The highest-rating story on today, by some margin, is about the retired naval commander Nick Crews and his letter to his three children.

The author did not attend the same parenting school as Phil Dunphy… Picture: Ten

He describes his “bitter disappointment” in their inability to hold down jobs and relationships. In the process, he’s incurred the wrath worldwide of everyone who blames their failure in life on a strict upbringing.

The central question arising from the story is this: If you’re a dole-bludging no-hoper, do your parents have the right to tell you? Of course, the acceptable answer is no, but deep down I suspect many of us empathise with Mr Crews. I certainly do.

It’s wrong to see your kids as an investment on which you expect a decent return, but it’s a dire reflection on modern parenting when society expects us to idly stand by while our children make a complete hash of their lives.

I have two beautiful daughters. I see it as my job to give them the best opportunities I can through education, finance and whatever personal values I can muster. As far as I’m concerned, once they hit 18 their lives are their own. Marry a boy, girl, dye your hair blue, go into the funeral directing business, I don’t care.

But if they fail to reach their potential, give up and blame society or their upbringing for their misfortunes, I won’t be providing a shoulder to cry on. There are enough hangers-on in the world to tell you your life decisions are unreal when they’re clearly deluded. Dads should not be one of them.

Somewhere along the line – and Mr Crews is learning this to his detriment – we decided that parents should support their children regardless of the insane decisions that have the potential to change the course of their lives.

In other words, that we should play the same role as their circle of friends. Fred Crews, 35, certainly sees it this way. When asked for his reply to his dad’s letter, sporting a bare torso with a stomach tattoo, he was straight to the point. “He made me,” said Fred. When you hear from his kids, Mr Crews’ letter seems somewhat restrained.

The kind of parents who ban the word “no” from their households will have a field day with the retired naval submarine captain. But there’s another way to look at it. At least he cares enough to explain why he doesn’t particularly want them coming around for tea anymore.

He’s given them some detailed advice: it’s up to them whether they want to use it. In other words, he’s worked out the difference between a dad and a best friend.

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    • Evalee says:

      01:09pm | 20/11/12

      This is a difficult subject for me.  My parents were of the mindset that because they gave us food, we had clothes and we went to school they were doing their bit as parents.  I think there may be a bit more than that involved.  As well as the physical needs, each child needs to know (or understand on some level) that he or she is wanted, loved and valued.  If this bonding or reassurance or whatever you want to call it doesn’t happen, all the food, clothes and education in the world will not matter.

    • Kel says:

      02:28pm | 20/11/12

      Couldn’t agree more, Evalee. 

      I was raised in a very strict household, and needless to say, it hurt.  A lot.  For everyone involved.  But my parents didn’t know any different.  Thanks to this experience, not only was I (and still classified as) a “rebel child” but I’ve grown into a much wiser & much more emotionally stable person.  But that was my hard work - not theirs.

      To add to what you’re saying, Evalee, every child is different.  Parents need to have the patience to actually UNDERSTAND their child & their way of thinking (not teaching them what to think) and encouraging their dreams.  Every parent needs to understand that their expectations of their children are merely an extension of themselves - their expectations (9 times out of 10) are not the wishes & dreams of their children.  And that’s where the problems lie.

      Just like with everything in life - one person’s way of discipline isn’t necessarily right for another person’s way.  It comes down to understanding the child in order to find out what will work.

    • MYOB says:

      04:52pm | 20/11/12

      Parent your way but don’t judge others for parenting differently.

    • Sara says:

      05:06pm | 20/11/12

      I’ve also had a similar experience and don’t relish my childhood. However, I have been determined to put that past me and make my own life better and my son’s life better too. Once I left home, it was only up to me.

    • nihonin says:

      05:55pm | 20/11/12

      +1 Sara

      Don’t be your parents.

    • rich says:

      06:14pm | 20/11/12

      Wow, all this time I thought I was the only one. I often wonder why my parents didn’t love me and now I have children it is even harder to understand. Of course I had food, cloths and roof. Some kids don’t get these so for these reasons I am grateful.

    • parent free says:

      06:25pm | 20/11/12

      My parents were the same and they took every opportunity to put us down as well. My mother was convinced to have her tubes tied after I was born. She married three times and left us home alone while she worked at night. My father was the town drunk and bet our house on a horse race. How can I ever be expected to live up to their standards? Lol.

    • Don Paul says:

      01:15pm | 20/11/12

      Well said Luke, thanks for the article.

      Bit more of a concern is Nick Constables spectacular fail at comprehension! Mate, if you’re going to read a letter then write a news article about it, best make sure you understand it first!

    • St. Michael says:

      01:18pm | 20/11/12

      Look, using only a military-strict parenting style or only a hippie laissez-faire parenting style is only going to result in disaster.  You need *both* weapons in the armoury when it comes to parenting—or leadership.

      That’s particularly so these days when one call to the ever-so-competent local DCS will show your kids you can’t command their residence in your own home past the age of 15.  In the Baby Boomers’ generation, not so much: both societal expectations and the power structures in domestic households kept kids in fear of their parents and therefore compliant.

      Some kids flourish under strict environments.  Some kids flourish under permissive ones.  The majority, I suspect, need both approaches at different points, and I suspect the need for effective parenting rises as the kids get older, not lessens.  You have no earthly way of knowing which approach is going to work with your child unless you are living with and parenting your kids in a meaningful way, and that is the most significant ingredient.

      I’ve got a lot of sympathy for Mr Crews.  It must have frustrated the hell out of him when he realised his children didn’t think like he did, which I suspect is a foundation of a lot of failed parenting stories.  I suspect the unsaid accusation here is that he treated his children like a military unit, subject to orders and demanding authority.  But we don’t really know that side of the story.  I’d be making a lot of crystal-ball assumptions about the time he spent with his family, though, so let’s leave it at that.

