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Alice

? about grounding for high school student

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File this under "I'm just curious what other people do." 

 

I am in charge of an activity where high school students are the coaches, they get paid a small salary. It meets weekly from Sept-May. We have one coach who has done a great job but recently sent an email saying that she would be unable to finish out the year because her parents had taken away all activities due to something she did. We only have about 4 weeks left. 

 

I don't know what she did to cause the punishment but I was surprised that part of it was that she had to stop coaching for us. It puts our program in a bit of a bind, we will be ok but it definitely impacts us. And the kids in the activity are little and it will be a big deal to them that this girl who they like is no longer there to finish out the year. It seemed to me that the punishment is hurting us as well as her.

 

At this point it doesn't really matter, I'm not going to say anything to them. But since I don't have high school students it made me wonder what others with teens would do when it came to grounding or punishment. Do you make them quit jobs or volunteer work even if that impacts other people negatively? 

 

 

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I suppose that if the only way my child could get to this activity was by driving themselves, and we could longer trust him/her to do that responsibly, they would have to withdraw. That's what stuck me off the top of my head.

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It would have to be mighty serious for me to have a kid quit a job or volunteer position, or even a team thing where other people depended on them.  I can't think of what that might be. 

 

A few years ago my son was on a robotics team. They were always struggling to get ready for competitions because invariably one or more kids would be grounded and not able to go to the meetings.  I saw this as a very valuable extracurricular, not just a fun thing, and if I'd had to ground my kid, I wouldn't have included robotics in that.  But many (most?) parents saw it differently. 

 

 

 

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I think it really depends on the scenario. But, I'm not sure what would put us in a spot to have any of our kids quit a volunteer/job situation like this one. Fun stuff? That's different. Hard to tell though...who knows what happened

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No.  When there is a commitment that must be followed through on.  You don't let other people down or punish other people when they did nothing wrong.

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Without knowing the situation, there are many scenarios where I would make/have made such a call. It's a difficult decision as a parent, to pull your kid out of something potentially beneficial, where they have made a commitment...  but there are a variety of issues where I think it is an entirely reasonable decision on the parents' part. There are ALWAYS commitments and priorities to be sorted.

Edited by theelfqueen
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I have never resorted to grounding as a punishment.

 

I would not prevent a teen from fulfilling his commitments to other people - honoring these commitments is an value and parental discipline should not interfere.

The only situation where I could envision doing such a drastic thing is if my teen's safety were at stake. I would not let a teen drive if he was an unsafe driver, or not let him be in the company of others who push drugs. But that's not really "grounding", is it?

Edited by regentrude
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I cannot think of a "normal" offense that would cause me to have her withdraw from that situation.  If she actually broke a law or something (underage drinking/drug use, etc), where there were legal consequences, that would be a different situation.  Short of that, I can't imagine it would be a punishment I'd use if I didn't have a choice.  

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It would need to be something extreme that affected the health and welfare of my child to disavow a commitment to that extent. I would probably contact the group directly as the adult and apologize and not explain so as to violate my child's privacy, but explain that it was a necessary decision. 

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It depends on how the activity is related to the misdeed that is being punished.

 

I would rather not leave anyone unrelated to the incident in a bind, but that might be unavoidable under certain circumstances.

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No.  When there is a commitment that must be followed through on.  You don't let other people down or punish other people when they did nothing wrong.

 

:iagree:   I would make my high schooler see this type of commitment through.  It's unlikely that a high schooler would be doing something like this primarily for their own enjoyment anyway.  Especially with only weeks left in being done. 

 

If there was an issue mid year and it would need to be a scheduling issue, I would have my teen issue  2-3 weeks notice so they would have an opportunity to find someone else.  In general though, I do not allow my teen to sign up for things on a whim and especially things where you must be depended on to follow through.  To this point, we have followed through on everything.  I do NOT think it is reasonable to pull your teen out of something formatted as a job without some notice.  Exceptions being a serious health issue or the teen needed to go to rehab or something.

 

That said, as the parent of teens, I've heard lots of flaky teens and their parent stories the past couple year and have been the victim more than once.

 

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I wouldn't pull my teen out of something like that without a really good reason. However, I think that they need to realize that their actions can not only negatively affect themselves, but others as well. I know that reasonable consequences may affect our immediate family, extended family, friends, workplace, etc.

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I would have talked to the people in charge, first.  Not really felt the need to explain the details but would have discussed with them that I planned to pull my child, but I would have felt them out on how strong of an impact on others it would have.  If it would be a very serious issue, and there was only a month left to go, I think I would then talk with my child about an alternative way to deal with whatever it was. The student made a commitment and the organization was counting on that commitment.   There are a couple of scenarios where something they did might be so serious I would just have to pull them, or would be logistically impossible for them to continue, but I would absolutely try to talk to the people in charge to give them some warning.

