How Much Is Too Much Grounding/punishment!

Updated on November 16, 2011
C.V. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
17 answers

My daughter seems to be grounded all the time and punished cause shes always acting bad/ not listening... but i was thinking is me punishing her too much making it worse or?

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answers from Jacksonville on

We only have used grounding when it 'fit' the offense. In other words, if my child went down the street to a friends and didn't come home when he was supposed to. Or went off to play at a neighbor's house without asking for permission first. That sort of thing.

Other offenses (grades, disrespect, messy room, etc) garner(ed) other discipline. Discipline that fits THAT offense.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would say punishment must be an occasional thing or it just becomes their way of life. They don't miss what they never get to do or experience. If they are grounded to their room all the time they start feeling it is where they belong and one day everyone realizes that XXX does not come out of their room very often or interact with friends because they never got to develop those skills or do outside activities.

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answers from Houston on

If she's grounded all the time, then I would think that it's not working. Figure out what your goal is. Is it for her to learn something from it? Is she still repeating her behaviors after grounding? If so, then she's not learning.

If the goal is simply punishment without the expectation of change in her behavior in future situations, then by all means, keep grounding her ad nauseum.

How much are you talking to her? How much time are you able to spend with her? Has something changed in her life, or is she going through the start of teenage stuff?

I think you need to find some other type of teaching tool if you truly want her to learn appropriate behavior. If she's always being grounded - does she know what will cause a grounding? Does she always understand why she's being grounded? Is grounding her actually preventing her from doing something she enjoys? When she's grounded, what else is she still allowed to do?

You need to make sure the punishment is something that she actually cares about and that she's learning from it.

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answers from Hartford on

You said:
"How much is too much grounding/punishment!

My daughter seems to be grounded all the time and punished cause shes always acting bad/ not listening... but i was thinking is me punishing her too much making it worse or?"

Well, your step-daughter is only 9 years old. She comes from a broken family and in your other post she sounds desperate for attention and affection. Her behavior is classic for trying to get attention from her mother, who this poor girl may feel is giving too much to you, the new intruding spouse competing for the mother's attention.

You're not her mother, so it's not your place to punish her. It's her mother's place and her father's place. Step back and let her parents handle it until you have a better relationship and a more established parenting role with this girl. Stop competing for her mother's attention.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi C.,

I would suggest that you and your wife seek out some counseling on blending families, who can give you some tips on how to make the transition smoother for all of you, especially your step-daughter.

If you could give us some examples of how she is acting bad / not listening I think that you would get some better advice. It sounds like from your other posts that your step-daughter is not handling the blended family very well and is acting out. She is 9. That is what they do.

I don't have a blended family, but my (now) ex b'friend and I went through some counseling and one of the things that was recommended is that you always remember there are 4 relationships in your family of 3:
The relationship you and your wife have with each other.
The relationship you have with your step-daughter
The relationship your wife has with her daughter
The relationship you ALL Have together.

They ALL need equal focus - but you can see that 75% of the "relationships" involve your DAUGHTER. Which means what is going on with her is equally as important as the relationship you are developing with her mom.

How have you bonded with her? How have you worked toward making that relationship easy for her?
How have you supported the relationship between her and her mom as well as how has her mom supported the relationship between you and her daughter?
What activities/family time do you all do together?

When kids are being punished heavily generally it is because there is not enough for the child to do - interacting with family, homework, helping with dinner etc.

See if that will help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Good catch Denise....this is your girlfriend's daughter that is having a lot of trouble with your relationship and wants her mother's interaction. Grounding obviously isn't working and her mom needs to work hard to find a way to make in impact.

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answers from New York on

Have you ever considered this...What is the purpose of punishment and do you actually get the goal of punishment when executed?

I very rarely ground the children because for me grounding them is punishing me too. If I make them have to stay home then I have to stay home and monitor their staying home. That's unfair to me. So I usually don't issue a punishment that will not punish me too.

It is hard to give advice on what to do without specifice information on how she is "acting bad" or "not listening". Are your expectations of her age appropriate? There should be an entire arsenal of weapons in your bag of tricks to discipline your child. Have you tried rewarding her good behavior to get more of the same? What is the root cause of the child's misbehavior? If the child is misbehaving because you aren't around much then spending more time with the child would work wonders.

We have a family game night 1 a week. Every Monday night after homework and dinner we set up some board game and play. It gives us an opportunity to talk, laugh and have fun. Even the kids that have moved out come on Monday nights to play with the family. It is a great time and can double for serving the purpose of punishing when warranted by restricting that person from participating.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Is this your girlfriend's child? Then she should be grounding her--not you.

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answers from Chicago on

I can tell you that I spent most of my junior and senior years in high school grounded. I reached a point that I just didn't care.
It didn't curb my behavior, it just taught me how to lie creatively and still be able to do the things I wanted to.
(Ex: I started cutting class in groups...)

You might try to change it up, or really evaluate why she's grounded.

I was never the trouble kid. I hung out with the "bad" people, but I rarely drank, and never got caught by the police. I smoked and hid it. That was my "bad" thing. I didn't stop becuase I got punished....

