LilZ has been “grounded” due to a decline in his good grades. His grades are still good compared to the last four years, but they have been dropping as the school year comes to a close, so I told him he is only allowed to watch TV for 30 minutes a day for this nine week grading period.
In our house? That is a SEVERE punishment.
I used the quotes around the word grounded for several reasons. First? I consider a true grounding to mean that you are allowed to do absolutely NOTHING for the entire time you are grounded. No phone. No computer. No going places. No talking to people. No smiling. No laughing. No happiness. Misery only. I was only grounded in that sense once growing up and I totally deserved it. LilZ has never done anything to warrant that type of punishment. Since it’s really just a small adjustment in his television watching schedule, I feel silly using the word “grounded.” However, since I moved to Alabama – I noticed that most people around her DON’T use the word “grounded.” Ever. They say that their children are “on restriction.” Is that an Alabama thing? Because I grew up in Tennessee and there? Kids were grounded. Not “on restriction.” That’s one of the few pieces of Alabamian lingo I have not adopted willingly. I’m not sure why, it just sounds weird.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, LilZ’s punishment. So – he’s been forced to entertain himself with things other than television the last few weeks. This has not been as hard on him as I expected (dammit). He has spent some time hanging out with friends in the neighborhood, he’s blown bubbles in the yard, colored the driveway with sidewalk chalk, and he has read a LOT of books (he inherited my love of reading). But yesterday? He had to get really creative, since it was raining outside and he was out of library books to read. So, what did he do while I caught up on some TiVo? He took my Ellen DeGeneres Books on CD and started listening to them in his room. It was cracking me up because I’d pause the TiVo to put a dish up, or change the laundry out, and I’d hear Ellen in the back of the house talking about poking herself in the eye or waving to strangers in public. And the best part was? Hearing LilZ cracking up at whatever she was saying.
So, not only has this punishment decreased his dependence on television as a form of entertainment, it’s also increasing his appreciation of stand-up comedy and widening his knowledge of “funny.” Man. I’m a freakin’ genius when it comes to parenting, aren’t I?