I stopped grounding my kids! – and other parenting tips :)
Today I want to talk to you a little bit about kids and teenagers and punishments. I got these questions all the time from friends and other people who have children or raising children. If you listen to my bio or know a little bit about my family and my husband and my kids. You’ll know that we’ve got four teenagers right now. One of them is a freshman in college. One is a senior in high school and 2 are sophomores. No, I did not have any twins. I adopted the boys when George and I got married in 2016.
Blending the family together was a very delicate process that we went through. And I’m really fortunate to say that coming out the other end of all of that. Our kids are great with each other and they all love each other. And we’re really blessed to have that. All the kids are very respectful. They are decent kids. But they are still kids. I would say that the biggest trouble that we have with the kids is their grades.
Coming off of just ending a semester. I just want to share with you my experiences. Legitimately, what I dealt with these three kids that are left in high school.
First off, I’m happy to report that my oldest the one that is a freshman in college. She has to keep up with 3.0 to keep her scholarship and she got a 3.3. So I’m really happy and proud of her for that. So I definitely have to give credit. Where credit is due for at least one of them is doing a good job.
But this past semester we decided. That we were going to let our Children “the three that were so in high school”. To be responsible for themselves. It cracks me up because people were like. “Oh, you can’t be a helicopter Mom, you have to let your kids fail.” Let me just tell you this. I have learned from experience when I “just let my kids fail”. They don’t just fail a little, they have epic fails. I mean, we’re talking about 15 zeros and legitimately getting ease and failing class. All the kids are smart kids. So, there is no excuse or no reason that these kids should not be getting good grades.
We do have my youngest son Tyler, who struggled with ADHD. Who we put through brain balance. I’ll talk about him in general in a whole different podcast and about my experience with an ADHD living with it with my ex-husband and my son and my daughter and the different experiences that I’ve had with the whole ADHD thing.
But let’s just say that at this point now; all of the kids have no excuse for all in getting good grades. They all really screwed up last semester. Like three Season two D’s in an 80% for a B. Like order grades and it was, Are you kidding me?
So I learned about this thing called Power School and it’s a program on your phone. It pops up a little icon every time the kids get a grade. So I can monitor it 24/7, every single time and in real-time. When the teacher puts the grade in, I get a notification. It was making me crazy! and I was constantly angry and upset about this.
So we said, alright. We’re just going to let them do their own thing this semester and see how they do. We’re going to let them be responsible. We told them, what’s up with zero? “Oh! I’m taking care of it.” I’m like, alright, well, you’re being responsible. So the grades come in three weeks before that. I said, if this was right before Christmas. I realized all the kids are failing. So they have two weeks of Christmas break. And then they came back for a week and it was final exams after that. I said if we go into Christmas vacation and anybody has less than a 75 in any of your classes. You are going to have to read a book.
So, I started a new discipline program for the kids. I feel like grounding is a complete and total waste of time. If I told them, “You’re grounded for the entire Christmas’s vacation!” They would just sit in their rooms and either do nothing or they don’t take their phone completely away. Then they’re just going to sit on their phone the whole entire time.
So my punishment now for the kids is that they have to read self-help books. For example, the first one is “Seven habits of highly effective teenagers”. It’s like the same book. It’s written by the son of the author who wrote “Seven habits of highly effective people”. And it’s written for teens and I cannot recommend this book enough. Every single one of my kids has read it, and they admit it. When they’re done that they have actually learned something from it. But it’s about putting first things first and having a balanced life. And do your homework before you got on your step chatter.
So, that was a really good book. Some other ones I’ve had them read is “How to win friends and influence people”. “Extreme ownership” was a really good one about taking ownership of the things that you do. “10x by Grant Cardone”, “Rich Dad Poor dad”. They also make “Rich Dad Poor Dad” for teens. So any time that the kids would be grounded for their grades. They have two options, they can read a book and they can study.
They’re grounding lasts as long as it takes them to read the book. And report all of it back to me. I don’t let them use the audible book. Because part of the problem is these kids don’t ever read books, so they have no reading skills. We used to actually have to read our textbooks and they don’t even have that anymore in school. But going into college and preparing for college, you got to have good reading skills. So it’s kind of a double positive like they’re learning something. They’re getting reading time in, and they’re getting something out of their punishment. So that’s one of my big punishment things.
I do the same for other problems. For example, Vaping. We’ve had problems with all of them. It’s a big epidemic in the schools now teenage Vaping. So, we got a call home, one of the kids was vaping in the bathroom. He got caught with another kid, and they’re not allowed to have these Vapes. So he had to come home, and he had to write a five-page essay about the dangers of Vaping. So, his punishment lasted as long as it took him to write a five-page essay. Then he had to read and report it back to us. And have a correct spelling proper grammar and be written correctly and cite their sources.
