by Telling Dad on May 12, 2010

One of the perks I enjoy as a parent is being able to dole out interesting punishments when my kids stray from the straight and narrow.

Usually, our children are aces when it comes to knowing what’s expected of them, but every now and then they get this crazy notion that they can outsmart us. I love seeing their best laid plans unravel before my very eyes. Even when I know I’ve got ‘em, I enjoy watching as they feverishly dig themselves a deeper and deeper hole with the shovel of deceit.

Well, our 15-year old son tried to pull a fast one on us today. And, as expected, he failed miserably.

He knows that his grades determine how much computer, XBox, and television time he gets. It’s a simple reward system…get good grades and you can wield all the nerdy little power swords and kill all the zombies you want. He also knows that poor performance in school means less geek time.

The school he attends sends home progress reports every so often so that we can spot-check our kids and gauge how long we can expect to support them after graduation. The students then have to return signed progress reports within 7 days of receiving them or they get publicly flogged in the courtyard (this ramification may not be entirely accurate).

This past weekend, our son had fun-filled days planned, and he enjoyed them wholeheartedly. This morning, on his way to school, he pulls out a crinkled wad of progress reports in mid-drive and says, “Oh, yeah, you have to sign these so I can turn them in. They’re due today.”

If you’re a parent, you already spot his ploy. If you don’t, God help you.

This little cretin’s plan was to use heavy traffic and a tight schedule to his advantage. He thought that Heather would opt to sign his progress reports, sight unseen, just to avoid a backlog of cars. Little did he know that she cares more about his education than roadway etiquette.

My wife perused his reports and saw all A’s on the beginning pages. Then, on the last page, the most crinkled of them all, test scores of 70 and 72 lurked in Geometry. Flanking these abysmal scores were quiz grades of 50 and 55.

When asked why he waited until just minutes before the progress reports were due before bringing them to her attention, he gave the classic teenage response, “I forgot.”

I know it’s obvious, but this little wiz conveniently “forgot” so that his weekend plans wouldn’t be ruined, and so that he could score as much XBox time as possible before the imminent and inescapable backlash.

Along with misdeeds come punishments, and while my kids know we’ll never resort to anything physical, they usually don’t like my creativity when it comes to sentencing. He wasn’t being punished for “forgetting”, he was being punished for the bad grades. I’m all for video games and entertainment but when it encroaches on school performance, he knows we’ll have him cut back.

Ultimately, I decided to take away his XBox for two weeks. It is, after all, a teenage boy’s raison d’ĂȘtre…ranked right up there with food and Clearisil in importance (both of which are a distant second).

Rather than just tell him that he lost his XBox so that he can spend more time on his math studies, I decided to make my point without even saying a word.



Considering he only pays attention to things that are connected to an XBox controller, it was a no-brainer move, and I had fun with this one all night long.

“What’s the problem? Now you you’re plugged into Geometry.”
“Let’s play math!”
“Where’s the power button?”
“Let’s duel! You be Rhombus and I’ll be Polygon.”
“How many hit points does an isosceles triangle have?”

It. Was. Awesome.

As a parent, you know you hit the punishment mother lode when you hear a genuine agonizing groan from your child. Pat yourself on the back if you manage to get them to collapse to the floor in an exasperated heap. And buy yourself something special if they continue to whine about how unfair you are. Eliciting all of these reactions in one full swoop is the parenting equivalent of baseball’s triple play.

Well, chalk another one up for our team.

In the end, his test scores improved to the high 80′s and his retest was an A-. After two weeks, his xBox was returned, he was happier for it, and his school performance was vastly improved.

Win, win, win.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Super Surfing Sunday 5/16/10 | Pepper Scraps
May 16, 2010 at 7:37 am
Gamers Unite!
September 13, 2011 at 10:50 am
ExBox Revisited
January 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm


karen May 12, 2010 at 12:26 am

You have an extremely creative parenting style. I love it!
.-= karen´s last blog ..How did I get such a wonderful Hubby? =-.

