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Judges should not tell parents when to ground children

A Canadian father is not allowed to ground his 12-year-old daughter for chatting on forbidden web sites and posting her nondescript pictures on the world wide web, according to a Quebec (Canada) Superior Court judge.

The child took her father to court because he would not let her go on a school trip. He had forbidden her from going on the trip because she kept breaking house rules. He told her she was not allowed to use internet chat rooms. She did, anyway, so he punished her. She pouted and a judge overruled the grounding.

Oh, come on.

Parents are not allowed to do parenting anymore? The Canadian judicial system is so all-knowing that it is going to tell Mom and Dad how to ground a child?

Children are being given too much entitlement by governments --both in this country and abroad. There used to be a time when little Johnny or Jane got punished, and they had to put up with it.

The child could cry. He or she could manifest his or her displeasure with the punishment in other, similar forms, but the response was -- to quote Justin Timberlake -- "Cry me a river ... Cry me a river!"

When I was growing up, the parents of one of my friends came up with the most terrifying word not only for their own kids, but the playmates as well -- "Restriction."

Restriction was just another word for grounded, but it was a little more terrifying for some reason. When you say someone is "grounded," it does not carry the same kind of weight that "restricted" has. When you say a child is "restricted," the word alone reinforces that idea that he or she is in trouble because his or her rights are being limited.

The word "restriction" is not quite as terrifying as the phrase ,"Get the extra-wide belt off the wall," but "restriction" was still pretty scary.

I say parents should lock their misbehaving children in their rooms without any privileges during non-school hours. My attitude is that as long as you adequately feed the child, give it enough water and make sure it gets an education, you're not neglecting it. You're punishing it for --say a week -- before you unleash the rugrat on the world with full privileges again.

Would you rather have your children feel like home is a prison, or would you prefer it if they felt like prison is a home?

When you raise a child with no punishment for bad behavior, you are just giving the little terror permission to act like a big terror when it becomes an adult. Once you open that "Pandora's Box," it's hard to reverse course without having to fight the youths on some sort of battleground.

Courts have now become the new battleground for children who think they are above rules, and restrictions. The little ones are now developing this attitude of "You can't punish me, I'll sue your [expletive]."

This mentality of using the courts to get around the rules has been a natural progression of frivolous lawsuits, like the woman who sued McDonald's because she didn't know all fresh coffee is hot.

The sooner parents learn how to be parents again, and the courts learn they cannot overturn a grounding, the sooner children will re-learn discipline and respect.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.