How Parents are Punished by Modern Discipline

Modern discipline usually means grounding kids from devices. Unfortunately, sometimes that means parents suffer too. -

Last week I shared 15 ideas for family bonding. We have a close-knit family but as I said in that feature, we do have rules and rules sometimes get broken. My first job is to be a good parent and sometimes that means making difficult decisions. Discipline is difficult for many reasons, but mostly because everyone suffers in hopes that a long term lesson is learned. The nature of modern discipline methods is that we take away some of the luxuries in the child’s life. Unfortunately, some of those are luxuries for the parents as well.

Things are far different for kids of this generation than it was for mine. Discipline in the 70’s meant you either received a spanking (hand, wooden spoon and belt were the most common) or had your mouth washed out with soap. We weren’t grounded from going outside because our parents WANTED us to be outside. We weren’t assigned extra chores because we were already expected to do all the things our parents expected us to do. We weren’t usually grounded from television or electronics because (1) there weren’t any electronics besides television and (2) the only time we cared what was on TV was on Saturday morning. However, modern discipline doesn’t involve any type of corporal punishment but instead typically revolves around electronics, specifically kids’ phones.

Despite having two wonderful daughters, there is always room for growth. Sometimes it’s something vocal like talking back. Disrespect is absolutely unacceptable. Other times, it’s failure to do something. My girls don’t get allowances because they are either expected to contribute to the household or they’re expected to get “homework” done. Homework refers to anything relating to school or assignments and practice time as recommended by their music instructors. We also have a puppy now and the girls are learning that a puppy is a big responsibility. But life extends beyond normal chores (I don’t want to have to remind anyone to brush their teeth), beyond the puppy (it’s a living, breathing creature that needs to be fed, bathed, walked and played with) and beyond schoolwork (extra curricular activities and socializing are the first to go when grades slip). The divide often comes when their chores and schoolwork aren’t completed because they’ve been distracted by a device.

That makes me livid. No matter how many times I say that they shouldn’t have electronics in front of them when they’re eating, working, getting ready for bed or whatever, it falls on deaf ears. So we do what every reasonable parent would do and we remove the distraction. Modern discipline at work: Devices are grounded until good behaviors take root and bad behaviors are put into check.

But what happens is that we all suffer. While the girls do not have their devices for all the things they love to do, there are benefits for parents when kids have phones. I like knowing where they are and when they arrive at or leave school. I like being able to contact them via text. I like that we share a calendar and can confirm they aren’t missing appointments. I like that the high school uses devices to communicate with the students. I like that a device is easier to carry than a textbook. The phone isn’t only for them, it’s for me too. So when they get grounded from it, I struggle as well. And that’s just frustrating. But what can we do? What other way can we get through to them?

As much as modern discipline has changed over the years, I know when kids hit a certain point it circles back to the way it was when I was growing up…

…When you break the rules, you lose car privileges.

How do you discipline your children?

29 thoughts on “How Parents are Punished by Modern Discipline

  1. The parent is going to suffer no matter the form of discipline. I have found that grounding my daughter from her phone is the best measure. I do allow her to take it to contact me from school, but the entire time she’s home, the phone is with me.

  2. I think parents should play a big role regarding their kids’ use of their devices. As attached as they are to them, limiting their use as a way to instill discipline in them.

  3. Nice article. Our kids are still young but the methods are still very similar. Parents always have to be willing to follow through on punishments, even if it means parents also miss out. Be mindful of what punishments are said, even in the heat of a moment.

  4. awesome lessons learned! We have small ones right now and we just never let them watch tv or use electronics when little as they are just not needed. Now with a 3 1/2 year old we let her watch 1 oe 2 shows before going to bed, and thats not even everyday.

  5. It really depends on the child. Every child responds differently to different things. Example: my brother hated being sent to his room, but if wasn’t effective for me cause I liked being alone with my books.

