Southlake Dad Defends Babysitting Ad Punishment

SOUTHLAKE (CBSDFW.COM) – Robert Rausch knows the power of the Internet firsthand.

After he placed an ad in the Southlake Journal offering his daughter’s babysitting services for free, it went viral. And then came the virtual insults.

“We were accused of child abuse. We were accused of neglect,” he said. “We were accused of publicly humiliating our daughter. It was horrible!”

The ad was punishment for sneaking friends over after the family went to bed. As he wrote in a Fort Worth Star Telegram opinion column on June 5, “Middle-of-the-night parties are verboten in our house. Especially when you’re asleep downstairs.”

“It probably wasn’t my smartest idea,” Rausch’s daughter Kirstin said.

“We wanted her to learn something from it,” her father added.

Both parties did. Robert Rausch said he learned “you totally lose control of the situation when the Internet becomes involved.”

It was the punishment heard around the world, as complete strangers weighed in on the father’s merits as a parent.

“We thought; violate our rules and you do community service for, well, our community,” Rausch wrote in the column. “Genius, that is, until the KXAS/Channel 5 truck rolled up on the front lawn.”

It was genius, however, for their next-door neighbor Joanne Reding, whose son Kirstin babysat for free.

“This was a real positive way to get the message across,” Reding said. “’Cause I don’t think she’s done it since. I don’t think my kids will either!”

Rausch said he took to the opinion pages of the Fort Worth Star Telegram to explain his side of why he took the ad out. It wasn’t meant to humiliate the 16-year-old, he said, it was designed as a warning for other teens.

“It was really designed to be a type of cautionary tale for teenagers as well as their parents,” said Rausch.

For the Southlake dad, the tale is that it’s easy to underestimate the Internet and the passion of people on it.

“And it’s easy to underestimate how hurtful that can be,” Rausch said.

  • maximsmadness

    Punishment in the age of technology. I like it.

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  • april lingley

    good for you sir!!!! show your kid you’re the boss

  • Buyerbwear

    Good for you, Dad. A couple of Friday or Saturday nights spent caring for someone’s else’s children, and she’ll rethink ever having friends over in the middle of the night … OR going against Mom’s and Dad’s house rules.

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  • sunny

    I think that it is fantastic. I have a 16 year old daughter and I showed her the article. She thought it was a great punishment. She also knows that I would do something like that too.

  • HB

    I support “Dad” 100%. Think about this “Dad”, you were and are within the boundaries of being a good responsible parent. Hold people accountable for whatever they do. Those (worldwide) that commented about “Child Abuse” or “Neglect” are the ones who are in the wrong. They are the reason our country is in the sad shape that it is. Continue to hold people accountable for what they do, and we will have a great world to live in. My thanks to you “Dad” for standing up to the rest of the world.

    • Brandy King

      Very well said! The people that have such a problem with it are the ones we have to worry about. Good job Dad. It’s too bad there aren’t more parents out there like you.

  • 2sister

    The idea is good if you can guarantee that you won’t get sleazeballs or perverts calling your child. A better approach might have been to offer her free babysitting services to people that he or she knew for a certain amount of time. For example, he could have putt the add in a church bulletin or some other publication that would go out mainly to people that he knew.

    • 2sister

      oops. I put an extra t on put.

  • vdub

    Yeah, a church bulletin, that would definitely eliminate the risk or a “Sleazeball or Pervert” from calling…. bahaha

    • 2sister

      Yes, I’m aware that there are bad people everywhere. If you limit the ad to a church or other such group, however, you limit the amount of people that you have to screen. This would be much harder to do if you put the add in a big publication like the star telegram. The idea, as I stated in my previous comment, is that you need to know something about the people. The people calling for the add in the paper might not even have kids.

      • vdub

        I saw your point and understand it. Just giving you a hard time.

  • Dirty Laundry

    Basically the Dad just aired the family’s dirty laundry out in public. I have no say in whether the punishment was too harsh or not. But I do think it should have been offered to just a few families…making flyers and passing them out was a little extreme. That’s going public, and then it’s completely out of your hands. On a side note…why is it when anyone gets a negative response about what they have done, they always revert to “they just want to caution other people” about it???

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