Cheryl May 12, 2010 at 1:00 am

Seriously? that is the.best.punishment.ever.
.-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Today has been the shittiest day ever. =-.

trisha /MomDot Mom B May 12, 2010 at 2:03 am

Greg, this is so good you have to send it to a parenting magazine. Seriously, funniest moment ever.

Although, if you really wanted to get him, you could have made him be in the *video* lip syncing.

.-= trisha /MomDot Mom Blog´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday (05-11-10) =-.

Virginia from Lady V May 12, 2010 at 2:11 am

I am dying laughing, and writing this down for future use with my now two year old son. Thanks for sharing your clever punishment.
.-= Virginia from Lady V dZine´s last blog ..Bonnet Blankies- The Blankie with a heart =-.

mmj May 12, 2010 at 2:12 am

Priceless. I may have to try this one sometime!!

Marinka May 12, 2010 at 2:18 am

I can't wait for my kids to start failing math so that I can do this, too! Does it work with other subjects?
.-= Marinka´s last blog ..Wait Watchers =-.

Sky May 12, 2010 at 2:18 am

Isn't being the parent fun? You bet your bottom dollar. I love it! While we haven't hit the bad grades, Johnny had a bad week wearing hoodies. (Long story) So, I packed up all the hoodies and when he finally got home from school asked for the one he was wearing and put them in a closet, never to be seen again. Well, I'll get them out when they are too small.

The power, oh the power! As Martha says…It's a good thing! Great job Greg!
.-= Sky´s last blog ..Happy Mother’s Day! =-.

RobMonroe May 12, 2010 at 2:19 am

Great work. This is absolutely awesome.
.-= RobMonroe´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Face Meets Dirt =-.

Desiree May 12, 2010 at 2:19 am

.-= Desiree´s last blog ..Coming to an end =-.

Nicki May 12, 2010 at 2:22 am

Love it!!!!
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Who in Your Life Has Shown You What Courage Is? =-.

Elizabeth May 12, 2010 at 2:28 am

GENIUS. I'm definitely stealing this idea next time we have to take away video games.
.-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: the cat bed sure is inviting =-.

Melinda May 12, 2010 at 2:37 am

I can see his face now!

you're not nice
.-= Melinda´s last blog ..New Balance supports Zooma Women’s Race Series =-.

Andrea @ MommySnacks May 12, 2010 at 2:37 am

I LOVE this one!!! I am so gonna use it the next time my son has some 'splaining to do!
.-= Andrea @ MommySnacks.net´s last blog ..Organic/Natural Foods Journey =-.

heather :D May 12, 2010 at 2:38 am

omGOSH i love it!!! i take away xbox All The Time but never quite so dramatically. You Rock :D:D:D
.-= heather :D´s last blog ..I love you So Much I’d totally Swim Across The Ocean for you. Jk… there are Sharks in there :D =-.

Miss Blondie May 12, 2010 at 2:43 am

I think you should write a book of creative punishments for all us non-creative parents. I love this…I may have to use it!

Candace May 12, 2010 at 3:01 am

Greg this made my morning seriously!
.-= Candace´s last blog ..Cool Girl’s Activewear from Lilikiks =-.

Kristen May 12, 2010 at 3:09 am

That is so awesome!! I'll have to remember this and hope you don't mind if sometime in the future I use this! ;-) I also agree with Miss Blondie-you should write a book (e-book?) for those of us who aren't quite as creative. I can see it now…"Creative punishment for the not-so creative parent"…or maybe you could get more….creative. ;-)
.-= Kristen´s last blog ..Secret Tweeting? It can be done! {Tweet Me Tuesday} =-.

Chelle May 12, 2010 at 3:13 am

That is hilarious! I LOVE it!!

Thanks for the laugh–and for the great idea…hehe!
.-= Chelle´s last blog ..A Sassy Glass Wine Charms =-.

Kelly W May 12, 2010 at 3:20 am

lmbo. So what would be considered a home run?
.-= Kelly W´s last blog ..What I made for Mother's Day (MOM KEEP OUT) =-.

Pepper May 12, 2010 at 3:32 am

That picture is priceless!! Love it can't wait till I get to dole out fun punishments!
.-= Pepper´s last blog ..My First Monday Mingle =-.

