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The teen years are such an interesting and important phase of a kid’s life. They aren’t innocent children running amok around the house, but they also aren’t the wise-decision-making adults we sometimes push them to be. Despite their shocking height and ever-growing foot size, they are still very much — and maybe now more than ever — in need of guidance, rules and good examples to follow. As the mom of a teen, I hover somewhere between providing this guidance and expecting (and hoping with all my might) that what I have done up until this point has been best for my son.

Recently, another mom was telling me how she’d grounded her son for three days for not finishing and, even worse, lying about, a school assignment. I asked her what he had to forgo in his three days of punishment; the usual TV, electronics and dessert came up, but she also told me he was forced to miss a championship basketball game.

What’s interesting is her son is a crucial player on the team — definitely one of the stars — and is depended on by his teammates. Even more interesting, and a bit disappointing: His team lost the basketball game by a close score, thus making everyone wonder if the outcome would have been different if my friend’s son were there to play.

On one hand, I absolutely see why she made him miss the game. Her rules of grounding meant he couldn’t participate in anything he loves — and I give her credit for sticking to her guns.

On the other hand, it makes me wonder if this punishment unfairly affected all the boys on his team, who had worked all season to establish great chemistry, only to have one of their own missing at the most crucial time. These other boys were not guilty, yet they were forced to play without him when they needed him most.

While she needed him to know he couldn’t get away with lying about his schoolwork, I wonder if his responsibility to his team shouldn’t be lumped together with the fact that he simply loves to play basketball.

It’s double-sided situations like these we have to face as parents. They’re not easy decisions to make and it’s important to respect one anothers’ choices because at the end of the day, we make these decisions out of love.

What is your method of discipline? Would you have made your son miss the championship basketball game?

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