      Do you support your children through bad and good even after they’ve turned 18? That depends - take drug addiction, for example.  If your child is out of control at age 19 because they cannot stop abusing drugs, would you not for one second contemplate stepping in and trying to help them beat that addiction? But that, too, depends on your own upbringing and your family’s own specific values.  For the sad little nuclear families which seem to proliferate outside southern Europen or eastern cultures, it’s obviously a hell of a lot harder because the support base is not there.

    • Mahhrat says:

      01:50pm | 20/11/12

      This is some fantastic commentary.  It’s almost like we’ve forgotten what diversity is, and understanding that kids are different and you need different approaches to them.

    • Pattem says:

      02:15pm | 20/11/12

      @St. Michael, at the same end of the spectrum (but somewhat left of) of Laissez-faire parenting would be the compassionate, or over-protective parent.  “My Johnnie is a little angel.  You may have seen him involved in a high-speed chase on the 6pm News…but he’s still an Angel.  My Angel.  You MUST understand, he IS and ANGEL.”

    • me says:

      03:06pm | 20/11/12

      exactly. You need a balance of both. This is why governments should not make it illegal for parents to smack their kids. Sometimes smacking is necessary. Beating your kids for no reason is something else entirely, but the government seems to think that it’s all the same.

    • Pattem says:

      03:29pm | 20/11/12

      @Me, as my first child is in utero, I cannot speak from experience, but I think I would tend to agree with your sentiment.  However, spanking would always be a last resort (hypothetically, of course), but any form of discipline should be (hyopthetically, again) followed with correction. 

      Discipline without correction is just bullying, or at best, fruitless.

      Discipline can come in many forms, and doesn’t have to be spanking, so IMHO, justification for spanking would have to be strong.  I think it, too often, gets used as a quick fix.

      I am not so naive to believe that parenting will always go according to plan, and that kids of any age do not know how to push your buttons.

    • DOB says:

      03:52pm | 20/11/12

      Pattem, weird that you think that’s a “left” style of parenting: my ex-army champion boxer father and proud union man would have not comprehended your world at all…Be nice if you gave things a bit of thought instead of just blindly labelling everything with your nice tidy - but completely wrong - classification system…

    • Pete says:

      04:48pm | 20/11/12

      Military parents often create trainwreck kids, in the same way they usually fail at working in business - what makes things work in a regiment doesn’t work in a family or a business. This Mr Crews should start looking at himself for the root of his perceived failed kids. Making a public statement about it just reflects on his own dysfunction, and is plain embarrassing all round. There’s no guidebook to parenting, and most people, well those that function, just work it out, although experience has shown that being your kid’s best friend is doomed. A kid with a phony hyphenated name doesn’t stand much of a chance either - an attribute booming in the poorer western suburbs as the lower classes do what they’ve always done: ape their superiors!

    • Pattem says:

      04:49pm | 20/11/12

      @DOB, well, to criticise the classification system you need to know what the classification system is based on, how it is organised, what it is classifying, and so on.  I can tell you that DDC is a subject based classification sytem, UDC is an alphanumeric classification system, MOYS is a legal based classification system, and so on.  No classification system is ever wrong, because it is a “system” and it is up to the user to know how that system works.  Just because you don’t GET the system, doesn’t make it wrong, it means you don’t understand the system.

      My only mistake was probably to too subtly explain the classification system, through the use of a single word - spectrum.  I mean, most people who walk into a legal library would be absolutely lost, so I can understand your confusion.

      Let me explain.

      Based on a linear classification system of Hands Off versus Hands On, Discipline is Hands On and so to the Right of Centre, and Laissez-faire is Hands Off, and so to the Left of Centre.  Therefore you will find the Overly Compassionate at the left end with Laissez-Faire. 

      In fact, I think you’ll find that St. Michael established the spectrum, not me, by establishing the polar opposites of laissez-faire versus Military-Strict..

      BTW, I thought the word Spectrum indicated a linear scale in context of my statement, so if that word didn’t imply, band, series, or line, them I am sorry you didn’t get it!

      Phew, rant over smile

    • HeatherG says:

      05:05pm | 20/11/12

      Mother of six (5 boys and a girl, half of whom will be legal adults as of Dec 21 and who have turned out pretty well, all things considered). I could not possibly agree more, with either the article or this comment.

      Pretty much covers it, IMO.

      Also: extended family. We need it back. Doing it alone is much harder than with a gaggle of aunts, cousins and grandparents who can give both you and your childruns some different perspectives and help with a break when one or the other party gets too heated.

    • Bertrand says:

      05:06pm | 20/11/12

      One of the best comments I’ve read on this site in a long time St. Michael. Very well thought out and said.

    • Gregg says:

      01:22pm | 20/11/12

      ” The central question arising from the story is this: If you’re a dole-bludging no-hoper, do your parents have the right to tell you? Of course, the acceptable answer is no, “
      What utter BS Luke for of course they do and we should all be congratulating the Commander (ret).

      I have two adult daughters who had the opportunity to do tertiary study and even managed to hold down responsible jobs while they did that and have gone on to good substantial professional careers.

      Who is to say that the Commander has not supported his children and that would make him even more disappointed.
      They should have promoted him to Admiral with capacity for using the brig for the dole bludging no hopers.

    • Brian says:

      02:44pm | 20/11/12

      That’s exactly what Luke is saying, Gregg.

    • Quasimodo says:

      04:11pm | 20/11/12

      The acceptable answer is YES. If your parents aren’t going to tell you, who will?

    • Elphaba says:

      01:29pm | 20/11/12

      The problem with that story was that it was very vague about the specific failings of the children.  Just because your marriage breaks down and you don’t have an extraordinary career, doesn’t make you a failure.