Deal-ectible Mom May 12, 2010 at 3:34 am

Absolutely priceless Greg!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventu May 12, 2010 at 3:38 am

I, too, have heard the groan this week, having had to ground my children from TV *and* outside time. Not certain if it was a grounding for them, or for me, because OHMYDEARLORD they are driving me batshit crazy for being so cooped up.

But you, sir, have come up with a great punishment! Kudos to you! (And you've been hanging out with me too much, huh? "Eleventy-billion" made me almost spit out my morning cereal. It's spreading! Love it!)
.-= Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting´s last blog ..Why Toddlers, Tongues and Soap are Trouble =-.

Jess ~ Life@30ish May 12, 2010 at 4:13 am

I absolutely love it. Except the Xbox is my husband's toy…maybe I can try this on him! I actually had a meltdown yesterday and blurted out 'EVERYONE IS GROUNDED FROM EVERYTHING!' (My kids are 9, 8, 7, & 3.) Never again am I running into the grocery store to grab 2 items w/ all 4 kids on their after school high. *misery*
.-= Jess ~ Life@30ish´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday ~ The Pipe =-.

one cluttered brain May 12, 2010 at 4:19 am

Oh my gosh!!! I hope I am creative as you as my kids age too.

Love the geometry plugin. Love it.

You are a creative punishment genius!!
.-= one cluttered brain´s last blog ..Monday Mingle: Favorite shows, restaurants and Orange soda (a BONUS!) =-.

Saebbe Reidhead May 12, 2010 at 4:27 am

My oldest isn't even 4 yet but I look forward to trying out this method of parenting LOL.
.-= Saebbe Reidhead´s last blog ..Frugality win or lose? =-.

Brittany May 12, 2010 at 4:31 am

You are a parental genius! When my kids become teens I'll be calling you and Heather for tips!!! But seriously it's also a great reminder to go at punishment creatively not angrily!
.-= Brittany´s last blog ..Simply Go-Gurt =-.

Jenn May 12, 2010 at 5:01 am

This post is being sent to my husband immediately. He'll need all the training in humorous/effective parenting that he can get.

.-= Jenn´s last blog ..Update on the Vacuum =-.

Yasmine May 12, 2010 at 5:28 am

lmao Greg, that is awesome. Once my son gets to that age I might just use your funny punishment methods!!

Toni @ A Daily Dose May 12, 2010 at 6:56 am

Inspiration for the next time my kids are bad or lie LOVE it LOL.
.-= Toni @ A Daily Dose´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Mother’s Day =-.

Jayme May 12, 2010 at 8:31 am

That is awesome. I am so keeping this in my arsenal

Janis @ Sneak Peek A May 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Now he can attain geeky/nerd status the old-fashioned way, through his books!
.-= Janis @ Sneak Peek At Me´s last blog ..Mesmerized – Wordless Wednesday =-.

1stopmom May 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

This was genius Greg!!!

Gena May 13, 2010 at 4:09 am

.-= Gena´s last blog ..Mother’s Day with The Morris Bunch =-.

Maggie Roberts May 13, 2010 at 4:15 am

Wow!! That was very creative (and so amusing for us all)!!!

Rob May 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I like your punishment. Pretty creative and I am sure your son loved it too. LOL. Too bad my daughter is a straight A student because I want to hand out punishments like that. There is still time though because my son Shaun will not be a straight A student. LOL.
.-= Rob´s last blog ..When Sponsors Go Bad =-.

Chris @ CleverFather May 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Punishment of the month awarded to you dude. And I'm sure it'll be much more effective than grounding ever would
.-= Chris @ CleverFather´s last blog ..Step2 Buggies Recalled =-.

Diane J. May 17, 2010 at 9:11 am

I love it! I have resorted to removing the Playstation which sends my son into a tailspin. I just wish I had been as clever, by plugging in a book. Hee, hee, hee.
.-= Diane J.´s last blog ..Driver's Edge =-.

Shan @ Last Shreds O May 22, 2010 at 12:33 am

Does getting all those responses in one fell swoop from a 5 year old count me in the "Great Parent" category? Or do I have to wait until she is a teen? Because I just went through this with The Diva yesterday. :D
.-= Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity´s last blog ..Luggage For Kids, Letters To Breathe And Other Random Things {Asylum Announcements} =-.

