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February 09, 2005



Choose your threats carefully.


This sounds like quite the difficult choice. Glad I don't have to decide this yet, though I know that my husband and I will have kids one day in the future...

kelly parker

Living in Las Vegas affords us some great "summer nights" weather where the kids can run around outside after dinner for hours and completely tucker themselves out. One evening last summer, I couldn't seem to get my 4-year old and 2-year old boys to settle down before dinner. Without thinking it through, I threatened to take away their "outside time" after dinner. Of course, I had to follow through with the threat, but realized my mistake instantly. That turned out to be a loooooong night.


i follow through just because i'm stubborn and insist on being right. or i want them to think that i'm right. :) i hate it though because sometimes when they're grounded, it feels like I'M grounded too.


The last big ultimatum I gave was to take away one of nolan's favorite toys. and i cringed when i had to take it away because i knew that after the tears and crankiness, it meant i would have to help him find something else to occupy the hours this toy took up keeping him busy!

Bluegrass Mama

Oh, this is a tough one. I do issue ultimatums and follow through often enough that they are at least taken seriously. I have been known to negotiate for good behavior, sincere repentance, or reasonable alternatives.

But she's still grounded this weekend.


Instead of a threat, you could think of it as a logical consequence of action that is fine in moderate amounts and unhealthy in excess. I support you on this one! You are giving a choice. You have good reasons, even if they are not popular reasons. But the follow-through is no fun, I agree.

I grounded my teenager this weekend because of an episode involving homework and lying about it, and a certain developing pattern of not focusing and getting work done before the pleasure of phone calls, dates, IMing, whatever.

She's a good kid overall and we both found out later that this weekend is chock full of social opportunities that are rare and special, like a Valentines Dance at the high school. She is campaigning for mercy. I say what good are my rules and consequences if I give in?

We discussed how someday she would be on her own and have to internalize these rules and consequences - be responsible to herself and her goals and to her obligations to others, get work done, fulfill promises - or it would be difficult to lead a happy, productive life.

The jury is out on my decision for the weekend. There may be some sort of compromise, maybe one short activity that is most important, if I feel she really understands and has made some adjustments. I'm giving her some latitude to figure it out and show me that she has. And as soon as she gets emotional about it, I walk away and say, we'll talk when you calm down. Here's where parenting is an imprecise art not a science!


I have issued ultimatums before, and have carried them out if I had too even though it may have been said in haste.

"Tony, if you don't sit correctly in your chair, you'll have to stand." And stand he did.


Oh, no, I do that all the time and very often regret it a few minutes later. The worst thing is that if I don't follow through with my threat, the next time I say something, they won't believe me. And I always seem to come up with consequences that are far harsher than I ever would, if I had time to reflect upon them before blurting them out in the heat of the moment. :(

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