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Parents on strike till kids pitch in

By jkaras ·
This is going on in my area. Do you think they are bad parents or inventive?


By Errin Haines | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted December 8, 2004


DELTONA -- Roasting marshmallows over a hibachi and sitting in lawn chairs in front of a tent Tuesday night, Cat and Harlan Barnard looked more like happy campers than frustrated parents.

But the Barnards are not on vacation. They're on strike against their 12-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, with whom they have begged and pleaded to help out around the house, with no success.

"This was our last-ditch effort," Cat Barnard said.

Dishes, garbage and dirty laundry would pile up for days before Cat Harlan would have to do her children's chores, she said.

Recently, the 45-year-old stay-at-home mom said, she was running a 104-degree fever.

Her son asked for a ride to the mall.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, the Barnards decided they were fed up. A talk show featuring a similar stunt by an equally exasperated parent gave them the idea to move out of their Jena Drive home and onto the front yard.

Monday morning, they put their plan into action and have only gone inside the house to use the restroom and shower.

On the first day, their children came home from school confused.

"I thought she lost her mind," said Ben, a senior at Deltona High School.

The next morning, Harlan Barnard, 56, said he woke up feeling stiff, but liberated.

"It was like I'd done something to take back my little corner of the world," he said.

On Tuesday a neighbor called The Philips Phile, a call-in talk show on Real Radio 104.1 FM (WTKS), about the tactic. More media attention followed.

"It's extremely inconvenient," Ben said. "Every time the phone rings, we have to run outside to give it to them."

There were also visits from one of their daughter Kit's teachers, and the Volusia County Sheriff's Office stopped by three times Tuesday night to check on the children.

Whether the couple's actions could be regarded as abandonment depends on how much guidance the parents are still providing and "if the children are suffering as a result," said Carrie Hoeppner, a spokeswoman with the Department of Children & Families in Orange County, which is in a different DCF district than Volusia.

Ruth Peters, a Clearwater clinical psychologist and author who specializes in treating children and adolescents, said the tent tactic could easily backfire on the parents.

The children probably won't clean the house or do any chores as they might have with mom and dad living under the same roof, she said. In fact, it might give the youths star status with their peers because they drove their parents out.

"All this does is inconvenience the parent. It doesn't inconvenience the kids at all," Peters said. "I can't imagine the kids begging their parents to come back."

She said good parents set limits for their children and say no. The best thing to do if you are losing control of your children is seek professional help, she said.

"Seek it before pitching a tent," she said.

Both children admitted they could do more to help their mother. Still, they expect their parents to give up the stunt in a few more days.

Cat Barnard, however, said she thinks the strike may already be working. Tuesday, she said, Kit washed her own clothes for the first time.

With good weather predicted to last through the week, a freezer full of frozen dinners and the kids down to plasticware, the couple said they are ready to ride out the standoff.

"This is war," Cat Barnard said. "I love my babies, but I don't like what they're doing."

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/volusia/orl-loctent08120804dec08,1,5929370.story?coll=orl-home-promo

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Call Nanny 911

by jdmercha In reply to Parents on strike till ki ...

Fix the parents.

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Bingo

by JamesRL In reply to Call Nanny 911

I see this as childish tactics that will teach the kids the wrong message. Instead of teaching the kids that there are shared responsibilities in the house, it will teach them that the people with the strongest will will win - and that might not always be the parent.

My wife and I struggle with similar issues at home, but we are not about to stop providing the essentials of life. Surely there are better ways to motivate these kids.

James

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A US problem

by Oz_Media In reply to Parents on strike till ki ...

You are not allowed to physically discipline your kids and they know it.

When I was a kid, if I threatened to call 9/11, my dad would hand me the phone and remind me to call an ambulance for a dead kid first.

My dad never hit me, THANK GOD, but never needed to. I knew if he ever did whack me, and he could have, I would be hospitalized.

Kids in Canada, KNOW thay can be disciplined physically if needed, so there is less to put up with from them. I am not suggesting that all Canadian kids listen to their parents, parents are too soft and sensitive these days (thanks society!)to do anything about it.

If I even said "SHE" when referring to my mother, I would be punished. "It's your MOTHER, not SHE!"

Sure respect is earned, most kids aren't aware of that reality YET though. They still live in a world where violence dictates the leader of the pack. They have NO problem being violent to parents, parents need the ability to scare the cr*p out of the kids once in a while, just to show who's boss.

A comedian on TV the other night was talking about how kids these days have thier 'quiet space or personal space' generaly thier bedroom , where parents knock first and leave if told not to enter.

