Well, I guess if I’m grounded, I can’t really help you out, now can I?
Don’t you just love when kids turn things around on their parents?
Perhaps you even did it yourself when you were younger…
Take a look at this story about how a teen turned the whole grounding thing on its head.
Sorry, I can’t run your errands, I’m grounded
“Before you start, know that this is way longer than I expected. I tried to summarize as much as possible but there are a lot of relevant details. Before deciding if you want to read, this is my perspective of an incident when I was a teenager where my parent very much regretted grounding me.
So, this was back in the early 2000’s, I was 17 and had very interesting parents, at least, my psychologists have said so. I got my license on my 16th birthday and became responsible for many of my parent’s house management responsibilities. I dropped off bill payments (before online payments were a thing you had to drive to their offices if you didn’t mail the checks in time), did the grocery shopping, and taxied my sibling to school and Dr. appointments and friend’s houses.
I was completely on board as I loved driving and I’d always get an extra couple bucks in gas money. But I also spent the previous year homeschooling so I could commute to my mother’s company an hour away and work for 40 hours a week…for free, so any freedom I got was like scraps at a starving dog.
At that point, I pretty much was an adult, but was allowed to go to public school my senior year and reconnect with my old friends from grade school. It was kinda like being half teen, half adult with the entitlement of a teenager who thinks they’re an adult.
My family’s dynamic was interesting to say the least, I was the oldest, my younger sister was the obvious favorite. Each developmental milestone was met with resistance and as I grew into new interests like makeup, music, and social activities, my parents insisted on getting the same things for both of us and giving us the same freedoms at the same time, she was 3 years younger.
But, the rules were strict for me, but never enforced for her(I wasn’t allowed to date till I was 18, she was allowed to date at 14). They also brought her shopping all the time, but I was the responsible one, so they signed me up for free work with their social group to increase their social standing.
My sister never had to work, but, “We’re so proud of you, you’re the only child we can trust with the credit card.” “Yeah, because I’ve been contributing to this household since I was 14, it’s called child labor.”
I counted the days till I’d be free of my family, but while I was stuck, I found ways to have fun and I had a lot of friends. At 17, I was randomly given a curfew. I never actually had a curfew until that month and was used to being out until 2 or 3 am, but in their words, “You’re going to be home by 10pm every night because you keep coming in late and waking us up when you brush your teeth.”
Yeah, neglect is kinda funny when you look back on it. I especially love that I was a teen who still brushed her teeth every day and it inconvenienced my parents enough to notice me. An additional background tidbit is that my younger sister had been caught with pot in our Evangelical Christian family’s home. She was in the most trouble she’d ever seen, one month grounded, but they let her off the hook after 2 weeks. This occurred the month before the following story.
So within a month of my new curfew, I was 5, yes 5 minutes late getting home. I didn’t rush home, I figured it wasn’t a big deal, after all, I made their house run and I actually never got in trouble because aside from brushing my teeth too late, I pretty much was an adult with adult responsibilities. I could literally ask my mom to call me in sick for school because I didn’t feel like going…AND SHE WOULD! Boy was I wrong, they went nuclear.
I was screamed at for an hour and grounded for 2 weeks from the car. Well, growing up in that house, it kind of rolled off my back, lol, but I was pretty angry that my punishment for being 5 minutes late was equal to my sister’s punishment for storing and smoking drugs in our house. I also knew that my parents were about to regret this punishment.
I have quite the mean streak when I’m pushed and I’m ashamed to admit, I loved torturing them at every opportunity. I know they were expecting me to beg for the car and apologize, but I did not. I knew exactly what was coming and how little they thought this one through.
There’s a phrase, don’t k**l the golden goose, well, when your entire household runs on the shoulders of a 17-year-old, you’ve made some bad life choices. Especially when that 17-year-old is as smart and reliable as the adults are supposed to be. The next day, yes, the very next day, my mother comes into my room and asks me to drop off a bill she forgot to mail. This isn’t word for word, but the gist.
