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A Sign of Good Parenting
This is truly awesome. If every parent in North America acted like this, we would have no juveline delinquency.

Here's jist of it:

A 16 year old Florida boy got stopped by police for doing 107mph in a 55mph zone. He hasn’t been to court yet, but he’s begun serving the sentence ordered by mom. In addition to having his car taken away, Adam Clark stands along the road near his high school wearing a sign that says “I was stupid. I drove over 100mph and got caught. Thank God! I could have killed me and my friends.”

So Adam was "sentenced" by his mom to stand on a busy street corner everyday for a month, before and after school, holding this sign.

And he did it, too.

That's a creative mom. And it goes well with what I was posting Saturday about how we need to take steps with our teens to make sure they still identify with our values.

But here's a more important question: this must have been a good mom to be able to enforce this. How do you get a 16-year-old boy to actually do this? What do you think the mom did? Threaten to take the car away for a year? Take away his computer? She must have threatened something or he wouldn't have followed through with the punishment.

I think often that parents feel helpless, as if they can't impose a punishment, because the kids won't do it. I know one mom whose 11-year-old son was slapping her in the face all the time. She felt like there was nothing she could do because he was already bigger than she was.

We've given up. We act as if we have no authority and no ability to punish. But we do control a lot. So let me make a list of the power that parents do have, even after our kids are bigger than we are:

We control the purse strings, which means we control:

1. Computer access and internet access
2. Television access
3. Access to a vehicle
4. Dessert
5. Telephone privileges
6. Video game privileges
7. Any clothes beyond two pairs of pants, three pairs of shirts, something dressy, and one pair of shoes
8. Spending money/allowance
9. Chauffeuring them anywhere, whether it's to a sports activity, friend's house, or even job
10.Money for a sports team or any extracurricular activities

So you do have some control! If you ground your child, for instance, and they leave the house anyway, you can pull some of the privileges that you directly control.

If your child talks back to you, or consistently mistreats a younger sibling, you are not helpless because you can take some of these things away from them.

Let's remember that all of these things are privileges, not rights. If a child is disrespecting you, posing a threat to him or herself or others, or going down the wrong road, you do have weapons in your disposal.

That doesn't mean that life as the parent of a preteen or teen is all about punishment; it needs to also be about building fun family memories and a fun family routine. But too often we parents get in constant fights with our kids, and we butt heads with our kids, rather than simply and quietly taking some definitive action, like removing a privilege. That works much better than yelling!

So, as parents, let's stand up and be proud! Let's not let kids walk all over us. In the end, our kids will be better for it.

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At 10:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Although I don't have teens yet, I have learned one simple rule: say what you mean and mean what you say.

Do not impose a punishment you aren't willing to carry out. It doesn't work and you lose credibility with your kids (yes, even the young ones).

Great article!


At 10:29 AM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

Good post.


At 10:43 AM , Blogger Nancy said…

I commend this mother! One thing to be careful of is others watching. I have heard of parents being charged with "child abuse" for things such as this. There are those that would like to take our parental rights away. Sad state of affairs our world is in.


At 11:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

The reason this mother was able to force her son to do this is because she was a good parent from the start. The problem with so many parents is that they allow their kids to do anything they want in the early, formative years, and then when the kid turns 13, they suddenly expect them to listen. You can't wait to discipline your kid until he's 13 and then wonder why it's not working. Well-behaved teenagers are created long before they hit jr. high.


At 12:56 PM , Blogger Mrs W said…

Sounds like next time mommy speeds she needs to and hold up a sign for a month telling everyone how stupid she is.

I can't believe there are parents out there that think this was a GOOD thing for her to do to her child. But, you got it right. It WAS punishment, it certainly wasn't discipline or training. The Bible tells us to train and discipline, not punish.

The mom was an idiot.


At 4:40 PM , Blogger Rini said…

There is a difference between speeding and topping 100 mph. Have you ever driven a car over 100? It's not something you do accidentally. (At least, not with any car a 16-year-old in MY house could ever afford! ;) ) I hit 75 in a 60 zone very easily. Over 100? No, that's on purpose. And it is a stupid, dangerous decision.