Now if MY dad had knocked MY (locked) bedroom door and I said "go away, this is MY space", he would have kicked the friggin' door in and held out his hand for rent. As the comedian added, "The LAWN is your space, now go and cut it!"


"This is war," Cat Barnard said. "I love my babies, but I don't like what they're doing."

No it isn't, these are CHILDREN in YOUR care. Now go and take care of it. I don't LIKE what they are doing? So STOP it! What's with people these days?!?

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Ignorance

by mrafrohead In reply to A US problem

These kids need a serious *** whoopin'.

And the son, needs to just be beaten. Severely.

And just so y'all know, in Washington State, it is legal to spank your kids. As is most places, it's just that the media has hyped it up so most people think that it's taboo.

There's nothing wrong with discipline. Beatings are bad, but discipline is okay.

But in the special sake of these kids. The son needs to be beaten up. If my wife had a 104, and my kid asked for a ride somewhere, I'da kicked his *** into next week... The parents should be embarassed for how they are raising their kids. They let this happen.

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HEY DUDE!

by Oz_Media In reply to Ignorance

How ya been? Long time no hear, I suppose you have been doing something clever and academic just to make us look lazy.

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by mrafrohead In reply to HEY DUDE!

Yeah, I took a few weeks off of work, went and took the tests to get my PhD. I got it in #420. So I'm now a bone-r-fried chr0nic doc... ;p

Just kidding. Been REALLY REALLY busy. We're replacing all of the computers at work, so it's been a handful. That and getting my boxes at home running, I had multiple hardware pieces crap out on me on the same box at the same time. Talk about trouble shooting ****... ;p

Oh, and I'm finally learning linux... again... This time for real though. I did the greatest motivator of all. I converted my wifes computer to Fedora last night. I figure that if that doesn't get me to learn it nothing will. Because when she's breathing down my neck with the, why won't this work, why won't that work... I figure I'll learn it really quick. ;p Oh, and she doesn't know I did that yet either, and she has a hard time with Windoze, so it'll be an adventure.

It's nice to see ya again. I've been reading through your posts of late trying to find something to nitpick. I'll have something whitty for ya soon ;p.

Mrafrohead

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I second that

by Don_C In reply to Ignorance

I'm from the US and my children tried that crap with me an one called CPS well they were supized when the social worker look at them an said I was in the wrong instead of spanking them I should have spanked them an grounded them for a month haven't had a problem since

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GO PARENTS GO!!!!

by bacrcr In reply to Parents on strike till ki ...

I support you 100%, I have a 11 year old, a 13 year old and a 17 year old, we face the same challenges as you. I believe we will folow suit........ Graet Job. Hang in there.

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Hmmm

by awfernald In reply to Parents on strike till ki ...

Seems to me... when the wife had a fever of 104, and the son asked for a ride to the mall, the answer should have been "No".

Unfortunately for these parents, teaching a child responsibility should start when they are an infant, not when they are a teenager.

Seems to me that these parents failed because they tried to "use a village to raise a child", and now they are going to extremes to try and get their children back into obedience/respect/love to/for them (the parents).

You don't have to spank your children, or hit them, or whatever.... however, it seems to me that it is SOOOO much more helpful when the child KNOWS that you are willing and capable of a physical punishment (not abuse), and that failure to comply and/or will result in progressively worse punishments until compliance is achieved.

This belief that "rewarding" kids for doing what they are SUPPOSED to be doing, is simply teaching them that if they want something nice, simply DON'T do what they are supposed to and then someone will come along and "persuade" them to do it.

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Lead instead of push your kids

by jdclyde In reply to Parents on strike till ki ...

If you lead by example, kids will follow in many of the cases.

If they do the things around the house and at school that is expected, they get praise and rewards of good behaviour. Positive reinforcement.

If they don't do well in school or help out around the house, then you discuse with them why they feel they shouldn't have to do X, Y, and X. If this doesn't work, start taking away privilages.
No more TV, Computer except for doing homework, No Xbox/PS2/GameCube, no DVD's, no going to the mall.

I see too many people that say if the kids get an A on the report card they get something special. That is months down the road and much too far away to be meaningful to a kid. Has to be on a day by day and week by week basis. Did you get your homework done today? Are the dishes done? Has the dog been feed. If not, don't ask for anything and don't ask to go anywhere. How did you do on your test? Did bad? Let me help you study for the next one. Did good? Lets hit Barns & Nobles or let me whoop you at Halo.

You get from kids what you expect from them and you get out of them what you put into them.

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