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The GEM Debate: Harsh Punishment? Mom Sells Her Sons’ Toys On Ebay

Mom Sells Her Sons’ Toys On Ebay

She’s either an evil genius or just plain evil!

Yesterday I came across the story of a frustrated mother whose kids damaged her porcelain bathtub and surrounding tiles while playing with their toys. In total the kids caused $500 worth of damage so in an effort to teach them a lesson about consequences, the mom gathered her sons’ toys and put them up on eBay, complete with a picture of the distraught boys. Wow.

Okay, I’m all about teaching lessons as are many of you out there but there is something about this that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. Is it the public punishment aspect? Maybe the fact that this mom thought it was okay to photograph her kids in such a state.  Sorry, that part is just gross to me.

I understand her frustration; hey I’ve been there myself. But taking a picture of my kids crying as they hold their most prized possessions just seems cruel. Punish your kids, absolutely but this seems over the top.

But what do you think? It’s GEM Debate time…

Did this mom go too far or was it an appropriate punishment for damaging the bathtub?

Weigh in everyone!!


  1. Rich

    February 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Awful woman… that photo is chilling

  2. Rene Syler

    February 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    @ Rich: I have to agree. I wonder what was said to the boys beforehand (prior incidents?) and why on earth would you take a photo of your kids anguish and put it on eBay? She’d better sell all of stuff to pay for the therapy these kids will need.

  3. Jacki Marie

    February 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    just had a conversation with my daughter about this today… Reinforcement is more effective than punishment. I understand the frustrations of being a parent. I understand teaching kids that their actions have consequences. BUT humiliation shouldn’t be one of those consequences. She just undermined herself for the next 15 years. What teen is going to come to her with their problems? She became the opposition with this action. I don’t think a parent should set herself up as a the enemy or as a “friend” but rather a guide, protector, agent, confident… you get the picture. This is cruel.

  4. Nikki Newman

    February 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    HIDEOUS. My gut reaction when I saw your link for this before I read it was one of horror. No. NO!

  5. Rene Syler

    February 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    @ Nikki: AGREED.. sickening

  6. Rene Syler

    February 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    @Jacki: this is so true. Humiliation has no place in relationships, especially parent-child. I just think of the damage she did to their self-esteem and I shudder.

  7. C

    February 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    actions have consequences-the toys should have been sold-YES! but the pics of the kids-that is abusive! Does that mom’s/dad’s boss put their crying pic online when they screw up at work?

  8. lena cole dennis

    February 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I never publicly punished my kids in public. Well maybe five times. When I confronted my teenage son in his english class for mouthing off at the teacher. When his friends stole a tape player from the school and brought it to our house. I found it under the bed. Took him and the player to the principals office and caused a scene. “I knew you would be angry,” said he. Well….test tube baby! When I see little kids screaming and crying out in public I take my camera out of my purse and say, “do you want me to take your picture?” They shake their heads NOOOO! I took my kids to theraphy when they grew to 5’6 and 6′ and they were only 13 and 14. The words and attitudes coming out of those tall people were folks I did not know anymore. Found out they thought I was a good mother. Just did not have any follow through. Therapist said what do you mean? “When we are on punishment she never remembers what we did.” Those two kids will be find. It’s the mother who will need theraphy later!

  9. M.E. Johnson

    February 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Agree with all – BAD MOM! Where was she when all this ‘damage’ was taking place, since she values her expensive trappings so much? The boys won’t soon forrget this. Makes me think of a Stephen King book. Don’t down me for saying that. I just read the other day that a 15 y.o. boy beat his mom with a hammer and when that didn’t kill her he tried to stuff her in the oven, ended up stabbing her to death. Why? Because she took away his x-box.

  10. Randy

    February 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Reposting my comment from FB:

    Hmmmm….parents must’ve read about the stupid bill in Hawaii (that died thankfully), that proposed the banning of sales of TOY guns (yes, toy…as even super soakers) to minors! Really people?!?! Ugh

  11. Deanna

    February 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Well I was looking for scripture for “spurn” of a child. I read I think Proverbs 3:11; the punishment should fit the crime. A child must learn that they can’t damage property and not suffer any consequence.
    I once became angry with my daughter when she had her markers crayons, paints, (art supplies) all over the place! I purchased bins for her to keep them in no avail! I randomly do room checks and (still to this day); that was a bad day! She had markers, paints, Lord Have Mercy! I threw most of them away!!!! I did not take a photo, but a year or even later….I purchased new equipment. (Didn’t realize that she would become a great artist!). Now I pray before taking action….it wasn’t profitable for mesince I had to purchase new equipment, but NOW SHE KEEPS her art equipment in a central location and I don’t see all the markers, paints, brushes, glue, scissors, construction paper, sketch pencils, charcoal ANY MORE scattered all over!
    Hopefully the children will forgive her and realize they were wrong. They did provoke their mother to anger…something that none of us should do!!!! I am pretty sure that this was not the first time they have committed this offense. I would NOT have taken a photo, but my daughter would have known the fear of the LORD!
    Also one should remember that what we do KNOW in this earth age is seed….when they have their children….OH my Lord…payback is something!!!!!

