How Parents Can Teach Their Kids Not To Be Rapists When They Grow Up

I was out of the loop on a lot of news stories at the beginning of last week, so the first I heard of the frenzy regarding convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner was a report where his father suggested that even the six month sentence, basically the minimum possible, was too harsh.

I read that story and went backwards, catching up on everything, and my opinion ended up seeming to match the majority, was that Turner got off way too lightly.  Way, WAY too lightly.

The Defense

mb-2016-06-newspapersThe father argued that his son shouldn’t be punished that harshly for an act that took 20 minutes, completely setting aside that the victim, while maybe unable to remember those 20 minutes, has to live now with what happened every single day for the rest of her life.  Yeah, even six years, which I think was the maximum sentence, is too light.

The dad making his statement is what I couldn’t got over, and it got me to wondering if better parenting could have maybe prevented the whole thing from happening.  I started comparing it against the context of my own life, and three different events struck me that ended up giving me my answer.

I present these three events.  Note, they are given in reverse chronological order.

Event 1: A Drunken Frat Party, roughly 1995

I went to a pretty small college. One of the big things to do when people wanted to go out on the weekends was go to one of the fraternity parties.  I was never in a frat but I was close to a lot of members of one of the houses, so when they had a party, I decided I’d go.  I don’t remember the specifics of who I went with or what, but at a certain point of the night, as often happens, I found that I was feeling pretty good.

No, I’ll take that back.  I was drunk.  (But feeling good)

I ended up in a room with a few people, including a girl that I had seen around and said hi to on a few occasions but that I definitely wasn’t close with.  Somehow, we started flirting and it was going well.  At a certain point, probably by some unspoken rule, the other people in the room filtered out.  It was just us left.

We started kissing and making out a little.  I was always a pretty shy and nervous guy, and this type of thing just didn’t happen all that often.  So, I remember thinking that this was going well.  In fact, it seemed to be going REALLY well.  In fact, I probably could have gone over, engaged the lock on the door, and continued on.

But I didn’t.

Because as I had these thoughts, I also had a realization that, like me, this girl was not exactly sober.  She was probably less sober than I was, and I was, well, not sober at all.  So, it occurred to me that, as much fun as I was having and as much fun as she was exhibiting that she was having, there was just too much alcohol involved.  Anything that happened after that would be a bad idea.  I knew that I’d be taking advantage of her.

I stopped.  Yes, I, a guy, stopped things.  And I didn’t just stop things and walk out, because I think a part of me knew that it might absolve me of any personal guilt for that night, it wouldn’t necessarily stop her from being taken advantage of.  So, I not only stopped, but I insisted on walking her back to her room.  I did.  I got her to her room, got her out a bottle of water, and left, making sure that I heard the lock latch behind me.

Event 2: My First High School Date, circa 1991

I went to an all boy high school, and the school would put on dances on a Friday night every couple of months.  Girls from different areas were invited, and it was usually pretty fun.  I mentioned how I was pretty shy, so for me these events were largely standing around with my equally shy friends watching the activities, occasionally venturing out in hopes that some girl would fall into my path somehow and we’d end up dancing together.

That never happened, except for the one time that it actually did.  I found myself dancing with someone, and we danced more than a few songs and exchanged numbers and agreed to go out the following weekend.

We talked and set up plans, and as we did so, I kept my parents in the loop.

As I was getting ready to go, my step-mom pulled me aside for a conversation.  At the end of it a few points had been drilled home.  I’m pretty sure I had to even repeat them word for word:

  • I was going to the door to get her (no honking the horn)
  • It was expected that I would meet her parents
  • Her mother would be given at least one compliment
  • My date’s car door was to be opened by me
  • My date would arrive home at least 15 minutes before the time she was due
  • She would be treated with respect
  • I was going to remember that I barely knew her
  • Nothing would be expected to ‘happen’

And there may have been a few other things.

And I’m also pretty sure this happened on just about every date I went on through high school.

Event 3: Sixth grade detention, circa 1985

I had three awesome teachers in a row between 3rd-5th grade, where I connected with them, got along with them, and felt that they always had my back and understood me, even when I’d be a pain in the rear.

