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Am I Being Too Strict?

Hi Mark...

My 17-year old daughter, H_____, has been experimenting with drinking and was recently arrested for a DUI (twice the legal limit for intoxication). She totaled her car, but luckily she did not encounter anyone else on the highway - she just hit an embankment.

I only had liability insurance on her car, so there will not be any insurance money provided to cover the cost of replacing the car, and I'm a single parent, so I cannot afford to buy her another one. It took all of my 401K to buy the one she just totaled.

I have grounded her for 2 months, not allowing her to hang out with friends, etc., and this has been really hard on her, and she keeps wanting me to suspend the rest of the grounding as its been a month already and she's learned her lesson. I am sticking to my guns to make her learn an important lesson more thoroughly.

She is still allowed to talk on the phone, and she can see her boyfriend if he attends church on Sunday or Wednesday when she is there. Other than that, she's not allowed to see her friends. Do you think I am being too strict? What do I need to do to get through to her, as she is still quite rebellious?


Hi D.,

I don’t have much to add. Are you being too strict? Well, 2 months is typically too long of a grounding-period for anything, including drinking and driving. I would say she has successfully experienced a “natural” consequence associated with her poor choice (i.e., lost her car).

One question however: What did she do to “earn” that car before she destroyed it? Or, was it a free handout? If she did nothing to “earn” her vehicle, then it doesn’t surprise me that it is torn up.

I “gave” my son a car – he had it destroyed within a two-month period. He had to pay for his next vehicle with his own money – now he washes and waxes the thing every weekend.


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