 

FWIW, there are very few scenarios I can think of where I would feel it beneficial to the child to punish them by pulling them from an activity that increases their leadership skills, bolsters their confidence, helps the community, and gives them a positive outlet, especially since pulling them out without warning hurts the organization, too.  Doing so can easily backfire, in my personal experience (as a parent and when I was a child).

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I don't think punishments should punish other people.

 

We never grounded our kids but if we had I can't think of a scenario that would make me think it was okay to let down other people.

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I would only force my child to break his commitment if he showed such poor judgement that I could no longer trust him to work with children. If that were the case, he wouldn't be "grounded", but would probably be headed to rehab or some serious counseling.

 

If I was worried about the driving, or him not going straight to and from work, I would drive him myself. It's only four weeks. 

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We've never really grounded in the traditional sense...... but short of them doing something that involved illegal activities, we wouldn't ground them from their commitments. For us, that would be irresponsible in most cases.

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No way!  My child would see that through since it is a paid position.  I can't believe the parents would have made her quit that.  Makes me wonder if she wanted out for something else and said her parents made her quit.  This would be considered a job and could be used for future job applications.   Very odd.  

 

This is very irresponsible and impacts others.

 

Is this something that she will want to do again next year?  

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Parent's decision and we don't know the details, but this seems like a rather crappy thing to do.  This could possibly be used as something to put on a resume or application for a job.  Now, maybe not. 

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Thanks everyone. I know it's one of those hard to know situations because there are so many variables in the situation. But it's good to know that my thoughts on the situation are along the lines of others. My oldest is 7th grade and a fairly compliant easygoing kid so we haven't really had to deal with much in the way of punishment but I couldn't imagine keeping him from fulfilling a job commitment due to something he had done, especially one so close to being done anyway. 

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When dd was little, her best friend's mom used cancelling play dates as penalty for various things - on a regular basis.  I went through too many sessions of my 6 year old sobbing because a play session was cancelled at the last minute.  I could see it once in a while for something that needed that extra discipline kick - but it happened pretty regularly.

 

I also had a teen that had committed to help me with something big we were planning have her parents tell her she couldn't come because of a grounding.  It was a big enough deal that I asked the parents to reconsider, because I might not have been able to hold the event without the promised support.

 

I agree that commitments should be honored unless it is a *really* big deal or safety issue.  In which case, I think the parent should offer the explanation with apologies.

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I don't do grounding but I feel fulfilling commitments is part of what adulthood is all about. I might make it my business to drop them off and pick them up if they are doing something dangerous but they would finish what they said they'd do.

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I can think of some situations where I'd ground a kid from volunteer work, a job, or a team - but they'd all be pretty serious, especially this late into the season. (I suppose I might make a kid quit a job or likewise if it was severely impacting their education or health, but that's not the same as "grounding", you know? And again, with only four weeks left, it'd have to be HUGE.)

 

Really, it's unlikely I'd ground a teenager anyway unless it was already pretty serious - like they were breaking the law serious, or otherwise seriously abusing my trust. As "The judge won't let you off the hook a second time, so you're going to stay home until I can trust that you won't do it again, and we're writing him a thank you note, as well as an apology for that poor woman".

 

By the teenage years, the kids are almost adults. I figure it's past time to start moving from rewards/punishments and into treating each other with mutual respect.

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We have never grounded our teens and I don't expect to but if it came to it then no, making them stop an activity like that would go against the way we parent.  IMO the consequence of bad behavior should not be mindless suffering but learning(another kind of suffering altogether).  All that sitting in your room does is make you resentful and gives you time to come up with new ways to get away with bad behavior (I had lots of time in my room).  Instead we use talking.  Lots and lots of talking.  Also adding on more responsibility. DD has said she'd rather be grounded than listen to my lectures ;) .  So no. we wouldn't keep her from coaching we'd probably ask for more hours or another volunteer job.

 

 

Just thought of one situation where I would make a kid quit a job or volunteer job, bad grades.  I'm sorry, but my kids education would trump everything else.  

Edited by foxbridgeacademy
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I wouldn't hold my kid back from those sorts of activities unless the problem was happening there, eg. they were meeting their dealer in the parking lot, etc. Even then I might just let them go to the activity and stick to them like glue.

As an aside, are you sure the coach is telling the truth? This is a teenager we're talking about... maybe something else/better came up, or she wants the time to study for exams, or she just does't feel like it anymore, etc, and she's placing the blame on her parent's shoulders so that you won't argue with her?

