Parents vs Facebook

Should Tess be grounded?

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Comments (41)

(41) Anonymous, May 29, 2011 2:02 PM

Thank you for bringing this up!!

Whether or not we agree that the punishment fits the crime or not, she received a punishment-that's it! If she is let off the hook, how will she deal with being in a working atmosphere? Will she do a FB petition if she doesn't like what the boss said? Truly this generation is suffering from a syndrome, the syndrome that one can get what they want through the media, and not do any self-improvement. That newspaper should be boycotted! Why on earth give this child, and yes, she is still a child,( underaged), breaking the drinking laws etc., why did they give her a chance to gain votes on this? When I was her age there was an accident, kids from the high school took a car (just borrowed it they thought) and went for drinks during lunch break. Only one girl lived to tell the tale, and that she did. She went on tv begging teenagers not to drink. Seeing the terrible pain she suffered knowing that her best friends were all killed would not leave her. I was very young then, but I never forgot the lesson. That is what Princess Tess should hear, in addition to losing the right to go out to party, and to drink, she should hear a drunk lecture her class about what a hell it is to drink. Kids that drink at a young age don't just sober up and stop, it is the begining and should be dealt with on two planes-one is the grounding and another to learn what she is doing to herself. The schools should provide that to all 15 year olds, BEFORE they get used to drinking. A policeman could also lecture about drunk driving, using movies and live lecturers from AA. It is easy to ground, but as we can see, Princess Tess did not learn anything from it. Would that she would see the reactions here at Yasher Koach Rabbi Salomon!

(40) yehudit levy, February 23, 2011 8:27 AM

What about Tess?

TO be honest, I'm pretty impressed that Tess even accepted her punishment in the first place. I mean, her parents are probably not there all the time to monitor her whereabouts, so if she could be trusted to respect her grounding, there is a lot of hope for Tess. THe fact that she tried to convince them via petition, as opposed to, say, kicking down her door is testimony to the fact that she's a great kid, respects her parents in general, repects her property, and is also pretty creative! Her parents should be kinda proud, that she wasn't on Facebook making unsavoury friends, or, G-d forbid, posting photos of herself. I think the parents can also pat themselves on the back, since they did a good job on her so far. 5 weeks was a little excessive, perhaps, but it's their call, and their daughter, and their home. OK, she got drunk, it happens. It will probably happen again, but I don't think they will have to worry too much about Tess. On the other hand, future American Presidents might.....!

(39) sylvia, May 26, 2010 1:25 AM

i agree

facebook is not apropriate

(38) Anonymous, March 3, 2010 6:13 PM

I Agree Wholeheartedly with the parents and the Rabbi

I Agree Wholeheartedly with the parents and the Rabbi. Kids today expect everything -- so much more so than in the past. That's why they're called the "Me Generation." They are selfish and do not think about their actions and that there are consequences and if the parents caved in to a petition, then again there would be no consequence for her wrongdoing, and others would follow in her footsteps. to get "off the hook."

(37) Elisheba Bat Abraham, February 11, 2010 6:59 PM


I am a young mother, and I grew up in a very strict family and I never had problems of any kind, I was not traumatized and so on. Well this girl shows no respect for her parents, no control of herself in her way of drinking, further she must not drink alcohol, is not good for her health. In that case her parents must spank her and of course take the computer off and forget parties nof for 5 weeks. Maybee a year at least. And As a Parents we must do what we believe is correct for our children no matter what the world say. Authority, respect and love is the base for a healthy family.

(36) Anonymous, February 2, 2010 5:12 AM

Tess was out of line. Parents should ban facebook from her access since she has so little control of herself and such little respect for her parents. Let Tess do computer homework activities at a library.

(35) avraham m, February 1, 2010 1:06 PM


I grew up in the days when your parents(and teachers) could slap, hit or beat you.Not child abuse disapline!! Same with my children now 26 and 21 and they turned out to be the best young adults a father could have!! What a blessing they are.

(34) David, January 30, 2010 10:41 AM

Parents not to strick, they're too lenient...

I would have gone one step further, there is no jurisdiction in this country where under age drinking is legal. I would have brought charges against the person/persons who provided the booze.

(33) Kelly Woo, January 30, 2010 8:34 AM

Been there, done that!!!

The parents were correct to ground their daughter, and if she were more mature, she would accept her punishment with grace and dignity. I just have to say, what is it with people not wanting to take their punishment (you know who you are Roman Polanski)? Maybe we should let all the prisoners out of jail if they get 1000 facebook signatures! By the way, I have two teenagers so I have "been there and done that."

