Both of my children, ages 9 and 11, are grounded. We left them with a sitter on Saturday and when we returned home a giant bag of Kit Kats I had bought for the trick-or-treaters was all gone. Plus some candy corn. Plus some popsicles. That sugar explosion led to some awful behavior that I can’t describe because my kids would be humiliated and I’m pro-grounding, anti-humiliation. Of course, the sitter should have stopped this debauchery but as we told the kids, they are old enough to know better. So the piper is being paid.
When the kids were little I was a master of discipline. Temper tantrums simply didn’t phase me. I could remain cool, detached, loving, and level in my approach. But now that they are older and so emotionally articulate, I am easily broken down. Just as with political discourse, I can easily see both sides and I tend to waffle. I am getting soft.
I asked my husband to set and explain the terms of the grounding because I knew I might break. No sweets, obviously, for a week. No playing with friends. A limit of 30-minutes of screen time a day. No using the cell phone except to call Mom or Dad in an emergency.
I am reaping the rewards of my husband’s strength here. We are a family very into our electronics. We normally let our kids watch a lot of TV. A LOT. But this week, there have been brother-sister basketball games, cooking lessons, family story time on the big couch, legos, music, and cuddling. Lots of that.
This morning I received an email from a girl who attended my middle and high schools. It was a mass email of the most personal kind. Our classmate, Lynsey Graham Rea, had passed away after a four-year battle with colon cancer. Lynsey was my tent mate on the 9th grade camping trip. She and her father, a former Celtics player, had once given me a pair of tickets I could give to my father as a Christmas gift. She was a student athlete. She was both shy and powerful. She graduated from Harvard and then Yale Law School. She left behind a husband and 6 year old daughter. Naomi.
A friend posted this recently on Facebook: “Today I will not complain about carpools, out of town soccer games or steamy indoor swim meets. I will simply be thankful for the time spent with my children.”
There is nothing more grounding than this.