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"Meanest Mom on the Planet" Sold Kid's Car

When Jane Hambleton of Fort Dodge, Iowa, found a bottle of booze under the front seat of her 19-year-old son's car, she took out this ad on The Des Moines Register's classifieds:

"Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for 3 weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."

And that got her nationwide attention and kudos from a lot of people!

[She said] "The ad cost a fortune, but you know what? I'm telling people what happened here. I'm not just going to put the car for resale when there's nothing wrong with it, except the driver made a dumb decision," Hambleton said. "It's overwhelming, the number of calls I've gotten from people saying, 'Thank you, it's nice to see a responsible parent.' So far, there are no calls from anyone saying, 'You're really strict. You're real overboard, lady.' "

Steven Hambleton, a freshman business major at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, obviously was not one of the callers. And he didn't feel much like talking when contacted Tuesday.

"I don't think you can print" his response to the ad, his mother said. "He's very, very unhappy."


That's not going to teach the kid a lesson, thats going to teach him to hold a grudge on his mom and be sneakier next time. It would have been much more effecient to just sit down with him, let her son know how much she cares about him, and explain to him why shes taking his boose, not the whole car
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I bought my first two cars with money I'd earned by the time I was a freshman in college, so not a whole lot of sympathy for him here.
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danny, i couldn't have said better myself.

i'm wondering.. among all the calls she received about having the guts to do something like this, were any of them interested in the car?
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Danny & Moonbeam are off their rockers. The US is a nation full of spoiled, self-aggrandized young people with way too high self-esteem and way too low common sense. They have been taught in school that everyone must respect (i.e. submit to) them, yet they have know sense of their own responsibilities in life.

Kudos to the mom. Until this kid is emancipated, anything he owns or does is at his parents' pleasure. In the end, he'll be alive and much smarter for it. Too many people handle their kids softly because they are afraid they will "rebel" if treated with the strictness they deserve. These are the kids who die by the carload when they are out carousing drunkenly at 90 mph.

Straight talk from Sid.
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The mother made a good decision. However, she also obviously gets off on causing her son to be unhappy, which is probably why he is a substance abuser in the first place. She needs to take that under consideration. I'll never have a son, but if I did, I would not only sell his car, I would enroll him in a alcohol treatment program.

Straight talk from Vako.
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Sid-kudos. Absolutely right-on. So many of todays kids are disrespectful little snots because their parents are either too afraid to discipline them or trying too hard to be their best friend (the cool parent) that to finally see a mother, (who loves her son IMO) take such a step is fabulous. I agree wholeheartedly with mom and kid needs to grow up, take responsibility and hopefully realize that mom may have just saved his life.
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I think it depends on the reason. Is there to be no booze in the car because of drinking & driving, or because he's 19?

If because he's 19, then she's over-reacting, or at least reacting because of the wrong reasons. Here in Canada the drinking age is 19, and the US is a poster child for hypocrisy in how they treat drinking (I can only imagine what some European countries think of us).

As long as she was reacting to (an I assume previously opened) bottle of alcohol in the car, then she's doing an awesome job. I'd be pissed if it was my kid, too.
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I completely agree with Sid. the kid might hold a grudge yes, but you know what he will be alive to do so. And some day... like maybe when he is a parent too... he will understand and forgive her.
Being a parent isnt about making your kids like you or being their friend. It is about raising them to be responsible adults. And I think she is doing just that.
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There's no proof he was drinking and driving, just being dumb and keeping the stuff in his car(By the way, I live in Sioux City and know that Briar Cliff is a dry campus and it is illegal to have booze on it). Embarrassing the kid like this isn't going to make him learn a lesson about not drinking. He won't give up booze, but he'll keep resenting his crazy crazy mother.
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A 19 year old man/boy, gets his mother to buy him a $3700 car?!

Jeff, hats off to you fella, for seeing the sense here.

Buy your own car, don't go about sponging off your parents.

He should have left home by that age.

Good gravy, is the entire US populated with this sort of Cuckoo bird?