At 8:56 AM , Blogger Mrs W said…

LOL most people I know that speed do it on a regular basis, and on purpose, and yes, most of them top well over 100 especially on the interstate.

We are supposed to discipline our children in love, not abuse them in anger.


At 2:29 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 8:38 PM , Blogger TRS said…

I don't have kids - but speeding is my one weakness so I can you something about that.

Allow me to share a story:
I tend to speed - but I'm talking about Interstate 80 across the state of Nebraska. The speed limit is 75 and I tend to set the cruise control at about 78 just for good measure. Also key to the story - I don't like being behind big semi-trucks.

I often drive from Colorado to the NE corner of Nebraska to visit my parents. Once, just days before my planned trip - my cruise control went out. I knew I was going to speed because I rely on cruise control to monitor my lead foot. I couldn't drive long distances without it.

As predicted, about 5 hours into my trip, I just had to get around a big rig that was blocking my view of the interstate stretching across the great plains.
I accelerated to pass and realized that I was going so fast, I wasn't comfortable with the speed. So I got around the rig and went back to comfort zone.

Trooper clocked me at 97MPH!!!
Yikes. (I begged for pardon because my CC was out - and he dropped the price of ticket for me, saying he rarely gets ANYONE going that fast.)
This was in a 75 and with 23 years of driving experience.

For a 16 year old to top 100 in a 55 - is scary, dangerous and stupid. Not to mention DEADLY.

So Mrs W, if you hang out with folks who top 100 on a regular basis -and on purpose- you might want to find yourself a better class of friends because the people you know will be a bad influence on your children.


At 9:53 AM , Blogger Mrs W said…

I don't "hang out" with such people, and certainly don't get in a car with them, but if fully grown "men" can get on facebook and brag that they were doing 110 on the interstate in their status messages, then yeah...sad.

And what I don't understand is, speeding is speeding. People get on my case when they complain that they got a ticket when *only* doing five or seven over the limit, and when I say, "fair enough coz you were over" I'm seen as a mean prude and they defend themselves with "yeah, but not very much, the policeman just had it in for me".

I totally agree that nobody should have been doing that speed the teenage boy was doing, much less him. But I don't have to agree that mommy handled it the right way. My guess is she was "embarrassed" by actions of the son so she decided to "embarrass" him.


At 9:53 AM , Blogger Mrs W said…

I don't "hang out" with such people, and certainly don't get in a car with them, but if fully grown "men" can get on facebook and brag that they were doing 110 on the interstate in their status messages, then yeah...sad.

And what I don't understand is, speeding is speeding. People get on my case when they complain that they got a ticket when *only* doing five or seven over the limit, and when I say, "fair enough coz you were over" I'm seen as a mean prude and they defend themselves with "yeah, but not very much, the policeman just had it in for me".

I totally agree that nobody should have been doing that speed the teenage boy was doing, much less him. But I don't have to agree that mommy handled it the right way. My guess is she was "embarrassed" by actions of the son so she decided to "embarrass" him.


At 11:40 AM , Blogger Sarah DeVries said…

Let me start by saying I don't think any of you are bad parents! Now, that being said, I must agree with Mrs. W that I believe this mother's "punishment" was a poor response. There is a world of difference between discipline and punishment. One is correction and setting boundaries - the other is retaliation, often in anger. If we are modeling Christ as parents, we will discipline rather than punish. It doesn't matter HOW old your kids are, good parenting should involve natural consequences and NOT arbitrary punishments. If you believe that every person is made in the image of God, you ought then to give them respect in the same way you would expect to receive it. Which makes me think of the verse: "With whatever measure you use, it will be measured to you."


At 5:03 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Thanks for all your comments! Very interesting.

Terry--Thanks for your support! Appreciate it. And love your blog! Has everyone seen Terry's blog? She always makes me think. It's here.