Not so much with my sixth grade teacher.  He didn’t put up with any nonsense, and now that I look back, I think he was more getting us ready for the eventual realities of junior high more than anything, but I found myself in trouble with him more than once.  Unfortunately, one time I got myself in so much trouble that I was issued detention, so that I had to stay 15 minutes past dismissal, and I had to be picked up by a parent when it was done.

I took the detention slip home and presented it to my parents.  As I knew would be the case, they were very displeased.  But I felt a little bit of hope when one of the things my dad got upset about was that he would have to come and pick me up.  This meant him having to leave work early.

I was hopeful and I thought that, if he couldn’t come and get me that maybe he could call and get me out of the whole thing.  (After all, I’m pretty sure that whatever it was I got in trouble for wasn’t my fault, right? *lol*)

Well, I made that suggestion to him and he looked at me as if I’d just suggested that we all wear wigs and go travel around pretending to be The Grateful Dead (yeah, they were kind of big around this time, if memory serves).

In other words, it wasn’t going to happen. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my dad said something along the lines that, if anything, I would be staying LONGER than the 15 minutes I’d been written up for.

Bringing The Three Events Together

When you look at the first story of what happened in college, it’s pretty obvious that things could have gone a different way.  One of the things, as I look back on, is that I probably could have continued things and gone all the way with that girl that night.  After that, I’m not really sure.  Would she have seen it as having been taken advantage of and done something or would she have just attributed it to a drunken decision and moved on?

I’m not really sure and I’m glad that I did not put her or myself in the position to find out.

I went down a better path and it was because of two things that tie back to the other stories:

  • Respect

  • Consequences

Here’s the thing.  Even with what was probably a blood alcohol level way over what was legal, I realized that I would be doing this girl wrong.  She never said the word ‘No’, but I realized that I needed to stop anyway.  Why? Because the conversation as I headed out to my first real date was not just about that date.  It was about teaching me respect.  That’s why it wasn’t just a one time conversation. It was drilled into me, and though I dreaded the conversations each time they were going to happen, I also remember the feeling of surprise the first time I went out on a date and the conversation didn’t happen.  Looking back, I think that showed me that it worked.   The message had been received, and I only received it because my parents spent the time to teach me respect.

Now what if I had made a bad decision and had gotten in some sort of trouble for it?  What if I’d gotten her pregnant or what if she realized the next day that she wasn’t in the right state of mind to give consent?  Either one of these outcomes would have resulted in me having to tell my parents that I was in trouble.  What would they have said?  Well, I’m not going to speak for them on exactly what they would say, but I’m going to tell you exactly what they wouldn’t say.  Words I know I never would have heard would have included “We’ll get you out of this” or “We know it wasn’t your fault.”

Why do I know this?  Because I was taught that actions have consequences.   My first lesson in this was back in sixth grade.  Here I learned that my parents were not going to get me out of things.  If I got myself in trouble, it was on me to stand up and take responsibility for it.  I’ll tell you what, knowing these truths definitely guided me to different and better decisions.  This happened in the case of the drunken frat party, but also in many areas of my life.

What My Parents Got That The Stanford Rapist Parents Still Don’t

My parents love me.  Brock’s parents love him.  I’m sure of these truths.  But where my parents and Brock’s went different is that Brock’s parents try to shield him from the world.  This includes trying to shield him from his own mistakes.  My parents didn’t do that.  My parents didn’t want me to make mistakes and tried to steer me down the right path, and I’m going to give Brock’s parents the benefit of the doubt and think that may be they tried to do this too.

But the difference is how they reacted when mistakes were made.  See, all kids make mistakes.  No matter how much you teach them, kids make mistakes.  I see it every day.  But, my parents never took my mistakes on as their own burden.  My mistakes were made by me and it was up to me to live with what happened.  You can tell by the statement made by Brock’s dad that they didn’t follow that.  They likely saw him make mistakes along the way but would step in and shield him from the consequences.   My dad made sure I served my detention, no questions asked.  Do you think Brock’s dad ever tried to get him out of detention?  I kind of so.

