"How long are you grounded for?"
"I don't know."
I hear this very often. A client broke the rules and received a consequence. Sometimes a blanket grounding of everything, sometimes loss of privileges, and sometimes a specific activity. When the youth does not know how long the consequences will last, it tends to make them more anxious. This actually makes it harder for them to follow the rules. The constant worry added on top of anger for whatever was taken away (rightfully so or not), and wondering when will their "good" behavior be enough. I'm all for waiting till you (the parent) calm down in order to give consequences but a definite timeline with definite expectations or goals is needed and helpful. Also, remember perfection is not the goal. We're crabby and irritable at times and our kids will be too.
Stefanie F. Pisarkiewicz, LPC
Experience and information from a counselor and mother- sharing her two cents on children and teens.