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Sometimes "grounding" isn't about punishing with misery, it's not about depriving the child of things that are joyful for them. Sometimes it's about removing everything distracting, everything that can be contributing to whatever the problem is. Sometimes it's about radically changing a situation so a teenager can 'reprogram' and gain new thoughts and skills and a family can rebuild trust and rebuild their family after a failure or a betrayal or an experience that made you think you might lose a LOT more ... even things that are potentially very positive for the child or to which they've committed (like scouts or volunteering or jobs) may need to be removed to focus on the REAL priority of raising a healthy, moral adult human being who isn't, you know...in jail. or on drugs. or failing school. or involved with people who could lead them into that level of despair. or whatever.

 

Edited by theelfqueen
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It doesn't necessarily sound like she is grounded, just that she had to pull out of activities. Perhaps it's an issue related to driving and the parents can't or aren't willing to drive her around. Another possibility is that it could be grade related, with her parents not allowing her to have outside activities because her grades are in jeopardy.

 

I don't have a problem with the choice of having her to pull out. It's too bad others are penalized in the process, but that wouldn't be enough to stop me from putting some restrictions on place, it's just what has to be done sometimes. Now, also, she won't have a good reference from her work with the program, so it that has consequences for her as well.

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I would have to have a very serious reason to do this.  Even school stuff, with so little time left, would not be likely to qualify.  And I would certainly be apologiszing to the staff about causing that kind of problem.

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We never grounded our children, but if we did, I would still require them to follow through with commitments like that.  I think following through with commitments helps build good habits, discipline, and character, and should be encouraged. I suppose there could be circumstances that would require pulling out of everything, but it would have to be pretty serious.  Otherwise, backing out like that with just a month to go seems pretty irresponsible, grounded or not.

 

 

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I have never resorted to grounding as a punishment.

 

I would not prevent a teen from fulfilling his commitments to other people - honoring these commitments is an value and parental discipline should not interfere.

The only situation where I could envision doing such a drastic thing is if my teen's safety were at stake. I would not let a teen drive if he was an unsafe driver, or not let him be in the company of others who push drugs. But that's not really "grounding", is it?

 

They think of it as grounding, though.

 

Because they might think of certain privileges or gifts as entitlements or basic human rights once they get used to it.

 

So it's hard to know what the full story is.

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I can be a PITA and pull privileges on my kids (one is going into high school).  But a previous commitment where others depdended on her?  Nope.

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In general I wouldn't have a punishment hurt others; however there are some very serious situations where a child might go to rehab or into a diversion program or even be sent to boarding school. Situations where all the child's friends must change.  Situations serious enough that I wouldn't want to violate the child's privacy by explaining the full situation, but where all outside activities must cease.

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Have only read the OP.

 

No, I would not do this.  When you make a commitment to a team as a coach or a player, you are committed.  I think this is wrong and punishes more than just the teen.

 

The only exception would be in case of a severe problem such as drug use or serious mental health problems.

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Disclaimer:  I've been a mom of a teen for a very short time :D  but I'd think it would have to be a pretty serious offense to force them to back out of something like that.  Even if I had to drive them (due to loss of car privileges).  But it's hard to say without knowing the exact circumstances.  

Edited by Forget-me-not

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However, I will say I have heard of something like this.  Someone I know, not well, hired a teen to act as a part time nanny in evenings, while the parents both worked.  Her mother after a while decided she needed to spend more time on school - pretty much with no notice as well.

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Grounding your child should never punish my child in the process.  

 

My kids get put on restriction, but if someone is counting on them for something, it does not affect them.  They are off electronics, get extra chores while at home, etc....

 

I recently couldn't believe a situation where there were 4 boys on a relay swim event and 3 of them were Seniors.  Two of them were counting on this event for college scholarship purposes.  One mom decided to ground her child and not let him compete.  That put the entire group out of the relay.  

 

Another child was grounded 2 weeks before he and his friend were going to Germany on a backpacking trip.  Trip was paid for and it left the other child in a huge bind going alone.

 

Do you ground your child from going to his job?  If he is grounded does he have to miss school, coop, or class?  If not, then other responsibilities should not be on the table for being grounded.

 

In case you can't tell, I feel quite strongly about this.

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I have four teenagers, and all are holding or have held similar positions (junior coaching for their respective sports).

 

It's safe to say we can all agree to this: It's not ideal to remove someone from a position in which others will be affected. 

 

In our house, to be "grounded" (the kids' word and perception) means you forego certain activities to make time for whatever you have been neglecting - be it school, chores, or other obligations. When you get caught up on your primary responsibilities (i.e., home and school), you're free to return to your secondary responsibilities (work, volunteering).  In our house, work is optional - so if it is interfering, it gets cut until it's no longer an interference; and that is on the kid to manage. I don't parent based on their resumes, recommendation letters, and what looks good to future employers or colleges.  They own that, too.