And now his kid is going to jail.

So, parents, take this as a lesson.

Teach your children respect.  Make them say their pleases and thank yous.  Make your sons understand the importance of showing respect to their dates and their dates moms and everybody else.  Repeat it until they roll their eyes at you and then repeat it a few more times.

Teach your kids consequenses.  If your kids get in trouble by their teacher, don’t go complain to the principal.  If they come home with a black eye, don’t call the parents of the other kid and blame them for how they raised their kid.  Here’s the thing, you can support your children while letting them handle the consequenses of their own actions.  Let your kids know that mistakes are OK, but that if they make them, whatever happens next is something that they have to be prepared to deal with.  If you teach them this at a young age and reinforce it, they won’t like it, but I tell you, they’ll have a much higher likelihood to grow up and not rape people.  And, probably will do much better than that.

Epilogue – Event 1

A few days after the frat party, the girl sought me out.  She thanked me for having taken the high road and for having made sure that she got home safely.  She was glad that nothing happened that she would later have regretted.   We actually got to be friends.  I found out she has a greater gift of sarcasm than I do, which I never would have otherwise learned.  Even though we’re in different parts of the country, we still keep up via social media to this day.  I cherish this and know that it turned out for the best.

Readers, what do think about the Stanford rape story?  Parents don’t likely actually say “Don’t rape people” as a way to teach their kids not to be rapists.  Still, how do we do our part to guide them down the right path?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Kids And Money: 5 Things My Kids Teach Me About Money

Kids and money can be a fun mix.  My wife and I are doing a few things to teach our kids about money.  We have started giving our kids a small weekly allowance.  We have started talking to them about spending money and the different devices that we use (cash, credit cards, etc.).  Our kids understand that when we work, we are making money so that we can afford the things we have and the experiences.  For our kids being six and four, I’m really comfortable with what they learn.

It’s great, because there are times when I watch their approach to money and I realize that there are things that they are teaching or reminding me.

Counting Your Money Is Important.

Every week, when my son gets his allowance, he wants to make sure to count his money.  Even when he remembers exactly the amount that he had last week, and he knows the new number that the weekly allowance would give him, he still insists on counting it.  Calculating your net worth is important, and he’s getting started on doing just that!

Set Goals For Your Money.

Our kids both have goals for their money.  My son loves Lego and has a few sets that he has his eyes on, as well as the Lego Dimension video game.  He knows exactly how much each costs and what he needs to get there.  Our daughter has somewhat bigger goals, as she wants to save her money to take us back to Disney World!  Bless both of their hearts for having goals!

Enjoy Your Money. 

Looking at the examples above, both of the kids understand that it’s important to use mb-201102piggybankyour money to do things that they enjoy.  In both cases, they aren’t looking at what they want as something to have, but more at the fun they’ll get from having it.  It’s a good reminder to make sure that you’re using your money not just to have things, but to have things or experiences that you’ll truly love.

Being Debt Free Is Fabulous. 

So much of what we have today is obtained by debt.  While in many cases, debt is justified, the simple freedom of having no debt is a great burden to not have to bear.  If our kids can’t afford something, the solution is just to put the money away and keep saving.  That’s awesome.  Getting something now and paying for it later is something that we will certainly teach them and that they’ll grow into, but for now, that simplicity is a treasure.

Everybody Has A Different Money Style.

I love reading all kinds of personal finance blogs, simply because there are so many styles and approaches out there.  The same goes with our kids.  Even just from the examples above, you can see the differences in how our two kids handle money, track their money, and look at money.  Of course some of that has to do with their ages, but even so, it’s a good reminder that everybody looks at money in different ways.

Watching our kids learn just about anything is one of the great joys that I experience as a parent.  Watching them learn about money is something that is really important, because I feel that the lessons that kids learn at an early age will carry through with them through life.  Establishing good money habits now is something that can only serve them well later in life.

One thing that my wife and I both understand is that when it comes to money, as with many things, the best way to teach them is by example.  A lot of the positive principles that I learned about money were not necessarily things that my parents taught me by explaining them, but rather by doing them.  This is definitely a concept that my wife and I both understand the importance of.