Paula May 22, 2010 at 12:37 am

Awesome punishment! I can only imagine what I'll have to deal with when it comes to homework. My husband never did his.
.-= Paula´s last blog ..Recess Monkey The Final Funktier Review =-.

Jenny May 22, 2010 at 9:18 am

LMAO you are horrible. My parents were just like you and I hated it. But I grew up normal and that's all that matters. But still. You make me laugh. /highfive
.-= Jenny´s last blog ..Kitty’s in the cabinet =-.

TerriAnn May 25, 2010 at 7:09 am

Those photos are just too hilarious! There's nothing like a 'dad' take on life!
.-= TerriAnn´s last blog ..Big Sale at Joann’s 5/23-6/12 =-.

Mr. Blonde May 26, 2010 at 8:32 am

LOVE IT! Now he'll rule obtuse angles and get to go make some real friends in the new neighborhood. You know what's after video games?…girls.
.-= Mr. Blonde´s last blog ..i. hate. laundry. =-.

Lori A. June 7, 2010 at 4:30 am

ROFL! That is awesome.

David Beers June 13, 2010 at 2:43 pm


since you seem to be so proud of how you are such a wonderful parent and especially because you don't parent how society tells you too, i felt like i should point out that nobody else has. How bout the fact that at one point you quote "get good grades and you can wield all the nerdy little power swords and kill all the zombies you want", inferring in my mind that you have let him play either "dead rising" and or "call of duty world at war" or "left for dead" being the 3 most popular games where killing zombies could be achieved. However there seems to be one little problem. All of these games are rated Mature, meaning that they are intended for audiences over 18 years of age. Since you seem like an intelligent person, i think you seem to see where this is coming to, but what you didn't know is, i am not too worried about the gratuitous violence or massive amounts of blood spilled in these games, but the language that is used on xbox live by other gamers. The average gamer is 25-35 years old and the developers are sure as heck not under 18 either, meaning that video games although may seem marketed towards 12 to 18 year olds, are not. They are being sold to kids with horrible parents and the higher percentage going to mature audiences they are intended for. Keep on being that great parent you think your being as you allow your son to hear racial and profane statements being screamed over xbox live.

Telling Dad June 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

David, I appreciate the comment even with its dripping sarcasm. My first negative comment! I never thought I'd get one, especially considering the nature of my blog, but I suppose no one is immune. :)

Please understand that I have never said that I was a wonderful parent. My kids say it, my wife says it, my friends say it, my family says it, but I don't. I'm not perfect. Never will be. But I do see how my children are developing and I'm not changing a thing.

I'm well aware of the type of chat that can pervade HALO's multiplayer environment and you have no clue what rules are in place regarding his gaming. His friends and others his age are all he's allowed to converse with. Others, especially those who use vulgarity, are muted or blocked.

I trust my child. He is a decent young man. He is in full honors classes, he is polite, he is courteous, and he is compassionate. Perhaps if he had a propensity for violence or if I didn't police his gaming, that would be a different story. But my office is 8 feet from his room. His door remains open. And he's limited on playing time.

Before you cast stones and lump me in with the "horrible parents" you mention in your post, you aren't here. You don't see the limitations we place. I totally understand your point, and the exact reason for your comment is why we have rules in place that he voluntarily follows.

I can't insulate him from the scourge of society forever and in the rare occasion that a numskull gets through with profanity or racial undertones, he takes action. He understands it's wrong and he's not being influenced by it outside his desire to not hear it.

I will keep on being the best parent I can be and this will include policies, actions, and decisions that other parents don't agree with. My goal is to raise caring, polite, and socially-conscious children. So far, I've seen nothing less from them and I'm proud of that.

Cheryl June 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Even though my children are young (22 months and 3.5) haven't children watched movies ABOVE the age "requirement"? I know I did when I was younger. and I can say for a fact that my girls might have seen some PG or PG-13 (after sneaking out of their rooms) so, feel free to lump me in with the horrible parents too. I think as parents, we need to realize what's appropriate for our children.
.-= Cheryl´s last blog ..The Strength Comes From Within =-.

