Wouldn’t lumps of coal be easier?

A Texas father is auctioning off the video game systems he had bought his sons for Christmas, saying they do not deserve the expensive presents. The 41-year-old man from Pasadena said he had bought three Nintendo DS systems – one for each son. But fed up with their misbehaviour, he has posted the items on the eBay auction website.

“No kidding,” the eBay posting says. “Three undeserving boys have crossed the line.” The man told the Houston Chronicle newspaper that he and his wife were at their wits’ end. The boys – aged nine, 11, and 15 – would not stop fighting, swearing and making obscene gestures, he said. He defended the decision to auction off the three systems, together with three games, by saying: “Teaching accountability is NEVER EVER EVER wrong.”

Good for him. Sure, it seems a little extreme at first glance, but if you let things go for too long as this couple apparently had, you find that you have no choice but to resort to extreme measures. If nothing else, the sheer embarrassment of the resulting publicity should teach those three boys a lesson.

Of course, Child Protective Services will probably take them away from the parents, as the combination of a) celebrating Christmas, b) forcing children to experience consequences, and c) not providing material goods on demand likely constitutes child abuse as defined by the agency.