 

But here's the thing - I see so many adults who struggle with time management, and so many women who struggle to say "my plate is full right now" so they take on more volunteer roles despite burn out and stress ... to that end, I am willing to lose the (this) battle to win the war.  These are not choices I want to encourage in my children.  And it's been my experience that many of us learn this in the trenches; that is, those not born with assertive-organized personalities don't recognize our rut until we're stuck knee-deep in it. It's something many of us 'need' to learn the hard way - through direct experience. So to that end -

 

yes - it's virtuous to honor an obligation, especially one that involves others; and arguably more so when it involves children.  It's also valuable to know when you've bitten off more than you can chew (e.g., failed to account for AP classwork and a senior project) and to prioritize, then address, your own needs. Ideally this is a one-time experience that is learned from, rather than a pattern of flaking.  I imagine we all know people who fall on both sides, but this being a child I'm assuming the best intentions.

 

I volunteer a lot and see so many moms in different seasons of life (usually with kids younger than mine) who run themselves ragged until they burn out and bring that stress home to their families. It's not worth it, the obligation to others MUST be second to their primary responsibilities: themselves and their families. And it sucks if this leaves a group stranded, but ... so be it. I applaud those who realize this and make the difficult decision to bow out, even if it leaves others in a lurch. To me that is the ultimate commitment.

 

I don't know the story here, but I'm guessing it's not as clear-cut as the majority of responses take it to be. I don't view the concept of commitment as being so black-and-white, especially as we get older.

 

Removing the coach isn't something I'd do lightly, but there are definitely situations where I could see myself requiring it. 

 

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Grounding your child should never punish my child in the process.  

 

My kids get put on restriction, but if someone is counting on them for something, it does not affect them.  They are off electronics, get extra chores while at home, etc....

 

I recently couldn't believe a situation where there were 4 boys on a relay swim event and 3 of them were Seniors.  Two of them were counting on this event for college scholarship purposes.  One mom decided to ground her child and not let him compete.  That put the entire group out of the relay.  

 

Another child was grounded 2 weeks before he and his friend were going to Germany on a backpacking trip.  Trip was paid for and it left the other child in a huge bind going alone.

 

Do you ground your child from going to his job?  If he is grounded does he have to miss school, coop, or class?  If not, then other responsibilities should not be on the table for being grounded.

 

In case you can't tell, I feel quite strongly about this.

 

Respectfully, my primary obligation is to my own child - no one else's - therefore, my primary focus and priority are my own child. That said, I do take into account how my child's choices and resulting consequences will affect other children ... and work around it as best I'm able ... but for some situations, some kids, what impacts them the most is realizing THEY have disappointed a friend or peer.

 

Two of my boys have backpacked through Europe so I know how much time, energy, planning, and yes - money - goes into the venture.  From the start I had a list of requirements that had to be met before they were permitted to go. They were welcome to plan, to dream, to whatever, but they - and the families of the other two boys who were going - knew from day one what conditions I had.  The first trip my second son didn't get to go.  He didn't meet the requirements he was given 11 months in advance of the trip, and which all of us rallied and tried to get him to finish before travel day. He was devastated. His best friend was, too, and not as excited about the trip with just my eldest and his girlfriend. Friend didn't talk to my son for weeks after the trip - rightfully so, IMO.

 

The group was affected only in a minor way, as I made this son pay for his share of the trip so as not to affect the cost to others in his absence. The point is, the other families could have seen it as me grounding him at the last minute but there was more to it than that. Fortunately this group of parents is tight and it wasn't an issue (not to mention my eldest still went). And guess what, the following year my second son got his act together and got to go - without his best friend, who chose a different trip with a different friend - again, rightfully so, IMO. It was a valuable lesson for all of them, especially my son.

 

The poor stranded kid in your Germany situation has learned two valuable lessons: not to count on the one kid/kid's family, and to plan a trip with more than one person. It's unfortunate he was put in that position, we can agree on that. But that's also life, isn't it? How many times have you learned, through experience, who in the office or the co-op you can count on (and who you can't). It's really an important thing to experience and to learn how to work through or adapt to - however painful or unfair, because that's life.

 

Groups get punished for the actions of one person any time there's a team mentality: sports, certain work environments, academic situations, military, HOAs, online fora, ... it's prevalent, right or not, so shielding someone from that, while honorable, isn't equally perceived to be the virtue some make it out to be. It doesn't stand out to everyone, which undoubtedly fuels your frustration when it trickles down to your child. And I know it sucks when your kid is the one affected because I've been on that side, too. I do my best to make sure my kids takes away more from the experience than thinking they've been wronged in some way because another family has different priorities or methods for handling their own.

 

RE: the scholarships. Several of my siblings and I, a number of nieces and nephews, and soon my eldest will have attended college on athletic scholarships and while none of us were swimmers, none of us had offers hinging on any single event.  Maybe things have changed, or maybe swimming is different. But if you're good enough to be looked at, they know who you are and what you're capable of and one event wouldn't change that - especially if it were a situation out of one's control.