Mom: “I have to meet with a client and don’t have time, I need you to run this to local utility company.” (Yes, she never asks, she demands)
Me: (Looking up from my book) “Sorry, I’m grounded.”
Mom: “Well, we’ll make an exception.”
Me: “No, because then I’ll never learn to not be 5 minutes late for curfew.” (Yes, my smartassness was the main reason I wasn’t the favorite child, as they explained to me many times. I apparently had an “attitude problem” from the age of 4.)
Mom: “Well, I really need to you take this to local utility. If you don’t, we’ll have to pay a late fee.”
Me: “Well if I’m grounded from the car, I’m grounded from the car, I won’t be doing any errands until it’s over.”
She huffed off, realizing her mistake. I never followed up with how that one turned out for her.
Over the next week, I started acting like a normal teenager. I walked to my friend’s houses(I was only grounded from the car), would call my parents when I needed a ride home, lol, that was my favorite, “I can’t be late for curfew and you don’t want me walking home in the dark.” I actually walked so much and so far that my thighs were rock hard at the end of that week.
During that week, my parents looked a mess, they had to drive my sister everywhere and learned how exhausting it really was, they had to actually plan their errands and watch their own kids. I was on vacation.
During that week, the requests went from, “We’ll make an exception,” to “We never meant you couldn’t run errands,” to “These errands are the only reason we let you drive that car,” to “Please, just this once, we only grounded you because we love you,” to “You’re so ungrateful, you’re supposed to be the responsible one.”
Basically, the whole gambit of manipulation. At this point, I’m gaslight-proof and I had actively h**ed my mom for over 3 years. I was enjoying myself so much that I sometimes wonder why I enjoyed being a psychopath to her when I’m actually not one at all, I have diagnostic proof that I’m not a psychopath, lol.
By the end of the first week, I was called out to have a talk with them. My mother was the tougher of the two, my dad was pretty cool, but always sided with her.
Mom: “We’ve decided you’ve learned your lesson, we’re letting you off your punishment early, but you have to start running your errands again and driving your siblings.”
Me: “No, I’m good with the current system.”
Mom: “I insist, we don’t have time to run errands.”
Me: Smiling because finally… “Well maybe you should have thought about that before you took away my car.”
Mom: “Well, if you don’t run the errands, you can’t have the car back.”
Me: “Fine with me,” I walked out of the room like a proud peacock.
After the 2 weeks were up, they assumed I’d be back to normal, nope. I basically told them that I’d rather walk as the number of responsibilities far outweighed the benefits of driving. They were not happy, but what could they really do?
They lasted one more week, I went carless for a total of 3 weeks. Finally, my mom broke down and did the unthinkable, she begged. Well, the words were begging, the tone was sucking up, but I truly enjoyed it. It took all my energy not to beam with self-pride. Now, my mother was a saleswoman, she had been inadvertently training me for years. In that moment…I opened negotiations.
In the end, I got an extra $10 a week in gas money on top of the $3 bucks here or there for unscheduled errands. I still had the curfew, but I got a few minutes grace period from then on. They never even dared to threaten to take my car or license away again.
But the cherry on top, my sister’s personal taxi service was closed. Apparently, she treated them the same way she treated me during her frequent and unnecessary rides and from then on, she had to be nice if she wanted a ride. There were a few incidences where she tried to get my parents to force me to take her or tell her where I was going, but they didn’t.
They knew better than to k**l their golden goose of home management and for the rest of the year, I finally had a great childhood because I was left alone on my own terms.”
Now let’s take a look at how Reddit users reacted to this story.
This reader said that parents need to tread carefully when they give their kids curfews…
Another person agreed and said that it encourages reckless behavior among young people.
This Reddit user had an even crazier experience with their parents.
And this individual remembered an incident when they called their mother’s bluff…I’d call that sweet justice.
Did you ever turn the tables on your parents like this?
Or maybe your kids did?
Talk to us in the comments and let us know. Thanks!