Could We Be Holding Our Children to Higher Accountability?

Holding our Children Accountable - accountablity
United States
February 17, 2008 2:09pm CST
My son just turned 13 in September of last year. Friday I got a call from the school principle and when I heard her voice, my heart nearly stopped dead in its tracks. My knee jerk reaction was that he had been hurt, not that he was given detention. My son has always been a very good kid, he is an A student and never gives me any grief. At lunch on Friday, a boy in the same grade came up behind my son and hit him. Well Jake jumped up from the lunch table and proceeded to waylay this other young man. The Principle as it turns out witness the whole affair. With new bulling policies in place, because Jake my son threw a punch and the fact there is a no tolerance policy for fighting both children were put into in school suspension. My son did not start it, but I can not condone his fighting either, and I am ashamed to say I really do not know what to do with this one. BTW THE FIGHT WAS OVER A GIRL! OF COURSE! My Jury is still out. I ran across this article this morning and I have never copied and pasted a news article before but I thought this is appropriate for a discussion on accountability. I would truly love to hear your thoughts not only with the fight with my son at school but the news article as well. DES MOINES, Iowa - Jane Hambleton has dubbed herself the "meanest mom on the planet." After finding alcohol in her son's car, she decided to sell the car and share her 19-year-old's misdeed with everyone — by placing an ad in the local newspaper. The ad reads: "OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."Hambleton has heard from people besides interested buyers since recently placing the ad in The Des Moines Register. The 48-year-old from Fort Dodge says she has fielded more than 70 telephone calls from emergency room technicians, nurses, school counselors and even a Georgia man who wanted to congratulate her. "The ad cost a fortune, but you know what? I'm telling people what happened here," Hambleton says. "I'm not just gonna put the car for resale when there's nothing wrong with it, except the driver made a dumb decision."It's overwhelming the number of calls I've gotten from people saying 'Thank you, it's nice to see a responsible parent.' So far there are no calls from anyone saying, 'You're really strict. You're real overboard, lady.'"The only critic is her son, who Hambleton says is "very, very unhappy" with the ad and claims the alcohol was left by a passenger. Hambleton believes her son but has decided mercy isn't the best policy in this case. She says she set two rules when she bought the car at Thanksgiving: No booze, and always keep it locked. The car has been sold, but Hambleton says she will continue the ad for another week — just for the feedback. Credit: 'Mean mom' sells son's car after misdeed - Yahoo! News
8 people like this
13 responses
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
18 Feb 08
Several things to talk about here from what I saw in other responses. If this were an bullying situation going to the teachers alone wouldn't work. With lack of evidence it's one childs word against anothers so not much can be done. The bullyer often becomes even more bitter, realizes the victim won't defend themselves & escallates things further when there are no witnesses. This doesn't seem to be a bullying case here though. I wouldn't be to hard on your son. He was defending himself, he just went to far. Perhaps some lessons in non striking defense would be helpful. The school can't say much if your simply restraining the guy so he can't strike you. I also have to wonder, If the teacher was a witness did they not see the events leading up to the incident? Why didn't they step in before it came to blows? As for the article. I'd say it was taken a little too far. Only a little. I'd have kept the keys for a very long time , tracked down the supposid other kid who'd left the alcahol & informed his parents & come up with lots of harsh punishments for my own kid. The article wasn't necessary. There are lots of projects around the house I would love to have done for me that I'm sure they'd hate that could be used as punishments. Hauling rocks up the hill could be a good start... Retileing the bathroom... Deepening the pond & putting in a new liner....
2 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 08
At the lunch table it came completely out of the blue, the other young man was walking by my Son and laid into him with the punch. But earlier in the week there were words exchanged as I mentioned above to a poster. When Jake and I talked last night he conveyed to me that a couple of times through out the week he had told this boy to quit texting this young lady, that she wanted him to leave her alone. He had been telling me of his new found (crush) since the end of the week before. he even mentioned that there was another boy that was still bothering her. I am afraid I was not being as attentive as I should have been, I like you believe that is were this could have been headed off. Avoided, is during the week when the tempers and jealousy was building. I missed it. For one it is so completely unlike him LMAO. puberty brings with it a whole new ball game. Hauling rocks up a hill ! Boy I like that one :))) Tahnks so much for your input here.
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
18 Feb 08
I think I would have been watching him if I was your son. I had a similar situation when I was in school. I wasn't actually interested in the girl, she was just a friend. I was being noble & trying to get the guy to back off her. A few days later he took a swing at me in the lunchroom & found himself in an arm lock kissing the table. I just held him there never leaving my seat ( & actually eating while holding him to further deflate his ego )until the teachers came over & took him. Don't be too upset at your son for the situation, he's trying to do the right thing. He just got a little hot tempered after that first blow ( who wouldn't? ). Someone should have noticed this other boys obsession sooner but in all likelyness this was bound to happen.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99293)
• United States
17 Feb 08
I say, "Let him serve the detention he earned." He needs to be reminded of the no tolerance policy. If he had not responded only the instigator would be serving detention.