 

I consider that to be academics, so I (personally) wouldn't have withheld my child from that especially knowing that there were seniors on the team.  But I also wouldn't assume any parent who did withhold their child did so on a whim. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and assume there was more to the story than was being shared.

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I have four teenagers, and all are holding or have held similar positions (junior coaching for their respective sports).

 

It's safe to say we can all agree to this: It's not ideal to remove someone from a position in which others will be affected. 

 

In our house, to be "grounded" (the kids' word and perception) means you forego certain activities to make time for whatever you have been neglecting - be it school, chores, or other obligations. When you get caught up on your primary responsibilities (i.e., home and school), you're free to return to your secondary responsibilities (work, volunteering).  In our house, work is optional - so if it is interfering, it gets cut until it's no longer an interference; and that is on the kid to manage. I don't parent based on their resumes, recommendation letters, and what looks good to future employers or colleges.  They own that, too.

 

But here's the thing - I see so many adults who struggle with time management, and so many women who struggle to say "my plate is full right now" so they take on more volunteer roles despite burn out and stress ... to that end, I am willing to lose the (this) battle to win the war.  These are not choices I want to encourage in my children.  And it's been my experience that many of us learn this in the trenches; that is, those not born with assertive-organized personalities don't recognize our rut until we're stuck knee-deep in it. It's something many of us 'need' to learn the hard way - through direct experience. So to that end -

 

yes - it's virtuous to honor an obligation, especially one that involves others; and arguably more so when it involves children.  It's also valuable to know when you've bitten off more than you can chew (e.g., failed to account for AP classwork and a senior project) and to prioritize, then address, your own needs. Ideally this is a one-time experience that is learned from, rather than a pattern of flaking.  I imagine we all know people who fall on both sides, but this being a child I'm assuming the best intentions.

 

I volunteer a lot and see so many moms in different seasons of life (usually with kids younger than mine) who run themselves ragged until they burn out and bring that stress home to their families. It's not worth it, the obligation to others MUST be second to their primary responsibilities: themselves and their families. And it sucks if this leaves a group stranded, but ... so be it. I applaud those who realize this and make the difficult decision to bow out, even if it leaves others in a lurch. To me that is the ultimate commitment.

 

I don't know the story here, but I'm guessing it's not as clear-cut as the majority of responses take it to be. I don't view the concept of commitment as being so black-and-white, especially as we get older.

 

Removing the coach isn't something I'd do lightly, but there are definitely situations where I could see myself requiring it. 

 

This is an interesting perspective. I don't agree with it but I appreciate the other perspective. I guess to me commitment by nature is very black and white. Otherwise it means nothing. I should say that I have no problem with people saying no and saying no myself, I would much rather people not commit to something and not run themselves ragged. But I also feel like once they commit that it should mean something. 

 

In my OP, I realize I don't know the whole story and had I known it I might have agreed with the parents. They did not contact me directly to explain or apologize so I am left only to guess. I was more just curious to see if I was way off-base at being taken aback by the situation since I don't have high schoolers yet and haven't really come upon this yet. 

 

I can imagine pulling a kid out for very extreme reasons. I do not think that is the case in this scenario. For one, I have been told that she will be able to coach this summer for us. So I don't think this is one of the more extreme cases suggested (like meeting her drug dealer in the parking lot.) 

 

I can also imagine realizing that a commitment is too much for our family or my child and deciding we had to drop it. I understand that can be a difficult decision, but often the right one. But I think once you have made a commitment that you have some responsibility to the other people to help with the transition in a reasonable way. So if I committed to a volunteer position and then realized it was too much stress I wouldn't say I have to immediately stop, I would let the organizers know that I would need to stop but then give them some amount of time to find someone else. Obviously, there are situations which are dire and where someone needs to just back out but I think most of the time you can continue for a few weeks and allow the organization to figure things out. 

 

In the situation from my OP we had 4 weeks remaining, and it meets for one hour a week. It is not feasible for us to find someone else and it's hard for me to imagine a scenario where 4 hours of work (even given travel time it's still only 90 min a week x 4) would have been a hardship for this family. I know them fairly well so I feel comfortable saying that. My gut feeling is that it's just meant as a punishment for her. I think also that part of the punishment was to make her let us know why she had to be removed, which I'm sure was somewhat embarrassing for her. 

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If that was the consequence that got through to my daughter, I would make her quit a volunteer activity. It's a very important life lesson to learn that your actions effect other people. I would be clear. "If you do this, the volunteer job is gone." Then, if my child did THAT, I'd follow through. I don't think I'd let her inform her employer by email either.

 

I've never HAD to do anything so harsh with my 19-year-old, but I wasn't above it.

 

ETA: I think the op's annoyance should be aimed at the girl and not at the parents for taking a stand.

