Publicly Shaming Your Child Is Shameful

Sad ClownEarlier this week, one mother decided to publicly shame her daughter, Hailey, in a post that soon went viral. Many are applauding the post – but should they?

It seems that Hailey — who looks to be in her early teens — was caught cyber-bullying other kids, and to teach her a lesson, her mom posted a picture of her holding up a board that read “My name is Hailey. I am a kind, caring, smart girl, but I make poor choices with social media. As punishment, I am selling my iPod and will be donating the money to the charity ‘Beat Bullying’ in hopes of changing my behavior as well as bringing awareness to bullying. Because bullying is wrong.”

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And despite the number of people responding positively to this post, I can’t help but feel that there’s something seriously wrong about it.

Yes, cyber-bullying is awful. But so is publicly shaming your kid. What’s wrong with private punishment? Why not just confiscate her phone and laptop? If your child can’t trust you to help her learn from embarrassing screw-ups, you can be sure she WON’T.

The stunt might frighten Hailey into stopping her bad behavior, but it isn’t going to teach her anything (except that she’s alone in this cold, cruel world). And she’ll have to live with this humiliation – and distrust. Seems excessive.

It’s unlikely that Hailey’s mother intended for the post to go viral, but the fact is, it did. Maybe she didn’t know that much about the internet, or didn’t realize that her parenting skills would spark so much discussion.

At least the guy who shot his daughter’s laptop put himself out there and not his daughter (though I guess it isn’t too hard to work it back and find her).

What do you make of this? Should parents shame their children online or parent privately? (And yes, I’m aware many of you will tell me “parent” isn’t a verb. It is now!)

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