Kids naughty, so dad sells their gifts on eBay Allan Turner Houston Chronicle Dec. 23, 2004 05:51 PM HOUSTON - 'Twas the week before Christmas, and chaos did reign. The kiddies were squabbling. Oh, what a pain! Their language was shocking, their demeanor obscene. But to correct them was useless, you know what I mean? So to the computer, Dad sprinted so spry. "There's going to be order, or you'll regret it," he cried. Then typing and clicking like wee, tiny elves, he summoned up eBay, determined to sell. Enough with the poetry. There's not much laughter today at the home of a Pasadena information technology specialist who has decided to auction off his kids' Christmas presents - and possibly dismantle the family tree - because the youngsters, ages 9, 11 and 15, have been naughty, not nice. "One thing we teach around this house," said the man, who asked that his name not be revealed, "is that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people." In Christmas' context, bad people get switches or lumps of coal - or lose the presents they want the most. "BAD CHILDREN get no Nintendo DS. Santa will skip our house this year," the man announced in his eBay posting to sell three DS systems with PictoChat and Metroid. Also offered were three games for use with the system. "No kidding. Three undeserving boys have crossed the line. Tonight we sat down and showed them what they WILL NOT get for Christmas this year. I'll be taking the tree down tomorrow." As the auction wound down Thursday evening, bidding was up to $255 - below the minimum price the man had set. Across the eBay site, 540 others were selling Nintendo DS items. "If you don't buy them, we'll return them to the store," the seller known online as magumbo2000 reported on the site. "These are normally really good kids," he said. But in a single day, he added, the boys fought one another, used vulgar language and gestured obscenely. The family discord has been in progress for about two weeks, said the man, attributing it, in part, to the laxness of previous discipline. "It seems like we'd say what we were going to do, then bend and back off a little," the father, 41, said. "We'd ground them for a week, but they'd really be grounded for three days; we'd take away video games, but they would still watch television. ... It decayed to the point that groundings don't work, putting them in their room, timeouts don't have any effect." The man said he and his wife announced the possible punishment in a family meeting earlier this week. "We told them to think about what kind of brothers they were being, how they were treating their parents and what kind of men they were going to grow up to become," he said. "We told them they were destroying each other and the calm and peace in the household. It had to stop." The boys pledged to reform, he said, but were back at their rowdy ways early the next morning. "When two of them were together, they'd get along great," he man said. "But as soon as the third comes in, it's immediately two against one." The next evening, a second family meeting was held to announce that the top level of presents - about $700 in video games - would be sold on the computer auction site. The oldest boy, the man said, responded with a challenge to carry out the threat. "My first thought was, 'Oh, (expletive),' He's telling me to prove it. What are you going to do then?" the man said. "You can't just let the tail wag the dog. If this has a positive long-term effect, and it makes them better people, that's all that counts. I'm certainly not a vindictive, mean, evil beastie of a person." The boys' mother noted the children increasingly have been disrespectful to her, their father and each other. "We're on a very limited income," she said, "and we scrimped and we saved. You have no idea how hard it was to get these games for the boys, but I did and I was treated like crap. ... It really crushes me, but we felt like we had to take a stand. "I kind of prayed that they (the toys) didn't sell on eBay." Lane Coco, a Ph.D. social worker at Depelchin Children's Center, suggested that the embattled parents may have stumbled into an "ultimatum situation" in which everyone loses. "Perhaps they should have planned some kind of activity," she said. "It sounds like the kids were bored with school being out. ... Sometimes parents let things go by the wayside, they're lax, then they really come down with something very harsh. It's really not fair to the children, or to them. They usually feel pretty lousy about what they've had to do." Coco praised the family for its joint meetings, and suggested the parents might have asked the children for ways they could better get along. "It sounds like the children are at a developmental stage where there is a lot of picking at one another and sibling rivalry," she said. "Making the youngest one the odd man out - that's not unusual at all." With the situation in its present state, Coco suggested another family meeting in which the parents could assure the kids of their love. "Maybe he could salvage the presents, take them off eBay," she said. "Get the kids to work with them, rather than fighting with one another. Try to form alliances with the children rather than coming off with this off-the-top-of-the-charts disciplinary thing." One solution might be to have each child choose one of his gifts to give to a homeless child. "That takes the spotlight off how bad they are, and turns it into something more in line with Christmas," Coco said. The father said his wife has been in tears since the final showdown. "I don't do it outwardly," he said, "but I'm crying on the inside." Tears or no, he said, if the kids don't settle down, he will auction off the next tier of toys - a bicycle, fish tank and karaoke machine. Although the man contacted the Houston Chronicle, promoting the tale as a "human interest story," he adamantly refused to be identified. "In a city of 4 million people," he said, "do you think I want to be a Grinch?" HEHE. I bet this teaches his kids to behave http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/1223ebay-grinch23-ON.html edit: mods, I put this in the wrong area. Can you please move it when you get time?