I am the father of a 16 year old son. I grounded him for 1 month because he got detention every day.

He's not allowed to get out of his room except for food and using the bathroom: no tv, no electronics.

Also he has an early bedtime (8 pm) every night.

This is fair, right?

  • 6
    What was the detention for? What's the goal of grounding -- keeping him out of trouble? learning a lesson? just to be a punishment?
    – Acire
    Apr 12, 2015 at 19:30
  • 7
    Hi, and welcome to the site. It is difficult to give advice on so little information. You might add details: why he is getting detentions, what kind of student he is, what you have tried before as consequences/discipline, etc. The more you tell us, the more helpful our answers will be to you. Apr 12, 2015 at 19:31
  • I don't really know because I've never been grounded, but does he have anything to do, such as reading books (beyond homework of course)? Extreme boredom (which I know being grounded for a month would cause to me) would lead to mischief. How do you know your son didn't stash anything in his room? Stuff like that. I would probably sneak around, just because of my extreme boredom. I think it's necessary that there is something he can do other than eat, use the restroom, homework, and sleep.
    – Justin
    Apr 12, 2015 at 19:50
  • Are you asking if it is fair, or if it is effective? Fair is an opinion and I don't think would work here. Asking if it is effective would be a valid question (with some more information).
    – Joe
    Apr 12, 2015 at 22:38
  • Like @Quincunx said, what can he actually do in his room. At this point you're describing solitary confinement for getting detention. What did he do to get detention?
    – CLockeWork
    Apr 13, 2015 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


While I agree that you are giving very few details, from my point of view, there is a clear cut answer. No, it's not fair.

Detention is a punishment in itself, given by the school. Ergo, you are punishing him for being punished, and that's absolutely not fair in my book.

If your child has trouble at school, then you should try to help him overcome this trouble in the first place. Punishment is one of the approaches used for this. So, if there is an indication that by punishing him, you will solve his problem, then grounding might in theory be the correct way to go about it.

Although I know almost nothing about the situation, I'd say it's more likely that punishment won't work. Why? Because the school already did it, by putting him in detention. And whatever the original problem was, it did not go away by punishment. So, the likeliest answer here is that punishment is not the solution, and adding more punishment will not help.

But even if you think that there is a chance that the punishment will somehow help him (a view which I don't share), then you should be grounding him for the original problem. Grounding him for getting a detention is simply cruel and makes no sense at all.

  • If the detention is an every day occurrence, staying late for an hour or so, possibly in a setting with fellow trouble-making friends, might not be considered that much of a "punishment" to the child, him or herself. So, yes, technically the school is meting out their one-sized fits all punishment, but a parent can tailor what they do to actually be impact-ful/consequential. A parent decides what's appropriate or "enough" discipline for their kids. If it makes an impression, that's more important than some arbitrary scorecard. The punishment at home would also be for the behavior. Aug 30, 2016 at 20:10
  • @AndrewMattson You missed the point of the answer. You are arguing that there are cases where the parent should punish the child for whatever the university is punishing the child for. I agree that the parent should address the underlying problem in some way, although in my view, grounding rarely has the desired effect. The point was that grounding the child for being sent to detention by the university makes no sense.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 31, 2016 at 11:23
  • I didn't miss the point. You don't abdicate your parenting responsibilities to the school. The school did not ask permission to assign detention, so the link you make between the two is an arbitrary one. If one of the groundrules is to keep a good record at school then they are violating a HOME rule, as well. That's like arguing I can't punish a child for poor grades, because school already gave him a poor grade. School does not dictate to me what my rules are at home, at what my child is held accountable for. If I feel detention is not enough, I'll choose a consequence for home. Aug 31, 2016 at 15:43

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