behavior (funny that he should be a teacher), but I know my son tries to be the class clown too. He really doesn't have any privileges left at home (wii is broken and TV is rare). His main privilege is baseball, practice and games, and I would like to pull his game this weekend so that he knows that I am serious about his school work and behavior at school. I've heard some people say you should never take away athletics. I also have heard some folks say that if they're "punished" at school why should you punish, again? I am looking for all you opinionated moms to give me some feedback. Honestly, I would hate to pull the sports. He is a very active boy and needs to be physically active. And, can I admit, I just don't want to hear the begging for the next three days.
Thanks,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Wow! Thank you all so much for the opinions. I knew if I phrased it right I'd get some good responses. N. is in a gifted class that is given assignmnents at the beginning of the week and is expected to turn them in at the end of the week. Very little actual teaching. The primary teacher has been out ill and her husband (also a teacher) has been subbing. She came back for a few weeks and is now gone again. So it's been a bit crazy for the kids. That said, my son has good grades for the most part (A/B). I am actually a very strict parent and fully support the teachers at home. I will check in and see what may be going on with the detentions. I am a single mom and when there is no break, sitting and listening to begging all weekend is more punishment for me than him. Normally, I do suck it up. Thanks again for all the great advice.

Featured Answers

What does detention involve at his school? It is inconvenient and can be embarassing, but it isn't really much in the way of punishment. It is more like a forced study hall. Just time to get his homework done without distractions.

The behaviors that you describe SHOULDN'T be tolerated by the teacher in the classroom.

You have to make the final decision about the punishment but you have to be consistent. Dealing with the whining and crying is the unfortunate part of being the parent.

Sports are a privilege and privileges should be earned. Missing the game isn't the punishment...it is a privilege that HE didn't earn that week. The punishnment is doing extra chores. There are plenty of other ways to keep kids physically active...practice is one thing when they run drills, but a game is an awful lot of time sitting.

P.S. I am single mom too...I know the whining and begging and crying can get tiresome...and mine is only THREE! I just know it only works to be consistent, they get smarter than us really fast!

3 moms found this helpful

He will be in 6th grade next year. Here in Austin that is middle school. There is Zero tolerance for this type of behavior and if he ends up in detention it is a lot rougher than in elementary school.

The fact that this is the 4th day? means he is not getting the message that he has really messed up.

If my child were in the class with a kid that was this disruptive, I would not be pleased.. I would start to think he needed to be moved to another class or needed to be evaluated.

Missing sports is the least he should have to miss out on. I like the suggestion of heavy yard work and maybe even having to write an essay explaining what he has learned and how he is going to change his behavior.

2 moms found this helpful

If you have taken away privilieges and he is still acting up in school then I say take away sports , if that is the area that he really cares about. Yes they should have consequences in school but the parent should also back that up aswell. At the moment he probably thinks he has the upper hand and that you won't take away his sports , take it away and let him learn the hard way. If he can't behave in school then he don't have his enjoyment....simple as that.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Not goiong to read all the other responses so may duplicate... sorry in advance. My guess is that his detentions have *inconvenienced* you in some way, taking you away from other duties you normally would have completed while you were talking to the teacher/principals at the school? Perhaps you need to *inconvenience* him with having him do some of your chores and he would need to complete those BEFORE he goes to the game. Basically HE chooses whether or not to complete the responsibilities that his misbehavior have displaced from your plate of responsibilities onto HIS plate. If he gets them done, he goes. (and make it reasonable but not easy so there is actually a chance that if he puts his nose to the grindstone, he can go.) If he doesn't work, he CHOOSES not to play and that is the CONSEQUENCE of his OWN choice. I would also call his coach and let him know what's going on - including that participation in the game is *entirely* dependent on dear son's motivation to get his responsibilities done. Maybe Coach can call at reasonable intervals to remind dear son of his responsibility to the team and how he needs to step up to the plate at home before he can step up for the team. This is not to shame dear son, so I would ask that coach NOT discuss with other team members. This is just to help dear son realize that repercussions of misbehavior are far-reaching and negatively affect others who are in no way associated with the behavior. If the team loses, I would DEFINITELY have Coach call and emphasize the fact that the team cannot function without all players. Take this back to the classroom and emphasize how Mr. Teacher cannot *win* when one of his serious students is *absent* and a goofball is sitting in his seat! :-D
I think perhaps an apology to Mr. Teacher may be in order, as well. Regardless of whether they are a good match, the teacher deserves respect and dear son sounds like he has been a thorn in Mr. Teacher's side. Not that all teachers are fantastic, but they all have a job most of us wouldn't take, for pay we couldn't live on. For that alone, they deserve our respect.
Just saw the beginning of a couple of posts about class clowns and confidence/ability. You probably need to follow up on those things regardless, but dear son needs to shoulder some responsibility for the consequences of HIS past behavior, now.
Hope this helps.
:-)
jen

