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Good Enough Mother: Lowering The BIG Boom.. Why I’m Not Afraid To Punish My Teen

punishmentGood Enough Mother:
Lowering The BIG Boom..
Why I’m Not Afraid To Punish My Teen 


The other day something awful happened in my house.

It involved my son and I told him I was going to write about it. In order to protect him, I won’t go into detail about the infraction, only what happened afterward.

Buff and I had a long talk about it the following morning and decided to mete out a very harsh punishment that looked like this:

*No allowance

*No cell phone

*No friends over

*No driver’s license

Now I was ready to keep it that way until he was 18; lucky for Cole, one half of his parental team is rational.

Related: Good Enough Mother: How I Hit The Brink And Found My Way Back Again

Buff wanted to give Cole hope so we decided to allow him the opportunity to earn each of those things back again.

With compliance, Cole may:

*After 2 weeks, get allowance reinstated.

*After 6 weeks: cell phone is returned

*After 10 weeks: Cole may have friends over

*After 14 weeks: Cole has earned the right to apply for his driver’s license.

Harsh? Yes.

Necessary? Damn right.

Related: Better Not Bitter: Why I Won’t Track My Teen 

During our discussion, I asked Cole how his friends were punished at home; according to him (and keep in mind this was a kid trying to get his folks to go easy on him), they were punished for maybe a week.

Yeah… not in this house and not once have I second-guessed myself or our decision to come down so harshly.

Parenting is tough; many times you’re feeling it out as you go along, praying you make the right decision and not hobble or harm your kid in the process. It hurts too, especially when you can see the potential that they cannot.

But here’s the bottom line: I am not in the business of being Cole’s friend and I really couldn’t care any less whether he likes me. I don’t give two sh*ts about being the cool mom either. What I do care about, the thing that keeps me up at night, is making sure I am raising a young man who understands that actions have consequences.

Guess who gets that?

Related: Live Love Blend: Is Your Man Guilty? 

Our story ends like this:

Everyone signed a contract outlining the punishment and the path back.

Then I hugged him and told him I loved him.

You see that’s the other why. Buff and I came down hard because we know that if we don’t, the world will. Cole  knows exactly what to expect from us and that we did it, not because we don’t love him but because we do.

Have you ever had to lower the boom on your teenager? How did you do it? Was the behavior corrected and how did you feel about doing it?


  1. Netgurl

    March 4, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Cole has great parents. At least my kids would have thought so. Limiting middle-class trappings without the enforcement of shame makes a micro shift in his life. Because when it comes down to it, if kids don’t know how disappointed (not angry) you are in their behavior, they’ll just try to not get caught next time. I grounded them and gave them more physical responsibilities for two weeks to earn back their status as a member of the team since their actions broke the family bond. As adults, they’ve learned their actions speak louder than words and they became dependable friends and co-workers others count on. What works for some may not work for all but that’s what I did.

  2. DawnKA

    March 4, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Bravo!!! You have both done a great job. I have had my share of punishing my kids. Each child is different so the punishment varies. At one point, one child had to take a form that I created to have each teacher sign at the end of each class to state her behavior, completion of assignments including homework. I have also put on the restrictions for them – no phone (home/cell) usage, no TV, games, friends over, going out, limited time on computer for class work only, etc. Parenting is not for the faint at heart, at times we have to take strong, tough positions. In the end, they know that you really have their best interest at heart and come from a place of love.

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