Crime and punishment

Maria Nann

Illustration by Chris Sharron

Credit: DKS Editors

Illinois mom Jane Hambleton, self-proclaimed “meanest mom on the planet,” contributed to a parental trend of fanatical punishments when she put an ad in the classified section of a local newspaper.

What was the merchandise? Hambleton was selling her son’s car after finding the doors unlocked and alcohol under the front seat – two rules he had promised not to break.

But some Kent State students say Hambleton isn’t the only parent to think up unusual punishments for misbehavior.

As a child, freshman marketing major Bethany Schlotterer fought her parents’ punishments with punishments of her own.

“When I was little, I was playing outside with the neighbor kids, and I thought it would be a good idea to go to the bathroom outside while I was hiding in the bushes,” she said. “My mom caught me and made me stay in my room for the rest of the night. I was so mad, I pushed all the furniture in my room against my door so no one could get in.”

Her parents found other ways, however, to make sure Schlotterer wasn’t misbehaving.

“When I got spanked, it was with a wooden spoon,” she said. “It wasn’t fun. My brother started hiding the spoons every time he did something wrong.”

David Zach, freshman math major, said his parents were fair for the most part.

“There were time-outs and everything, and I got spanked occasionally when I was really bad,” he said. “But back then, that wasn’t a big deal. When I got too old for a time-out, I had to go to my room.”

Traveling in the car with children seems to be a breeding ground for punishment.

“When we were little and in the car going somewhere, my brothers and I would get in trouble for fighting,” freshman communication major Miranda Reed said. “My parents always threatened us by saying, ‘We’re going to turn this car around!'”

Although freshman psychology major Tricia Chamberlain couldn’t relate to Hambleton’s son by dealing with parental punishments, she has heard stories of what happened to her mother as a child.

“My mom said her mom made them kneel on rice on the kitchen floor when they did something wrong,” Chamberlain said. “I guess it hurts a lot.”

Sometimes, a lack of punishment can prove to be effective, as well.

“I’ve never been grounded,” Reed said, “but my parents say they are disappointed in me a lot. It makes me feel like I’m a bad child and like I should try harder.”

Isn’t that what punishments are for?

Contact features reporter Maria Nann at [email protected].