As to the mother, well it's her car she can do as she likes with her own possesions.
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Way to go mom!!! You may have saved your son's life and taught a very valuable lesson. I also have a 19 year old son, and because he is not responsible, I will not be purchasing a car for him because I am afraid that he also won't follow the rules. Children have to understand that there are consequences to their actions.
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Danny - it will teach the kid a lesson. He disrespected his mother and went against what he had been taught. It wasn't his car or education to be wasted. Apparently, he's still living off his parents, and to attempt to waste not just the car, or education, or himself, his mother took immediate action to remedy the problem before it became serious. A couple of years ago, I'd probably have felt the same way Steven does right now, but I know better. She did it for all the right reasons!
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He suffered enough already..... I am sure he got the message...... Give him the car back you MEANIE!!!!!!!!
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I whoul;d have done the same to many kids are drinking to early and if one kid leans that his car will be sold if he drinks than so be it "good job"
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The kid was stupid. Open container or not, it's obviously not HIS car, or she wouldn't be able to sell it. Doesn't really matter if the container was open or not, he's underage and left alcohol in a car that his mom gave him and that she obviously had access to. If it was open, he absolutely deserves to have no ride. If it wasn't open, he still should have known better than to leave it there. I doubt the kid is scarred for life, he only has himself to blame. I doubt she would have punished him as harshly if she just found the drinks in his room.
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I think that the mom was right for doing what she did. Kids shouldn't be driving around with Alcohol in their cars....Especially the under aged ones. This mom is just trying to protect her son...and maybe he doesn't relize it now...but he will later. She's just trying to help him say out of trouble with the law and teach him what's right and what's wrong. If she didn't sell the car, or punish him in any way...e would have just gone and did the same thing. You get what I'm saying? she obviously loves him..obviously...
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I am a 22 year old who has had to do everything for myself since i was 18 and i do own my own car but i wouldnt have done something so dumb as to drink and drive or even have an open container of alcohol in my car that is stupid and good work for taking his car if my mom would have done something like that for my brother maybe he wouldnt be locked up now at age 16 for hitting a child with my mom's car and killed her so i am happy she took the car.
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I really don't get why so many of you think this is "good" parenting.Shouldn't the whole point be that the kid learns a lesson? I really doubt he is going to take anything away from this besides the fact that his mom is snoopy, over reaching and clearly attention starved because she pulled a stunt like this.And to all the people crying because they paid for their cars in high school, well wake up, times have changed. High school kids and now even college students time is so consumed by activities like sports, choir, band, quiz bowl that they seriously don't have time to have a job because school is their job. All the old people here need to get back to their widdlin instead of saying "Back in my day..."
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i have lost friends over the new years to drunk drivers. I myself have driven drunk before but not anymore, i dont want to be one of those people who have hurt or killed others because i couldnt function right. Being under the influence impairs your brain. The woman made a good decision.
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As a father of 4 teenagers, I think that some may believe a grudge will be held against the parents. But I also believe that if any maturity abounds in this kid, he will see that drinking and driving is a license to kill. Way to go mom.
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I don't understand why this makes national news. First of all, the son is nineteen years old and if he wants to live by his own rules then he should not be under the roof of his parents. Also, keeping alchohol in a vehicle is stupid in itself, especially for someone underage... it's an arrest waiting to happen for a young driver. I don't think the mother is not to blame however, calling so much attention to punishing your son will teach your son to not drink alcohol, it will clearly only show your son that you only wish to show your son how many supporters you have, it doens't guarentee it will sway his opinion of alcohol or of discipline techniques. Overall, bad choices on both.
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Taking his car isn't going to get him to stop drinking, its only going to piss him off and hold a grudge against his mom. Having alcohol in his car doesn't mean he was drinking it WHILE driving. He's 19, in college and is just living life like any teenager would. The mom should be happy that her kid is off the streets and in college rather than in jail or in a gang.
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Kudos to the "meanest mom". Regardless of the kids age, he should have liquor in his car; whether he is just "stashing" it or not, it doesn't belong there. That kid is lucky that his mother is the one that found the bottle. I don't know what the laws are in Iowa, but if a cop pulled him over in Illinois and saw that bottle under the seat it would have been much worse than what his mother is doing to him.
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I'd have to say i do agree with what this mother did and took action before the problem got worse but i don't exactly agree with what Sid Morrision said"The US is a nation full of spoiled, self-aggrandized young people with way too high self-esteem and way too low common sense."Well i think us young deserve a little more respect then that. Remember you were once a kid like us too. We do make allot of mistakes but you can't forget that were young and still learning. That can't be used for a excuse for some kids but there ARE some good kids
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It's her right to take away the car.

