The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning

Good parenting?

An Australian mum, angry of the attitude and lies of her teenage daughter and her daughter’s friends, auctioned the ‘One Direction’ tickets she had bought them for her daughter’s birthday present.

Business Insider (US based online news) refers to the ‘blistering and shaming message’ and said this could ‘scar her daughter for life’

Mirror (US based online news) described the mum as ‘wonderfully unforgiving’

John Boone on ‘E’ picks up on the mum’s use of the word ‘trollope’ to describe the girls’ behaviour

Perezitos uses the terms ‘highly unusual’ and ‘strange’ ‘form of punishment’ to describe this mum’s actions

Uproxx said “I’m not sure whether to applaud, or call the authorities” because of this punishment for being ‘lippy’

Gigwise refers to the mum’s ‘blistering and angered rant’ picking up in the title the use of the mum’s word ‘trollope’

International Business Times took the cautious route and made no judgement in their report

So what’s it all about?  Well, here’s the eBay entry for the ticket sale:

“THIS AUCTION IS FOR ALL 4 ONE DIRECTION TICKETS IN SYDNEY OCTOBER 25th. You  can thank my daughters self righteous and lippy attitude for their sale. See  sweety? And you thought I was bluffing. I hope the scowl on your bitchy little  friends faces when you tell them that your dad and i revoked the gift we were  giving you all reminds you that your PARENTS are the ones that deserve love and  respect more than anyone. And your silly little pack mentality of taking your  parents for fools is one sadly mistaken. Anyhow. Your loss someone else’s gain  who deserves them! THE TICKETS ARE SEATED IN ROW O section 57. REMEMBER AUCTION  IS FOR ALL 4 TICKETS and will be sent registered post.

…OH YOUR FRIENDS THOUGHT THAT A FEW PRANKS CALLS WOULD PUT ME OFF SELLING  THE GIFT WE BOUGHT FOR THEM for YOUR BIRTHDAY because YOU all LIED to us about  sleep overs so you could hang like little trollops at an older guys HOUSE?????  Pffft!! I find it HIGHLY amusing that you girls think you invented this stuff.  Tricks like this on OUR parents is how HALF of you were conceived …..And why a  lot of your friends DONT have an address to send that Fathers day card  to!!! I’m not your friend. I’m your MOTHER. And I am here to give you the  boundaries that YOU NEED to become a functional responsible adult. You may hate  me now….. But I don’t care. Its my job to raise a responsible adult..not  nuture bad habits in my teen age child.”

Certainly she didn’t pull any punches.  Her daughter and her daughter’s friends can be in little doubt as to the cause of the loss of their privilege.  The overall impression I get from the other commentators above is one of shock and a degree of disapproval.  But was this mum right?  Or, was the punishment excessive?

On the basis of the eBay listing I applaud this mum.  She’s right when she says she’s not her daughter’s friend, she’s her mother, and it’s her job to raise a responsible adult.

One often recommended form of discipline is withdrawal of privileges.  It has to be something that is valuable to the child/young person in order for the withdrawal to be effective. It also needs to be reasonable and of a scope to fit the misdemeanor.  Clearly this mum is very angry at being lied to and upset that her daughter is putting herself in vulnerable situations.

Unlike grounding or removing TVs from bedrooms, this is a short, sharp withdrawal of privilege, but one of sufficient magnitude to be effective.  Her daughter won’t forget this lesson in a hurry.  It won’t have done her any long term harm, she is unlikely to need therapy to overcome it (as suggested by Business Insider).  It will have demonstrated to her, and her friends, that her parents have authority and that they love her enough to have the courage to use that authority.  She will know that you cannot lie to and disrespect someone, including your parents, and not get some kind of consequence.

I believe parents have a job to do.  A difficult job.  Too often parents want their children to like them and let them do things that are not in their long term best interests.  It takes courage and determination to guide a child through the turbulent waters of adolescence, to be their parent, not their friend.

Hopefully this girl will grow up to appreciate that.

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