Readers, what have you seen as your kids have learned about money over the years?  What are some important lessons that you’ve established?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

6 Low Cost Ways We Have Family Holiday Fun

Holidays can be a stressful time.  They’re certainly busy and full of many activities.  So,it’s good to have some ideas for family holiday fun. After all, family is really the most important part of the holidays.

For our family, there are a few different things we’ve established that we really enjoy or plan on adopting as traditions:

Decorating

Now that the kids are old enough, we make them part of the decorating process.  We put up multiple trees, and they help with the decorations as much as they can, and they also look forward to certain elements that they know are coming, like mini trees in their room or the little Snoopy piano that they can press to make music from the TV special play.

Advent Calendar

Each year, my mother-in-law gets each of our kids an Advent calendar.  They look forward to getting their piece of candy each day, and it’s fun to see them progress with finding numbers on their own corresponding to the day of the month.

Stories

We have a collection of books that we look forward to reading.  As the kids get older, we add new mb-201011villagebooks here and there, but there are already some favorites that we look forward to reading, and our reading of course culminates with me reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to close out the season on Christmas Eve.

Elf on the Shelf

I know people have mixed feelings on these, but we have definitely enjoyed our Elf, whose name is Figgy, and the kids love waking up and going together to look for him each day.

Movies and shows

We have a variety of Christmas and holiday TV shows and movies that the kids look forward to watching, such as Rudolph, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Frosty, while the adults always look forward to some of the classics like Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and of course Elf.

Making cookies

For years, my wife has organized a Saturday as ‘Cookie Day’.  This brings together some of the ladies, moms, aunts, sisters, friends, to get together and bake cookies.  This year, they’re going to shift that get together to a non-cookie making event.  Even so, we’re going to bring the kids into it and do cookies with our family.  They love making them and we all love eating them!

These are great because they are pretty low or no cost activities.  Plus, they’re great ways for us to do things together as a family.  We hope that these things will leave long lasting memories for all of us.  After all, great memories are one of the best things that can come out of the holidays.

Readers, what are some of your holiday traditions or activities that don’t cost a lot but bring your family together for lots of fun?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

When Taking Twice As Long To Do Something Is Just Fine

We are in a neighborhood with a lot of mature trees.  As such, we have a lot of leaves come fall.  Raking and jumping in leaves is definitely on our agenda.  I try to mow the leaves to mulch them back into the yard, but there’s always a couple of weeks where they fall too fast and furious.  In these cases, the amount of leaves is just too much.

Leaf Cleanup

Usually, there’s two weekends per year that we have to clean up the leaves.  Other neighbors let everything fall and then deal with one massive cleanup, where other neighbors are out every couple of days.  Two clean ups is the number we’ve settled on and that works just great for us.

We did our clean ups on two successive weekends.  The times that it took to clean up and how many yard bags we mb-2015-11-rakefilled were as follows:

Weekend 1: 1.5 hours / 12 bags
Weekend 2: 3.0 hours / 7 bags

You could look at it and say it was a great cleanup.  And it was!  We spent half the time, and ended up getting nearly twice as much bagged.  From an efficiency perspective, it was probably the best it’s ever worked out.

But, ask me which clean up I’d prefer if given the chance to pick, and I’m going to pick Weekend 2 every time.

Why?

Because that’s the weekend that our kids went jumping in leaves!

And, did they ever have fun!

The first weekend, the kids were at their grandparents, so the clean up was quick, and I was able to bag it as I got the leaves into piles.

The second weekend, though, the kids were around, and they love playing in the leaves.  So, I got the leaves into piles, and cleaned up everything around them.

They had a blast in the leaf piles.  They jumped in them, they had leaf wars, my son jumped from the swing set into a pile of leaves.

Watching them made the extra time worth it and then some!  I’ll add that extra hour and a half to every leaf clean up for as long as I can, that’s a promise!

Readers, when was the last time you jumped in a big old pile of leaves, or got to hear the joyous sounds of someone doing just that?  

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.