      I notice you quoted the easiest part of the article to suit your own personal agenda, but what about this bit?

      “The family feud burst into the public domain when Nick Crews published the email at the request of daughter Emily Crews-Montes, 40 - one of his targets - who now lives in France and works as a translator for a publisher.”

      Who also happens to still speak to her parents.  So, how exactly is this woman a failure?  If she made a few mistakes in career or marriage, does she deserve this tirade from her parents?  Can people not fall and pick themselves up again?

      We don’t know her story, because the article conveniently forgets to tell us that part.  But if someone has a tattoo on their stomach, they MUST be a failure!

      I don’t think you know anything about the specifics of how, and why, and how often their kids have failed.  I don’t.  That’s not detailed in the article.  All it’s concerned with is the scathing content of the email.  You’re quick to side with the father, but I doubt his parenting has been perfect, either.

      Maybe the news should dig up something worth reporting.  Even another article on Gaza/Israel would have been preferable to this…

    • St. Michael says:

      02:00pm | 20/11/12

      Probably it was short on details because Ltd News thought it couldn’t go any further on the story without opening itself to a defamation claim.  Would you want to go with a blow-by-blow account of a military-style upbringing when your star witness is a taxi driver with a stomach tattoo? wink

    • Elphaba says:

      02:27pm | 20/11/12

      Hehehe, St Michael, good point. smile

      I still don’t think Mr Crews is the model of parenting though.  As several people have already said, you can be firm and authoritative with your kids, but that’s quite a different story from being a bastard to them.

    • SydneyGirl says:

      02:56pm | 20/11/12

      “With last evening’s crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit,”

      I thought that was the point - that the children seem to be still dumping their troubles on the old folk.  To which his response was clean up your act or stop boring me with the details of it. At 35 you shouldn’t be plaguing your parents with your problems or relying on the fact that they have savings/money.

      He also seems motivated by concern about the grandchildren.  But well all grandparents are convinced that the children aren’t doing a good job of parenting forgetting that they muddled through the task.

      I have seen a bit of this in my family and I sympathise with my grandparents. With all their faults, they are old school and stoic and self-reliant.  The same cannot be said of a few uncles and aunts who while charming are quite feckless and persist in blaming their parents for their problems.  To which us younger lot can only offer an *eyeroll*:)

    • St. Michael says:

      04:06pm | 20/11/12

      ‘Feckless’, that’s a good word.  Haven’t heard that in a while.  Always good to be properly fecked.

    • marley says:

      04:47pm | 20/11/12

      @SydneyGirl - I pretty much agree with your comment. I don’t know how this guy parented his kids, or if he stuck to his submarine and let his wife do the job - maybe they weren’t the greatest parents. But for a 35 year old adult to be saying “you made me” and taking no responsibility for his own input into that process just seems immmature, and, yes, feckless.

    • Denise Webber says:

      01:45pm | 20/11/12

      I am almost positive that there is so much more to this story than just what is written about, I suspect that their environment growing up was very strict, kids need boundaries, but they don’t need prisons. Perhaps he found it hard to parent his children by any other means than that of treating them like they had enlisted in the Navy.

      If one of your children ends up in the way he says he has, that is unfortunate, if all of your children end up with the same inabilities and life choices, then perhaps you should be looking at the common factor, their upbringing.

      Nature vs nurture is always a tricky subject, but when the failure is systemic amongst all members of the same family,  i’d be looking at the upbringing and the method of parenting.

    • Leah says:

      02:23pm | 20/11/12

      I agree, I don’t think we’re getting the whole story (although that might take awhile). A lot of people are quick to blame the strict and most likely often absent Navy Dad. I myself have come across quite a few traditional mothers in my time who constantly pressure their children to:

      A) Be in a relationship
      B) Provide them with grandchildren

      I was lucky not to have experienced this personally but often when kids are pushed into having a family of their own it leads to divorce and broken homes because they were simple not ready for a life time commitment.

    • Nathan says:

      01:45pm | 20/11/12

      absolute rubbish to say the dads worked something out. I think hes worked out how to live life without putting his heart into his family and being faithful to what their real needs are when it mattered. Hes obviously gotten all he wants out of them and now wants to sit back and enjoy being a judge forever after so he can Rule over something to prove hes not a waste.  Good luck to the “Three” and all the best in their life and the grandkids too. God bless them

    • Peter says:

      05:15pm | 20/11/12

      Haha.  Well said, Nathan.

    • Riversutra says:

      01:46pm | 20/11/12

      A friend will never tell you when you are doing something totally wrong or stupid- they wish to remain your friend and do not consider that their duty. A parent must do their duty and tell you. I know a lot of parents think they should be a friend to their children, driven by the desire to be seen as young and hip which is the driving force in this as no one in todays society wants to be seen as that most socially unattractive thing, old. Dutys a bitch but it must be done. It’ called being responsible. Try it, your kids will actually respect you.

    • Rose says:

      02:30pm | 20/11/12

      I try to be balanced, I have told my kids that I always reserve the right to tell them when they’re screwing up, that’s my job. My kids have also seen my mum and dad tell me when they thought I needed to pull my head in. However, they get the right to tell me why I’m wrong and why they think they’re fine to do/say whatever they did. It has brought about some lively conversations (sometimes involving all 3 generations).
      Bottom line though is that my kids know (at least I hope they know) that I will always be on their side, that I will never desert them and that I see my role as being a support to them as adults. I keep telling them that my telling them my point of view when things aren’t as I think they should be is a sign of me being on their side, if I didn’t care I wouldn’t bother telling them what I thought.
      This framework then allows us to have great ‘friendships’ based on mutual respect (usually). I’ve also learnt a hell of a lot from them, both parents and kids need to be open to learn from each other, and that kind of relationship takes a lifetime to establish!!

