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Papa Don’t Preach or Tell Me to Get Off the Internet

April 15, 2009

Heard a very interesting “No Way!” news report this morning as I took the kids in to school that made me say…er…”No Way!”

There’s this kid in Canada whose parents are divorced. I’m a little unclear on exactly what the custody arrangements are; one report says she lives with the father…one says custody was shared…but at any rate, she was with the father, and he had objections to the amount of time she was spending online and requested that she get off, pronto. He returned shortly thereafter to find that she was still online, and repeated his injunction. When he returned a third time, and found her again disobedient, he strengthened the force of his warning. “If you don’t get off of the chat room (or whatever it was) you’re not going to that field trip!”

“That field trip” was a trip that both mom and dad had previously given permission for the sixth grade girl to attend–a ski trip in Quebec, as it happens. Now, I don’t know about you, but as a child it wouldn’t have gotten to the second warning with me. Obedience was a given. Further, if I had a field trip in the balance, there would have been no contest. However, when this father returned again, his loving child was still online.

True to his word, Dad denied Daughter the field trip. Daughter, however, found a public defender and unbelievably sued her father because she considered the punishment to be far too severe for the circumstances.

What? Really? I mean….really? This isn’t, like, a joke or something? I actually snopes.commed this one, just to verify. It’s for real, people. This is what we have come to. If I was that Dad, being served those papers, I’d be looking around for Ashton Kutcher, because I’d swear I was being Punk’d. I’m just picturing Autumn year after next, getting her tail up on her shoulders because I’ve put my foot down and said she can’t go to this competition or that, and she decides to sue Mom (because now, folks, legal precedent has been set).  Maybe I’m crazy, but I really just kind of see all of our great lawyers here in the south snickering quietly behind templed fingers and then sending my little girl home, duly chastened.

Details of the whole deal are sketchy to me. Did she go to Mom’s? Did Mom allow her to go on the field trip, and thus raise Dad’s ire in doing so? What’s happening with her now, other than that she is no longer living with Dad? (I reckon not…I’m sure that relationship is going to take quite a bit to mend–and all for a field trip that this child might remember when she’s thirty.)

Not only did the sixth-grade wonder sue her father, but she won her court case. Twice. Dad appealed, and lost. “Flabbergasted,” his lawyer says of his reaction, adding that they may press on to the Canadian Supreme Court. Dad, however, says he has already lost, as a parent cannot truly parent a child who knows she is boss in the relationship.

Sad, but true.

Perhaps all of us parents should just give up now, and allow the government, television, public school system, and internet to parent our children. Oh, and Nintendo. I think a lot of parents are already there, regrettably. If you take a look at the following link, you’ll see that in the public opinion poll the number of votes for “the whole thing is just ridiculous” ranks nearly as high as “the father was right–she deserved to be grounded!” This tells me a great deal about the stands people are willing to take and not take for the things that are important. The whole thing is not absurd or ridiculous. The whole thing is shockingly emblematic of the direction our global community is headed in–a direction where discipline matters not, and parental rights matter even less. What is ridiculous is that a child was given the authority to take her parent to court over such a thing as parental discipline.

There is one certainty in this entire situation, and that is that invariably you will end up stumbling into the hole you dig for another (Proverbs 26:27). In other words, this kid’s actions will bite her in the butt one day. Probably in the form of a kid just like her.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2009 8:58 am

    I found your site on Condron. I couldn’t agree with you more…if the child knew she was in charge, the parent didn’t stand a chance.

    It is sad when society reaches a place when adults are no longer allowed to be the adults, you know?

  2. hintonrae permalink*
    April 16, 2009 9:18 pm

    Thanks for hopping over to my site and taking the time to comment ;). Things have been headed in this direction for a while…let’s just hope that wake-calls such as this serve to remind our legal system of our importance as parents and caregivers, and the significant role as such that we play in providing discipline in order to teach responsibility and ethics.

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