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Discipline: Job Grounding

What is job grounding?

Job grounding is a way to discipline 10- to 16-year-old children who are too old for time-outs. If your child misbehaves, he is grounded until he completes a job. Your child decides how long it will be until he completes the job and gets privileges back. Since spending time with friends is important to kids at this age, job grounding can be an effective form of discipline.

Here’s how to get started.

  1. Sit down with your child to talk about job grounding at a pleasant time, not when he is about to be punished. Explain what job grounding is. Make sure he understands the concept and knows when you will use it. Let him know that he is in charge of how long the grounding will last.
  2. Develop a list of at least 10 jobs to be done around the house. Choose jobs that take at least 1 or 2 hours to complete, and that your child is able to do. Examples of such jobs are sweeping out the garage, raking the front yard, and vacuuming. The job should not be one of your child's normal chores.
  3. Write each job on a separate index card with a detailed description of how to do the job correctly. For example: Wash kitchen floor: Sweep the floor first. Remove all movable pieces of furniture. Fill a bucket with warm soapy water. Wash the floor with a clean rag, squeezed so that it is not dripping. Replace the furniture when the floor is dry.
  4. Explain to your child that when he has broken a rule, one or more job cards will be assigned. Have your child pick from the prewritten job cards. Until the assigned job described on the card is done correctly, your child will be grounded. Being grounded means:
    • Going to school
    • Doing normal chores in addition to the job
    • Following house rules
    • Staying in his room unless eating meals, working on chores or homework, or attending school
    • No television, MP3 players, videos, games, telephone calls, email, or text messaging
    • Not having friends over or going to friends' houses
    • No outside social activities (for example, movies or going out to dinner).

    If your child argues or objects strongly to the job card, let him know that if he continues, you will give him another job card. Avoid arguing and walk away if he continues to complain after giving him another job card.

  5. When the jobs are completed, make sure that they have been done correctly. Praise your child for completing the job correctly. If a job is not done correctly, review the job description and give feedback on what was done correctly and incorrectly. Without nagging, have your child redo the tasks that were done incorrectly in order to end the grounding.
  6. Your child determines how long he is to be grounded. The grounding lasts only as long as it takes to complete the assigned jobs. It could last several hours or several days.

If the grounding seems to be lasting too long, make sure that your child's life is dull during the grounding. If you plan a family outing, get a baby sitter and leave your grounded child at home. Make sure you are not giving your child more attention when he’s grounded than when he behaves well.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-10-23
Last reviewed: 2014-09-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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