Its number one getting them to do something like writing. Which they don’t ever have to do outside of, you know when they need to do it. They always need more practice at that. But they actually really learn something from this. Like if one of them decided to try alcohol. We had to write a five-page essay on the dangers of teenage drinking. And turns out he learned like he didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to drink 10 shots of vodka. Like you suppose to have one per hour and that he could have gotten brain damage from that. He could have died, you know. Like all of those things you just don’t really know when you’re a kid. And so those are what we do for teenage punishment now.
So, I get all the kids together for a family meeting time. This is like before our break and I said, Hand me all your phones, and they all have iPhones. I guess there’s a way you can tell on Android too. But I know for sure it’s on the iPhone with that. Give me your pull up your screen time.
You want to talk about an eye-opening experience as a parent. When you realize that your children are spending 30 to 50 hours a week on screen time. Between YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok. My oldest son had spent 50 hours five zero hours, I said, that is more than a full-time job.
All of you are spending more than a full-time job watching YouTube. All this stuff and then I go back and I said. Oh, and here’s your Google Classroom. Where I see that you spent seven minutes. So clearly we see where your priorities are here. So, needless to say, they’re all on lockdown and their physical phones will be taken away from them. They receive a zero on any court classes. And then, if they have less than a 75 in any other classes. They are not allowed to go anywhere or do anything with their friends.
But I thought I would share it with you. I love the idea of self-help books for your kids. If there are some random kids out there, I know that actually do enjoy reading. And most of you parents that probably are not as worried about punishing those kids. And how much time there are spending on-screen time video games. It’s just really scary.
I mean, when George and I first started dating. Tyler was 10 years old and he was running 10 hours a day on video games. And I was like, what is going on? Like the kid wouldn’t go outside and play. He didn’t have any friends. He didn’t have a social life. He’s a sweet kid, but he was addicted to video games. And so I said you can’t have this. it’s not good for his development. He’s got to be able to socialize. He literally went through withdrawals like any kind of addiction, and it’s really scary to see that.
So I know, like a lot of parents, they asked me. Okay, so my kids are little and I’m never going to let them get on Facebook. I’m like, OK, well, they’re three. And I’ll guarantee you that 15 years from now you’re going to be dealing with other crap. That is not Facebook, right? This is going to be some other form of social media or entertainment or something that you need to manage. And I think the biggest thing in them. I started saying right from the very beginning. That our kids are always respectful and they’re good kids in general, but they’re still kids, you know?
I think that both George and I are the foundation. And thankfully we are on the same page with raising our children well. When George and I first started dating. When I say something like you’re grounded for a week, then you’re grounded for a week. Like whatever the punishment is, that’s what it is. And then like two days later. Let him off like along as you always do what you say you’re always going to do. and follow-through. Then your kids will know that when you tell them something or threaten them with something. That is actually what is going to happen.
And that’s what happened with my kids from the time they were babies. You know, I didn’t do the count to 123 and I’m going to count again. I’m going to count nine more times. I’m not really ever, ever going to give you whatever punishment is. I laid down like spanking you or anything like that. You know, like, if you say you’re going to do it, you need to do it. I would look at my friends whose kids were, you know, crying, laying on the floor. Throwing a tantrum would be like, All right. You just gave him the candy. That he wanted. And you know, that’s your teenager. So imagine them as a kid. And when they get older. If they’re not listening to you then and give in to them now. It’s only going to get harder when things are harder.
I also get a lot of friends. This is like a famous one that I always want to share this now that I’m older. So, like when I first had kids. I was like, the first one of my group of friends to have a baby. And they were still going off to the bars and partying and everything. And I was like, I can’t go and be I have a baby. I can’t bring a baby to a bar.
So, there weren’t a bunch of cute clothes. But nobody knew how to use a breast pump, you know what I mean? Unfortunately, I made friends with other moms and stuff like that and learned all of those important baby-raising things. But, you know, you kind of don’t realize. Like you think that your kids are like one or two years old. Like it’s the most important thing that you go to the festival with them. They get their face painted and stand in line all day.
And those kinds of things used to make me crazy as a mom. When they were little. They got to go to Disney and they have to have this and you don’t want to. Like, impose what you believe your kids are really going to value at that time. But now that I’m older and my kids are grown. The things that my children have been through, you know the boy’s mother had a brain injury. She lived for three years after that. They were very young when it happened. She died in 2015. So they don’t remember a lot of things.
And it’s so interesting, like all of them. Like you’ll say, Oh, don’t you remember? When you went to Disney and Tyler the youngest son was like. “um, I’ve never been to Disney”. Like, Yes, you have been to Disney is Dad would like your mom and I took you to Disney. Like three or four times you’ve been there. So we were going through pictures. His mom’s pictures and stuff and they have like a memory box with a bunch of pictures. I put together for them with their when they were kids. When they’re babies with her mom. He’s like, Oh, my God, look, here’s a picture of me at Disney and we’re like, Yeah, I told you. You went to Disney. So I see these parents like lugging these kids around like exhausted and screaming and tired.
