I need help with discipline.

[deleted account] ( 8 moms have responded )

I have a 12 year old boy who got caught at 5:30 this morning playing video games. The deal is that he was grounded from playing games. I am frustrated and dont know what to do. I sometimes feel like I ground him for too long which ranges from 1 day to 1 week to 1 month. When I ground him for a month I usally break down by the end of the 2nd week or sometimes 3rd. But I can actually credit myself for lasting a month when he lied about something in the past. So going back in time to get to the point of this current issue....my son takes no interest in anything except video games. Sometimes I give him time limits and sometimes I don't because I get busy with my other two kids, fiancé, school, or just me. He is very quiet and does not talk back but you can tell when he gets frustrated. He basically just shuts down and takes a nap or walks around the house with a pouty face continuously expressing how bored he is. I have figured out he does this to get me to feel sorry for him and break down. Anyhow he plays the violin in a middle school orchestra program that I "made" him be in. One of his responsibilities is to practice about 105 minutes a week and log them and then have me sign the form by the end of the week....to me this is homework. Well for the past 4 weeks I have been asking him to bring the log home so I can sign it. Mind you he is not really even practicing. I just sign it so he does not get a zero. I know its wrong and I feel bad and I think about the example that I am setting in showing him that I can be dishonest. Some days Im really stern and tell him that he plays no game until he practices and some days I don't. He doesn't really even practice when I tell him or for more than 5 - 10 minutes when Im doing something else. He says that he was playing for a long time. Anyhow, on Monday morning before school I verbally remined him not to forget his log. I even placed a note on his violin and showed it to him. He said he would do it. Guess what? He came home with nothing because he forgot. So I told him that I was tired of it and that he was grounded from game until he brought me the log. So off he goes to school on Tuesday. I get home from school later than him on Tuesdays and found him playing game in the game room and told him to get out. He said but I brought my violin log home. OMG! Talk about frustration. I was glad that he did it but I was also angry that for all those weeks nothing I said mattered until it involved taking away the game. So I told him how I felt and said he was still grounded from game so he went upstair and went to sleep like always. So going back to the beginning of this post...this morning he was caught playing game at 530. He never even gets up that early for school Its like 650 or 7 and hes barely getting ready when the bus comes by 720. Or he gets dressed at night so he can sleep till the last minute or sneak into the game room if it is not locked. What do I do????????? I know that I have rambled on and on but I desperately need some helpful advice.


♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/11/2013




You need to be consistent. He knows you're going to give in because you're busy, etc...

So, short answer is when you restrict him from gaming, you put the controllers or the cords in your purse for the duration of the restriction.

And, you don't give in!

You're not expressing anything that we haven't all experienced, though, my dear, so hang in there!

Consistency is the key!

Susan Angoli - posted on 04/11/2013




Hi Stephanie, I'm a 60 year old grandmother, helping to raise three grandchildren ages 13, 14, and 19. I have many of the same problems as you. Basically because my daughter is a marshmallow. And I realize that it is easier said than done, but the most important thing I found in discipline is to be completely honest. If you say a week, then it's a week, not 4 days or 6 days, but a week. I know how hard it is, especially when they start acting really good or really "depressed". My own four children learned early on that if I said a week, then it was a week. But I tried to be very careful when I laid down a punishment that I didn't give more than I could enforce, because it is really hard, especially when you are busy and have more than one child. My daughter did the same for her daughter, the 19 year old. Now this child knows how to get around her mother and gives "advice" to her two cousins on how to get around their aunt. The first thing you need to do is to stop letting your child have control. Even if you have to disconnect the video games and hide them in your bedroom under lock and key, do not let him back on them either until your time limit is up, or he starts behaving the way he is expected to. He knows what is expected of him, you aren't asking too much, and you aren't hurting him in any way. When my children were young I had three levels of grounding. When they first got into trouble they were grounded to their room. On this level they stayed in their room except to eat, use the bathroom and go to school and church. They earned their way to the next level, which was house grounding. On this level they had to stay in the house, were allowed short phone calls in, not out, no friends over and only left the house for school and church. The next level was property grounding. Here they could make and receive phone calls, have friends over, but could not leave the property except for school and church. Their behavior had to improve in order to reach each new level and any back-sliding in behavior meant a return to the previous level. But then, we didn't have anything like cell phones and video games back then. But my kids are all pretty responsible adults now and my discipline methods didn't seem to cause them any harm. Keep your chin up and always remember "Mom is right".