5 moms found this helpful

Hi S., I am one of those crazy moms who thinks sports should not be used a punishment for younger kids. (High School is a different story) My theory is team sports encourage discipline, teamwork, direction ect. and these are often what kids are lacking and getting in trouble for. It's kind of like spanking a child for hitting. Again, this is just my way of thinking. I definitely support consequences at home even if they have already had some in school. You may have to get creative if most privileges are already on restriction. How about an insane amount of chores. Make him do yard work. Or better yet have him help an elderly neighbor with chores they may need done.

5 moms found this helpful

In regard to the belief of "if they're punished at school why should you punish again," I ask this: did the dentention teach your child not to repeat the offense? Did the detention teach your son that *you* also disapprove of the behavior and will not tolerate it?

I'm sure you have expectations for your son in regard to his behavior at school, at home, at friend's houses, etc. When he does not meet these expectations you gently correct him. If he repeats the same offense again and again, he needs to be steered back on track. Clearly, the detentions are meaningless to your son. I can't tell from your post whether or not your son understands that you find his behavior unacceptable -- but even if he does, your disapproval is not having an influence on him thus far. I think it's time you "up the ante."

4 moms found this helpful

You need to find a punishment that will mean something to him. If the Wii is broken anyway, that isn't a punishment. I've never heard anyone say you shouldn't take sports away. That's absurd. Participating in a sport is a privilage, not a right. And being on a team, he needs to understand that his team and coach have high expectations for him, too--- both academically and behavior wise-- in order to continue to be on the team. Taking away this Saturday's game is an excellent start to show him that you mean business. And the statement of "I also have heard some folks say that if they're "punished" at school why should you punish, again" is just downright CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So if a child is suspended from school, he should be allowed to stay home and play video games? (Not that YOU said that, it's along that same line of thinking.) Parents should ALWAYS follow up with consequences at home when a child acts out at school!!! The teacher and the parent should be a united team. You need to meet with his teacher to come up with a plan of action. Obviously he does not care two flips about detention or he would not keep doing behavior to land himself back in detention!! I can't understand why the teacher doesn't see that, too! Is he a new teacher? The school should be working with you on figuring out how to change your son's disruptive behavior. By the way, if he is disrespectful to his teacher, I am very curious if this teacher can't handle him and he should be with another teacher who knows how to command/earn respect.
He acts up, he gets detention. He continues to act up, he gets detention. He acts up yet again, he gets detention... and he acts up again, and gee whiz... hmmmm.... I wonder what his consequence will be. How about detention!! For goodness sake, why does no one realize that detention is pointless for this child??? And if you have a problem listening to him "beg for the next 3 days" you have bigger issues, sorry. No wonder he is continuing to be disrespectful in class if he has learned at home that mom will more than likely not follow through on a any real consequence as long as he begs hard enough and wears you down. I know you will think I'm being mean, but you need to hear the harsh reality of what is happening. If you want his behavior to change, you need to pick a consequence that matters to him and follow through and be consistant about it.