Virginia from Lady V June 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Greg- Kudos to you for being vigilant with the rules on his gaming, and for monitoring who he is allowed to converse with. It is apparent, by the fact that your son takes action when he happens upon a gamer that uses profanity or racial undertones, that your son respects your opinion and has come to adopt at least some of them.

David- perhaps you could have just stated that you didn't like the punishment or didn't agree with the choices Greg makes with his son without the obvious sarcasm in your reply. It is one thing to disagree with another person's method of parenting, but to imply that they are a dead beat parent when you have never met them is just not nice.
.-= Virginia from Lady V dZine´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday- Hey Mom, this helmet’s too big =-.

Mandi June 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Greg, don't let him kill zombies! He'll just drop out of school and turn into a crazed zombie killing machine and run rampant through the hills! If this David person has a problem with you letting your son play a zombie game, then he needs to take it up with the industry, not a consumer, not a parent. Parents do what they want because they make the decisions in the household, they decide what games are allowed and to what extent a child is exposed to unpredictable behavior of XBox live communications. I suppose you'd be happy if parents were punished for allowing their children to play games with a rating far beyond their actual age and intellect, am I correct?

Mandi June 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Oh, and David, there's an energy sword in the Halo games, where there's also the ability to play zombie-objective games. You forgot that one.
.-= Mandi´s last blog ..Kraft Addresses "Mystery Mold" Item In Capri Sun Pouch | =-.

Telling Dad June 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

This post must be on a gaming forum somewhere because it rose from the dead today (hey! just like a zombie!). Not sure why it's such a big deal but I have people commenting about how my punishment was too strict and that I should just let him play.

I didn't post the Anonymous comments that just called me vulgar names because I'm not going to let this blog be anything but a happy zone. This is why God created the delete key.

As for David's comment, I let that through because A) he took time to write it, and B) I don't think it's anonymous. Not sure as it's a hotmail email address but it at least seemed like a sincere beef with me.

In the end, we all do our best and we certainly have opinions on how others parent. I'm just not convinced that getting your point across via insults is the best way to accomplish motive.

Brittany June 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Greg…I hope you don't let your children watch the news, go out in public, read a book, learn history or anything else. It's scary out there. It's violent. It's profane. It's often disgusting too. Make sure you take his ears and eyes away while you are at it!! :)

But in all seriousness I like your style. Teach me your ways!!!
.-= Brittany´s last blog ..Buying Manufactured Homes – Pros vs Cons =-.

Telling Dad June 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm

@Mandi, that is correct. He plays HALO, not the other titles mentioned in David's post. He assumed the worst but those fears aren't realized.

And the sword I was talking about was actually Runescape which is a PC-based gaming environment that I feel is policed VERY well. Those unfamiliar with it won't know what I'm talking about but Runescape players know how benign that platform can be.

Tammy June 13, 2010 at 3:38 pm

You go Parent! This the best and only punishment that seems to work in our home with my 14 year old daughter. She is completely obsessed with WoW online, and she is not allowed to touch it until all her school work is done (we home school). If ANY of her grades at ANY time drop below a B or 85%, she is banned from playing until that grade goes up. We've only had to do it twice, it is an incredibly motivating force.
.-= Tammy´s last blog ..FIRST Wild Card Tour: A Maze Of Grace (Giveaway) =-.

Tammy June 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Oh and my kid can kill zombies in WoW too….
.-= Tammy´s last blog ..Country Time Lemonade Giveaway =-.

Faythe @GrammyMouset June 13, 2010 at 3:59 pm

This was prefect punishment to fit the crime… as for rules to keep up grades or what ever your home rules are. I used a similar tactic eons ago with my boys growing up and I am proud to say neither are axe/sword wielding lunatics awaiting trial by their peers… You can not shelter children from real life and outside influences where you are not in attendance, no matter how hard you may try. And I have a feeling most kids these days as in past have seen and heard many vulgarities before adulthood or "age appropriate" for games, movies or TV. As far as I can tell you and your wife are raising terrific kids, well adjusted and know that there is consequences for their actions. Many, too many kids today are not taught that most important rule, that if you do wrong you must pay the piper.. in this case no play-box time.
.-= Faythe @GrammyMousetails´s last blog ..What do you Colum-bine… =-.

