I just read a news piece about a kid who successfully sued her father because he grounded her from a school field trip for going on-line when she was told not to. I feel like an old fogey say, “when I was a kid….” but really.

Don’t misunderstand me. I have spent most of my adult like caring for kids who have been abused or neglected by the adults who should have been caring for them. My four youngest are all adopted from the child welfare system. Nobody cares more about protecting children from mistreatment than I do but this wasn’t mistreatment. It was a consequence of bad behavior.

In a crisis, having your kids know that they have to obey first and ask questions later could save their lives. If the smoke detector goes off while your daughter is on the phone or your son in the middle of a video game, they have to get out of the house without arguing.

I don’t think we are doing our kids any favors when we teach them that the answer to every demand is yes and that they are equal partners in the decision making. They aren’t. At least at my house they aren’t. Bruce and I run a benevolent dictatorship. What we say goes. As kids display good judgement and maturity, they can take more responsibility for making decisions for themselves but ultimately, we are in charge for a simple reason. Kids don’t always know what is good for them.

Maybe there is a life lesson in here. This country is in big trouble because we haven’t learned to take no for an answer. Everybody gets a car for their 16th birthday translates in later years to everybody gets a $40,000 SUV. Everybody has a television in their bedroom turns into everybody has a 5000 square foot McMansions with 4 flat screen televisions and a pool. If you want it and don’t have the money, don’t worry. That’s what credit cards are for. Delayed gratification? I don’t think so.

And maybe this is lesson for all of us. You can want and desire and ask for but sometimes the answer is no.