    • Lauren says:

      01:47pm | 20/11/12

      Your Dads not supposed to be your best friend, its true.  But neither is he supposed to be a snide judgemental bastard.  Not saying he didn’t way things he needed to be said,  but it probably would have been best said personally, face to face instead of in a mass email.  All the stupid man has done is guarantee he and his wife will never have to worry about the grandkids any longer because there’s not a chance in hell they’lll be seeing them again.

    • Martin says:

      03:27pm | 20/11/12



      What was really needed was a good old-fashioned stand-up verbal ding-dong with his kids. It might not have cleared the air, but at least everybody would’ve known where they stood. At least his kids would’ve seen a concerned, frustrated and very human father in action.

      As for Mr Crews email statement “I feel it is time to come off my perch (sic)” ... this pretty much sums up his back-seat approach to parenting.

      And on that topic: sending his kids an email ?!!! This smacks of a cowardly neighbour leaving snide anonymous notes in your letterbox instead of knocking on your door. If you line next door to a violent psycopath, fair enough - ‘mano y mano’ is probably not a good approach. But I’m reasonable enough, so if you’ve got a problem with me, come and talk to me ffs !

    • HappyG says:

      01:50pm | 20/11/12

      Good article Luke. I’m currently going through this with my twin 19 year old boys. They see me as some form of anti Christ because I now want them to pay minimal rent ($50 a week ) seeing as they are both working and earning good money. For the $50 they get fed, housed, washing, cleaning etc. while both Mum and I work full time. Not a bad deal in my book. The fact that they are now legally adults and can enjoy the priveleges of adulthood -cars, booze, nightclubs etc. doesn’t apparently gel with my idea of paying your own way in life. FFS I can’t get through to these two. I’m getting to the stage where they can both bugger off and learn about how life works for themselves. I love them both dearly but sometimes you just have to be a realist.

    • martinX says:

      02:37pm | 20/11/12

      Sell the house and move into a smaller place with the missus.

    • Rose says:

      02:39pm | 20/11/12

      The whole board thing is a struggle, my kids fought against it but are now resigned to it. The eldest one caved first and told the others that he didn’t actually notice the $50 if he paid by direct debit and so it’s had a positive trickle down effect.
      The thing seems to be that board is no longer expected by most parents, and so when some parents demand it it is seen as unusual and steep.
      Your kids are luckier than mine though, I no longer do their washing and they are still expected to do dishes and clean up a bit (not much, but at least their own mess). Funny, it was easier to get them to do their own washing than it was to get them to cough up the cash smile

    • ? says:

      04:23pm | 20/11/12

      might be time to downsize your home. they’ll soon get the hint.

    • Baloo says:

      01:52pm | 20/11/12

      Not all kids are the same, you can’t just have one set of parenting rules for all families..
      One kid may become a doctor when brought up under strict rules whilst another may become a meth addict.

    • chrismatic says:

      01:53pm | 20/11/12

      Nick Crews letter to his kids didn’t say they were dole bludgers, but that they had not embarked on the careers he would have expected from public school educated people. They didn’t have jobs with the status and money he wanted for them. His vitriol was concentrated on their failed marriages and his concern for their children - which could be quite valid point. But really, he only sees them as reflections of himself, as failed reproductions. I feel for his kids, to be faced with someone who will never value you for yourself, but only in how they do or do not see themselves in you.

    • Simo says:

      02:32pm | 20/11/12

      Great point : Nick Crews wants his children to reflect everything he isn’t. They are a status symbol, not people. And his concern for the grandchildren is probably because they aren’t being raised in the manner he wants or approves.

    • Sharon says:

      02:40pm | 20/11/12

      Nick implied that his children were bludging on the government - therefore dole bludgers.  From the sounds of it, his children all work, therefore pay taxes and not bludging on the government.  I am apalled that people keep bringing up the fact that his son is a taxi driver with a stomach tattoo.  Who cares if he has a stomach tattoo.  He was from my opinion rudely interrupted by a news reporting whilst he was getting ready for work.  Who hasn’t opened the door in that state of dress.  The father sounds like a pig and only wants to be involved in his children’s lives if they do something good, not if they are having problems.  What a pig.  Good on Fred.  Being a taxi driver may not be what your father wanted, but you have a job and are not bludging from the government.

    • Klingers says:

      01:55pm | 20/11/12

      I had this epiphany a few years ago. As an adult I have lots in common with my Dad, I like and respect him and I have heaps in common with him… But he’s my Dad. Not my best friend.

      I’ll give him a lot more time and company then he realises because he won’t see his own old friends enough, fine, but I’m not willing to be talked down to or given sanctimonious unsolicited life advice. I will happily walk away and the time lost is his problem, not mine.

      Don’t get hung up on your parents folks. Be there when they ask for help, be there when they need you, but don’t let their life-views drag down your enjoyment of life. You’ve only got one.

    • Rebecca says:

      01:56pm | 20/11/12

      I agree with you, I certainly don’t think a parent’s job is to be their son/daughter’s friend.
      But, it’s not their job to be a complete asshole either. I don’t think that’s productive at all as the only result would be your kids turning against you, even if you’re right. Wouldn’t a better approach be to teach your kid (or in this case, adult) how to improve whichever aspect of their life you think is not as good as it should be? Back when I had a really unhealthy lifestyle, my mother didn’t call me rude names, she taught me how to cook decent food. 

      Also, Fred Crews has a point - every adult is a product of how they were raised.

    • AFR says:

      02:03pm | 20/11/12

      I think my Dad got it right.

      When I was a kid he was strict, but in hindsight, fair.

      Now, as an adult, we have become good mates. Equals.