TRS--great point about speeding.

Mrs. W. and Sarah (and everyone else, because I'd like an answer on this one): I've been pondering your comments about the difference between punishment and discipline. We all agree discipline is good, I hope. But punishment has a bad connontation to it. Mrs. W. insinuated what this woman did was abuse. I heartily disagree with that!

But was it punishment or discipline?

Or, to get to an even bigger question, is there really a difference? There's been so much written in the parenting journals lately about how punishment is bad, because we do it out of anger, so we should discipline instead, but does the Bible even differentiate between the two when God does it?

I think we may be playing semantics here. I'm not saying we are; I'm still mulling this over, and I like to think something out by typing it. So allow me to think on my keyboard for a minute!

We punish when our children do something wrong. Is that such a bad thing? There should be consequences for actions, and I'm not so sure that calling it "discipline" makes it any better. We're teaching our children that she shouldn't do it, and we're having them pay for what they did do, because actions have conseqeunces. So is there really a difference?

We definitely should not abuse, but if the "punishment", or "discipline", or whatever you have it, fits the crime, is there a difference?

I think this woman was being creative with a teen who did something extremely dangerous that should not be taken lightly, and I think that was okay to do. I don't think I'd do it, but I'm not his mother and my kids have a different personality.

But I guess my question more has to do with: why are we so scared to use the word punishment? Is there really a difference? I'd like to know people's takes on this one!


At 6:10 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

You're right Sheila, when God discilpined Hus children in the OT, He was very clear that He was ANGRY. But He was equally clear that He was doing what he was doing what he was doing to turn their hearts back to Him.

I agree with you that this really is a matter of semantics: punishment/discipline, potayto/potahto, lol.

Like you, I can't say I would have done what this mom did, but I don't fault her for it. I applaud her. She knows her kid better than I do. Too many modern day parents would've done nothing.


At 6:32 PM , Blogger A Marriage After His Heart said…

my mom not only would have embarassed me, she would have beaten the snot out of me and yes at 16!!! her line of thinking would have been I'd rather embarass you than to bury you. I agree with this mom whole heartily. In the OT a child who was unruly was brought out before the elders and stoned I repeat STONED to death....i know we live in the NT but God was serious about how we were to raise our children. If that child would have killed someone the punishment would have been a torn conscience for the rest of his life! His mom's tough discipline made him think twice and I am willing to bet my firstborn that he won't do that again. I loathe this line of thinking that our children can only be disciplined inside of "thier" comfort zone! My husband counsels troubled youth that have been court ordered to the psych hospital he works for.... you would be surprised that the vas majority of them suffer from "oppositional defiance" which is a juiced up term for disobedience AND it is considered a payable disability! All of it stems from a lack of strong ephiphinizing ( I think I just made that up) discipline. A lack of discipline in the home will one day punishment by the courts and that to me is a result of parenting by way of the convienence to the child. Jesus said that anyone who offends one of these little ones, it be better for him that a milstone be tied around his neck and he cast into the sea.... Is not putting the fear of God and obedience in our children not an offence to them? who are we to judge the way someone disciplines their child when it is clear they are not in physical and emotional danger? How is embarassment abuse? Are we not then raising a generation of to be adults who can't handle embarrassment?? Just thoughts on my mind in response to a couple of comments on the mom's mental state....


At 1:07 PM , Blogger Sarah DeVries said…

As far as God "punishing" and being "angry" in the OT, I think my understanding of that has been greatly influenced by E. Stanley Jones' book "The Unshakeable Kingdom & The Unchanging Person", which I heartily recommend as a great thought-provoking read. Caveat: God's righteous anger is not at all like our own personal anger. Remember James 1:19-20, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." God's "punishments" are his natural laws set in motion.


At 2:09 AM , Anonymous BluePixo said…

Every parent should convey to the child that he is an individual in his own right apart from us and responsible for his successes and failures.

BluePixo Entertainment - A place for mom and dad to share topics about parenthood

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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