(32) Aaron Simcha, January 29, 2010 7:18 AM

The children of today vs the children of yesteryear

First of all, as a 27 year old recent Aish Baal Teshuva, I can say from experience that at her age I did worse things. My parents punished me based on the severity of my transgression. Im not writing to discuss the severity of the punishment. As a member of a relatively recent generation of teenagers, I can say, for my parents, it was no picnic raising me or my siblings. With the massive amount of secular exposure we received, we were more than a handful. The aspect I find most intriguing is the post punishment reaction of the child. The Rabbi starts off the Vblog by talking about raising a child in this day in age. The current generation of children is much worse than even my generation. The amount of media exposure for teens is through the roof. The child’s attempt to get ungrounded in my eyes shows the difference between these kids and previous generations. My argument was that it “wasn’t fair” or “it wasn’t me” and I lost (every time) and I took my punishment. I would have never had the Chutzpah to publicly challenge my parents’ decision. I believe that to be the “icker” of what’s going on here. Why can’t we argue about the severity of the punishment you might ask? We simply can’t know if the punishment fit the crime. Was this her first offense? Was it her worst? In today’s secular society, most likely not: The harsh reality is most children are no longer innocent by 13, and by 15 their innocence is long gone. If we question her parents’ decision it makes us as bad as the child. Only a parent can know (doesn’t mean they always know) what is right for their child. The parent took action and stuck to their decision when this facebook petition arose, and in my honest opinion rightfully so ( I might of punished her further). I don’t think anyone can argue with the parents for sticking to their guns on this one.(key vieboyous amaw)If the parents had not done so the floodgates would be open. Shkoyach mom and dad.

(31) Sandy, January 28, 2010 10:10 PM

Real Parents

Bravo to the parents. It's a relief to know that there are still parents out there confident enough and mature enough to take responsibility for rearing their child. Kudos.

(30) Rivka D, January 28, 2010 1:58 AM

More strong parents needed

The parents did absolutely the right thing. How does anybody say "we don't have enough info to judge"? Here's the critical information: The child violates a house rule. An underage child gets drunk. The parents give a serious consequence. The End. Was the time grounded too long? Probably not - **especially given the girl's next move to manipulate the situation**. People frequently told me that I was overly strict with my kids - even at age 17, not allowed to watch PG-13 without special permission for a certain movie. (After all, Dennis the Menace movie was rated PG-13). Now, at age 24 & 26, they thank me and say they will raise their kids the exact same way. Teenagers WILL keep pushing the limits until they get clear, negative response. Better to give that response early in the game!

(29) Anonymous, January 27, 2010 8:15 PM

She should have been grounded and computer taken away.

Thank you so much for addressing the issue of facebook. I think it is the worst nighmare for parents to handle. We have a 15 year old girls who lives for facebook. The worst punishment is taking away her computer. I probably would have done a month of being grounded, but definately without the computer. If they are grounded and still have their computer, it will not mean anything to be grounded.

(28) Anonymous, January 27, 2010 5:03 PM

Grounded is much better than no computer

The teen was hardly punished at all. So, she couldn't go out, get blasted and increase her chance of becoming raped. Her parents were doing her a huge favor. If they really wanted to punish her, taking away her computer access for all except educational endeavors (approved and supervised by parents) would be part of the punishment. I would be shocked if she could not find thousands of other teens who agreed with her. Nothing impressive whatsoever about other children banding together to call a punishment unfair. The entire story was unnewsworthy, in my humble opinion.

(27) David, January 27, 2010 1:34 PM

Without knowing the full details of the incident, the girl, her parents, and any family history, I do not feel that I am qualified to pass judgment on this young woman or on the punishment chosen by her parents. I am also very surprised by all of the people who responded to this piece by justifying the punishment or even suggesting harsher punishments when they have no more information than I do. Maybe the punishment was justified, maybe not, but who are we to judge? I do feel qualified, however, to respond to the Facebook campaign to commute her sentence. It is a great idea on the part of this girl to publicize her plight and to draw support for her cause. She deserves credit for her creativity and her chutzpah. It is an even better response on the part of her parents who chose to reject those responses on the grounds that it is the parents’ responsibility to educate their daughter, not the responsibility of the Facebook public at large. There are many lessons to be learned for those who choose to learn them. Who is responsible for the behavior of a teenager – the child herself, her parents, outsiders, or some combination? Whose values take precedence in the teenager’s house – the parents’, the daughter’s, or a bunch of interested strangers? What is the value of mass publicity, what are its strengths, and what are its weaknesses? What is the role (if any) of public values and/or pressures in determining the actions of an individual family? Everyone will have his own idea about what is right, but I venture to suggest that people of strong character will want to make their own decisions based on the values that they believe are important.

(26) Anonymous, January 27, 2010 4:08 AM

Good Parents?

I totally agree that the parents were right in sticking by their punishment, but I do not believe it was enough. What will she learn from not being allowed to go "out"? Please! Where were the parents when their daughter got drunk? Who were they entrusting with their child that allowed underage drinking? As parents you have to know their friends and their families ethics before letting your child spend time with them. Teenagers are so impressionable and you do not want the wrong influences in their life. Parents of a teenager have a 24hr/7 days a week with overtime job. Teenagers will try to get away with anything that you will let them. This time of a childs life is so detrimental, it's when your child is learning to be a responsible, Torah loving, God fearing adult. This job is not to be taken lightly. So is this article about a rebellious teenager or parents that need to get more involved in their child's life?

(25) G.M. Grena, January 27, 2010 2:42 AM

Another Agreer

Step 1 should've been to block her from the Internet as best they could. Brat probably still would've been able to access it via friends at school, etc., but I don't understand why the parents allowed her to use the Internet in their house.

(24) Anonymous, January 27, 2010 12:13 AM

chutzpah, lashon hara, responsibility....Tess needs more time to reflect on her behavior.

I believe consequences hsould be the natural result of what one does. Parents should in fact stick to their guns, but i believe there should be swift and immediate consequences for using the internet and facebook to challenge her parents, and maybe put them in a bad light. Of course full explanations for why the consequences are reasonable should go along with the withdrawl of privileges, but no apology from the parents. They are on target!

(23) Gerald Lush, January 26, 2010 9:57 PM

Hurrah For The4 Parents

I am 100 % behind the Parents of Tess. Not ALL but many children in today's society are out of control - driven by Satanic influences such as Television, the intenret, the educational system, Social Networking sites such as Facebook. Facebook is from the "Pit". Consummers Magazine, Readers Digest, Macleans Magazine and one of our local Newpapers issued warnings about Facebook and other sites. Men, Women and children are being literally brainwashed. It's late now, but we need more common sense "normal" living.

(22) ruth housman, January 26, 2010 9:33 PM

Tess and her Tess t case

I think this young woman has a lot of chutzpah and I will give her something for thinking in a creative way. But... it doesn't sound at all like contrition to me, and I wonder, what did she learn? She was trying to get out of it with signatures, as if this could somehow reverse a decision that was made out of concern for her behaviors that were "out of line". Yes, pun intended. She sounds like a young lady who needs to learn something but I am wondering if grounding her for the five weeks is really teaching her anything but rebellion and to do this sub rosa in the future, as in, under cover. I applaud the parents in sticking to their guns, but I am wondering how best to reach their daughter.... because it seems she didn't learn the intended lesson and won't, by being grounded.

(21) Anonymous, January 26, 2010 8:59 PM

Good Parents?

I totally agree that the daughter should be disciplined, even more so than she is receiving. However, where were the parents when she got drunk? To whom did they entrust their daughter to that allowed underage drinking? As a parent you should know the parents of your child's friends, as well as the friends themself, to know what values they have. I know that is a lot of work, and the teenager will probably compain (Do they do anything else?) but as parents that is your job! It is a 24 hr/7 days a week with overtime job. Teenagers are hard to discipline, and at this age they will try to get away with as much as you will let them.

(20) Susan, January 26, 2010 8:55 PM

Good Work Parents

It is all about accountability. I swear, it began with the baby on board signs we used to see in cars everywhere. We put our children on pedestals and they are not responsible for anything. Take that Face Book Account away for the duration of the punishment and let her have her computer for HOMEWORK only. There are ways to do this...If she violates those privileges, the punishment begins over again... Sorry Tess. The only way. The internet, TV, video games are a privilege. Not a right...Children need to learn how to read, play, communicate with words, not texting/computer. I am a mother of three and a grandmother of three. I was grounded all the time for inappropriate behavior. I hated it. It was necessary. Funny how we don't see that until we have our own kids.

(19) Ava, January 26, 2010 7:37 PM

discuss with her & check out her friends

The grounding was necessary. As a former teenager, some removal from temptation, I know, is important. But, it can not just be left at the punishment. There has to be thorough discussion so that Tess can understand, however reluctantly, why what she did was dangerous - yes dangerous- to herself. She also needs to take a close look at the friends she got drunk with and see if they are good for her to hang out with. Sometimes as teens, we need our parents to be strong and say no for us, because we are not always strong enough ourselves. After the grounding, Tess should not be able to return to business as usual, but have to show her parents that she is trustworthy by earning it back.

(18) Anonymous, January 26, 2010 5:56 PM

Does being grounded for that long really accomplish anything?

As a parent, I'm not taking a vote - so I'm glad to hear the parents stuck to their guns - I would have taken away the computer for everything besides school work for 5 weeks. But, I don't think waging a 1,000 votes campaign is chutzpadik, I think it's funny. BUT, I think there's room here to acknolwedge the power of "lobbying" and the power of facebook. What about using facebook to accomplish something valuable during this time of being grounded? Or, what about Tess attending an alcoholics anonymous group to hear stories of how people suffer from alcohol abuse? What about volunteering for Mother's Against Drunk Driving? I wonder how effective being grounded for 5 weeks is compared to some hands on, eye-opening experiences. Getting drunk at 15 isn't about "making a mistake" -- it's a step down a very serious path of not controlling oneself, of bad judgment about alcohol, of peer pressure, of not keeping oneself out of dangerous situations, the list goes on. What do you think?

(17) Anonymous, January 26, 2010 4:54 PM


I am concerned about a 15 year old getting drunk. What are the parents doing about Tess' consumption of alcohol? Being grounded for 5 weeks without addressing the violation of trust or drinking behavior is going to lead to bigger problems in the future. Who is supervising Tess while she is grounded? There appears to be a lack of communication here amongst family members. I too do not care what these everyone else says. These 1000 signatures do not address the underlying issues.Both as a mental health professional and as a parent, I am concerned about the underlying problems.

(16) Jacque, January 26, 2010 4:44 PM

Yea! to the parents!

The parents were right, regardless of who disagreed with them. We may not respond to the punishment right (getting the 1,000 signatures petition), but does it matter? One of these days, Tess will look back and understand that her parents were acting in her own best interest. We as parents don't need our kids permission to train or discipline them, nor do we need society's permission. She needed to learn not to drink, particularly at a party and to respect curfew.

(15) Silky, January 26, 2010 4:41 PM


I would love to know where I can write the parents to congragulate them! In a world where there are few consiquences, they tought their daughter that consequences exsist. Lovely.

(14) Mordechai, January 26, 2010 4:16 PM

5 weeks was a mistake, but stick to your guns

I believe 5 weeks was a consequence that did not fit the crime. When such harsh unreasonable consequences are dealt it almost sends the message to the child that the parents take glee in seeing their child suffer. I think a more appropriate consequence would be to send the child to an AA meeting to observe the effects of alcohol and the commitments of recovering alcoholics to erase their past and move on to a meaningful life. I think it's important to send a message that you care about the well-being of the child and that your role as a parent is not that of a dictator. At the end of the day, don't we want our children to know we love them? Is that the ultimate message of a harsh punishment? Wouldn't a more positive and clear message result from a fitting and carefully constructed consequence?

(13) Philip, January 26, 2010 4:06 PM

Applauds upholding the grounding

I think that the parents should have 'stuck to their guns". But other questions arise. I find it highly unlikely that the young girl knew all 1000 of those FB people. I wonder how much monitoring of computer use takes place. 5 weeks may seem long also. In the long run, this is their daughter; what her facebook 'friends' have to say is irrelevant. To have relented due a FB petition, would have delivered that others and the daughter can control what a minor child is allowed to do. Any negotiating is strictly between the parents and their daughter.

(12) Anonymous, January 25, 2010 11:07 PM

Is punishment effective?

Let's notice that Tess's reaction does not seem to indicate reflection or contrition, at least not on the surface. Do punishments like this really train a child's character for the good? (Can a generalization be made, or, as it is said, "Train a child according to his way"?) Are reactions like Tess's examples of (probably) age-appropriate chuzpadik and self-assertion that she and her parents will laugh about together in future years? Or are they part of a revenge-and-punishment cycle where the child is losing or has lost respect for her parents altogether? I have a preteen boy and lately have been studying the work of Jane Nelsen (Positive Discipline), who is of the Adler/Dreikurs schools of developmental psychology. I'm interested to hear how other view those ideas in the context of Jewish parenting.

(11) Anonymous, January 25, 2010 9:21 AM

hat's off to the parents

Tess' apology is not sincere if she called on a 1000 Fb users to get her un-grounded, I find it a chitzpah. We as parents are there to mold them into becoming responsible, productive and better people of the society. Disciplining with firmness and consistency plus lots of love will help us through. As for NY Times, thank you for opening other parents' eyes that proper discipline is not child abuse.

