Category Archives: Punishment

Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?

I have to admit I was highly amused at this letter from a teacher who has a creative use for me in detention.  School may be out, but maybe this will be an inspiration for other teachers when they return in the fall!

Hello Doc!  I am a middle school teacher in [the Southwest], and I stream your show and often listen before school, during lunch breaks and after school (it truly calms me down).  When I would give a kid after-school detention, I would always still have your show on, playing it just loud enough for them to hear, hoping they would learn something extra (but always fast-forwarding to the next call if it was a sexual or adult-type of question).

There were always repeat visitors to detention, and they would always moan and groan about having to listen to the show at the beginning, but as these kids started listening and enjoying the show, it was amazing how they would police each other into being quiet so that they could hear or not be distracted from listening to it!  Until one day….

A girl was being, let’s just say…an eighth-grader, and I warned her about her punishment of detention.  Her reply was “Good!  I wanted to know if that lady did what Dr. Laura told her to do and if it worked.”  I guess previously you had given a caller an assignment and they were supposed to call back.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  The student still got detention, but everybody that day was punished because I didn’t turn on your broadcast!  Thanks for the show!


Turning a Boy Into a Responsible Man

The other day I took a call on my radio program from a mother who was upset at her husband.  The husband had told their 9 year old son that he was not allowed to watch TV for a 24 hour period as a consequence of his unacceptable behavior – in this case, leaving the TV on even though he was finished watching it and had left the room.

The husband had come home from work the previous day and almost immediately checked to see what channel the TV was set to – turns out it was tuned into a kid’s network, so he knew right away that his son had disobeyed him and watched TV when his viewing was supposed to be restricted.  The father sat down with the boy and they talked about honesty, integrity, and respect for parents.

The mother was incensed that the father had “checked up” on the boy.  I immediately responded by saying, “Well, that’s being a good parent!”  I explained that the father’s job is to take his boy and turn him into a man, and a responsible one at that.  To do so, he had to use whatever was at his disposal to keep up with what the boy was doing, so that he could continue to teach and lead his son into healthy, productive adulthood.  I said that the father did the right thing.

The mother did stop and say, “I hadn’t looked at it that way.”

It seems like she spent a lot of time thinking about our exchange, and below are excerpts from an email I received from her shortly after:

…I was so nervous about my call that I didn’t get to thank you for your clarity…. Because of you, I was very aware of my “feelings,” and that they may not be a reason to respond to this situation [sic].  Recognizing this allowed me to spend all night digesting what happened without saying a word, even though my feelings were to be ‘Mother Bear’ and overreact to the situation. This led to me calling you for your perspective.

You pointed out to me that my husband was being a good parent.  You are so right.  He truly wants my son to succeed and grow to be a responsible MAN.  It brings tears to my eyes thinking how terrible this situation could have played out had I indulged my ‘feelings.’

Your wisdom has saved yet another crazy, emotional woman and spared my wonderful husband of thinking that his wife and girlfriend doesn’t give him the respect and support he deserves.

While I can’t thank you enough, rest assured that I plan to completely thank my husband tonight!