Edited by KungFuPanda
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Respectfully, my primary obligation is to my own child - no one else's - therefore, my primary focus and priority are my own child. That said, I do take into account how my child's choices and resulting consequences will affect other children ... and work around it as best I'm able ... but for some situations, some kids, what impacts them the most is realizing THEY have disappointed a friend or peer.

 

Two of my boys have backpacked through Europe so I know how much time, energy, planning, and yes - money - goes into the venture.  From the start I had a list of requirements that had to be met before they were permitted to go. They were welcome to plan, to dream, to whatever, but they - and the families of the other two boys who were going - knew from day one what conditions I had.  The first trip my second son didn't get to go.  He didn't meet the requirements he was given 11 months in advance of the trip, and which all of us rallied and tried to get him to finish before travel day. He was devastated. His best friend was, too, and not as excited about the trip with just my eldest and his girlfriend. Friend didn't talk to my son for weeks after the trip - rightfully so, IMO.

 

The group was affected only in a minor way, as I made this son pay for his share of the trip so as not to affect the cost to others in his absence. The point is, the other families could have seen it as me grounding him at the last minute but there was more to it than that. Fortunately this group of parents is tight and it wasn't an issue (not to mention my eldest still went). And guess what, the following year my second son got his act together and got to go - without his best friend, who chose a different trip with a different friend - again, rightfully so, IMO. It was a valuable lesson for all of them, especially my son.

 

The poor stranded kid in your Germany situation has learned two valuable lessons: not to count on the one kid/kid's family, and to plan a trip with more than one person. It's unfortunate he was put in that position, we can agree on that. But that's also life, isn't it? How many times have you learned, through experience, who in the office or the co-op you can count on (and who you can't). It's really an important thing to experience and to learn how to work through or adapt to - however painful or unfair, because that's life.

 

Groups get punished for the actions of one person any time there's a team mentality: sports, certain work environments, academic situations, military, HOAs, online fora, ... it's prevalent, right or not, so shielding someone from that, while honorable, isn't equally perceived to be the virtue some make it out to be. It doesn't stand out to everyone, which undoubtedly fuels your frustration when it trickles down to your child. And I know it sucks when your kid is the one affected because I've been on that side, too. I do my best to make sure my kids takes away more from the experience than thinking they've been wronged in some way because another family has different priorities or methods for handling their own.

 

RE: the scholarships. Several of my siblings and I, a number of nieces and nephews, and soon my eldest will have attended college on athletic scholarships and while none of us were swimmers, none of us had offers hinging on any single event.  Maybe things have changed, or maybe swimming is different. But if you're good enough to be looked at, they know who you are and what you're capable of and one event wouldn't change that - especially if it were a situation out of one's control.

 

I consider that to be academics, so I (personally) wouldn't have withheld my child from that especially knowing that there were seniors on the team.  But I also wouldn't assume any parent who did withhold their child did so on a whim. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and assume there was more to the story than was being shared.

 

 

I was going to pick apart the post and counter much of it, but honestly I really don't want to get in to it.  it is obvious we completely disagree on this issue and honestly the only thing this would show me is not to rely on your kids because you might yank the rug out from my kid as well.

 

 

Edited by DawnM
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If that was the consequence that got through to my daughter, I would make her quit a volunteer activity. It's a very important life lesson to learn that your actions effect other people. I would be clear. "If you do this, the volunteer job is gone." Then, if my child did THAT, I'd follow through. I don't think I'd let her inform her employer by email either.

 

I've never HAD to do anything so harsh with my 19-year-old, but I wasn't above it.

 

ETA: I think the op's annoyance should be aimed at the girl and not at the parents for taking a stand.

 

 

That's a good point. I am annoyed with her. In all honesty, I am probably annoyed with the parents because of other history with them that has nothing to do with this situation. It's not really fair of me but with another family my thoughts might have been more along the lines of assuming they were justified and supporting them. That was partially why I posted, just to get an idea what others might do in the same situation. It also happened to be one of those days where I was kind of bored and felt chatty so I posted more out of curiousity than that I was really upset. And in real life, I'm not going to say anything to the family or the girl beyond telling her I was sorry to hear that wouldn't be able to continue. They have the right to discipline their kids how they think is best even if I disagree with them. 

Edited by Alice

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File this under "I'm just curious what other people do." 

 

I am in charge of an activity where high school students are the coaches, they get paid a small salary. It meets weekly from Sept-May. We have one coach who has done a great job but recently sent an email saying that she would be unable to finish out the year because her parents had taken away all activities due to something she did. We only have about 4 weeks left. 

 

I don't know what she did to cause the punishment but I was surprised that part of it was that she had to stop coaching for us. It puts our program in a bit of a bind, we will be ok but it definitely impacts us. And the kids in the activity are little and it will be a big deal to them that this girl who they like is no longer there to finish out the year. It seemed to me that the punishment is hurting us as well as her.