  12. Rene Syler

    February 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    @Randy, yes, thanks!!

  13. Rene Syler

    February 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    @Deanna: and I think you hit on the crux of the issue. We’re not saying the boys should not have been punished; heck we believers in that around here. But PUBLIC HUMILIATION is where I draw the line. Thanks!

  14. Pamela Rice

    February 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    It is totally unacceptable for this mother to punish the kids in this manner. To restrict their toy time is one thing. To take a picture of them completely humilated after thier toys have been sold is demeaning. I am disappointed.

  15. Rene Syler

    February 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    @Pamela: agreed.. this was dark and uncalled for

  16. Will Jones

    February 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Yeah, she missed with this one. I’d like to know how the kids managed to do $500 worth of damage to a porcelain bathtub and tiles with a bunch of plastic toys. I guess anything is possible.
    I am a strong believer in reprimanding children when and where they misbehave, be it at home, at the mall, at church, etc. I don’t do it to embarrass or humiliate them; I do it so that they understand that the rules apply ALL OF THE TIME, regardless of where we are or who we are infront of.
    But the punishment should fit the crime. Make these kids do $500 worth of “hard labor” digging in a new garden or raking leaves and taking care of the yard. It teaches them the value other’s possessions, it teaches the vaule of money, it burns off energy and it will make them feel important and helpful, instead of taking pictures of them angry… and helpless.

  17. Heather

    February 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I agree…posting their picture and humiliating them was over the line. But, selling their toys to help pay for the damage they did is in line…they need to understand the cost of their actions and the cost of property. They will get more toys and she will probably buy a lot of them but the lesson would be worth it…if she hadn’t taken it too far by humiliating them with a picture and telling the whole story publicly.

    When I was a kid, I was a little sassy. My mom would reprimand me, correct me to little avail…go to your room = I like it there, no dinner = I’m not hungry, no tv = there isn’t anything good on anyway. So she said, ‘one more instance of disrespect and I will not throw you a birthday party’. I didn’t believe her and stuck with my ways. Along came my birthday and I didn’t get a party. I stopped the acting up pretty quickly. Some other mother’s thought she had been too harsh, but in the end, she knew what it would take to jolt me out of the bad behavior. I survived with a much more subdued smart mouth.

  18. Irene

    February 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    what a meanie…

  19. Auntie Lisa

    February 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    The photo part of it is just wrong. I imagine in some cases when a certain toy is fueling willful bad behavior somehow, it might be appropriate to give that toy to the Salvation Army or something. But not the photo. No. Humiliating them is not going to accomplish anything positive.

  20. Kolleen

    February 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Did you guys see this one?

    I think both of these moms went too far.

    Shame and humiliation just make the kids feel bad about themselves. The kids should instead feel bad about what they did wrong.

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  22. Carol

    February 24, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Being al little humble now and then is good for the soul. I bet you in years to come these boys will laugh and say something like “man she was tough”..but we were brats too!!!! LOL

  23. Rene Syler

    February 24, 2011 at 10:29 am

    @Carol While I respect your opinion I wholeheartedly disagree. Punish yes, Humiliate, NEVER!

  24. Pam R

    February 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

    All I could say was wow! I read the comments made and people have made some very good points. I wouldn’t have gone this far though seriously. If anything take the toys and make them earn them back but don’t sell them and PLEASE don’t put your kids out in cyber space for the whole world to see. Wow!

  25. b.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Posting the photo on-line for all eternity (these things last a long time) is where the line was crossed.

    Although this doesn’t exactly fall under the same level of consequences, I was reminded of Judge Miller in Florida. He makes shoplifters hold up signs in front of the stores where they shoplifted. Here’s a link about him

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  27. Ella Rucker

    December 17, 2011 at 8:00 am

    The pic/public humilation, NO. Selling the toys on ebay, YES. I’ve given away toys to show consequences and now I’m a little mad I didn’t think to sell them, but having the offenders online crying is way over the line.

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