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answers from San Diego on

Hi C., You have to pick your battles, children need hope and if she is always grounded, she has no hope/ the flip side is she's making concious decissions to break the rules, you can not ignore that. I would have a mother/daughter day and try and get to the bottom of her behavior and then go from there. Reading the other posts is sounds like this is not your daughter. Si I agree with Jessica. J.


Hi C., You have to pick your battles, children need hope and if she is always grounded, she has no hope/ the flip side is she's making concious decissions to break the rules, you can not ignore that. I would have a mother/daughter day and try and get to the bottom of her behavior and then go from there. Reading the other posts is sounds like this is not your daughter. Si I agree with Jessica. J.



answers from Colorado Springs on

There is a site that i like that has some great parenting advise, it's Love and Logic check it out. It's very freeing to parent this way once you are consistent and patient with it.



answers from Phoenix on

It depends on the age. I will ground for the day of the offense and all of the next day. If they keep acting up, I'll ground from something else or move their bed time to 7:00pm (which really seems to work because they always want to stay up.) If it's not working, try something else in addition to her grounding. I found that with my strong willed children, I needed two forms of discipline. Swats and a time out when they're young and a time out and grounding when they're older. The bed time thing works wonders too. Just pick two. Don't get flustered. If she wants to be grounded all the time, that's her problem not yours. Good luck!!



answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with the other posts -- your stepdaughter is in a complex situation and crying out for attention and help. And punishing and grounding her, instead of trying to understand and grapple with the root problems, may truly be counterproductive. Also -- not even sure how you ground a 9 year old? What does that even mean? Is she confined to her room or to the house?

In any event -- she has a relatively new parent, and that means that her mom's affection and attention is to be shared with yet another person. In your other posts you seem inclined to want a full fledged romantic life (special "baths" for her mom , romantic dinners) -- things that by their nature are exclusionary for a child -- and usually not conducted by parents during family time (if at all -- we're usually all too exhausted!) So while your already a rival in her eyes, you may be exacerbating the situation by wanting your own "alone time" with her mom -- at the same time she wants to be with her. I have no idea if the same sex aspect of a new spousal relationship presents any additional challenges for a child as far as their understanding of parental roles. But certainly any step parent has their work cut out for them, and any child is going to find it challenging to understand and adapt to the dynamics of a new spouse.

Bottom line -- I think it's time to stop punishing and to start trying to understand what's going on with her. If you can all do some counseling sessions to help facilitate a dialog and plan, I think you would all benefit enormously.

Every family has it's challenges, and it is never any one person's fault entirely. It's about working together to create a healthy dynamic for everyone. It begins with listening, and hearing and respecting each other's needs. I hope you can get some additional help in working through this and think it's great that you're questioning and exploring your own role and not just functioning on auto pilot as far dealing with this. Good luck to all of you.



answers from Los Angeles on

I have read only a few responses, and they were great! My first thought is that you should ask your daughter why she is acting bad/not listening. After a child is 3 years old, I really think they are capable of making their own behavior choices & it is up to us to guide them/teach them the correct/appropriate/expected behavior choices. In our home, we have two daughters and recently we sat down and really discussed school, dance, gymnastics, and the overall care of our home. It was a great opportunity to understand everyone's perspective, everyone's needs, and everyone's expectations. Now we are all on the same page and things are great! I fully believe that punishment is not effective in the long term. We want our children to make great choices in every aspect of their lives, and we need to help them LEARN how to make those choices.



answers from Albuquerque on

If she's always grounded or punished, then yeah - it's too much. Doesn't matter what her age is, if she's always in trouble then she will just expect it rather than really care when you tell her to listen.

Can you sit down together and come up with a set of rules? Maybe relax a few things so that she gets the chance to be "good" for a week?



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,
I found out about a program called Grooming the Next Generation when I had a friend, who had three children all under 5 all well-behaved! It’s a program taught by Dani Johnson, who was recently on Oprah and ABC’s Secret Millionnaire. You will learn what you need to do to discipline (not punish) your child with love and more importantly, groom your child to succeed in life by teaching them basic skills they need.

It's made a huge difference in disciplining my daughter. The program is audio so you can listen to it in your car. I even have my daughter listen to it in the car, which made it really simple!

You can read more about the program at:



answers from Los Angeles on

I had the same issue with my first-born (Btw, I disagree that a "same sex" relationship is different from a heterosexual one as my husband and I had the same issues with our son!) Trying to get blood out of a stone would have been easier than getting him to talk about his feelings! The only thing that worked required a lot of commitment from both of us parents. We started CONSISTENTLY ignoring his bad behaviour and watching eagle eyed for any chance to praise him for GOOD behaviour. Believe me it's WAY easier said than done! At first it was extremely difficult to find anything at all to praise, but the more we did it the easier it got. Eventually it becomes second nature and makes for a much more pleasant atmosphere in the home. Its not a "quick fix" but it DOES work - as long as both parents praise the good (even if it's just for not slamming a door at first) and ignore the bad. In our case the difference was noticeable within the first 2 weeks and just improved from there. He is now an 18 year old that I can be super proud of! Believe me, if we could do it so can you! :) Good luck!

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