4 moms found this helpful

S.,

In my home SCHOOL is first. I understand that he is a very active boy and sports are a very positive outlet in a young boy's life, but the bottom line is SCHOOL COMES FIRST. If you don't have a handle on the school situation, and he repeatedly is displaying negative behavior, then I DO suggest pulling sports if you have tried all other punishments. The thing that concerned me and keeps sticking out in my mind is the part where you say "I just don't want to hear the begging for the next three days". I feel like when I read that, it told me that he may have more control than he should in the parent/child relationship. Why would he even think it would be ok to beg for three days? Does he usually get his way when he does that? Has he learned he can break you down by throwing a fit? Also you mention his negative behavior at school, but how are his grades? Is it only behavior or are his grades suffering as well?
Some of the things that have worked in my house (I have two boys 16 and 9) are "indefinite" restriction. This means that if the negative behavior is not improving I put them on restriction for an indefinite amount of time. It is in their TOTAL control as to when they can get off. They can only get off of restriction if they start turning their behavior around for a good amount of time and stay consistent. I also make a list of ALL the privileges they have at home. I draw up a detailed summary or contract of the things that are expected of them. When they are on restriction all the privileges are taken away. They can earn one thing back a little at a time. I make them read the contract and sign it. Then there is no way they can say that they didn't know what they were supposed to do. Then I post it on the fridge. My son can then be reminded everyday that he doesn't have his xbox, ipod, phone, playdates, etc. and that each day when he leaves the house he has a chance to earn them back. I have also told them that the clothes they wear, their preferences on hair styles, shoes, bed times, their favorite snacks, etc. are all privileges.
The hard part, but most important thing is CONSISTENCY. You really teach them how to treat you. If you aren't consistent about punishments and you bend, they will learn that that you can easily be broken down. I know it is exhausting, but if you stick it out it will pay off in the end.
Sports are a privilege and an "extra" activity that should be a reward for maintaining good behavior and grades at school. Sports can get expensive and time consuming for parents. He should know that it is not expected of you as a parent to provide him with extras if he is not doing what he is supposed to. Maybe you should just warn him and tell him that he has X amount of time to show some improvement or by that date you will no longer be allowing him to participate in that sport. Or maybe just make him sit out a few practices or a game to let him know you mean business.

Good luck!
T.

4 moms found this helpful

I would take away whatever is going to motivate him to change his behavior. I agree you should send a strong and serious message that lets him know there are consequences at home for behavior at school. It sounds like he does not mind going to detention since he keeps doing the behavior so obviously he does not consider detention much of a punishment. I would ask myself as the parent what has changed recently for him to need/want so much negative attention. May be he is trying to tell you something or get you to pay more attention to him or something is bothering him and he is not sure how to deal with it? If there is nothing else going on then yes pulling the sports for the weekend would be an option. The key to success here is 1.) you have to be able to follow through all the way and not give into the begging & 2.) whatever you take away has to be something that he will be motivated to do better at school. Playing sports is a priviledge, not a right, in my opinion.

Another approach, would be to notice when he is doing good and make a BIG deal about it. He may be more motivated by positive praise and positive attention. If he is only getting noticed when he is being bad in school then someone (ie the teacher) should really take some notice of when your son is doing good in school. A child is not behaving badly every second of the day so there has to be at least once or twice when the teacher could comment on your son doing the right thing (ie. "Great job staying in your seat for that lesson" or "I liked how you raised your hand"). I think sometimes when a child starts getting noticed for only when they behave badly then that perpetuates the problem even further. Positive praise and a strong consequences can hopefully turn the situation around.

3 moms found this helpful

Hi S.,
The way you describe it: sounds like you do not feel this is too serious... and it may not be, but it also sounds like you are trying to walk a very fine line.

The things you describe your son as being punished for are disrespect in the classroom. That may not seem serious at this age: but if you don't back up the teacher now, do you think the behavior will fix itself, or get worse?

Your gut is telling you to take action, because you have a beautiful son with a wonderful sense of humor, but you also want him to be a good student and live up to his full potential.

*Now* is the age to teach him that Mom will stick up for teacher, and he needs to learn to keep the silly stuff for weekends and the playground. Otherwise: why should he take the teacher seriously anyway? Detention?? who cares?? -- right?

Good luck, mama!
t

3 moms found this helpful

What does detention involve at his school? It is inconvenient and can be embarassing, but it isn't really much in the way of punishment. It is more like a forced study hall. Just time to get his homework done without distractions.

The behaviors that you describe SHOULDN'T be tolerated by the teacher in the classroom.

You have to make the final decision about the punishment but you have to be consistent. Dealing with the whining and crying is the unfortunate part of being the parent.

Sports are a privilege and privileges should be earned. Missing the game isn't the punishment...it is a privilege that HE didn't earn that week. The punishnment is doing extra chores. There are plenty of other ways to keep kids physically active...practice is one thing when they run drills, but a game is an awful lot of time sitting.

P.S. I am single mom too...I know the whining and begging and crying can get tiresome...and mine is only THREE! I just know it only works to be consistent, they get smarter than us really fast!

3 moms found this helpful

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