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How would you punish this action?

This weekend, my husband took me out for a few hours of pampering. We have 3 kids, ages 11, 10 , and 4. Well our 11 year old was staying the night with a friend, our 4 year old was being watched by our friends, and we sent our 10 year old to the Youth Center that is here on the Air Force Base (we know all the workers there and feel it is a safe place for him to hang out with his friends being supervised by adults). However, at the age of 9, they can check themselves into and out of the youth center whenever they want. We specifically told my 10 year old we were going to get my hair done, and he needed to stay at the youth center until we came to pick him up. BUT he decided, about thirty minutes after being there, to walk home (half a mile), call his friend and have his friend come over to play. They were in the house unsupervised by any adults for over an hour.


Asked by AprilDJC at 1:41 AM on Feb. 2, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 20 (8,524 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • I guess I would make him understand the seriousness of the situation. First, he broke what you asked him not to do...leave the center. Second, he walked home. I don't know what things he might encounter on his walk home but it seems like that would be a big no-no particularly when you think he somewhere safe and didn't tell anyone. Third, he invited a friend over...without permission. Fourth, it would appear that he didn't even have a problem with what he did.
    If it were me...he would be grounded and have some kind of serious work detail for a period of time. I would take away some privileges of things he enjoys and have him earn them back. He was being disrespectful as well as unsafe. Make the consequences stick and have him appreciate his free time when he earns it back. I like the baby sitter idea...if he isn't old enough to do what you ask then he isn't old enough to have other privileges. Don't let him off...

    Answer by mykidzmom-1 at 7:58 AM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • hire a babysitter the next 3 times you go out. let him understand that if he is going to abuse privileges, he won't get them until he can learn to appreciate them and do as he is told.

    Answer by matobe at 1:44 AM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • CONTINUED...My husband found out because he called the youth center to check on him about 30 minutes before we were supposed to be home. When the youth center said he wasn't there, we called our house and he answered the phone and proceeded to tell us that he and his friend were playing. Well I have told him multiple times that he is not old enough to be home alone. There are laws against it. He is also not mature enough. The question is, how to punish the behavior. This friend that came over is his only real friend. The friend got grounded from hanging out with my son because together they make bad decisions. So that in itself is a punishment for my son, but I don't want him to feel like he is getting off easy because we could have been in alot of trouble had anyone known he was home alone, and he would not have known what to do in most cases of emergency. What would you do?

    Answer by AprilDJC at 1:44 AM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • First off, when (if) you allow him to go to the youth center again I would walk him in and ask the supervising adult not to allow him to check himself out. As for his punishment have him ask to go anywhere (bathroom, bedroom, kitchen,) he will soon get the point.

    Answer by mrssullivan at 2:12 AM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • Being a military spouse & living on six diffrent instalations it makes me furious that they let children sigh themselves in or/& out. The civilian youth centers don't allow this kind of action due to those laws that you mentioned, they'd be sued if they allowed a child to do what the base center did. You should not leave your son there untill you can check to see exactly what laws apply to the military facility, then let the person that is in charge of the center know that they need to rethink their policy accordingly. Hire a babysitter for the next two months everytime you & your husband decide that you need 'alone' time just to make sure he doesn't think what he did will ever be allowed to happen again. Also ground him for two weeks because he broke the rules that you had put on him for the one day, & make him apologize for ruining your afternoon.

    Answer by bookdragon at 2:27 AM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • I'm kind of with bookdragon, wondering why on earth they would allow a child, at 9 or 10, to sign themselves out? 15 or 16, I could sort of understand, but to me, the concept of a youth center is someplace safe for children to be, and allowing them to sign themselves out completely defeats that purpose. As for what kind of punishment for your son, I think I'd have to go with the hovering method for a while. Make him tell you where he's going for everything ("I'm going to the bathroom", "I'm going to take a shower", "I'm going to my room") and bug the crap out of him. He goes in his room, every 5 or 10 minutes go check on him or call to him and ask him what he's doing. If he wants to go somewhere, he tells you where, when, for how long, calls you when he gets there, calls you when he's getting ready to come home, calls you halfway thru the activity. And you call him once or twice. Make him realize it's about trust and safety.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 6:42 AM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • Oh he isn't getting off free lol! He spent most of the day yesterday doing household chores helping me get ready for our superbowl party. He hated every minute of it because I had him help his sister clean her room then he had to clean his. And yes, as far as the walking goes, he is not allowed to walk anywhere by himself. We do live on base, which is a bit safer, and he is allowed to walk to and from the youth center WITH HIS BIG BROTHER but that is it. They have to be together if they are walking because if it's just one of them and something happens then there is no way to know. I teach them safety in numbers as far as walking places goes. THey are only allowed to walk places that are half a mile from the house or less, and only when I know exactly where they are going, the exact path they are taking to get there, and they call me both when they get there and when they leave to come home.

    Answer by AprilDJC at 11:28 AM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • I would've given him a spanking and grounded him for a few weeks with extra chores and early bedtime.

    Answer by surobb at 4:49 PM on Feb. 2, 2009