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How 5 diabolical parents called their kids' bluff in hilarious ways

The next generation is in great, if diabolical, hands.

How 5 diabolical parents called their kids' bluff in hilarious ways

Recently, blogger Jen Hatmaker had a funny conversation with a friend about parenting:

"My girlfriend told me the greatest story. Apparently her 11-year-old also wanted to be a grown up this week and, in fact, not only did he treat his siblings like despised underlings, but when asked what he wanted, he said: 'I want the authority to be in charge of them and tell them what to do, because they deserve it!'

Well. My girlfriend and her husband are NOT AT ALL MESSING AROUND with parenting. Calmly, evenly, they granted his request to be a grown-up for a week by pulling him out of camp (the underlings still got to go, because they are 'such children') and sending him to work ALL DAY EVERY DAY with his dad. He has to get up early and shower and make breakfast for everyone. He has to kiss the underlings before he goes to work and tell them to have a great day and that he loves them. He has to work on a typing project during his office hours. He only gets to eat what his dad eats, because eating like a grown-up is not nearly as fun as eating like a kid.

Want to be an adult? Fine."

Photo via iStock.


Hatmaker's post went viral, with thousands of parents chiming in with their own stories of tough love, both giving and receiving.

The responses were hilarious, poignant, and a sign that the next generation is being parented by extremely capable, if not a little bit diabolical, hands.

Here are five of my favorite stories from the comments about parenting-gone-absolutely-right:

1. Jill Duff's mom used an embarrassing outfit to teach her sister an important lesson:

"My sister was snotty to my Mom. She called her and pretty much demanded, 'Bring my band uniform to the high school!' She's the one who forgot her uniform in the first place. Then she told my Mom 'Do not come in the school, that would be so EMBARRASSING. Just wait for me by my car.'

So my Mom did just that. She stood by my sister's car, in the Texas heat, WEARING my sister's band uniform. All the kids walking out for the day saw it.

Parenting GOLD."

And Mom was like... GIF via "Spongebob Squarepants."

2. Jessica Klick got her sons new shoes ... but not the ones they wanted.

Image via iStock.

"Our 11 and 12 year olds at the time were complaining and whining and being ungrateful, saying how 'hard their life was.' For boys, the big thing is wearing those cool Steph Curry shoes and our boys LOVE their Currys!

So after hearing the last complaint my husband went to Walmart to buy white maypop leather shoes (the kind you see in geriatric centers) and high white socks. He brought those bad boys home, set them on the boys' dresser, and made them wear those things everywhere we went. Those devastated boys told us we were 'ruining their lives.'

I may or may not have laughed like a little girl when I dropped them off at school and watched them do the walk of shame."

3. Marisa Rodriguez Byers says she wished her mother was dead. And boy, did she regret it.

"I was a wretched, hormonal teenager. At the age of 13 I told my mom, 'I wish you were dead!' And at that moment, she 'died,' but to me only. (I had younger sisters).

She completely ignored me, didn't speak at me, didn't look at me, wouldn't cook for me, set my place at the table, wash my clothes, take me to school, NOTHING. After 8 days, I broke down in the middle of the night, went to her room, clutched her tightly while sobbing how sorry I was and how much I loved her and that I would NEVER say those words again. I'm 41 years old now, I have NEVER uttered those words or anything remotely like them after that incident."

After tough love, you gotta hug it out.

4. Jessica Hill gave her daughter a good scare — and, in turn, a new appreciation.

"I was grocery shopping with my three year old when she decided to start screaming for ice cream. There was no reasoning with her in this hulk-type rage. I swear she had super human strength as I struggled to get her out of the cart full of groceries.

I was completely unaware of the two police officers who were witnessing this wrestling match. She was still hitting, kicking, and screaming when I was stopped by the police officers in the parking lot. They thought I had abducted her. This happened long before we had smart phones full of our children's photos. They tried questioning her but she was still too busy throwing a fit, so I handed her over. I told them she could ride with them because I really needed a break and they could follow me home to see her birth certificate, baby book, etc. They started chuckling as one officer said, 'Spoken like a true mom!' I think they were more relieved than I was when she finally cried out, 'Mommy?'

The officer handed her back to me while the other went back inside the store to ensure there wasn't a distraught mother looking for her missing toddler. That evening my daughter told her dad she almost went to jail because she threw a fit, and I let her believe it. She didn't throw a fit in public again.

"Uhh, ma'am?" Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

I didn't mean to scare her, so after this experience, I wanted to ensure my daughter had a healthy respect and appreciation for first responders. Today, I'm happy to say she is highly aware and appreciative of the police, firemen, paramedics, and military personnel who serve to protect her. "

5. Erica Goodnight taught her son an incredible lesson that he carries to this day.

Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr

"My kid was whining over not having anything to play with. So, without a word, I went to the garage and got a black 50 gallon trash bag and started putting in all the toys that he obviously didn't even realize were in our home to play with.

I loaded them AND him into the car and we drove to our local homeless shelter and gave every. single. toy. in the bag away. To a child who TRULY had nothing. And you know what? He didn't even cry. His eyes were opened to the ones who have nothing. He actually enlarged his heart that day. And, we still do it. We still take toys to kids with nothing at least once a year.

Parent win. Life lesson score."

There's a fine line between teaching your kids a tough lesson in a funny way and engaging in "humiliation parenting."

Making children wear a sign that says, "I sneak boys in at 3 a.m. and disrespect my parents and grandparents" or otherwise berating them publicly is a good way to erode trust between the two of you and seriously damage your relationship.

But calling their bluff on a ridiculous demand? Or having a little fun with how you choose to correct their bad attitude? That's just plain survival.

And that's what parenting is really all about.

You can read the whole hilarious exchange over on Facebook.

In the meantime, what's your favorite tough-love story?

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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