• United States
17 Feb 08
Gerty You are right. There is no excuse for fighting whatsoever. He will be doing his time with out a fuss from me, or his father. I am or was unsure how i felt about this as his (protective overly so mother). Thank you for your input here. Means the world to me.
1 person likes this
@roberten (3131)
• United States
17 Feb 08
Your child was human, he simply reacted rather than being proactive and asking for help. You should take this incident and use it as a learning experience and great opportunity for instructing your young man on proper behavior shall a similiar situation ever arise again. Layout the ground rules and your expectations; also let him know what the results will be if he does are doesn't comply. The most important thing is to mean what you say and to say what you mean; follow thru with what you say so as not to confuse him. Invite him to give his input but also let him know that you have final say. Tough situation but consistancy is the key.
2 people like this
• United States
17 Feb 08
"The most important thing is to mean what you say and to say what you mean; follow thru with what you say so as not to confuse him. Invite him to give his input but also let him know that you have final say. Tough situation but consistancy is the key." Roberten those are very wise words. It is hard sometimes for parents to follow through with a condition they have set down. I am as guilty of it as anyone. Thank you so much for this reminder.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
18 Feb 08
ya, that is a tough one. My daughter who is usually non-violent cold-clocked some kid (a boy no less) who was picking on her relentlessly. The principle said that he did believe her as this kid was known for that sort of thing and while he understood that she was pushed to her limits, he did have to suspend her. We took the opportunity to talk about other ways that she maybe could have handled the situation. its tough for these kids because as she pointed out...had she gone to a teacher or the principle, she would be facing more abuse for being a "rat".
• United States
18 Feb 08
It is so Frustrating as a parent. You want your children to be strong and capable of taking care of themselves, yet our hands are often tied because of legal policies that are in place to protect them. I agree that these policies have to be in place anymore. When I was a kid and we got into a fight in school, our parents were called we were sent home for the day, and we knew we had an A$$ whipping coming from our parents. We went back to school the next day and all was right as rain again. It is just not the same world anymore.
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
18 Feb 08
"kid was known for that sort of thing" This goes back to something I was saying. Odviously he'd been reported before & it had no effect. Bullies don't respect their victims if they call someone else to fight their battles. They'll just keep on as long as they feel they can get away with it. Perhaps your daughter gave him the proper attitude adjustment he needs.
@Sissygrl (10915)
• Canada
17 Feb 08
Angel, Wow, i dunno what i would do either, and i am certainly not looking forward to my kids going to preschool little own highschool where all THAT type of thing happens! I dont think i could condone the fighting either, but i would be glad that he stuck up for himself if he were mine. After all, if he hadn't then other kids might seize the oppertunity to pick on him as well.. However.. a fight is a fight. I dont think you should punish him, but maybe have a serious talk to him about the whole thing, and get his perspective, if he's an A student and well behaved untill this point, and i dont see this as being his fault, do you ? Then i think he probably does know that it was wrong, but maybe didn't think before he acted this time.. Whatever you decide angel, good luck, and i know you must be a good mom to have a 13 year old A student, I will be asking YOU for much more advice throughout our friendship LOL.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Feb 08
Sissy, Jake has been a walk in the park to raise compared to his older Brothers. Specifically my middle son. BTW both brothers have been patting him on the back with pride for his first real brawl. Of course I have has asked them to stop it, there is no pride in a bruised and swollen lip. I think his IN SCHOOL SUSPENSION is enough punishment as it is killing him to be separated from his classes. What I have been struggling with is how to approach this and turn it around in the event of the next tussle. Rotflmao I am always here to relate to you my agony of motherhood. LMAO be it wrong or right I will tell ya as you ask :)))
1 person likes this
@Sissygrl (10915)
• Canada
17 Feb 08
Thanks angel ;) *hugs* sorry i can't offer no real solution as i have not the experience!