 

At this point it doesn't really matter, I'm not going to say anything to them. But since I don't have high school students it made me wonder what others with teens would do when it came to grounding or punishment. Do you make them quit jobs or volunteer work even if that impacts other people negatively? 

 

I was that parent.  We discovered our dd was cutting and suicidal.  We allowed her to tell others that she was being grounded by us because of her attitude and dropping school grades.  In reality, she was scared to death that others would find out the truth.  We forced her to cut back on all activities and she didn't leave our sight for months.  That just reinforced that I was crazy mother.  I was fine with her friends thinking I was the evil mother, my shoulders are big enough to be labeled "The evil mother".  But, I was hurt by some of my adult friends who thought I was just taking things overboard, when in reality, I was fighting for my daughters life and trying to keep her privacy.  Please extend grace to the girl and her family.  IF her situation is like my families situation, then in the future she might want to come back and work for you.  That wasn't an option for my daughter.

 

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This is an interesting perspective. I don't agree with it but I appreciate the other perspective. I guess to me commitment by nature is very black and white. Otherwise it means nothing. I should say that I have no problem with people saying no and saying no myself, I would much rather people not commit to something and not run themselves ragged. But I also feel like once they commit that it should mean something. 

 

[snip]

 

I can also imagine realizing that a commitment is too much for our family or my child and deciding we had to drop it. I understand that can be a difficult decision, but often the right one. But I think once you have made a commitment that you have some responsibility to the other people to help with the transition in a reasonable way. So if I committed to a volunteer position and then realized it was too much stress I wouldn't say I have to immediately stop, I would let the organizers know that I would need to stop but then give them some amount of time to find someone else. Obviously, there are situations which are dire and where someone needs to just back out but I think most of the time you can continue for a few weeks and allow the organization to figure things out. 

 

[snip]

 

I think there are varying degrees of commitment. I think we see it around us very often, if we think about it - the friend who is more into her  boyfriend than he is into her, so she treats it as a serious relationship but he's still seeing other girls on the side; the going back and forth on an RSVP for an event we'd rather not attend, but "should" so we waffle and RSVP at the last minute if nothing better or reason enough to legitimately skip comes up; the decision to switch lanes, or maybe not, when a possible opening in the faster lane presents itself; the resigned "Yes I will bake 24 cupcakes for your class" and then the a/c goes out and the need for cupcakes are no longer registering. We're committed, but there are varying degrees to our level of input, interest, and - as in the case with the high school aged coach's parents - priority.

 

Like you, I'd rather people just say no at the start.  As a program director I'd rather know from the get-go what my challenges will be, than to have to cover those mid-stream. But I also know that people like us aren't the majority. Many people have a hard time saying no, or they honorably try to "make it work" because it's important to them, or someone they care about. And when they realize they are in over their heads, it should be okay for them to step back and prioritize themselves or their family - even if it's mid-stream and an inconvenience to the program. I'm not talking about flaky people, I'm talking about your average overcommitted mom or student who is drowning. They need us to throw them a life raft, they don't need people on the ship pressuring them to keep treading when it's clear they're sinking.

 

And again, like you, I think the better thing to do is to give ample notice.  I think it's possible more times than not, and likely was possible in your OP situation.  But teens get tricky sometimes, or maybe it's more appropriate to say that some personalities are tricky - in my case both are true! - and sometimes it takes a response like these parents' to make a point (the bigger point) to the child, e.g., the coach needing to tell you why she was dropping the program herself, rather than her parents communicating with you directly.

 

As was the case with my second son going to Europe, and instead paying for his brother's girlfriend to go in his place, he knew ahead of time what the parameters were.  For all we know they've been allowing the coach to 'get away' with letting things slide in other areas, but they finally reached a point where they could no longer?

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I was going to pick apart the post and counter much of it, but honestly I really don't want to get in to it.  it is obvious we completely disagree on this issue and honestly the only thing this would show me is not to rely on your kids because you might yank the rug out from my kid as well.

 

I'm glad you didn't because I think we're both comfortable enough with our respective opinions, and - having each said our peace - can agree to disagree.

 

But mostly I'm glad you didn't because ultimately we arrive at the same place: you would not rely on my kids.

 

I'm very okay with that.  I think it is reasonable, fair, and even to be EXPECTED.

 

That is the same take away my second son's best friend had re: their Europe trip, and as I said in my first post I felt the friend was right to do so.  More importantly, my son has had to learn and accept that someone he values sees him as an unreliable travel mate and won't book future trips with him.  The boys had big plans to tackle a different continent each year of their high school, and that will no longer happen (together). But my son only realized this because I put my foot down and held him to my original parameters; I didn't make exceptions because of another kid. What would he have gained from that? Who is my priority - my son, or his friend?