    • Mahhrat says:

      02:04pm | 20/11/12

      Your tagline is great advice - fathers should not be best mates to their kids.  They should be fathers.

      The rest of your article is poorly written rubbish.  Is the father in your example right?  Nope.  Why?  Because the son said it - he made them.  If he didn’t take the opportunity to mould their behaviour when they were young, he is hardly in a position to state his disappointment now.

      I’d suggest that, like most military, he wasn’t around much.  He expected his few minutes a day to be enough.  It isn’t, nor should it be.  I imagine all three kids would’ve loved to see more of him growing up.

      Now, they don’t need him, and see no reason why they should act in a way to gain his approval or respect.  While it’s a shame they’ve had some relationship problems - largely for the sake of those kids - it doesn’t sound like they’re impacting on society in any truly negative way.

    • martinX says:

      02:39pm | 20/11/12

      BS. At some point you have to take what you know about what is right and wrong - no matter where you learned it - and apply it to your own life as an adult.

    • George says:

      02:04pm | 20/11/12

      To each their own. The world doesn’t need lots of nuclear families any more. It’s hideously overpopulated, and the western governments at the behest of big business are hell bent on turning the first world into a second world.

      Given that, if anything having kids could be considered cruel. Unless you are filthy rich, in which case it would be cruel not to.

    • steve says:

      02:15pm | 20/11/12

      Didn’t even read the full article because I had to comment on this:
      “If you’re a dole-bludging no-hoper, do your parents have the right to tell you? Of course, the acceptable answer is no”

      The acceptable answer is not “no”.  Of course your parents have a right to tell you, in fact I was go so far as to say they have a responsibility (to you and to society) to tell you.  And not just your parents, anyone who cares about you should tell you so.

    • gladys says:

      02:26pm | 20/11/12

      This is a toughie, isn’t it? Clearly the guy worries about his grandkids, but he wasn’t really around for his children himself.

      All we can really do is teach them to try. So I tend to agree that if his kids aren’t trying then they would be a disappointment.

      I can’t judge. I’m not the best parent in the world either.

    • gobsmack says:

      02:31pm | 20/11/12

      He sounds like Captain Von Trapp in the ‘Sound of Music’.

      He needed a Maria to help with the kids.

    • bananabender says:

      03:38pm | 20/11/12

      The film is nonsense:
      - the real Von Trapp “children” were all a decade older.
      - Maria was a foul tempered middle aged harridan.
      - Captain Von Trapp was an affectionate and loving father.

    • St. Michael says:

      04:06pm | 20/11/12

      - And they did not bloody well escape the Nazis by skipping and singing their way over the Alps.  They defected while on tour in the US.

    • Pattem says:

      05:11pm | 20/11/12

      First Commandment of Hollywood:

      Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

    • bretto80 says:

      02:33pm | 20/11/12

      Why is the stomach tattoo made out to be the mark of a failure? I don’t have any and don’t rate them but I wouldn’t include that sort of detail in a written critique.

      As with most things dad and the kids need to meet in the middle. As a teacher, I see far too many parents who are more interested in being a part of their kid’s social life rather than regulating it. Of course, over regulation has its own problems.

    • Peter Gellert says:

      02:33pm | 20/11/12

      I am a father of three yooung boys and I hope I never am as stupid about being a Father as this man.
      Yes I expect I will be disapointed if they don’t live up to there potental and I expect I will tell them that quite forcefully but to cut them off until theyy have good news after blasting them as failures, No Way.
      Even the way he critizesed them, anyone with a history of managing people knows that if you want to be listened to properly for individual failings you discuss them privately. Doing it in public you are making a mistake or doing it for one of three things, educating others (doesn’t apply because he is critizing all for similar but seperate failings), demonstrating you are not responcable the situation or demonstrating power. My money would be mainly on the last from the tone.
      Just perhapes if they all have similar failings perhapes it stemms from something he DIDN’T teach them. Leading posabilities, art of negotiation/compramies, empathy and respect for difference.
      Oh and by the way a true friend will tell you when you are doing something stupid/dangerous etc and try and help you up once you have then fallen flat on your face. Or haven’t you heard about a friend in need saying.

    • ronny jonny says:

      04:39pm | 20/11/12

      Let us hope your three boys learn to spell correctly.

    • tez says:

      02:33pm | 20/11/12

      How much time dose a navel commander spend at home was there only rules when he was at home dose he blame his wife for not maintaining his regime?  I think there is a lot of gaps in this nonstory.

    • A Real Wog says:

      02:34pm | 20/11/12

      Hmm, I see my job as a coach – when they are young you spend a lot of time of the field directing, showing, explaining, helping, supporting , encouraging, praising etc etc. As time marches on you find yourself spending more time on the bench and less time on the field. As they pass 18 – 20 – 24 does that mean you don’t have any more input – no. That said, as a parent you do have to use your judgement and discretion as to when to “make comment” in relation to a particular matter. They are now adults. But, as we’ve been on this earth a little longer than they have, we will continue to be part of their lives and will only become involved when we think they can’t see the wood for the trees. Having said that, by the time they get to that point, they usually want to have a chat anyway…. 

      Am I their best friend, I don’t know, what I do know is that I’m their dad and I love them and I know they love me and their mum / wife. The question here is, what led to their inability to hold down jobs and relationships. The answer I suspect would be specific to the dynamics of that family.

    • Brian S says:

      02:36pm | 20/11/12

      As the father of two fine young adults making vastly different contributions to the world, I read this story with a mixed mind.  Your headline says that your dad is not your best friend and I agree with that sentiment.  But I think it reflects poorly on the father that he could find no other way then this to speak with his children. It shows everything but an amicable family relationship. 
      We gave our children every opportunity we could afford to prepare them to make their own decisions to go their own way.  What use they made and make of those opportunities is up to them; it is their choice to make. We support them and their choices   And we are not rich.
      To quote the cliché, it is what it is.

