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Katy Perry Tickets & Good Parenting: Lessons to be Learned

North Dakota mother, Cindy Bjerke garnered oodles of online attention when she posted her daughter’s Katy Perry tickets for sale online as a consequence and called her 18-year-old daughter “a spoiled brat.”  While some commended her courage and consistency to follow through with a significant consequence others condemned her for publicly shaming her daughter and name calling. Parents are often stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to managing behavior. Parent’s chief objective is to teach their children appropriate and healthy behavior to survive in a world on their own so what can parents learn from Cindy’s decision to post her daughter’s tickets.

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Consistency and follow through are paramount.

  • What Cindy did right:
    • Only chose consequences you can and will control. Many parents may say they are going to take a way a privilege like basketball practice, for example, but then are unwilling to take it away when the time comes.
  • What not to do:
    • Make threats. If you give a clear expectations like “Be home by 12:00pm or you will lose the privilege of going to Katy Perry.” Then you must follow through. This is hard, what if you had not had the fortune of Cindy being able to sell the tickets in 5 minutes. Are you prepared to throw them away? If you are not willing to support the consequence then do not offer it.  Also, you should avoid taking something a way that was earned for positive behavior. If her daughter earned the tickets for getting straight As, they should not be taken away for back talking. Parents should have separate pools for earned privileges and those taken away. Otherwise you may sabotage your child’s desire to work toward something in the future.
  • Try instead
    • Small consequences for small behaviors. Instead of taking a way big privileges for big misbehaviors start catching behaviors when they are small. If your teen has the bad habit of talking back try taking the phone away for 15 minutes each time or turning WIFI off each time your child back talks. They may say “I don’t care” but as you keep up with the routine consistently they will learn to be more mindful of what comes out of their mouth.

The Golden Rule applies to parents too.

  • What Cindy did right:
    • Ehhh here its hard to give credit. We have to ask if Cindy would have wanted to be treated this way if an employer was giving her disciplinary action.
  • What not to do:
    • Name Calling. Public shame does not necessarily change behavior. Instead it creates a culture of nastiness and has the power to escalate arguments through cross complaining and criticism. It invites more arguments between parents and children. 
  • Try instead:
    • Be clear, specific, direct and polite. Tell your child what you expect from them in a polite but firm way. Make no mistakes about what you want and make sure you have understanding from them. Then walk a way. Don’t leave opportunity for an argument as that makes noncompliance likely to increase. Handle it like you would want your boss to handle an issue with you. As the leader of the family you are the boss. It is OK to make a complaint about a behavior but in families we should avoid making character attacks about a person.