GrandmaC asks:

Is grounding 6 yr old for school behavior excessive?

School class daily reports
teacher calendar home green means good day, yellow  means had a warning, and red means numerous warnings for behavior.

Is grounding of a six year old  for having 1 red out of the week, all test green for the week, excessive or even damagng to the child?  Grounding means no tv, playing, only home work and chores for the entire weekend.

I don't think a six year old has the maturity level for complete self control every day of the week.  I think this would have the child to be not motivated to have greens either during the week because the consequence is the same for one red or 5 reds.

I think that some consequences for the day the the red behavior happened could have consequences for the that evening perhaps, go to bed early, extra chore, etc.


PS teacher has not notified parent that her behavior needs parent teacher meeting, so I am assuming that this childs behavior is typical for her age and the classroom enviornment.
In Topics: School and Academics, Cognitive development, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Jan 25, 2010

What the Expert Says:

Thanks for posting this important question.  Your intuition is right on.  Experts agree that "grounding" is not an effective form of changing child behavior and can backfire.  What is most effective is "communication and connection" with your child.  Although it takes more time, sitting down and talking with your child about his or her behavior and what can be done to change it does work.  Even a six-year-old can come up with ideas and a plan to make his or her own behavior change.  Personally, I'm not a big believer in parenting through consequences on a daily basis, but sometimes it is needed. (Also, our children experience many natural consequences to their behavior just going through the day.)  Your question is so thoughtful -- what a great parent/caregiver you are to reach out for ideas.  You may also find this article helpful:

It's also important to keep in mind that when children "act out" or misbehave what it often means is that they are saying "I'm not feeling to well inside and I need an adult to help me."  A child may have been excluded from a game at recess or sees that other classmates are ahead of them on a math lesson. These feelings of discomfort or insecurity may come out in the form of misbehavior.  What the child may really need is reassurance, a big hug, and talking it out.  Sending a child off to school with lots of love, reassurance, and a "I know you can  do it" or "I know you can work it out" or "I believe in you" will give them the juice they need to help regulate their behavior during a school day.
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Additional Answers (2)

Seann writes:
Tough question.  My child's first grade classroom uses a similar protocol for dealing with disruptive behavior in class.  As parents, we've chosen to focus on rewarding positive behavior rather than punish our child at home for a bad day at school.  In cases where our daughter has gotten into trouble, she's typically felt remorseful and embarrassed about getting in to trouble (although this has some times been interpreted by others as obstinance).  We make sure we talk to her about what happened, why she acted out, and work with her to come up with an alternative way to express herself.  In cases where we have tried adding punishment, we've found it has backfired because our daughter felt that she was getting punished twice for single incidence and she stopped being willing to talk to us openly about what had happened.

Hard to say that this would work for every kid or be appropriate for every situation, but for us, it's been a good solution.

Good luck!!!
> 60 days ago

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This totally depends on what grounding for this child means. Does it mean he is not allowed to play outside? Does it mean he cannot watch TV or play video games? Does it mean that he cannot leave the house to go with his parent or family members to the store or anywhere else?

Also, if he is grounded from using privileges, what is he doing with his time that normally he would be playing or watching TV?

Supporting school expectations by following through with negative consequences at home is great and should be happening. However, it is usually more effective if the behaviors that caused the trouble in school are addressed at home, and that more socially acceptable alternatives are taught and practiced in the home. As parents we always want to think about what message he is hearing from our response to his behaviors is. We want the message to be that the school, his family and he must all work together to improve his chances to succeed.

If his problem in school is that he did not follow the teacher's instructions, then at home you teach him that when someone gives him and instruction he should;
1. Stop what he is doing and look at them,
2. Acknowledge that he heard them by saying okay,
3. Begin the task immediately and do it the best he can,
4. Let the person know when he is finished.
This skill is one that when he becomes proficient at using, will help him succeed in many areas of his life.

After teaching the skill, you will want to practice it. You can do that at home by pretending you are the teacher; you can give him instructions that you are fairly confident he is given in school. You can practice situations at home when he is given an instruction. You can even play games to improve his skill of Following Instructions. One game that focuses on this is Simon Says. Be consistent with your expectations of his response. Each time require him to stop what he is doing and look at you, say okay, and begin the task immediately and let you know he is finished. Reinforce him with praise each time he practices and especially when he remembers all of the steps. Explain to him how doing it the way he is being taught will benefit him in the future. Use "kid" reasons, ones that he can understand and relate to now.

Make practice fun and keep it brief. Practice makes perfect and the goal is to make this skill nearly automatic so he doesn't have to think about it. He just does it.

Regardless of what his behaviors were that caused the problems in school, at home, teach the alternatives and have him practice, practice, practice. His life at home definitely should change as a result of his behavior in school.

Boys Town National Hotline

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