Groundings might be most effective if they last up to 24 hours.

Ideas for Grounding a Teen

by Candice Coleman

Between breaking curfew and not doing homework, your teenager's behavior might leave you feeling angry and annoyed. Grounding your teenager, or removing privileges and keeping the teen at home, can be an effective punishment. Knowing how to ground your teenager properly can prevent backlash and show your teen that you mean business.

Grounding Guidelines

When it comes to grounding your teen, a short-term punishment works better than a long-term one, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Groundings should not last much more than 24 hours. However, parents might find that grounding for less than a day might not be enough to prevent a teenager from breaking the rules again. Talk to your teen beforehand and put household rules into writing, according to KidsHealth. After a teen breaks a rule, you will have documentation that she was aware of the rules and the punishment for breaking them.


Though angry parents might feel compelled to ground a teenager for a month, long-term groundings can backfire, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Punished teens might feel they have nothing to lose, so they might as well get into more trouble. Grounding your son for more than 24 hours can leave everyone in the family feeling equally punished because someone will likely need to monitor your son during the grounding. Parents should not take away all of a teenager's freedoms when grounding, according to Carl E. Pickhardt, a psychologist writing for the "Psychology Today" website. A punishment that is too severe, just as a punishment that lasts too long, can lead to more rule-breaking.

Grounding Ideas

A grounding can range from keeping your teen at home for a few hours after school to keeping your teen away from the car and electronics. The type of restrictions you impose should go along with the rule your teen broke, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. A teen who stayed out late or broke curfew might be unable to leave home the next night. Your daughter might find herself without the car for a night if she stayed out later than planned, or without a phone for a day if she went over the agreed monthly minutes.

Additional Information

Grounding your teenager can be a game of trial and error because some tactics work better with your child than others. When it comes to disciplining your teen, consistency is your best weapon. If you cannot enforce a punishment, your teen will be more likely to break the rules again, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your teen's doctor or a child behavioral specialist can also help you come up with disciplinary plans to nip poor behavior in the bud.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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