  6. I have a toddler so we are now working on discipline and it’s so hard to find the sweet spot. I wish I had advice but I have zero idea what I’m doing

  7. Oh my gosh, my grandchildren are all addicted to electronic devices. My grandson is a total monster when he is playing games on it and when it’s taken away to discipline him, he’s still a total monster until he figures out he has to be nice to get it back. I’m just glad I got to raise my daughter without all the electronic devices. She got to go outside and explore and have fun.

  8. Disciplining a child is always tough. Sometimes taking away a cell phone or other electronic device can be as hard on the parent as it is on the child. Follow through is important though, no matter how much the child whines, begs or mopes

  9. My children are all grown up now with children of their own. We disciplined them based upon the severity of the transgression, the most serious being a safety violation. For the most part it was generally removing a privilege based on their age (anything from sitting in the corner to taking away a toy). I can understand why parents today need to use the limitation of the device in their kids lives as a discipline tactic.

  10. Discipline is hard and always makes a parent feel guilty, but usually necessary in some kind of form to make it a teaching/learning moment.

  11. I agree, I think limiting electronics is a big thing. Kids need to learn they can’t do them anytime. Homework comes first and helping around the house like cleaning their room. Without the discipline, they won’t learn how to interact with others especially Teachers and Supervisors later in life.

  12. I know when my little one is grounded she will harrass me and pester me it makes me end punishment sooner

  13. My girls are older, in their 20’s. When they were younger, they had privileges taken away as punishment.

  14. I a parent we all hurt when we have to discipline our children but, if we wants whats best for them we will do it. As far as electronics I rarely see a big benefit in a child having them
    For school yes but other than that I think too many parents have used electronics for a way to occupy their children verses letting electronics be a bonus. This is just my opinion

    1. I completely understand your viewpoint, Tamra, and I agree that many people use electronics as digital babysitters. We’ve been fortunate that we can make time to engage with our kids in other ways offline (mainly board games). While they spend a good amount of time on their devices, it’s well-balanced.

  15. We’ve instituted a rewards system. When the kids are doing their chores, getting their homework down, and generally behaving well, etc. they earn tickets. When they’ve been especially good, or done something helpful without being asked, they earn extra tickets. When they need to be punished, they lose tickets.

    Tickets can be cashed in (at varying “prices”) for rewards (visits to bouncy houses, going to see a movie, swinging by the ice cream store, etc.).

  16. My girls, ages 9 and 10, have limited screen time. I have pressed into their minds to watch more educational shows. My 10 yr old likes watching fishing channels on YouTube. She learns how to make her own traps , then goes to the pond down the road. My 9 yrs old will watch videos about easy diy crafts and will sometimes even create her own ideas. They do their homework, if any, after school and a certain amount of time for extra reading. Then they do their chores. A little screen time afterwards if there’s time before bed but phone or tablet gets turned in at bedtime. I strongly encourage playing outside, especially on the weekends and school breaks, and when I’ve noticed them on the device for 30 minutes or so. Constructive behavior, physical activity, not afraid to get dirty, they know that they’re not dying if they get hurt… Their discipline is, when related to their wellbeing or safety: spankings and a scolding along with getting grounded for two weeks; being disrespectful, or not doing as they’re told or vice versa: an explanation and the closest corner and/or take away their device. Pretty effective. I have teenage nieces and nephews and I worry more about social media with them. I notice it has a big influence on their behavior and attitudes. They’re still minors and there are parental control settings on devices that limits installation of apps, screen time, and data usage all together. Not a lot of parents are seeing what their teens are posting or have in their stories because they’re able to individually select who can or cannot see these things. And it’s sad how many parents brush them off. This is a way for them to start thinking they have control and before you know it, they’re out of control. Set parental controls, limits, and restrictions on their devices. It helps.

  17. We watch our grandkids a few days a week and have to really think about discipline because we want to maintain the role of grandparents but still need to not let them get away with poor behavior. I have found consistency and calmness and rewarding positives to work for the most part.

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