    • Dad says:

      02:43pm | 20/11/12

      I believe most parents do great in raising thier children. Looking at some of the comments here it’s easy to see the underlying attitudes of “Don’t Tell Me what To Do”, and it’s sad to see that is the attitudes of a lot of today’s young adults and when you read the comments left hewre today stating that the story doesn’t mention this or that but most comments made about the father all state that he must have been a “snide judgemental barstard"or because he was in the military he must have been tough and been like a jailer. The trouble with kids today is they want it all but dont want what comes with it and that is responsibility and also a good dash of respect for not just parents (who deserve the utmost of this) but society in general and start thinking straight not how they want to think because when you dont think straight you only think of yourself, poor me. I hae raised my children and would give them all I possibly could, I asked my children if they wanted to own a home and they thought that a great idea so I paid out thier cars put down a deposit on a house they liked and explained that they had to do all things with the house equally which wa all good in the beginning until one of them decided that he wanted to coin a phrase “have the cake and eat it” and because he desn’t have all the FREE money that he feels he should so now it’s not such a good idea to have that house even though everything was explained in the beginning and they were given the opportunity to back out before they signed on the line. All in all!!, parents cop a bit of a bashing at tthe hands of thier children and the so called do gooders who put up the facade of “We let our kids do thier own thing” Real parents are there until the end and as I tell my children Ï will always be there telling you when you have done GOOD and BAD even when thier 60 because Ï WILL NEVER STOP BEING A PARENT”. It’s my duty to my children and society. Well Done! Mr Crews, must be a navy thing cause i’m ex navy, but NO because my dad wasn’t navy or any other military but he was my dad and i respected that he had some life teachings that i could learn from, that’s what life’s about.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      03:59pm | 20/11/12

      @Dad, so you would blame your kids’ relationships failing on them personally and not, oh I don’t know, consider that maybe it was the other person with the issue? Or perhaps be willing to accept that your children want much more settled jobs rather than high-stress corporate ladder jobs?

      This is why the guy is getting a bashing, he states in the letter himself that his disappointment stems because he can’t boast about his kids. What kind of parent does that? I’m always able to boast about my kids because I applaud their achievements and not focus on their ‘failures’ and if they don’t succeed I encourage them to get back up and try again.

      But hey if you want to tell your kids that they’re no-hopers and you support this guy, bully for you. You call your children no-hopers and that’s exactly what they’ll become, because what’s the point in trying if you’re already a no-hoper?

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      02:49pm | 20/11/12

      Mr Crews should find the person responsible for raising his children and sit him down and have a long hard chat to him about his failures and short commings in child rearing.

    • Rose says:

      02:50pm | 20/11/12

      “Mathieson is also an ambassador for Kidney Health Australia and a patron of the Australian Men’s Sheds Association and says he enjoys the work he does promoting these causes.
      He’s spent the last year travelling to many of Australia’s country towns to promote men’s health and took part in the Kidney Health car rally.
      “I’m really interested in the indigenous side of diabetes,” he says.
      He talks of trying to raise the profile of the issue with Pacific Island spouses at the Pacific Island Forum and the ASEAN conference next week.”

      So, he’s not sitting around doing nothing all day, he has things he’s working on, and yet you still criticize?
      It seems he is the typical PM’s spouse!!

    • Colin says:

      02:57pm | 20/11/12

      Read Kahlil Gibran’s poem ‘On Children’ for all you need to be a parent in twenty lines…

      It should be printed on the back of every Licence to Have Children…Oh, hang on…

    • blair says:

      03:02pm | 20/11/12

      You could say this is another result of a broken family where one parent does all the upbringing and the other is a stranger to the kids and they treat him as such even tho he is dad. My youngest niece didn’t know her father for the first couple of her years as he was an interstate truckie.He would come home an go to pick her up and she would freak even tho she knew he was dad.

    • Really says:

      03:05pm | 20/11/12

      Boo hoo. Give me something actually news worthy to read.

    • HC says:

      03:13pm | 20/11/12

      Criticism of one’s adult kids like this is a two-way street.  If my parents want to critique my failures then I’m going to give as good as I get, part of becoming an adult is a realisation that your parents aren’t perfect and at times it can be a realisation that they’re horribly flawed or even just horrible people.  That’s not to say one can’t be thankful for all the right things they’ve done (even a stopped clock can be correct twice a day afterall) but all the good things in the world don’t change the fact that no parent is perfect.

      The difference between me and my parents and this guy is I won’t sit down to pen a passive-agressive email and dump it in their inbox, I’d do it face to face.  Using email like this is just cowardice.

    • michael says:

      03:40pm | 20/11/12

      It seems to me the issue is that dad took about 30 yrs to tell his kids to straighten up.

      Lets be honest - this should have been spoken about when the kids were teenages. It was probably a lot harder to do them, and most parents thyink that kids are not listening but i’ll be honest with you all. My lessons were not learnt at 10 or 30 they were learnt between 13 - 17. I get the feeling the navy commander might not have been around to do this and this is the result.

      He is not acheiving anything complaining about his kids now they are 40. The ship has sailed…pardon the pun….

      Im working hard to influencing (and thats all it is) my kid on whats right and wrong. He has to do the rest. My best chance to give him a kick up the ass is not at 40 but at 14. After that you are stuffed.

    • St. Michael says:

      04:15pm | 20/11/12

      Look, michael, on this one I think we just have way too little information to tell.  Who’s to say he wasn’t booting them up the bum in their teens about these issues? Who’s to say they listened?

