I had heard many parents dish out this punishment on American TV to their kids. Mr. Venkatesh got the first taste of it a couple of weeks back.
Okey, I know that you are already shaking your head and doing ‘Tch tch … poor kid’, but read the offence first.
On a fine Saturday morning, as soon as we got of the bed, we heard our neighbor kiddo yelling for Venky to come out and play. Venky quickly brushed up. I told him to go downstairs, have his breakfast and then go out and play.
After around 15 minutes, I went out to the balcony of the first floor to check on him. I saw the gate open, the neighbor kiddo on his scooter but no Venky. I shouted for Venky and the neighbor kiddo informed me – “Vengi has gaune to Sharanya’s house on eiz bizygle.”
I was shocked. Miss Sharanya lives two lanes further. I sent Vibhu to check on him. Vibhu came back with Venky in one piece (but bruised) and his bicycle in two pieces. Apparently, by the time Vibhu met him, he was coming back from Sharanya’s house, cycling in full speed and had fallen down. Vibhu found him picking up his battered cycle.
So, I grounded Venky for a week.
1. No playing with friends
2. No watching TV
3. No going out of the house without being accompanied by an elder.
And I dished out the punishment ‘ekdum pyaar se’. I explained his mistake. How it was unsafe for him on two counts
1. He could have been kidnapped
2. He could have been run over by a car.
How he had to remember to not make this mistake ever again and to help him remember, he was being punished. This ensured there were no tantrums from Venky. 😉
By the third day, Vibhu, my maid, my neighbors were vying to make me lessen Venky’s punishment. All of them came and told me how Venky was being a “very good boy” and taking his punishment sportively (which he was, I must admit). I gave in. Three ground rules were set.
1. If Venky is stepping out of the house, he has to ask an elder.
2. If Venky is playing outside the house in the absence of an elder, he can only play from front of our house to the dead end 3 houses down.
3. If Venky has to go anywhere else, he has to be accompanied by one elder.
Any violation will call for severe punishment which will not be reduced next time around.
Interesting episodes during the punishment
1. Neighbor kiddo tried to jump over our locked gate to play with Venky. When that failed, he crawled from below the gate. He got stuck and then Venky had to pull him out. Venky, then told him to go back since that would have resulted in an increase in his punishment timeline (as told by maid)
2. Neighbor kiddo told his mom that I had punished him and was not letting him play with Venky (as told by his mom)
3. The grandparents made umpteen calls to me, Vibhu, Venky, our maid asking details of the punishment and were desperate to have it reduced (ever wondered why they were not so soft-hearted with us?)
Well, I was just glad that I could start ‘grounding’ my kids for their offences. Easy punishment for parents. Easy for kids. Works every time. 😀