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Grounding is a form of punishment given to older children, preadolescents or adolescents by their parents (or teachers or headmasters in a school setting) for bad behavior and poor performance in school or other duties. In the terms of behavioral psychology, grounding is a negative punishment because it involves the removal of desired things, rather than the addition of undesired things.
Every now and then, a young person who is grounded is banned from leaving home or his/her room to go anywhere other than to attend required activities such as school, meals, church, music practice, etc. Grounding does not necessarily mean people are unable to come over, only going out is prohibited. It is commonly combined with the withdrawal of privileges such as the use of computer, Internet, video games, television, (the phrase "No TV", has become synonymous with the punishment) allowance, telephone, cars, mobile phones, prom, slumber party, shopping malls, movie theaters, iPod, Summer Camp, etc., and some children may even be sent to bed early. Some groundings can last from as short as a day or two, to as long as a month or year, while some last an indefinite amount of time. (In fact Disney has made a tendency to utilize the phrase, "Grounded until further notice", in many of its shows and films, such as "Ducktales", "Mail to the Chief", and "Blank Check".)
The term most likely originated in the aviation community. When an aviator is restricted from flying due to misconduct, illness, or other reasons they are said to be "grounded."
However, sometimes the child would sneak out to go where they want to go, (Most commonly by going out the window, and getting over the fence) but if caught, this could lead to further punishment.
It is often used in many forms of modern fiction, especially in the fields of film and television as a means of providing conflict into the storytelling. In fact it is common for all television shows, especially those relating to kids, teenagers and families, to feature a grounding in some stage of the series. Even "The Simpsons", long ignoring the grounding in favor of other punishments, was not immune to the discipline, with Bart Simpson finally getting grounded in the episode, "Postcards from the Wedge", after 21 seasons of being punished in different and other ways. Some shows like "South Park" and "Malcolm in the Middle" use the grounding at a very frequent rate. In fact, the character of Butters Stotch is constantly grounded as part of a reoccurring gag, helping elevate the show to a very high level of groundings (There were 87 references towards being grounded in that franchise's first 15 seasons, 14 in "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" alone.)
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