public shamingWhat’s with all of these parents lately who feel the need to publicly shame their children as a means of discipline? The latest news story making its rounds is about North Carolina ninth-grader Quandria Bryant. Her father, fed up with Quandria disrespecting his teachers, decided to punish her by having her walk along a busy highway carrying a large sign. “I have a bad attitude I disrespet

[sic]

people who try to help me,” read one side. “I do what I want, when I want, how I want,” read the other side.

Quandria’s dad, Donnell Bryant, called his daughter “a mean girl” and complained, “She acts like it’s all about her. At the end of the day, it’s not.” I completely agree with Donnell’s sentiment and I strongly believe that parents need to discipline their children. But to do so publicly and in a way that totally shames these teenagers – typical ones, at that – is just wrong.

Yes, Quandria was mortified and she has reportedly agreed to change her ways. But, really, was this the right way to go about disciplining her? I don’t think so. It’s just plain mean, and I don’t believe that kids – not even teens – should have to be publicly humiliated like that. They should be disciplined, absolutely, but nowhere is it written that an effective punishment must involve public shaming. To me, it reeks of bullying – and it irks me.

Judging my the comments I’ve been reading on various sites, it seems I’m in the minority. And it’s not just this Quandria story I’m referring to, by the way. Just last week, for example, an Ohio mother used Facebook to humiliate her 13-year-old daughter and teach her a lesson. Denise Abbott sneaked onto her daughter Ava‘s Facebook page and replaced the girl’s profile pic with a new image that had a giant “X” over her mouth and the caption, “I do not know how to keep my

[mouth shut]

. I am no longer allowed on Facebook or my phone. Please ask why, my mom says I have to answer everyone that asks.” (The move reportedly was a result of Ava being rude and talking back to her mom in front of three of her friends.)

Aboott appeared on the Today Show and defended her actions. She said she received a lot of criticism, though a TODAY.com poll showed that 77 percent of viewers supported her. This just blew me away! Parenting expert Dr. Janet Taylor also appeared on the show, and she said that Aboott went too far in trying to humiliate her daughter. “Just like we don’t want our kids to embarrass other kids, as parents we don’t want to embarrass our children,” she said. That is exactly how I feel. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and these parents should be setting a better example for their children.

There are countless cases like the ones mentioned above, including the story of Tommy Jordan. He made headlines back in February for repeatedly shooting his 15-year-old daughter’s laptop with .45 after she posted disrespectful comments about him on Facebook. (He then posted the video to YouTube, and it went viral.) I wrote a the time that he’s a lousy role model, and that’s pretty much how I feel about all these parents who feel the need to publicly shame their children. Is it abusive, as some people suggest? No. But it’s a shitty thing to do, and I think there are better ways of teaching your child a lesson.

It seems this new parenting trend is gaining traction, and I don’t like it one bit. How about you?

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