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Can a parent be wrong for public shame

Some states in the United States have implemen...

Some states in the United States have implemented laws to address school bullying. Law prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity Law prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation only School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address bullying of students based on sexual orientation Law prohibits bullying in school but lists no specific categories of protection No statewide law that specifically prohibits bullying in schools (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the twenty-first century it seems that everything a parent tries to do to help their child stay on the right path is wrong, they are ridiculed and judged no matter what they do. If they take their children to psychotherapists, their children are sometimes wrongly diagnosed and medicated. If they just “talk” to their child, sometimes he/or she may not listen. If they ground, spank, or try to find a form of punishment that works, they are always bad parents. Parents now, are never right for trying to do what they feel is right. Over the last ten years bullying has become a world wide problem, and literally within the United States alone causing small children, as young as 8 to commit suicide. Why?

In 2012 a father had a son who pushed another student and tripped him for wearing pink shoes hold a sign on the street “I pushed another student because of pink shoes. I am a bully”. This dad had posted the photo on a social networking site, facebook. He had wanted his son to feel the embarrassment and hurt just as the student he picked on did.  However, several parents thought that public shame was wrong. Later on, this father explains he knew his son wouldn’t respond to grounding, spanking, or screaming, and this was the only thing that seemed to have an impact on him. So much of an impact, that his son apologized and with sincerity. His son was stared at, pointed at, and laughed at holding the sign, just as the kid he bullied was.

Recently, another Utah mom had her step daughter wear “thrift store” not so trendy clothing to school. Her 10 year old step daughter called another student “sleazy” for wearing daisy duke shorts and a tank top to school. So she made her go to school wearing clothing she thought was “ugly”. This seemed to work, as the little girl was laughed at by classmates, compelling her to sincerely apologize to the one she picked on. This mother said she made the right choice.

Many parents are starting to turn to public shame as a form of punishment, especially if they have tried everything else. Many parents feel that it’s too harsh, but what exactly is a parent to do? If a parent has tried talking to them over and over, helping them, switching the situation, what is next.

A Florida mom’s son told a teacher to “F” off, he was then suspended from school for three days. During those three days, his mother made him stand outside the school where everyone can see him, with a sign that said “I disrespected my teacher”. This mother had said she tried everything else, and from the looks of it, with many tears coming down his face, he learned his lesson.

According to  Kirsten Filizetti, Ph.D. a San Diego-based psychologist she says;

However, parents should be careful about introducing shame and guilt onto kids as a form of punishment, a better plan of action may have been to sit down with the child and understand the motivations behind the bullying, then use that knowledge to expose him or her to children who are different from them. To further the learning lesson, it may also be wise to have the kid sit down with the peer they hurt and listen to how the behavior was hurtful. It’s less important that the bully explain where they were coming from and more important that the victim feels heard.

Unfortunately, children in the twenty first century are not compelled to sit down and listen. They respond better when they are the ones being looked at, with shame. So in what case are parents wrong, or even right? Where do parents draw a line with their children, how far is too far?

Thrift Store Story Credit: Huffing Post/Yahoo News    Full Story on Kids with punishment signs: Huffington Post  Featured Photo Credit: Huffington Post


About Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown, a Certified Fertility Instructor, has been a fertility advocate for over four years. As a Certified Herbal Counselor, Amanda continues to advocate with resolve.org and educate about infertility, health, and well being. Amanda is a columnist for Woman’s Essence Magazine, and has helped many women with her columns on health and nutrition. Amanda has also created a large educational fertility website, which has achieved much success.

One comment on “Can a parent be wrong for public shame

  1. The examples of how some of these parents handled the situations with their children were valid in my opinion, and here are a couple of reasons why I believe that.

    First, the public shame they are having to endure is a result of a choice they made and choices have consequences. Therefore, being subjected to public shame as a punishment is something they had control over, unlike the kids they bullied. These bullies could have chosen NOT to be bullies in the first place. However, the children they bullied did NOT have a choice in the situation in which they had to face public shame and humiliation. They were most likely being bullied for something that was out of their control.

    Second, when the bully has to experience the same pain they willingly inflicted on someone else, they can no longer deny the impact their actions have had on another person. Up to this point, some kids will dismiss their bully behavior by saying things like, “It wasn’t a big deal.” or “It didn’t hurt their feelings.” or something else of that nature. However, when THEY are made to bear the burden of being the one under the microscope of public shame and scrutiny and THEY are the one to being on the “feeling” side of the same embarrassment that they once inflicted, they are forced to relate to their victim(s) on a level playing field because they (the bullies) have now been brought down from their prideful “high horse” and suddenly are made to see the situation from a different vantage point.

    Once this happens, they are more likely to feel REAL remorse for what they did due to a heart that has softened. This is the ultimate goal because we all live and behave out of the motivation of our hearts. At this point we can begin to counsel and deal with root (heart) issues that cause the behavior. It is only THEN that LASTING change is a real possibility. Everything else is only a band-aid.


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