Eve June 13, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Like I have said before- this punishment was genius! As for allowing your son to play games rated mature, that is your decision, and personally I think the "above 18" guideline is ridiculous- I have met many 19-20 year olds that were not mature enough to do much of anything, and I have met teenagers that surpass those 20 year olds in maturity and decision making to no end. It depends on the person, on the kid- my husband and I have discussed what rules we will have in place when our daughter hits the 'teen' years, and for each and every one of them we had to defer a decision until we see what she is going to be like at 12, 15, even 17… as a parent our job is to set boundaries for our kids based on THEM, not on society, just because kids can get a license at 16 does not mean every 16 year old is mature enough to get one… that is a parents job to say if THEY think the child is ready.
.-= Eve´s last blog ..I’m a Junkie… =-.

Firefly June 13, 2010 at 5:36 pm

LOL I think your way of parenting and that punishment was perfect :) People always judge, and mostly those coming from gaming forums that are acting like kids themselves even though they are grown ROFL ;)
.-= Firefly´s last blog ..Going Vegetarian-Or Eating Disorder =-.

Allison June 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm

My oldest daughter does the same.exact.thing almost every time she has a progress/report card…wads it up and conveniently forgets about it until right before the bus comes. I think the punishment fit the crime perfectly. I have taken EVERYTHING out of my oldest daughter's room except for her clothes to try to teach her responsibility so I must be in line for "Worst Mother Ever", but you know what at the end of the day I know that I am trying to teach her what is right and one of these days she will (as I did when I grew up) realize that everything I tell her was in fact only to help her be a better person.

You did a great job with the punishment…and I love the XBox controller "hooked up" to the Geometry book…genius!

Shop with Me Mama (K June 13, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Greg, I love the punishment! Can't believe I never read this before and commented! Nothing like it being "raised from the dead" so that I can comment ;)
.-= Shop with Me Mama (Kim)´s last blog ..Touch'd Bath Salt Soak Review & Coupon Code! =-.

Bethany Larrabee June 14, 2010 at 3:47 am

I think the punishment was perfect for the "crime" and so creative! Kudos from me!!!
.-= Bethany Larrabee´s last blog ..Moving to Word Press =-.

Jordan Stevens June 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

Hey Greg, I fail to see how taking away your son's XBox will help in the geometry studies… He knows he's getting his XBox back in two weeks regardless of if he improves his grades or not.

Telling Dad June 14, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Uh, no. I'm not even sure how you got that from my post. The point is that he has to improve his grades. The detractors are reading way too much into this. Just let it go. It's a humor post not meant to be dissected. :) He would NOT have gotten it back if his grades didn't improve. The motivation worked…grades went up and stayed there.

Cheeseman June 15, 2010 at 2:33 am

Love it! Too bad you didn't video tape his reaction when he saw his brand new GBox!!

Telling Dad June 17, 2010 at 3:42 am

Comments are closed. Too many vulgar dingbats (who are completely unable to grasp sarcasm) are just spewing profanity-laced comments of no value. All they do is prove my point about the importance of a good education. For all those who say, "When I'm a parent…", believe me, your outlook will change when you are one. The fact is simple…less time on video games equals more time on studies. Playing video games during the school year is a privilege, not a right. I'm not sure which gaming forum this post is on but you all need to lighten up!

My son's life wasn't ruined by being 'forced' to spend more time on Geometry. His grades went up AND he showed more diligence in his schoolwork afterward. I might have considered other viewpoints if they weren't all "F this" and "F you" and "Suck this" and all the other intelligent banter you were relegated to. No one in that frame of mind should be doling out parenting tips.

Too many people are looking in from the outside without knowing me and the incredible relationship I have with my children. I like to have an open forum and all but I was hoping for a respectful discussion. You should see the ridiculous stuff I deleted…just unintelligent vulgar rants from gamers who aren't even parents. Have a kid, work to raise him into a man, and then rethink your words.

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