Is Grounding an Effective Punishment for Teenagers?

For many teens, getting their phones taken away is a common punishment.


For many teens, getting their phones taken away is a common punishment.

Lucy Lu, Photojournalist

“You’re grounded!” One of the worst things to hear your parents say. Many, if not most teenagers have been grounded at least once in their lives. Being grounded can mean anything from getting your phone taken away for a certain period of time to not being allowed to hang out with friends for as long as an entire summer. Numerous parents believe grounding is an effective punishment for kids, while most teenagers will argue that it doesn’t promote better behavior. 


Parents often use grounding as a consequence for breaking a rule or expectation they have set in place. Examples can include getting a bad grade, coming home after curfew, or anything else that they would deem as disobedience. Common types of grounding include getting electronics taken away for a weekend and not being able to attend social events. However, some teens report parents taking it to the extreme. For instance, taking the door off of their room, going through their phone and limiting who they can talk to, and being grounded for over a month. Though these punishments invade a teen’s privacy, many still argue that it works to keep their child “in line.”


In addition, many people report being grounded for silly things. A teen on Reddit stated that they’ve gotten in trouble over a 97% on a test because “Well what’d you do wrong? Why isn’t that 100%?” Others have also been grounded for going to bed too late and taking too long in the bathroom. 

grounding kids doesn’t make them learn and instead teaches them how to be more sneaky.

— Lydia Lin (9)

Most, if not all teenagers will collectively argue that grounding does not work as a consequence and will not promote better behavior in the future. An argument against grounding includes that it can drive a wedge in the relationship between the parent and the child and creates resentment. Lydia Lin (9), a student at Yorba Linda High agrees that grounding isn’t effective, and that “grounding kids doesn’t make them learn and instead teaches them how to be more sneaky.” This statement can be proven to be true, as many teens have been caught in possession of a burner phone for when their everyday cell phone gets taken away and others sneaking out when grounded.  James Lehman, the creator of The Total Transformation® child behavior program, says, “grounding just teaches kids how to “do time” and doesn’t show them how to change their behavior.” 


One’s point of view on grounding can change so drastically depending on their role. Most parents agree with fair grounding as a punishment while teenagers despise the lack of freedom that’s a part of the consequence. Though extreme grounding is damaging, grounding still can be effective when done at proper measures. With that being said, it is all up to personal opinion. What are your thoughts on grounding as a punishment, and what is the silliest thing you’ve been grounded for?