In Canada, a judge's ruling recently undermined a father who was trying to correct his 12-year-old daughter's disobedience. In a frightening violation of parental authority, the court ruled the father had punished his daughter "excessively" by refusing her permission to go on a school camping trip after she had disobeyed him. Details are here on Albert Mohler's blog.
This ruling is downright dangerous - not only for parents but also for children. If parents do not have the authority to choose logical consequences in order to prevent their children from engaging in dangerous, illegal, or inappropriate behavior - if children can sue and the court will simply step in and overrule the consequences just because the court happens to deem them "excessive" - then the government is going to raise a generation of unruly, undisciplined young people who have no concept of what adult life is really like. You see, if employees choose not to show up for work, or if they choose to have an intense argument with their boss, the consequences may be what the employees would deem excessive - they may be fired, and lose their income, a good reference, and perhaps even their home and possessions. Those are pretty excessive consequences for one little argument, or for "just being a bit late sometimes" - but they are reality.
Missing a school camping trip seems to be a very appropriate consequence for a disobedient 12-year-old. It is sufficient to act as a deterrent to the behavior, without producing excessive long term pain. I know of no parent who would think that is an excessive punishment, especially in light of the fact that by the time a child reaches 12, she is coming to the end of the parent's ability to inflict meaningful consequences. It's critically important that before she leaves home, she comes to understand that the world does not operate according to her whims. Unfortunately, this young lady has just learned that it does - at least if she's willing to go to court to fight for those whims. I fear this is not the last we will hear about this young lady - and I fear the future will show she has not turned out better for this arbitrary court decision.