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Did These Parents Go Too Extreme With Their Punishment?

Two New Mexico parents have made the news for using a rather unconventional method of punishment for their 16-year-old son. They’ve been making him stay outside in a tent for two weeks, and are planning on carrying out the punishment for a full month or until he writes five book reports, which apparently is supposed to teach him about being a respectable person. They allow him into the house for sleeping (once it hits 9 p.m.), eating, water and bathroom usage, but the rest of the time he has to stay in the tent in the blazing New Mexico heat.

The parents, Jacob and Angela Boggus,strongly believe that they're just trying to teach their son a lesson. According to the Boggus', along with bad grades, their son been continually stealing things from other family members and they want him to understand that he shouldn't take others things without permission. Jacob Boggus tells KRQE News, “If he doesn’t learn that now, it’s gonna be the whole world’s problem, not just ours, in a couple of years. Or we let him run all over and then he’s in your backyard taking stuff.”

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The Boggus' contacted the New Mexico Children Youth and Family Services Department to make sure they weren’t breaking any laws, and they aren’t. Yet concerned neighbors still reported the family to local law enforcement—who also found nothing illegal about the situation.

And I agree.

To me, it sounds like good old-fashioned discipline in a culture that is far too permissive with our children. While I personally wouldn’t enjoy this punishment due to my hatred of camping and bugs I don’t see anything particularly harsh about it. It’s like being sent to your room but without all the fun stuff that he probably has in his bedroom.

As a child, my father would send us out into the yard to do work as our punishment. He felt my mother was too soft on us and didn’t see how being sent to our rooms was any kind of punishment—so there were leaves to be raked, woodpiles to be moved from one end of the yard to the other, and general assistance with his tree-cutting business. It didn't instill a love of the outdoors in me, but it did make me think twice about disobeying. I realize as a culture we have moved to a more child-centric parenting model which seems to be rather light on discipline. My son is only 11 months old, but this story made me think twice about how I will be disciplining him in the future.

I seriously doubt we would ever do something like this but what do you do when grounding, taking away cell phones, etc. doesn’t work?

My husband and I don't believe in hitting children but I am a proponent of punishments that fit the crime. The son isn't respecting the rules of the house, so he doesn’t get the privileges of being in a comfortable environment. I seriously doubt we would ever do something like this but what do you do when grounding, taking away cell phones, etc. doesn’t work? My 16-year-old babysitter told me her parents take away her phone as a punishment, which she doesn’t like, but she says she doesn’t really care. She sees it as more of of an annoyance than a deterrent.

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The Boggus' may be taking a lot of heat for this controversial punishment, but I get it. They want him to be a productive law- abiding citizen. Who knows if their method will work, but their son seems to be doing fine. He’s struggling with writing his book reports but as he told the Today show, “If I ever want them to be proud of me, I've got to get through this and prove it out in the real world.”

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