Jodi - posted on 04/16/2013




OK, in my opinion 4-10 pm (6 whole solid hours) on Friday and Saturday nights plus games allowed Sunday is WAY too much game time for a 12 year old, especially when he is acting up over it and displaying addictive behaviour. But you already feel that you have given him too much, and unfortunately, you have had the discussion, so you can't back out on your end of the deal now. Perhaps you can monitor that in relation to his behaviour, and if he consistently shows he can't be responsible with those hours, then you can cut them back.

With regard to the sleeping all day thing, yep, put a stop to that one ASAP (like you did on Sunday). In fact, nowhere in your plan is allowance for "family time". I would try to make part of either Saturday or Sunday "family time" where you do something together as a family. Your son sounds a little disengaged, and planned family time (even if it is as simple as everyone sitting down to a nice BBQ lunch or some board games or a movie) may help re-engage him.

Does your son play any sport? This can be a good way to help with taking some of the focus away from computer games.

Sharlene - posted on 04/14/2013




Take the game away and hide it, even if it has to be at another home! Ive had this same problem from time to time. My son finally got into skating so it kinda fixed itself. This is such a common problem, school and home responsibilities first, the game is a reward!


View replies by

Gayle - posted on 07/14/2013




I feel like grounding for a month is planning for failure. What parent could stand that. Shorten the punishment so you can stick to them.

[deleted account]

I wanted to take the time out to thank you all - Susan, Shawn, Sharlene, and Kristi. Initially it really helped that I actually wrote this post asking for help. It allowed me to truly see of all the rights, wrongs, and inconsistencies with my parenting here lately with Josh. That afternoon I took Josh out to dinner and had a heart to heart about how I am concerned about his addictive game play. I also wrote out a temporary schedule that we began following that evening.
Sunday - Game play allowed (no confirmed hours)
Monday - No game play
Tuesday - No game play
Wednesday - No game play
Thursday - No game play
Friday - Game play allowed from 4-10pm
Saturday - Game play allowed from 4-10pm
Ok so it started off in his favor because he got to play uninterrupted as agreed. Saturday he tried to sleep all day and at 3:59 pm he came waltzing down the stairs and said well its almost 4 with a smile on his face. It was apparent that he did not understand he still had responsibilities at home. But I stayed calm and let him play his time until he ran out. On Sunday I waited for him to come downstairs and help and it never happened. So at 10 am I woke him up and told him that he needs to help clean up or else he gets no game play. I made him help me by cleaning up his own room plus helping my fiancé with the lawn and cleaning up other random areas of the house along with some laundry. I would say he worked about 3 hours and he never complained. I guess because he knew he was guaranteed his game time. I still was annoyed by the hours of game time I gave him because they may have been too generous but now I know that I have something to work with. I guess the next part is adding in homework time, study time, and violin practice time after school.

Kristi - posted on 04/15/2013




Yup, consistency and structure.

I'm going to be blunt and it may sound rude, so I apologize...I am not trying to be offensive or mean. But, you are really screwing the pooch by lying for him and by going back on your word. Not only are you teaching him it's ok to lie, you are teaching him consequences don't apply to him, that he doesn't have to do the work to get the credit for it and worst of all, that you are a liar.

How will he know when he can trust what you say? Sometimes you do what you say. You openly lie to his school. He did what you told him and you took the game back anyways. (not that I blame, kids are famous for pushing our buttons. I had to take my daughter's iPod away for over a month because she wouldn't pick up our common areas after herself)

I know it's not easy. Every time you want to just say f*** it, go play....think about the long term effects. You want him to know he can trust you, he can count on you and not just when it comes to consequences, but for everything. Right now, you haven't done anything that we probably haven't done at least once, like Shawnn said. But, it's got to stop before it's too late and one night he's at a party that he's not supposed to be at and his ride is drunk but he no longer counts on you for anything so he gets in that car and you get that phone call, yes...that's worst case. Most likely case, he walks all over you, manipulates you and you end up back on here asking how you can make him go to school.

These moms have given you good advice. You are a WOMAN--that means you can do anything once you set your mind to it! Reach out to your friends when you need a boost or some help. They used to say "It takes a village..." I believe that's true. I know I learn a lot on here and I reach out to my mom and even my sister, who doesn't have kids but has great people skills and a wonderful attitude. I wish you the very best and I have complete confidence that you will be able to work this out! ; )


Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms