As a kid, you think being on punishment is suffering beyond comprehension. Then you grow up and realize that: A. You were right, or B. It wasn’t so bad and you turned out just fine. As a parent, it becomes “To punish or not to punish?” as the question. Alice Velasquez answered that with a yes after she grew frustrated with her teen daughters for not cleaning their room. Wonder if they learned their lesson?
Alice decided to break the pattern of repeatedly reminding them to pick up after themselves, but then doing it herself. Did she yell at them? Did she take away their privileges? Fed up with the messy pileups and being Mommy the Maid, she took trash bags and bagged up everything, and we mean EVERYTHING from the girls’ room. All that was left was a spotless floor. What next? The bags weren’t tossed into garbage cans or given to charity, but hit with a price tag of $25 each. Alice told her girls that if they wanted their stuff back, they’d have to pay that amount with only their earnings from doing chores. No savings, no outside funds at all. She also informed them they would be receiving their possessions back as mystery bags because all their stuff was mixed up together – clean, dirty, trash, sports equipment – in random collections.
After sharing the rundown on Facebook with friends and family, her story ended up going viral. Some people sounded off that what she was doing was abusive, while others supported her idea. One person even threatened to contact child protective services. Inundated with Facebook commenters from around the world, Alice took it in stride. What surprised her in all of this, was the response from her younger sons who typically would’ve been tickled with the situation but were instead concerned. One wanted to do chores on behalf of his big sisters!
The court of public opinion reconvened on the TV show, The Doctors, where Alice shared her story and the Facebook aftermath. She found support from not only the audience, but from the docs themselves. They highlighted the importance of disciplining your children while teaching them to be responsible. They also emphasized that children should be reminded they are part of a team in a family, and that it’s necessary to do things for the good of the whole unit.
Parenting has never been an easy job, and its challenges have changed tremendously through the generations. In this age of the web and social media, we find advice, opinions, support, or detractors coming from all directions when it comes to parenting decisions. Each stage of a child’s life brings different discipline issues, and are great opportunities to teach. Finding an age appropriate way to communicate the message of right and wrong can be tricky and sometimes you need to get creative. Most parents want their children to grow up to be considerate, responsible members of society. But how do we get them there? Check out Alice’s full story in the video below and tell us what you think! Are you a parent who uses punishments? Do you think Alice’s way was helpful or harmful?