    • schmemmm says:

      03:53pm | 20/11/12

      Kids are not supposed to be carbon copies of you and they are not there to fulfill your desires and live out your hopes, dreams and wishes. They are not responsible for your happiness, they are individual souls who have chosen to have their own experiences and personally I think parents who bring nothing but trouble into their kids lives should think about why they had kids in the first place. It would be nice if the act of having kids was a bit more altruistic and thought out instead of I want this I want that, I expect this, I expect that. Obviously this father thought he could get away with belittling his family and taking his issues out on them and it backfired in a big way. Kids are not robots that you can program to do what you like, they do not come with a return warranty and at some point they are free to live with free will as their own person. In the letter it describes perfectly normal human beings who live according to their own will and their own expectations and a dad who can’t handle that. They are not law breakers, they are not dole buldgers, they are also not willing to compromise themselves and stop being themselves and not willing to compromise their happiness for the sake of trying to make someone happy who just isn’t happy and may never be. There is a great sign in my dads house that my sister brought him that says “I am meant to be loved not understood.” That is what I believe, that doesn’t negate the energy, time, effort, love, support, money or anything else parents give to their children, but at the end of the day, humans have free will to be who they are, not who everyone else expects them to be.

    • Meh says:

      03:53pm | 20/11/12

      “In the process, he’s incurred the wrath worldwide of everyone who blames their failure in life on a strict upbringing”

      Pffffft what a load of crap. His letter is “You are all screwup’s, I don’t want to hear whinging, don’t bother coming home until you are what I consider a success”.

      1 screwup and you can blame the person, if all your kids are screw ups, you should look at yourself.

    • angel says:

      03:56pm | 20/11/12

      If a dad isn’t a shoulder to cry on, then I don’t know what the heck a dad (or mum) is for once children hit adulthood.

      I will always be there for my children, and will not make them feel like failures for divorce. Divorce isn’t failure. Living in an unhappy marriage is failure.

    • marley says:

      06:47pm | 20/11/12

      Divorce happens.  I think the failure here is to come whining to your parents every time something goes wrong, and blaming them for it.

    • sam says:

      03:58pm | 20/11/12

      settle down everyone… this dude is the editor for - its clear from the site that his english skills arent incredible.

    • marley says:

      04:42pm | 20/11/12

      Well, neither are yours.

    • Peter says:

      05:17pm | 20/11/12

      omg, you’re right!  I thought it was some hack freelancer.  But this guy is allegedly a full blown reporter.  A news editor at that!  Lol.

    • James says:

      04:06pm | 20/11/12

      Well done, Mr Crews. I don’t know what is it with the world today where fathers are forgetting about being fathers and trying to be ‘best friends’. I’ve seen it happen in real time with the son now being totally uncontrollable and abusive. I absolutely LOVE my kids but I won’t for a minute stop to tell them if they’ve done something wrong…or if they’re doing something wrong. If my kids ended up on the dole, I’d be disappointed and I can tell you I’d be yelling at them to fix it. Why? because thats what dads are for:
      - discipline
      - leadership
      - knowledge
      - help
      - love/affection

    • Richard says:

      04:22pm | 20/11/12

      Stop reading so much into this, from the one comment he made “you made me” it tells you all you need to know….

    • CA says:

      04:23pm | 20/11/12

      Oh diddums, Daddy finally told his three adult children to act like grown ups and they dropped their bottom lips and howled like two year olds denied lollies at the checkout. 

      I think the father was right and the kids are lazy, sponging sops who want someone else to wipe their arses for them

    • Tony says:

      04:28pm | 20/11/12

      Wow. I thought his letter was fantastic. He obviously has had enough of 10 years of whingeing. I mean, that’s a lot of grizzling let’s be fair.

      Between his children, there are four divorces, and a fifth on the way. That’s a lot of divorce.

      Now, he did mention that he wouldn’t be too bothered about it, if there weren’t grandchildren involved. That seems fair enough, as we do need to “think of the children” (slight sarcasm, but empathetically delivered)

      All these trendy’s saying he went too far. What a load of BS. First of all, he doesn’t sound like an over the top strict authoritarian. He’s giving his kids a moral wake up call. A bit of a “look at yourself, pull your socks up” talking to.

      We’ve all turned into a bunch of ninny’s, soiling and talking through every mainstream BS talking point that its pathetic. Most of you need a good letter from this guy on that front alone!

      So, for all the little baby’s crying about how this guy is a big bad strict authoritarian bully, at the same time throwing strawmen out there just to get your trendy little talking point across, YOU are what’s wrong with society, and we should all be bitterly, bitterly, bitterly disappointed in you!

      Kind regards

    • Col says:

      04:43pm | 20/11/12

      I think everyone misses the main point and seems to be taking sides with the ‘kids’.  They are not kids!!! Fred is 35, his daughter 40 and yes he told them in an email, but I get the idea that he had told them numerous times previously to no avail.  That is possibly why his daughter told him to make the email public.  Agree with many that there is more to the story than what is written.
      Ps My Dad was in the Army for 25 years and those blaming the ‘military styyle upbringing’ obviously have no idea what they are talking about.

    • Lill says:

      04:43pm | 20/11/12

      The question I have to ask is who defines success? Is it only the fathers definition? Being a translator in France sounds awesome, so what she’s not a judge, it does not mean she’s a failure. His son is a taxi driver who has a tattoo, oh but he’s not an astronaut, boohoo, he has a job, is obviously punctual and isn’t a criminal. Not everyone can be a lawyer, a doctor, the PM. Most people do normal jobs in normal ways. This bitter old man deserves it if his children never contact him again. The fact he couldn’t air his issues face tp face or even in a phone call but lumped them all in as one big problem after coming down from his ‘perch’ says a lot about him. His demand that they do not contact him until they are ‘successful’ also says a lot about him, what’s success, being married for 10 years? Having a job you enjoy? Owning a home? Paying your electricity bill on time? It’s obvious in this man’s life it’s his way or the highway he can’t seem to see that each of his children is an individual who has chosen their own path in life.

