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Discipline: Job Grounding

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KEY POINTS

  • Job grounding is a way to discipline 10- to 16-year-old children who are too old for time-outs. If your child misbehaves, they are grounded until they complete a job such as sweeping out the garage, raking the front yard, and vacuuming.
  • The grounding lasts only as long as it takes to complete the assigned jobs. It could last several hours or several days.
  • Make sure you do not give your child more attention when they are grounded than when they behave well.

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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, they are grounded until they complete a job. Your child decides how long it will be until they complete 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 they are about to be punished. Explain what job grounding is. Make sure your child understands the concept and knows when you will use it. Let your child know that they are 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 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete. Make sure it’s a job that your child can do. Examples of such jobs are sweeping out the garage, raking the front yard, and vacuuming. The job should be in addition to 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, one chore may be to wash the kitchen floor. You could explain to your child that they should sweep the floor first. Then they should remove all movable pieces of furniture. Next, they fill a bucket with warm soapy water. Wash the floor with a clean rag that has been squeezed so it is not dripping too much water. 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 their 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 them know that if they continue, you will give another job card. Avoid arguing and walk away if your child continues to complain after you give them 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 to end the grounding.
  6. Your child determines how long they are 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 you plan a family outing, get a babysitter and leave your grounded child at home. Make sure you do not give your child more attention when they are grounded than when they behave well.

What are the benefits of job grounding?

  • Your child learns that misbehaving has consequences.
  • Your child is responsible for how often they are grounded and how long it takes to complete each job.
  • Your child knows what will happen when rules are broken.
Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-09-10
Last reviewed: 2019-08-07
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.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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