Grounding (punishment)

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Grounding is a common discipline technique[1] used with older children, usually preadolescents and adolescents, where the child is not allowed to leave their bedroom or house except for required activities such as meals, school, or chores. Grounding can also include having privileges taken away, such as having friends over, watching TV, playing computer games, access to the internet (except for homework), cellular phones/smartphones and sometimes sports or other extracurricular activities. The goal is to correct a misbehavior by removing positive reinforcements from the child or teen's environment.[2]

Grounding has been suggested as an alternative to physical discipline for behavior management in the home.[3][4] According to a 2000 review on child outcomes, "Grounding has been replicated as a more effective disciplinary alternative than spanking with teenagers."[3]

Grounding can backfire if the type and duration of restrictions are too severe relative to the behavior meant to be corrected or if the restrictions are too difficult for the parent to enforce.[2][5]

References to invocation of grounding is common in popular culture and is often demonstrated in TV shows and films. This term was used originally in aviation such as when a pilot is restricted from flying in an aircraft due to misconduct, emergencies such as illness or other reasons, the pilot is "grounded".[6]


  1. ^ Morin, SM; Milito, C; Costlow, N (2001), "Adolescents' perceptions of discipline within intact families and stepfamilies", Adolescence, 36 (142): 281, PMID 11572306 
  2. ^ a b Eaves, Susan H.; Sheperis, Carl J.; Blanchard, Tracy; et al. (2005), "Teaching Time-Out and Job Card Grounding Procedures to Parents: A Primer for Family Counselors", Family Journal Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 13 (3): 252, doi:10.1177/1066480704273638 
  3. ^ a b Larzelere, Robert E. (2000), "Child Outcomes of Nonabusive and Customary Physical Punishment by Parents: An Updated Literature Review" (PDF), Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 3 (4): 199, PMID 11225737 
  4. ^ Wang, Ming-Te; Kenny, Sarah (2014), "Parental Physical Punishment and Adolescent Adjustment: Bidirectionality and the Moderation Effects of Child Ethnicity and Parental Warmth", Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42 (5): 717, doi:10.1007/s10802-013-9827-8, PMID 24384596 
  5. ^ O'Grady, Colleen (November 15, 2015), Dial Down the Drama, AMACOM, ISBN 978-0-8144-3656-1 
  6. ^ "grounded, adj.", Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press (8)