I could tell you that before they’re really about five and six, they barely remember anything. They just remember if they were loved and that you spent quality time with them. Most of them don’t know if they were rich or poor. They don’t know anything else but safety, security, and love.
I always get these new moms. I’m like, Hey, we’re having a girl’s weekend and they’re like. Oh, I can’t leave my baby overnight”. And I’m like, You have your husband or your mom or whoever is babysitting. You know, like a trusted family member to watch your child for the night. You should take a break and do something as an adult. Because your child is being loved while you’re gone, and it’s not like you’re abandoning them. You know, it’s a weekend. Those kids will never remember that you went away. But they will remember if their mom is angry and miserable and sad because she’s overwhelmed and exhausted. Hasn’t any me time. So take care of yourself first.
That’s one thing that I really learned from all these kids and as they’ve gotten older. And I hear stuff that they say and I’m like. Well, like they don’t even remember that the things that they do remember are so interesting. Like in their perception of it. And I was talking earlier. About another podcast about how my kids said, Mommy, all she ever does is she works really hard. She’s always on the phone and you know. I remember someone asked my youngest daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said, Do you want of your real estate agent like Mommy? And she was like, Oh, no and they said,
Why not? And she said that’s just way too hard. I want to be easy. like a dentist like my dad would. A little bit realizing went through all of that, you know, school before she was born to become a doctor.
But that’s their perception of it, and that’s what they remember. So being there and feeling loved are the most important things for them. But they’re not going to remember that you went away and somebody that they love took care of them, and it was the same.
Since I didn’t have any family when I had my kids in Charleston. And I don’t have her lady other friends with kids at the time. I used to get baby sitters all the time and we have the same Baby sitter. Her name was Sarah and now she has her own babies. But the kids loved her and they would say, Mommy, when are you going to go away so Sarah can come over? And that was, like, such a great feeling, because I know that my kids were so well rounded, they didn’t miss me in the way that was you know?
I mean, I’m sure they miss me, but they didn’t. They were well adjusted while I was gone and felt loved and looked forward to the opportunity to spend time with a baby sitter who’s probably going to let him, you know, ate junk food and stay up an hour later than they were supposed to, or whatever. This is a fine tradeoff for me, for my kids to be happy while I’m out of town.
So I guess I was kind of off on a tangent. But those are my parenting. Its a piece of advice for today, and I just want to talk about teens and screen time. And if you haven’t checked your kid’s screen time, You will be, like, seriously shocked. I guess 9 out of 10 of you would, how much actual time they’re spending. I was reading an article about the parents took the kid’s phone away at night time, and at first she just like, freaked out. I’ve been thinking about doing this to my kids because they just spend so much time at night on their phones. It’s the last thing they do.
Sometimes they fall asleep with him in their hands and it turns out the story that we read was about the mother or found out that you know this girl been up all night because she’s been helping one of her friends who was suicidal. And she’s felt all this pressure to respond and talk to her friends on social media. We don’t realize as parents. Also, it’s really hard for us to monitor. I mean, you can say, Oh, I monitor it, but I’m telling you, it is very, very difficult. Kids are sneaky. Snapchat disappears. They come at him from every angle, their Instagram, even when you think they’re on your Instagram, we have a pentagram of Instagram is just with our only close friends, but there’s just so many things to be aware of them to watch out for.
With the mom had taken the phone away, and as it turned out, the daughter was like, so relieved because she got to blame it on the mom, that she could have responded that she didn’t have her phone at night, and her mother gave her permission to blame it on the mom, and I think that is a great idea and we’re monitoring our kid’s screen time also. So when they spend more than five hours a week on screen time, we’re supposed to take their phones away and shut him down on him. So that’s the new thing that we’ve implemented since I realized how extreme the screen time was. But I think even with, like my 18-year-old, he really realized that. Wow, that is a big waste of time.
Well, thank you so much for listening to me today, and I hope that you’ll find somewhere in my words, you’ll find some inspiration, help you with something in some small way.
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And if you’re interested in our RV life, we also have RViewfromtheroad. George manages that Instagram page and I love questions and topic ideas. You can email me at [email protected]. I’ll always have, like, great, like parenting tips and things that I do I know sometimes are like crazy off the wall. But a lot of my friends have said, Lisa. Oh my God, you know, like post out or write a book about it or something. So here’s my podcast. And those were my latest teen punishment and insight to taking care of teens for the time being my latest and greatest. Have a great one and we’ll talk soon.