By: Dr. Kenya Makhiawala
Parenting can be such a challenge! You hear so many different ideas, techniques, methods, etc. it's hard to know which will work best for you and your family. One thing is for sure, we've all heard the important saying "consistency is key." Here is one specific tool that you can add to your tool box that highlights consistency as consequence program – Job Card Grounding.
Rather than trying to choose which consequence to implement for frequent misbehavior (i.e., loss of screen time, toys, cancelling play dates/outings, etc.) and feeling lost, job card grounding can be a consistent consequence for parents to enforce.
It’s recommended to have two general house rules: do what you’re told, be respectful. Those two rules cover pretty much everything. When a house rule is broken, the child receives a job card and is “grounded” from all of their usual privileges. On a 3x5 index card, the details of a more involved chore (e.g., clean the baseboards in a room, clean out the silverware drawer, vacuum the couch cushions) are clearly printed. While the job card is outstanding, all of the child’s usual privileges are revoked. As soon as the job is completed, everything returns to normal.
The beauty of the program is that it allows the child time to calm down from whatever transgression was committed, prevents the likelihood of further escalation since the job card can be readily handed over and doesn’t require additional discussion/argument, and there’s no need for parents to try to brainstorm a new consequence on the spot. Research has shown that more frequent consequences are more effective than lengthy grounding periods at changing behavior. Better yet, this program allows for kids to feel that they’re in charge: if they throw a fit upon receiving a card for misbehavior and decide to be “grounded” for an hour, that’s their choice. Or, they can accept the consequence, complete the task that should take about 20 minutes, and resume their usual activities
Also, Job Card Grounding is a program that can grow with your family. When kids are young, their privileges may include access to toys, playing a video game, or a special treat. For high school age kids, privileges may be access to the family’s car or attending the Friday night football game with friends.
With resolutions and goals for 2023 freshly inked on paper, now may be a great time to try out a consequence program like Job Card Grounding. What a way to begin a new year with consistency as a top priority!