Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2008 December 25

Parenting Works, Not Friendship

John K. Rosemond

Every so often, and usually just as I am about to resign myself to the folly of postmodern parenting, I run across a story involving parents who have not submitted to the madness, and I am rescued from my funk.

Such a story was recently passed along to me by Amy Glock of or somewhere close to Omaha, Nebraska. As reported in the Scottsbluff (NE) Star-Herald on November 13 of this year, two brothers, ages 12 and 15, were standing in the cold outside a Dollar General Store in Gering, NE, wearing loud orange placards that read “My name is (withheld to protect the guilty). I was caught shoplifting at Dollar General. I will never shoplift again. Stealing and lying is WRONG.” A photo of the boys accompanied the story. Needless to say, they did not look like happy campers.

Their punishment was not handed out by a judge, mind you, but rather by their parents. In fact, on the day of their public humiliation and loss of self-esteem, the older brother had yet to appear in court on a shoplifting charge. In addition, the boys had to write a letter of apology to the store and will spend a month deprived of their coveted electronics.

“I don’t know what the judge is going to do,” said the older boy, probably thinking that nothing could be worse than what his parents had already done. The younger brother had been the lookout in the Great Gering Hatchet Heist, but he admitted that he deserved being punished as well because, he said, “I was with him, and I didn’t try to stop him.”

The father is in the refrigeration business and happens to do business with Dollar General, but it doesn’t sound like that had anything to do with his and his wife’s decision to put the boys in the modern equivalent of the stocks.

“I won’t tolerate a thief, and hopefully this will teach them that they need to make the right choices,” the father said. “When you steal, it takes money away from everybody.”

Now, there’s a stand-up guy. Quite obviously, he is not interested in being his sons’ friend. That alone distinguishes him among today’s dads, many of whom have developed a biochemical imbalance that causes them to confuse “father” and “friend,” presumably because they both begin with the same letter of the alphabet. I’ll bet this guy doesn’t read parenting books either. He probably has never set eyes on my newspaper column and would prefer to continue in that blissful state of uncommon sense. In the eyes of many, if not most, of his contemporaries, he is a throwback, an insensitive Neanderthal who is incapable of understanding that his boys engaged in shoplifting in order to try and compensate for the love they aren’t receiving in the home. I mean, does taking a hatchet reek with Freudian symbolism or what? And believe me when I say that somewhere over the rainbow there are mental health professionals who would suggest things of that very absurd sort.

The best ending to the story was provided by the 15-year-old who said, “We will not do this again. We got in big trouble.”

I take him at his word. Little does he know, however, that his parents’ willingness to heap unhappiness on him in November, 2008, has greatly increased his chances of having a productive, responsible (which is to say, happy) adulthood.



  1. See now that is why society has all the disrespect that it has. No one takes responsibility. Parents do not and that I can repeat with 1000% certainty do NOT know how to be parents. One witnesses parents letting their children control and rules their lives. The children are the ones that tell the parents what to do and decide where to go, eat, what type of relationship to have, etc. One has to just walk outside or even in one’s home to witness these perpetrations right away.

    As a parent it is your/our responsibility to raise this young person until at least the age of 18 (being a parent never ends). It is not a popularity pageant, it is parenthood. Society has become the purgatory that it is due to this lack of responsibility and due to the fact that when a parent does try to be a responsible parent, they are labeled and considered a despot.

    So kudos to the parents in the article and for its publication!
    And may more parents and the rest of society follow suit!

  2. More to add on, it is incredible that so many parents are such blind hypocrites! I am considered a “bad guy” because I follow rules and am a parent who takes responsibility. I watch practically every day how parents criticize other parents but themselves are total disasters. They let their children tell them what to do, where to go and when and how to act in their relationships. These parents then have the gall to criticize other parents and say that they are the good ones. Then they say I don’t care what others think, I do what my kids want, that is the best way to be a parent.

    Too bad that they don’t see that their pathetic ways is feeding the mentally decrepit nature of their children and do not see how others try to point this out to them. They are totally blinded by their own infantile ways and total lack of responsibility.


%d bloggers like this: