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Author Topic: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad  (Read 2049 times)

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Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« on: February 18, 2011, 09:50:43 AM »
http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/article1152321.ece#tpcccf

I 100% support the parents on this one this brat is lazy and apparently did do well in school up until 8th grade. They tried talking to him, counseling with a school advisor and nothing worked and he even failed physical education come on if a sign and shame work then fine. If it was my dad I would have been dragged over the couch side and given a good spanking, then grounded and told to get my act together disabled or not I'm to do my best in school. When I tried hard and still didn't get a good grade it was different I did my best and well if my best was a C then ok.

I had one exception when I wouldn't dissect a frog I though it was wrong and he could spank and ground me I wouldn't support that - he liked my character even if I got a F on that assignment.

But education is virtually FREE K-12 so wasting this opportunity is crazy I think the parents should do anything reasonable to get the young mans head on right about education. But not sure if anyone here would agree with me or not.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 10:10:37 AM »
Wow.. that is one DAMN Lazy kid.

I don't know how you can kick a kid that far gone in the metaphorical nuts to get his head on straight.

I don't think it's abuse/maltreatment though.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 10:24:26 AM »
I would have made sure to keep an eye on him during the 4 hours - just to make sure that a) he didn't wander off, b) no one snatched him, or c) in case of medical issues (car hitting him).  Failing Phys Ed takes some actual effort.  I think we got a C for showing up and dressing in uniform.

Offline phoenyx

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 10:34:06 AM »
interesting. i like the idea. (tucks it away for own oldest who is starting with same excuses)

child abuse? not in my opimion, it's no worse then taking your kid to tour a jail and have them locked up for a bit hopeing they realize their choices could very well land them there. why is that okay and this not?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 10:37:41 AM »
I think when I took it we just had to basically walk around to get a C. You'd think it would be nigh impossible for someone as healthy as him to fail it. You would think the school would have made some effort to contact the family, which leads me to believe the boy manged to do an end run the school somehow. I know when me and a buddy took advantage of a driver's ed teacher falling asleep on our day drive on the highway (His last words before falling asleep were 'Keep driving till I tell you to turn around') the only thing that kept the school from calling my folks was the instructor literally walking into the office and snatching up all the memo sheets from the other teachers and showing them to us. ('This did NOT happen. Word gets out.. you FAIL driver's ed. UNDERSTOOD?' I think he said. We passed with a B and our little sheet)

I do find it VERY surprising what constitutes abuse these days.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 10:45:40 AM »
She humiliated her son out of her own frustration. If she cannot handle her children, maybe she should not have birthed six of them.

How wonderful that this kid gets to go through high school hearing "Hey, aren't you the kid with the sign about how stupid he is?"

Ridiculous. If Florida's foster care system didn't suck so hard, I would say he should be removed from her house. What an awful thing to do for him. I understand the frustration, I do, but there are better, healthier, and more productive ways to go about it.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2011, 11:03:55 AM »
She was apparently handling five of them just fine. 

Quote
She has six kids, all in school. The others get good grades, she said. Who's to say her idea won't work?

Without a high school education, especially in this job market, he'd likely end up with a different sign on that same street corner.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011, 11:13:44 AM »
Either that or she was handling all six of them through her antics. I doubt putting her son on the median of a busy road with a sign stating his GPA was the first of her humiliations. While it's true that it's in his best interests to graduate high school, it's not in his best interests to do it like this. Even if you ignore the repeated statements of the article's experts that the sign antics will likely be ineffectual (and I believe them), you can still say that what she's doing is abhorrent. I mean, what if she threatened to pull his pants down in the middle of the town square every time he failed a class? It's essentially the same thing - humiliation in public - and it's wrong.

The last I've heard - and I don't keep close tabs on behavioral modification research, so this would take some verification - negative reinforcement is not anywhere near as effective as positive reinforcement, and I would be surprised if it weren't shown to do more harm than good in the long term.

You don't just wake up one day and lose your study habits, but once you've gotten out of the habit of studying well, you don't just wake up one day and pick those same study habits back up. "I swear I'll do better in school if it means I don't have to stand out there with the sign again" means absolutely nothing unless significant steps are taken to rekindle good study habits. I'm not sure that a parent at the end of their rope enough to publicly humiliate their son is prepared to take those steps.

I feel really sorry for the poor kid. While he will be stuck in a miserable place if he doesn't finish high school, especially in an area like Tampa Bay (which was a depressed area when I was living in Florida), he's been backed into a corner.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2011, 11:48:28 AM »
I'm sorry Trieste.. I don't think he's all that 'poor and innocent'. If his parents can do well enough to see to the other five kids, that tells me that either there is a serious disconnect OR he's willfully and intentionally sabotaging himself. If his parents didn't give a damn about him he'd not have been plopped down on the roadside with the sign.

Clearly there is more to this than the article states and I think that a lot of it is HIM. You don't fail PE easily. You don't get a a GPA that low without something going on. Drugs, gangs, sheer apathy, issues. I see a lot of excuses being put to his parents. I am curious to hear the other side but you don't drop that radically with a suddenly acquired learning disability. Something else is going on.

And let's be honest.. in 10 years will anyone but him remember this? It's humiliating but you can get past it.  I know when I lived in Ireland I spent 10 months grounded because I was a poor student (turns out I'm dsylexic) and spent a LOT of weekends doing my multiplication tables (I killed something like 20 notebooks, wore out a a speak and spell and the multiplication version of one). I spent YEARS catching up on my disability in ways that made it hard for me to do well in school despite my intelligence. Two years in an experimental reading program helped me recover a lot of that, but a lot of it was my fault because I didn't talk about my problems.  (Of course being compared to a brother who was in who's who all of high school, did EVERYTHING and would have been class president if we'd staying in the US all the time he was in high school might have had something to do with it. I worked past that too.)

Offline Trieste

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2011, 11:55:27 AM »
Please try not to put words in my mouth; you're actually the first person in this thread to use the word 'innocent'. :)

Spending 10 months grounded is not the same as being placed on a street corner and paraded around with a sign hanging around your neck. We stopped putting people in the stocks ages ago. We stopped spanking kids in schools. "Tough love" is one thing, and abuse is another. That mother stood her child on a busy street and made him feel like a moron. There is no excuse, none, for degrading your child. She probably didn't mean any permanent harm, but she meant to leave a lasting negative impression on her son. One that will work counter to her goals. Who does that benefit? It benefits only the media by selling them headlines, and that's it. It didn't benefit the mother, and it sure as hell didn't benefit her son.

Online Remiel

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2011, 12:01:42 PM »
Quote
The last I've heard - and I don't keep close tabs on behavioral modification research, so this would take some verification - negative reinforcement is not anywhere near as effective as positive reinforcement, and I would be surprised if it weren't shown to do more harm than good in the long term.

I've heard that as well, Trieste, and I'm sure that the social scientists are definitely on to something.  In this case, however, I don't think that the punishment in question counts as abuse.  Rather, I think it falls into the category of Tough Love, which is sometimes necessary.

Quote
She said they have offered James help, asked to see his homework, grounded him, lectured him and taken away his cell phone all to no avail.

From the article, it sounds like this was the option of last resort.  It sounds like James, for whatever reason, has simply lost all of his motivation.  Given the circumstances, then, I really can't fault his mother for resorting to extreme measures to get her point across.  The sign didn't say anything demeaning or insulting, such as "I am stupid".  It simply said, "honk if I need an education."

He was not physically harmed in any way.  Perhaps he was emotionally scarred a little, but, considering all the possible life consequences that will probably happen to him should he fail to graduate, I think I would, if I were one of his parents, risk a little emotional scarring in the hope that it might motivate him to develop some self-discipline.  If anything, I was disgusted by the way that the media and the "child care experts" reacted to the action.   Sometimes, when all else fails, a little Tough Love is necessary.

I wish I could give Ms. Holder a hearty round of applause.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2011, 12:14:51 PM »
Please try not to put words in my mouth; you're actually the first person in this thread to use the word 'innocent'. :)

Spending 10 months grounded is not the same as being placed on a street corner and paraded around with a sign hanging around your neck. We stopped putting people in the stocks ages ago. We stopped spanking kids in schools. "Tough love" is one thing, and abuse is another. That mother stood her child on a busy street and made him feel like a moron. There is no excuse, none, for degrading your child. She probably didn't mean any permanent harm, but she meant to leave a lasting negative impression on her son. One that will work counter to her goals. Who does that benefit? It benefits only the media by selling them headlines, and that's it. It didn't benefit the mother, and it sure as hell didn't benefit her son.

Would having to spend your recess walking the fence perimeter with your teacher following you count? I was supposed so disruptive in class that I had a teacher 'walk me' around the school perimeter every day for a school year. And then I was put in the corner so far back that I couldn't see the board or what was going on. She, the teacher, was actually behind me. There was nothing for me to see but a small section of the chalk board and the six filing cabinets that I was surrounded by. I literally had NO contact with class mates. I was kept after school for 2 hours a day.. EVERYDAY. Sitting in the same corner.

I think I know what it is like to be humiliated in class. No wonder I failed that grade that year.

You know what I did to merit it? I punched out a kid who was picking on me for the first three weeks of school. Turned out he was her  nephew.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 12:16:17 PM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2011, 12:16:37 PM »
Cool, well, it was nice discussing opinions on it. :)

Offline Oniya

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2011, 12:19:16 PM »
We stopped putting people in the stocks ages ago.

Not exactly.  There was something that struck me as familiar about this case, so I did a little looking:

http://www.google.com/search?btnG=1&pws=0&q=Judge+orders+wear+sign

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2011, 12:23:00 PM »
Not exactly.  There was something that struck me as familiar about this case, so I did a little looking:

http://www.google.com/search?btnG=1&pws=0&q=Judge+orders+wear+sign

Probably where mom got the idea.

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Child's Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2011, 07:24:50 PM »
Quote
The last I've heard - and I don't keep close tabs on behavioral modification research, so this would take some verification - negative reinforcement is not anywhere near as effective as positive reinforcement...

Being a teacher who is assigned low performing students as well as students with learning, physical and emotional disabilities, I would be a likely teacher for this student when he reached high school if he lived in my county and continued performing as he has.  I work closely with my school's behaviorist to create plans to aid students in their academic and emotional goals.  Negative reinforcement is not generally accepted as an effective means of behavior modification.  From my experience and research, negative consequences only work when they are 1) 2natural, previously understood results of the undesired behavior, 2) are timed as closely as possible with the behavior, and 3) require the child to actively consider future alternatives to modify their own behavior.  (My current favorite methodology is Love and Logic.)

So is this a foreseeable, natural outcome of earning poor grades and failing the FCAT?  No.

Was it timed closely with the behavior?  No, even when granted that a child his age is typically capable of immediately relating effects to causes originating several days in the past.

Did this require the child to create possible alternatives to consider in the future?  Though he may have done this on his own, nothing intrinsic about his punishment required him to think or express a way to improve or avoid the undesired behavior in the future.


That being said, did this appeal the the parents' (and other adults, given the reactions I've read to this story) sense of justice?  Yes.  Do others feel vindicated?  Yes.

I'll make a bold statement here: Punishment should have little to do with making authority figures seem righteous or vengeful and everything to do with developing a child's self-direction and self-control.

If a negative consequence does not give a child an idea of why and how to modify his or her behavior on their own, the child is doomed to believe that their actions will continued to be controlled from without, not within.  Merely avoiding pain, whether physical or emotional, is not a long-term motivator for self-directed behavior modification.  As soon as the pain creating figure is gone, be it a parent, teacher or law enforcement, the motivation to continue the modified behavior evaporates.  Though this works for short-term control, but this methodology cannot create an intrinsically motivated adult, which should be the goal of any behavior modification system.

Offline Noelle

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2011, 07:38:33 PM »
I feel torn about the issue.

While I do not think this constitutes abuse, I do think it's an extreme reaction that shows obvious frustration on his parents' part, and I don't think punishment should be motivated by anger. I believe it when they say negative feedback is not as effective as positive much in the same way I think that punishments such as spanking should be avoided at all costs, but I'm not so sure that the kid got nothing but emotional scarring out of it. If your sign says HONK IF I NEED AN EDUCATION and you see so many people passing by honking at you, what does that tell you about how valued an education is to others? It's a reality check, even if it was done in a less-than-ideal way.

So yes, again, I feel divided; I do think that his mother definitely has his best interests at heart, I do think that if she absolutely had to do this, then short-term embarrassment in order to help avoid a considerably harder life in the long-term (which may or may not include poor pay if he gets a job at all, as well as degrading or otherwise dirty/disgusting work) is a fair trade-off. On the flip side, I do agree that there are better ways to go about this and that this should definitely not be a model for how other parents choose to discipline their children and instill in them a value for education.

Offline Jude

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2011, 11:54:35 PM »
I'm extremely uncomfortable discussing this case because the facts are being laid out largely by the child's parents.  How do we know anything that they claimed was true?  It's entirely possible -- even relatively likely -- that the child is misbehaving because his parents have already made mistakes in raising him.  If this was the case, do you think they would admit or even recognize their failures at parenting?  I doubt it.  We can't be sure that they've supported him at all in his educational endeavors.  And how could they, they didn't graduate from high school, how exactly would they be capable of helping him with Algebra for example?

When children act up there is always a motivator for that behavior consisting of environmental or biological factors.  It isn't necessarily the fault of his parents, it could be due to peer influence or a learning disability, but it seems entirely plausible that they are responsible from what we know of their actions.  He's one of six children with two working parents who didn't even bother to have him screened for mental impairments before publicly humiliating him:  why are we assuming they're saints?  Moreover, why are people so quick to dismiss experts?

The article has knowledgeable, qualified people weighing in on the subject, who a lot of people are apparently comfortable with ignoring.  I just don't understand that sentiment:  why do you think you know better than someone who's devoted their life to studying child psychology?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 12:01:44 AM by Jude »

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Child's Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2011, 12:18:09 AM »
The article has knowledgeable, qualified people weighing in on the subject, who a lot of people are apparently comfortable with ignoring.  I just don't understand that sentiment:  why do you think you know better than someone who's devoted their life to studying child psychology?

I silently ask this question often.  It seems to me the answer many times is, "I know my kid better than you."  Understanding one's own child's motivations, desires, and fears does in many ways give parents a leg up on being able to understand and adjust a child's behavior.  However, if you accept the analogy of a physical illness, knowing that your child's temperature is normally 98.9 does not give you a better understanding of your child's illness when the doctor measures a 103 degree fever and is trying to lower it to 98.6 degrees.

Also, parenting is a highly emotional act, one that can only with great restraint and forethought be done without simply operating on gut reactions.  Discipline is especially difficult to divorce from one's own emotional impulses.  Though I'm not a parent, I've spent the early days of my career and even still have moments of weakness when I discipline from an emotional or visceral instinct rather than using methods I know work.  When frustrated, it's very easy to punish.  It's not easy to be the adult and guide the child toward making himself responsible for his misbehavior and his future self-correction.

Offline Sure

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2011, 01:59:51 AM »
Star, that rationale makes no sense. If knowledge of a person is all that is necessary, then any kid knows him/herself better than a parent can, for example. And I would think that the fact it is an emotional act, as well as your admission that abuse of power is relatively common, would be an argument to bring in the experts, not otherwise.

Anyway, I suspect this is just a parent lashing out at their children and once again reminds me how little anyone under eighteen has in the way of rights. I doubt it has anything to do with actually improving the child, and even if that was their intent, I do not think it will work. The experts are more or less on my side on this as well.

As to whether it constitutes abuse, an abuse of power definitely, emotional abuse probably, abuse in the sense of Social Services coming for the kid, I'm not sure. Realistically they probably won't but Social Services is not a good system to start with, and is rarely called in to start with.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2011, 02:05:23 AM »
Seems to me Jude, you're just as willing to assume that it IS all the parents fault. I don't think the story is complete enough to draw a full understanding of the situation. I definitely don't think the facts, pro and con, have been fully revealed. Like most 'child abuse' cases there is a dearth of facts.

Offline Jude

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2011, 02:44:36 AM »
You're absolutely right that it can't be said with certainty that the parents are at fault.  It could be that the child has shown no signs of a learning disability and so the parent sees no purpose in it.  Maybe they've noticed other things which lead them to believe their child has changed for the worse due to outside influence in the form of good-for-nothing friends or media (such as rap music).  I don't know how possible any of these scenarios are, but they are certainly plausible on some level or another, and I suppose I could ignore the fact that the parent should be controlling what media their child does and does not consume anyway just as they should be keeping an eye on what sort of children he or she associates with.

I just think you have to ignore an awful lot to not see the parents' actions responsible for how their child potentially behaves, especially considering what we know of the parents in this situation.  That isn't to say that I think this kid's parents are bad people, just in over their head.  I question how well two working parents can provide for six children.  They may be doing their best to be good parents and still failing for reasons that aren't necessarily their fault.  I just think it's absurd to blame the child or call him "lazy" from the limited facts that are available.

If he's received an F in PE then he's fundamentally failing to follow instructions given by an authority figure, therefore it seems unlikely that his behavior can be attributed to a learning disorder unless he's so severely handicapped that he can't even do as his PE teacher says.  This sort of behavior doesn't crop up over night, and it's extremely depressing to see his parents resorting to ineffective, damaging tactics when there's a good chance that he's behaving this way as a result of how he was raised.

It reminds me of parents that argue corporal punishment should be allowed in the home despite the fact that there is a scientific consensus on the subject that it is damaging.  Often they'll make the argument that it's necessary to deal with children in particular instances, yet they can never quite qualify how they know it is the only solution to the problem.  Furthermore they never seem to wonder if the fact that they feel they have to hit their children (whether it's a open-palmed strike on the ass is still hitting) isn't a symptom of damage that's already happened to the parent-child relationship.

This is no different.  There's no good reason why a parent should have to resort to these levels to keep their child under control.  The fact that they engaged in this should really send off alarm bells and make you wonder what else they do.  There's a reason social services is looking into this.  They know, from experience and careful study of statistics, that when parents act like this, there are often deeper problems that they haven't even scratched the surface of.

Returning to an earlier point, let me pose a question.  It has been suggested that the child's parent should have an easier time resolving problems with the child because they know them and have an emotional connection with that child.  This seems plausible at first, but in what problem-solving scenario does the presence of emotion actually make the situation easier to understand?  I can't think of any.  Emotions make things harder to grasp, not simpler.  We often can't see things because we're too close to them.  No parent wants to think that they are in part responsible for their child's behavior.  That's often why parents go to such extreme measures in disciplining unruly children:  because they feel responsible for their child's misbehavior on an unacknowledged level and are seeking to wash away that embarrassment and disappointment (part of which is directed inward) with a vindictive response.

I think every parent makes little mistakes like these in some way or another, it's unavoidable.  Thankfully, human beings are pretty resilient so a few mistakes here and there typically don't add up to a delinquent.  The problem is, there are a lot of overly punitive, damaging practices that are condoned in America today.  People applaud these stern approaches to discipline from a perspective couched wholly in pop-psychology.  We're convinced that things like "tough love" work based on flawed anecdotal evidence and experiences that are just riddled with confirmation bias.

If we're serious about progressing our society we have to be serious about making progress in all things.  Part of that is perfecting the processes by which we raise our children.  I can't think of a way to do this that's better than analyzing, critiquing, and eventually changing our cultural notions on child rearing through utilization of the soft sciences.  Doing nothing certainly isn't going to make things better, so either we listen to qualified experts, go out on a limb hovering over the abyss of insanity with James Dobson, or do absolutely nothing in the name of preserving traditional ideas which we empirically know to be invalid yet somehow place faith in.

There seems to be an outpouring of sympathy towards the parents of delinquent children in damn near every situation, never once considering that children are shaped by their parents more than anything else in the vast number of circumstances.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 02:51:04 AM by Jude »

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2011, 08:45:40 AM »
Star, that rationale makes no sense. If knowledge of a person is all that is necessary, then any kid knows him/herself better than a parent can, for example. And I would think that the fact it is an emotional act, as well as your admission that abuse of power is relatively common, would be an argument to bring in the experts, not otherwise.

That was the point I was trying to make: methods like this do not make sense, nor do any other behavior modification program which relies on external punishment rather than a child's desire for self-control.  I apologize if I was unclear, but I was trying to point out the faultiness of what I can only assume is the logic of those who disregard professional advise and opt for methods such as these.  A child in fact does often know him or herself better than adults, which is all the more reason for parents and authority figures to aid children toward self-control and away from tactics which simply shame the child and reinforce external control.

Offline Sure

Re: Mom and Dad on a Childs Education: Is This Good or Bad
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2011, 09:50:15 AM »
Ah. I must have misread it (or perhaps just misunderstood it), my apologies.

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Mom and Dad on a Child's Education: Is This Good or Bad?
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2011, 09:55:22 AM »
Ah. I must have misread it (or perhaps just misunderstood it), my apologies.

It's quite alright; I'm not my most intelligible when in pain.  I'm glad we cleared that up.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 10:05:30 AM by Star Safyre »