Not classy that she would embarrass him like that, and even alert the police to it.

I agree: this shouldn't be such a big deal.
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I think this mother is really responsible. I would have done the same thing if I found alcohol in their car. Drinking and driving is very dangerous and more parents need to be like this one.
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Who knew so many old people read this blog?

As someone who was born this side of the Vietnam War, I assure you:

This stunt has not taught the kid anything. How about some actual parenting, instead of crazy over-reaction-ing?

If my mother had done that, I would still resent her.

There is absolutely no evidence that he was drinking and driving; maybe he just knew his mom always searched his room.

Raise your hand if you waited until you were 21 to drink.

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Obviously the ad is the argument that ensued after the alcohol was found and is just a repeat of what the son accused his mother of being. This will be a valuable lesson learned but probably not until he has his own children. And I'm sure Iowa has a public transportation system.
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My hand is raised. I am 21...and I have NEVER drank. I don't plan to either. I know way too many people who've completely wasted opportunities because they put alcohol as their priority.

My mom could probably run a race with this "mean mom" and come in second (only because I don't see her making public announcements like this mom did). I thought my mom was trying to ruin my life on a regular basis....come to find out, she's the only thing that saved it. I always felt that I was being controlled, and in a way I was. But only to the extent that I now realize I needed it.

And just a sidenote, I never hated my mom. And I'm still only just now discovering that the reason my mom treated me the way she did is because she knew me well enough (loved me enough to get to know me that well) to know how to discipline me in a way that would not only keep me from doing things she didn't want me to be doing, but also that would make me realize WHY I shouldn't be doing those things...even if it took me a while.

And P.S. a good parent will NEVER be a friend, but they also ALWAYS back up discipline with plenty of love and support.
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I dont see any reason for her to be called a mean mom just because she took her sons car away.. She paid for it.. He broke the rules.. He is 19 years old for gods sake.. He should be buying his own vehicle by now.. Im only 17 and i bought my own vehicle with money that i worked my ass of to get..

When I was almost 16, a friend of mine gave me a car for an early birthday present.. Without me breaking any rules and before I even got to drive it, my mother sold it.. And, might I add, i never even saw the money.. Now, I had a mean mom..
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Just curious - for those who are saying the mom is crazy and that this is "bad parenting": Do you have children of your own? And if so, how would you handle this situation?

For the record, I think the mom had the right to sell the car if it was hers to sell and the son broke the rules (we don't know what kind of rules were set down when he got the car). However, I don't think I would have aired my dirty laundry out in such a public way. And yes, I do have kids.
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Tishkbob is right. She was perfectly within reason to sell the car, its hers, but she didn't to do it in such a public manner, the subject of the booze in the car becomes more comical than tragic that way. Also, I don't want to launch into a tirade about the drinking age, but there are some people who drink responsibly at 14 and others who can never drink responsibly, even at 80. Someone said a good parent shouldn't have a 19 year old drinking. Well, I've been drinking since 18 and been honest with my parents about it and its made for a much better relationship than sneaking around.
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I understand TAKING the car on a temporary basis, but the kid's 19. If he doesn't understand the risks of drinking driving by now, then he never will. I agree with Danny on this one, that all she did was show him next time, he better be more sneaky. Furthermore, how is she to know he was actually drinking and driving? He could have been drunk in his room, and have known she'd look through there, too. I used to hide my cigarettes in my car, although I didn't smoke in it, for that exact same reason--because I didn't want my parents to find them.
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I say, go mom! That kid got what he deserved. Little does he realize, if he decided to be a moron and drink and drive. He could've killed himself and other innocent people. Plus...she's helping to get the message out to other kids that parents aren't afraid to discipline their kids in a harsh way.
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It doesn't say anywhere that he was drinking and driving,that is just a conclusion some of you are jumping to. I have books in my car, but that doesn't mean I'm reading them while driving.
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My husband started drinking at age 13 and used to drink like a fish. He quit on his 21st birthday. I'm the only one in the house that drinks and I didn't really start till I was 21.

We have two kids. We are going to talk to our kids about drinking and let them know we want them to wait till they are 21 but if they choose not to and want to drink at 18 then they must do it at home under our supervision.
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