Going Too Far in Discipline

A New Zealand radio station has highlighted a case of an angry mother who is selling her daughter’s tickets on eBay, for lying about where she was going to be. The selling the tickets, well, that’s fair enough. What she says is not.

The golden paragraphs come near the end of the auction description. First, she calls her daughter and all their friends ‘trollops’, and then she takes a jab at the ones who were raised by solo mums, suggesting that sneaking around to see boys must naturally result in unwanted pregnancy.

The article doesn’t say how old the girl is, but the attitude shown is sick no matter how old she is. Promoting shameful feelings around sexuality, making it taboo unless you want to be humiliated, is just plain wrong. It messes up kids and perpetuates the idea of the virgin/whore dichotomy, that either you’re pure and worthy, or you’ve had sex and you’re dirty. These attitudes are unhealthy, and we should not be teaching them to our children.

Being nasty to the children of single mothers is just cruel. Solo mums do the best they can, and they are the victims of a whole lot of prejudice. This mother adds to the load of insults that have rained down on the single mothers, and she thinks she has a right to. Single mothers are not a warning to others. They often have children as wanted and loved as those in two-parent families. Their choices are their own, and using them a shaming tool is inappropriate and nasty.

The beginning of the letter is full of insults, calling the daughter “lippy” and all her friends “bitchy”. This insulting diatribe is the perfect way to alienate a teenage girl. Once this round of insults is done, the girl is told “your PARENTS are the ones that deserve love and respect more than anyone.” How is this supposed to inspire love and respect? Those don’t magically come out of nowhere, and you can’t demand them. There are people that think that respect for parents should just be automatic, but I think that’s wrong. There are too many parents out there that deserve no respect. Those that do deserve respect work for it, by being good parents.

I know that this auction was put up b a very angry mother. I understand why the tickets are being sold, and that’s not an unreasonable punishment. But the insults, the slut-shaming, the demands, none of those are reasonable. They do not add to the punishment in any way, but they will produce a very angry young woman. I’m not saying I know what to do in the situation, but I know that this is a good example of what not to do.

Finally, the comments section of the article is full of people saying that this is good parenting, that the mum is awesome. I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. You’re approving borderline abusive behaviour. It’s good entertainment, but it’s not good parenting.

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