are we doing the right thing?


New Member
My difficult child has been in trouble basically this whole school year and failing school. We have had a trip to Florida planned for him to see his grandparents and relax in their pool. His grandparents no nothing of his misdeeds... I told my difficult child that he must stay out of trouble or he will not be flying to Florida. I clearly stated that.
well, Wednesday night he left the house in the middle of the night and went to some girls house. My husband and I dropped the bomb - the trip is now canceled. My difficult child is devastated - I'm sad too, my dad was so looking forward to having him visit. I have to tell my parents today that he will not be coming.I hate to disappoint them and I hope I'm doing the right thing.

Are we bing too punitive? Am I a wimp?

What would you guys do?


be strong, listen to your heart, and have a really good cup of coffee you deserve one


Active Member
we parents seem to second guess all our rules and conseqeuences at times. why are we such wimps? I wonder because I used to back down myself. all that taught my son was that my rules meant nothing. back in my dad meant what he said. he was fair and firm and never caved in if he set a rule. that made us not break them.

your son may be too much for the grandparents to handle if he is sneaking out at night. if he constantly lies and refuses to listen to authority, why will he listen to them?

perhaps the trip can be earned back if he is good for a time, or maybe you can go along with him to monitor things.


New Member
I completely agree. This is the hardest part of parenting--coming through on our "promises". I have done it and we all survived.

I agree with ant'smom where she said "my dad meant what he said. he was fair and firm and never caved in if he set a rule." my dad was the same way. I had the utmost respect for my dad and always wanted to make them proud.

unfortunately, i think kids today lack respect and think we as parents will not follow through. You gave him the choice and he made one, so he has to live with the decision he made not to follow your rules.

if it were someone elses child, you would agree with the decision you made, right?!? Be strong. I depend on this site so much. It is a haven


Hi Jenbug,
I have been in this sort of situation before. I told my difficult child 2 that she could not attend a creative writing camp if she didn't have certain grades. It was a mistake--she didn't get the grades and I wished I hadn't made that a condition. I did relent, told her I was wrong and I did let her go.

I think from our perspective it seems that if there is something they really want to do that would be fun we think they will do anything to not blow it but that just isn't true.

So, no real advice--hope others will be along who can help! I'm thinking of you--sure been in your shoes!


New Member
I think it is hard for many of our kids to stop their impulses no matter what is on the line for the future, good or bad. I know my daughter fell into that category. I learned to not make a consequence being a denial of a future event, especially not one I thought I wanted her to go on. Consequences fit the crime and were immediate.

That being said, a reasonable and natural consequence for someone sneaking out in the middle of the night would be to not go on a trip where he would not be as well supervised or where he might get into serious trouble considering he doesn't know the territory as well. So, whether a consequence of you do one more thing and you don't go or whether a consequence of you can't be trusted and we can't expect my parents to be police officers to watch you, the consequence of not visiting your parents is a good consequence.

Maybe if he has followed the major rules for a month or nearer the end of summer he could then go visit?


New Member
I spoke to my parents today and they asked if we would still let him come to visit. I told them all of the stuff that has been going on and they still want him there, they want him to come even more. My dad wants to spend some time with him to try to help him, they also think we need a break. We do have alternative consequences that would be probably more severe. I probably should have spoken to my parents before I said anything to my difficult child.


Hi Jenbug,
I think you could use the break too--if only for that reason I would send him! It's great that the grandparents still would like him to come even though he is so difficult.


been there done that and sometimes hindsight is 20/20, however, once a line is drawn, the consequences established if the line is crossed HAVE to be upheld if you ever plan to hold any weight with your difficult child.
Since your folks want him and your dad wants to help, is there anything he can do to "earn" the trip back? Something you know he can succeed at? It will get him to grandpa's without you giving in.
Perhaps even set up some community service type jobs he could complete to earn the trip back. In the adult world, community service is a real "punishment" the courts use


Mom? What's a difficult child?
I like the "earn back" idea. If your parents can "deal" with him?
I know my in-laws could not... LOL they give in to every whim. But if you trust them and we all need the break!!! As long as he learns from this. Or pretends he learns!!!
It could be a learning experience for all of you.

I had to stick to my guns last night with N... she would not let me get her dressed... I gave her 15 minutes of tries. ( I try to be flexible because of her sensory issues) and then she looked at me and flat out said "NO", she went to bed with no books... I hate doing stuff like that... but I had to I warned her and gave the ultimatum.
I know yours is bigger.. I am building up to that!!!


New Member
I'm not a fan of the "earn it back" system. My difficult child started to think that she could pretty much make up for bad behavior with a little good behavior and still get to do the fun thing that had been taken away. So now, once I say it's gone, it's gone. No matter how much it hurts me to have to stick with it. I WANT her to get to go places and do special things, but once the words are out of my mouth I know I have to follow through. Knowing that, I'm much more careful about what comes out of my mouth! (Like I wanted to go to the Cheetah Girls concert as much as her, so I never made losing the tickets a consequence - I needed the kid with me to make my appearance there look legit! LOL!)

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Tough spot you're in....

While I generally am a harda$$ because it's the only way to get through to the tweedles, this may be an exception to the rule.

Take the break. In fact, send difficult child on his merry way - lovingly, with-o anger. Enjoy the respite. And let difficult child know that on his return he owes you "fill in the blank" for his antics of the other night.

Let us know what you decide.


Well-Known Member
It is a hard lesson to realize a punishment has been made and it is just not the right thing for the family or the child.

I threatened to take away trick-or-treating one year. She did not earn the right to trick or treat. We did not go. IT BROKE MY HEART and still to this day I feel it was the wrong punishment. For crying out loud - they only get so many trick or treating moments, right?

Anyway - your son should be able to spend time with grandparents. They are a special part of childhood and the memories are usually very wonderful.

Admit you were wrong and pick another punishment. Stick to that one and he will still see that you follow through.

And (hard part) be sure you have learned from this and really, truly think about punishments before they are doled out. Actually, tell difficult child that you will need to think about the punishment and give him time to wonder what it is he will have to do/not do for his 'crimes'.


Well-Known Member
Well in that case jenbug I may be tempted to let him go. Your Dad sounds like a very caring Grandpa and perhaps he can do some good. There is nothing wrong with reconsidering the punishment and coming up with an alternative. Of course you may want to make it clear that your parents were terribly hurt and disappointed and you didn;t want to take this away from them.

Maybe your difficult child will learn something even deeper through this.


P.S. I did want to add that my difficult child at age 14-15 was sneaking out of the house too. She took the screens out of several windows and came and went that way. We never could figure out why she just didn't use the front door. I guess it wouldn't be sneaking then. I'm not condoning this at all and it was a great concern to us, but many many kids that age are sneaking out, it's like a badge of honor. So he is not that different.