How to Get "Ungrounded"

By Rosenya Faith
A young boy is about to get in trouble.
A young boy is about to get in trouble.

Whether you flunked physics or broke curfew for the umpteenth time, you’re now facing a sentence of days or weeks with limited or no social connections. Fortunately, you can start taking steps now to earn back your freedom by recognizing what went wrong and making the necessary changes to show your parents you’ve learned from the mistake.

Stay Calm and Cool

Keep a level head when you're faced with an emotionally charged situation with your parents. While your first reaction to losing your privileges likely borders on explosive indignation and moral outrage, a melodramatic response isn't going to help your case.

If you've messed up, fess up. Be prepared to admit your mistake rather than charging into a heated argument. While staying calm may not get you off the hook, your responsible attitude begins paving the road to redemption. If you’ve already had a blow-out, take a deep breath and check your anger. Discuss the problem with your parents as maturely as possible to begin making amends for your transgression.

Understand Consequences

If you’ve been caught in a lie, broken house rules or let your grades slip, your parents’ trust in you has likely been shaken. And because it’s their job to help you become a responsible and trustworthy adult, this form of discipline is intended to help you learn from your mistakes. Fortunately, discipline is educative, not punitive, and you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes, regain trust and act responsibly. Offer an honest apology and commit to earning back your parents’ trust. Rather than immediately trying to lift your restrictions, an apology demonstrates that you understand the severity of the issue.

Make a Plan

If you’ve been banished to the confines of your room for a less than stellar interim report card, show your parents you’ve learned your lesson and are worthy of a second chance by presenting a detailed plan for pulling your grades out of the gutter. Incorporate daily homework and study time, arrange for a few moments each day to share your assignments and projects with your parents and keep your mom and dad up to date with upcoming tests.

Instead of spending every weekend with friends, propose to turn one or two of those evenings each month into a group study session at your home. While you might not bring your grades to soaring heights overnight, if you’ve been flunking every pop quiz in science class, your parents will be delighted when you present them with a “C” as a testament to your new-found dedication and hard work.

Propose a Point System

Instead of looking for the immediate reinstatement of your previous privileges, propose a point system whereby you earn your freedom through a series of good deeds, proper behavior, successful homework completion and improved grades. Present your parents with the idea and then work together to determine a fair point value for each positive action. For example, if you must earn a total of 100 points to regain your weekend social privileges, assign values such as 10 points for every completed homework assignment, 5 points for assigned extra chores and 10 points for every improved test grade. Keep a chart and work toward accomplishing your goal of freedom -- and a passing grade.

Alternatively, if you’ve been grounded from your techno toys for tanking your midterm math exam, propose a one-to-one ratio system whereby your parents get to see results before letting you off the hook; one phone call or texting session on your cell phone for every good grade you receive on a test, project or assignment.

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.