    • Angry moose says:

      06:51pm | 20/11/12

      I couldn’t find the like button


    • Kipling says:

      05:00pm | 20/11/12

      Firstly I think it absolutely appropriate for parents to let their kids know how they feel about the stuff that happens in life, including decisions their kids make, actions they take and the things they say etc.

      That is always appropriate.

      It is concerning though that this particular father had the need to do this in writing to his children who all appear to be in their thirties/forties….

      The real trick (is it in fact a trick I ask myself?) is to develop a relationship with your kids. You can’t do that via the post generally.

      OF course this does not make Mr Crews a demon, he isn’t, nor are his children. A bit disfunctional granted but not demons.

      Given the outcome of his and his wife’s parenting seems fairly consistent here I think it very appropriate for them to have a good hard look at the relationship building they did (or perhaps failed to do) while the kids were still in their care and growing up.

      To end the situation via a letter seems wholly inappropriate, particularly when this includes excluding themselves from the grandchildren’s lives as well. That is very serious, given the obvious child protection isses that Mr Crews raises about his grandchildren’s care, poorly provided by Mr Crew’s own children….

      IT is a tough one, I don’t think the man should be lambasted for what he has done, but he certainly seems to be taken to account over a few things. Also, of course, it sounds as if his chidlren need some pretty serious wake up calls as well. It is noteworthy that at least two out of the three appear to be employed at least.

    • Mitch says:

      05:04pm | 20/11/12

      Strict military dad ends up with kids who rebel against their dads vision for their future. Its like a bad, cliched TV drama. Why do I get the feeling that, while growing up, these kids heard an endless litany of “you could have done better” and “you should’ve put in more effort”.

    • Barry says:

      05:05pm | 20/11/12

      I grew without a mother and father although they were alive.  They just did not want me to be a part of their new families so I was moved around and lived with people who would have me.  I ran away a couple of times and tried to live in the bush but it was too cold.  I was not always treated badly but more just neglected, health wise and education wise and I was lonely for parental care and love which did not happen any time.  At 15 I was sent to find my own way in the world and thanks to my training in being self reliant I have done okay in life.  My point is I get sick and tired of hearing how many people blame their parents for their lifes problems.  They and they alone are responsible for their own decisions and behavior.  I doubt anyone holds a gun at their head and say they have to work for a living, they have to be nice to others etc they have to eat well, they have to binge drink etc etc.  These are choices they make for themselves so don’t blame others including your parents for your bad mistakes and behaviors.  Get out and work and live a decent life.  I agree with the writer of this story and the father who is disappointed in the life aspirations and achievements or lack of them of his adult children who want to hold him responsible for their behavior.  I too would feel disappointed with them simply because I would want them to have had a better life for their own good, not mine.

    • Millsy says:

      05:13pm | 20/11/12

      I read the letter. Mr Crews seems far more worried about his inability to brag to his friends about his children, rather than their actual welfare. When all four of his kids have failed to live up to his idea of “success” maybe he needs to look at the common factor here, his parenting.

    • Millsy says:

      05:35pm | 20/11/12

      Haha, apparently, I didn’t read it too well. He’s got 3 kids. Point still stands though

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      05:55pm | 20/11/12

      ...and nor is your mother!
      A relatively short time ago a child (all of 14 or 15) got murdered. The mother was portrayed, & herself admitted, that she was that child’s “Best Friend”. Both th child & it’s mother were deeply involved in the so-called “Goth Culture”. Black nail-polish, blackened out eyes, black clothes, black lipstick, tatts - you name it they had it. The child got involved over the Internet with a young person & their father. This neglected, spolit goth-child invited the young person to their birthday party. The father turned up. What did the mother do? She allowed him to come in. She encouraged the entire grisly episode. Later that young person got murdered. The internet friend’s father was convicted & sent to prison.
      That is what happens when a parent tries to be their child’s “Best Friend”.
      No, Mums & Dads you are NOT. You never will be. You are their Parent & should take your responsibilities accordingly.
      The only reason that Murdered child’s mother took any action was as a direct result of her own Guilt. She encouraged her child. She refused to accept that she was an entire Generation older & had obligations to ensure her child was safe & indulging in practices which were also safe.

    • Brendan says:

      06:08pm | 20/11/12

      I’m failing to see the fundamental difference between a true best friend and a parent. BOTH should let them know when they are being a goose, and both have the responsibility to at least inform them what their actions will or are causing. In the case of the parent it is far more important as they should be drawing on life experiences and lessons learned the hard way. Maybe the problem is more along the lines of the child is now old enough to make their own decisions. and their not making good ones, why? because you never discussed reasons for decisions, but just said ‘no’ or ‘yes’ earlier on, and they just fell into line….

    • Angry moose says:

      06:45pm | 20/11/12

      Sorry i disagree with this article.  I would love to be my kids best mate, teacher and disciplinarian

      i believe it is possible if you teach your kids respect at a young age

    • Hendo says:

      06:47pm | 20/11/12

      Haven’t spoken to him for 15 years. Won’t bother wasting my breath.

    • inxs52 says:

      06:55pm | 20/11/12

      Spoken like a true military father ...why am I not surprised !!

    • mum of one says:

      06:55pm | 20/11/12

      Interesting view from the author who thinks his daughters will be on their own when they are 18. Good luck with that.
      My sister said the same when she had her first child. He was last living in her home at age 29. Her daughter has only recently moved out because, at age 27, she has married a guy with his own home. Her youngest is autistic and may never leave.
      My son could have lived at home forever. He left at 24. His girlfriend has her own home.


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