 

I've never been one to bend to social pressure. It infuriates some people, namely my family, and boy was I ever a lousy military wife, but I'm comfortable with people being upset with or thinking negatively of me - especially if it is a result of me doing something I feel is important to me or to mine. That isn't to say I only think of myself and my family, but it is to say I will always prioritize those things. And I think all people should. And because I think all people should, I'm very okay with you not relying on my kids because that's you prioritizing you and yours. As you should.

 

See you around.

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I would also say that it's part of the employer's responsibility to recognize that young people (and some other categories of people) may be unreliable and may suddenly not be on the payroll any more.  I don't know the age of the young coach, but it is reasonable to assume that s/he has many other responsibilities and that certain commitments to school, family, and self are going to come first.  Young people often lack time management skills and get themselves in too deep.  The employer needs to have a good backup plan because this sort of thing is somewhat predictable from a big picture perspective.

 

As a teen, I had a 17yo co-worker whose parents decided they didn't like something about our job, so she was not allowed to continue.  Oh well.  The employer found someone else.

 

Another thought.  If this had been an adult who got arrested for a crime and ended up in jail or on house arrest or with a suspended license, the person would have had no choice but to quit, right?  Then would it make sense to be angry at the cops or the judge or the parole officer, for making life inconvenient for the employer and its clients?

 

In general, I see both sides of the "commitment" argument.  There is definitely something to be said for knowing when to say no and when to back out.  I am the type to get myself buried way too deep before I realize it's too much.  Then I don't want to let anyone down.  But the reality is that someone is going to be let down; it's just a question of who.  Will it be the client who is expecting a report today, or the boss, or my kid who hoped for a read-aloud, or the coach who wanted my kid at practice, or the teacher who isn't getting my kid's best work because I chose soccer over extra homework time, or my extended family who doesn't see us much, or ME, who ends up having health problems because there isn't enough time to sleep or go for health appointments?  Or all of the above?  If I could teach my kids to be better than me in this regard, that would be great.

 

We signed up for soccer for the 2015-16 school year.  Fall and spring.  I really can't fit it in this spring, but I feel like I committed for the whole year.  It is really stressful.  I don't feel like a hero, I feel like an idiot.  :p  So I hesitate to condemn people who are better able to say "this is too much, we need to pull back."

Edited by SKL
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The first trip my second son didn't get to go.  He didn't meet the requirements he was given 11 months in advance of the trip, and which all of us rallied and tried to get him to finish before travel day.

 

 

 

I know I'm getting a bit off track here, and I may be misinterpreting, but it strikes me that you and Dawn may be talking about two very different scenarios.

 

Your situation doesn't strike me as a "grounding" or even a punishment at all.  If I'm understanding correctly, you told your son well in advance that he could go on this trip if and only if he did x, y, and z by such and such date.  And furthermore, you made sure that the other families involved KNEW that his participation was conditional, not guaranteed.  He did not do those required things, so he did not go on the trip.  That's not a punishment, that's simply what all involved parties had understood would happen from day one.  Right?

 

But that's a whole different scenario from a parent who tells their child they can go on the trip, doesn't place any conditions on it, but then decides to yank it away at the last minute because of a completely unrelated infraction, without any concern for the others involved and without having ever warned them that it was a possibility.  I don't know for sure that's what DawnM meant in her post, of course, but that's what came to my mind when I read it, because I have known of such scenarios.  And I think it stinks, both for their own child and for the other kids involved.  (But let me be perfectly clear that I am just talking about typical teenage misbehavior here, and NOT scenarios involving self-harm or other dangerous behavior.  When your child is in danger, you just do what you gotta do.  Period.)

 

You made a conditional commitment, and you were clear with everyone that it was only conditional.  I respect that completely.  But in some cases, I think people fail to communicate to others involved and even to their own child what the conditions are, and that isn't fair to anyone.

 

 

 

Edited by Greta

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I don't use grounding as a punishment. And I don't understand pulling them out if a position of responsibility for anything short of very serious offenses.

 

I have said no to new activities if dd is not being trustworthy or fulfilling her obligations. And I've cut down on "playtime" while adding more work. But I can't pull her out of something that other people are depending on her for.

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If that was the consequence that got through to my daughter, I would make her quit a volunteer activity. It's a very important life lesson to learn that your actions effect other people. I would be clear. "If you do this, the volunteer job is gone." Then, if my child did THAT, I'd follow through. I don't think I'd let her inform her employer by email either.

 

I've never HAD to do anything so harsh with my 19-year-old, but I wasn't above it.

 

ETA: I think the op's annoyance should be aimed at the girl and not at the parents for taking a stand.

 

Please tell me you'd have her inform the employer in some way....... I'd be worried sick that your daughter had gotten in a wreck (or some other harm) if I hadn't been told that she wasn't coming.

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