1 person likes this
@mummymo (23707)
18 Feb 08
You know what sweety I agree with you about violence but coming from the mum of a 14 year old son who has suffered a lot of bullying during his school career so far I have to admit I think I would be more lenient if my son hit back - at least you know he is prepared to defend himself - even if it is not always the best idea! I often worry about what will happen if my son one day decides to fight back as he is 6 ft tall and although skinny he is really powerful - specially when he is angry! As for mean mom - I wish there were more like her! I don't know that I would have gone so far but lets face it , part of the problem with society today is that too many people refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and they will only learn if we , as parents or wider society decide to take the time and effort to teach them! xxxx
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 08
MummyMo, my son is a bit different then most southern boys and he gets a lot of teasing and ribbing. He is a skateboarder, he has grown his hair out, he takes very good care of it keeping it cleaned and groomed. HIs style of clothes is more suited to the 80's just in that I mean they fit him. The pants are not huge but hug his body and his shirts and tees fit. Even his own grown brothers give him chit about his hair and style. But with all of this he has taken everything in stride and not let any one ruffle his feathers too much.... LMAO untill now that is.. And of course there is a girl in the midst of the argument. ou know when I was growing up my mother would have done the same as this mother, the car would have been gone so fast it would have made my head spin. We have gotten lax in our raising. I am afraid to often we have made the bed our children sleep in to soft. I applaud this mothers efforts.
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
18 Feb 08
Hi AngelWhispers, I do not condone violence, and I can see that you feel the same way. There has to be a better way. Kids will fight sometimes but but make sure your son understands the difference between self defence and putting someone in the hospital. I feel that he does. Blessings.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 08
No I do not condone it at all. Makes it hard when he has two older brothers slapping him on the back and saying good job!
@SViswan (12072)
• India
18 Feb 08
lol...sounds like the mom I would be if I found booze in my son's car! He's just 7 and he already gets that kind of treatment from me. My son is a good student too...but I wouldn't take him bypassing the rules just because he is a good student..lightly..and he knows that!
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 08
Good Morning SViswan, my Son feels very bad that he is in this situation. It is a learning experience, I know this. I can not protect him from these kind of altercations, I sure wish I could. What I do not like at all is that it happened inside of the school, in the lunch room. I think the place to have headed it off would have been earlier in the week while the fight was brewing. He was talking about his new (crush) and I was not listening as intently as I should have been, especially the part about another boy bothering her. I was not asking the right questions I suppose. But you know what they say about hindsight!
@breigk (1)
• United States
18 Feb 08
i would put your foot down and march into the office and tell that principal that witness the whole ordeal that your child was protecting himself which he has every right to do. once that child hit yours your child was in physical danger. i would not allow him to serve that detention.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 08
Breigk, I understand your point clearly, and I appreciate it more then you might think. But it just does not work that way in the schools anymore, and to be honest I am not at all happy that Jake took part in the lunch room like that.
@mouse27 (1155)
• Canada
19 Feb 08
well no you can't condone the fighting especially if it was over a girl. i do belive tho that you could use this as a warning to him and the next time it happens there will be bigger consequences (its about taking away privalages). you just need to let him know this. start by asking him what he would do if his kids did this and then think about the worse way you can punish him and go in the middle usually they will give themselves a worse punishment then you can at least thats how i was when i was that age
1 person likes this
@bellaofchaos (11550)
• United States
19 Feb 08
While I don't condone fighting I also don't to stand there and get the living daylight kicked out of him because he doesn't defend himself. So since your son didn't start the fight I wouldn't be to upset.. Now Kudos to the mom for selling her sons car to prove a point. LOL!!
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Feb 08
Bright Blessings - Bright Blessings with Flowers
First, Angelwhispers - A Big Plus for starting this discussion! You earn the Mom of The Year Award! (at least until someone else posts what kind of goofy trouble their child got into - LOL!) Second, Gee Whiz, Am I ever happy that my children have children of their own and I get to sit back on the bleachers and watch them sweat it out over what they do! If I ever run into a day when I can't think of anything I'm grateful for, I can always pull "my children are all adults (even if they don't always behave that way)" out of my hat. Third, There is no way in the world that I am going to step in and give you parenting advice or even my views on what the school's policy is or should be. The time we are living in now is so very much different than it was when my children were going to school. I am in strong admiration of all of you who are now putting children through school. I am in even stronger admiration of all of the children who are going through school. How in the world are all of you managing to deal with listening to the news and hearing about the horrid violence in schools, having the economy be in the shape it is and still needing to purchase clothing and supplies for your children, and all of the other increased worries that are now our current lifestyle? Lastly, my daughter and I read the article about the "meanest mom" also; and she is our S/HERO. There are entirely too many parents who don't have what it takes to take this kind of action. Who knows, this Mean Mom just may have saved her son's life or the life of someone in his path.~Donna
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
18 Feb 08
I guess the principal did not witness the boy hitting your son. I guess it goes with the present policy of a killer is allowed to kill someone but no one is allowed to execute him - sort of free murder policies. Now that is taking it to extreme, but does that mean your son should not defend himself? If he cannot get away or avoid the situation, I would say yes, but let them have an official boxing match or wrestling match supervised of course. As for that meanest mom on the planet, good for her! I would do the same.