(10) Rose, January 25, 2010 2:40 AM

The parents are definitely right by punishing her and for not changing their mind, but I also would take away her internet access so she would have time to think about the mistake she have done, and I would have a conversation with her to explain the reason I am doing that.

(9) e. m. lefrak, January 24, 2010 11:58 PM

yes, yes, yes, yes!

The parents are most definitely correct in not caring whatsoever about however many signatures there were. And yes - get rid of the computer! And more - talk to the child about the reprecussions of her actions. Did they only punish without explaining why what she did was wrong so that she could understand it? Yes, parents should say and children should do - but also explain why the method is true.

(8) Anonymous, January 24, 2010 6:16 PM

kol hakavod

As a teenager myself, I believe what the parents did was completely correct. They should not have begun by taking away Tess's internet privileges but after that whole fiasco she should have to deactivate her facebook account for a while. That was extremely disrespectful. I am very impressed with her parents for sticking to what they knew was right, especially after the media coverage.

(7) Chavi, January 24, 2010 6:01 PM

Who signed?

I'll bet that at least 99 percent of the signers are under the age of 20.

(6) SusanE, January 24, 2010 5:01 PM

Parents Didn't Do Enough

The first thing the parents should have done was file a complaint against whoever furnished alcohol to a minor. Then followed through with charges against everyone involved. Secondly Tess would be taken to hospital that night to see if there were other drugs besides alcohol in her. If she was out of control enough to get drunk, then she could have been open enough for other illegal drugs. Her drinking will excalate, just the same way that her going public on Facebook escalated. She degraded her parents. Because she has no shame, she feels she did nothing serious. Her parents have a really tough 'row to hoe'. The New York Times must have had a slow news day.

(5) anon, January 24, 2010 4:54 PM

it worked for me!

My brothers & I grew up knowing that "no means no" & that the teacher is always right, in addition to being held responsible for our actions (if I forgot my spelling book in school I'd be told to call a friend & get the word list, no excuse letters for us!!).. Now that we are older we realize that this mentality helped us so much in growing into responsible people & respecting the word of those in charge.

(4) Anonymous, January 24, 2010 3:50 PM

I agree...

I think the parents did a fine job at sticking to their guns. However, I do think that if I had a child and were in a similar situation, I would've definitely taken away internet priviliges, unless it were related to schoolwork (which I would know, because the computer would be in an open area, such as the living room). First of all, the net is addicting and could create a whole new array of problems. And secondly, the idea of punishment is to make someone think about what they've done, not to have just as much enjoyment at home as they would outside, which is an escape these social networking sites tend to provide.

(3) observer, January 24, 2010 3:20 PM

Too much over-reaction

I can't say I'm impressed by Tess' response, but I think that it's pretty par for the course - she IS a teenager. Anyone who thinks that a teenager who tries to change her parent's mind about a punishment is not taking things seriously simply does not understand teenagers. I do think her parents responded PERFECTLY to her attempt. They didn't get defensive, but they stuck to their guns and made it clear that THEY are the parents, and THEY will make the decisions that they feel are best. I think that they wound up teaching her an extremely valuable lesson - even more important in some ways than the original lesson. This is a great example of refusing to be swayed by the herd, of thinking for yourself, and of owning your decisions thoroughly enough that you simply can't be bothered to get worked up because someone else - or a lot of someone else's - disagree with you.

(2) Barb, January 24, 2010 12:29 PM

Compliance issue & Consistency

1. Kol HaKavod to her parents for carrying out what they promised, and being consistent. 2. The initial punishment stands for being late and drunk. 3. As for her lack of respect and her lack of complaince; trying to embarass her parents, she should loose her internet access for a period they deem proper. Her lesson in life: Parents have a responsibility to train their children in such away so as to avoid future dangers - i.e. getting drunk and the various associated risks.

(1) Anonymous, January 24, 2010 9:56 AM


That girl has a lot of chutzpah to even attempt to get her parents to change their minds. What she did was irresponsible and they have a right to punish her with how they feel it necessary to teach her that what she did was serious. Obviously if she could go on facebook to try and get a few weeks off her punishment, she isn't taking what she did seriously. On the other hand, if child psychologists all wrote that maybe the parents didn't punish her correctly, that's a different story. They are experts and know how best to teach children, as it's their field of study. If they offered suggestions on what the parents could do differently to teach her that what she did was wrong, then maybe the parents could take that into consideration. But just to get rid of the punishment all together? I don't think so. She was very disrespectful to try and pressure her parents to overrule their decision. She certainly has a lot of nerve to attempt it though! I find it amusing.


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