Childrearing

Parents Who Publicly Shame Their Kids Are The Worst

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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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17 Comments

  1. Denise

    April 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I am commenting on the toddler that wears make-up……..its ok to play dress up and put on make up AT HOME.
    but out in public is a BIG NO NO!!! they need to be made understood that make up comes with age, (not at a young age).

    and those celebrity moms that think its okay because they are CELEBRITIES, are not teaching their daughters anything good.

    All you moms out there, just because a celebrity mom does it doesn’t mean its okay for you to do it too. In my opinion you are making yourself look as stupid as they are.

    I have 3 daughters and they did it only at HOME!!!!!!!!!!

    • Cee

      April 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      I used to want make up all the time. Id steal my mums eyeshadows and make black eyes and bloody faces on me. Id want to eat this chapstick she had that smelled like candy.
      At some point, I actually applied it nicely and loved it because it was so shiny! i wanted to wear it always. My mum didn’t let me but I was allowed shimmer and chapstick every now and then.
      Children (boys and girls) have a curiosity about make up, its bright colors, its shiny, it smells like fruit, its grown up. If you stigmatize it and panic about it as if at 4 it will define the rest of your child’s life, it will. If you treat it as something creative, cute, for special occasions or simply just ask your child why, you can learn how to work with it.
      What good will it be to wait til they’re (insert your appropriate age) for them to be vain and believe make up defines them and is the only way they are beautiful? If it is a constant subject of discussion and treated in a non freak out manner it can be treated as something not so damaging.

      Now, cool your outrage…you are on the wrong post.

  2. Charlene Mason-Green

    April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Bullying your child is ineffective and stupid. Do we really need more Donald Trumps around? Seriously. Humiliate your child and guess what? The world will be filled with idiots like him or get off on and make money off of telling people they are fired or publicly reprimanding them for doing the wrong things.

    Donnell Bryant & Denise Abbott are a classic case of reality TV parenting. Guys, thanks for making two more messes in the world! Really appreciate it.

  3. Katia

    April 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I don’t think you can say they are ‘the worst.’ in my
    Opinion ferberizing is more inhumane than these stories. The main thing about the highway story I don’t like is the danger of being hit. In both examples I don’t think the method is necessarily logic or effective but who knows?! At least they are not abusing their kids , feeding them junk, or neglecting them. Misguided and probably don’t read parenting articles but not ‘the worst’
    I don’t think I’d ever do this though, having 3 kids is one reason I wouldn’t have time to make a child walk with a sign, also I like to keep our dirty laundry out of sight . But is shaming bad in child rearing? I’m not so sure it is.

  4. Cee

    April 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Today on Yahoo news there was an article about how this year (or past few years) there has been an increase on juvenile delinquency and how young children now have become difficult to control. A lot of finger pointing has been done on schools and their reliance on the police department for what are considered minor incidents. However, as I said on a previous post, schools can no longer discipline a child (and NO I do not mean hitting). Parents feel their precious snowflakes are just having a bad day and everyone should just let them be their unique destructive selves.

    I was glad to see that many of the comments on this article pointed out the fact that schools have their hands tied because parents are bent on being their child’s friend. And, maybe thats all good and gravy while they are small children, but when you don’t exert any sort of parental control as a teenager, and have spent all their life being their friend and excusing their behavior, it is YOUR fault that you have had to resort to this public shame. So, before a parent resorts to this, I would ask how did it get to that point? This bad behavior did not just happen over night, did it? There was something that this parent has not been doing correctly during these past ten years and it probably has to do with a very laxed parenting style.

    When parents are resorting to this type of shaming, they are merely showing the lack of control they have had through all their child’s life.

    • Katia

      April 30, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      That’s a great point, they are indeed shaming themselves . It might still be better for the child than completely letting it go though ! There are so many different kinds of bad parenting these days, And likely most of it is not intentional

    • Sarah Camden

      February 2, 2013 at 2:01 am

      that’s what Ialways think when I read about parents doing stuff like this. Aren’t they ashamed for letting their child get so out of hand? I’ve read much worse stories though. There are parenting forums where parents share their childs ‘spankings in public’. They speak of pulling their childs pants and underwear down in public and spanking them as a form of discipline and they say they “dont buy that it’s sexual abuse”. and humiliation and corpal punishment should be used as the first resort. They honestly post stories about their children crying and crying and how they wont do it again. The sad thing is, these kids claim to have benefitted from this torture. they say yes they were humiliated and hated it and everyone they know has saw them naked but as they got older they thanked the parents for it. so it’s a type of mental abuse as well they pretty much brainwash their kids. you don’t believe me? google it. if you don’t think it will make you feel like a pedifile anyway.

  5. Rachael

    April 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    That is ridiculous. Family issues need to stay in the family, at least the minor ones like a child’s transgression. Involve the people who were wronged, if applicable, but otherwise it’s a private matter. How would you like it if your kid wrote on Facebook about your minor wrongdoings? Same principle.

  6. Crystal

    April 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    While I’m not sure I would actually publicly humiliate my boys, I’d have to say that I agree that whatever is effective, regardless of the extremeness, should be done, if necessary. When adults commit crimes, punishment is not at all handled privately. Even though it may seem as though it were, most files can be accessed and almost every criminals personal life is affected by their crime, which in turn makes the crime known. I recently went thought a similar situation with my eldest son. He was having problems in his class with a bully. Given all the laws in place, all the school shootings and violence, I expected it to be dealt with immediately. No. His 5th grade teacher tried to justify the other students behavior and suggested my son ‘toughen up’. I know the circumstances are on totally different levels, but is this what we, as adults, would tell a woman who’s been raped or the family of a murdered victim? ‘toughen up’? No. School’s are supposed to teach our children how to survive as an adult. We are supposed to teach our children how to be civil adults. Bypassing rules or ‘letting this slide by with just a warning’ is telling them that our justice system has and gives leeway. I’m not saying lock the door and throw away the key, but I believe certain situations call for extremes to prevent repeats in the future.

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  9. Melissa

    June 25, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Great job continuing the public shaming of these teens by re-posting their names and images so these experiences are all the more guaranteed to remain part of their online footprint =-(

    A “names have been changed” policy with links to other information sources would have been perfectly adequate.

    I hope these teens will be able to get past these experiences and that any future friends and/or employers know better than to base their opinions of them on this undesirable internet exposure.

  10. Kit Love

    September 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    All I want to do is put a sign on the parent saying “I can’t solve my family issues or accept responsibility for the child I raised.” Seriously, when did parents stop believing their child’s behavior was a reflection of them?

  11. Mom of 3

    October 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I am a believer in publicly shaming children!!
    I believe it should be used as a last resort but should be used most definetly only if the problem continues after talking and other forms of punishment do not work!
    What a child does is not completly learned from the parents either… they learn ALOT in school and from thier peers.. so to blame the parents on all occassions is rediculous!
    when exactly do we stop playing the blame game and have our children take responsibility for their own actions.
    We teach them that they are “individuals” and “their own people” do we not??
    Than what makes them think that they as “individuals” should not take responsibility for their own actions?
    It is our jobs as parents to mold our children and show them that EVERY action comes with a consequence.. It is best to teach children this young so that these problems do not continue into adulthood.
    9 out of 10 times if a child wears a sign they will NOT do it again!!
    tell me this – which is worse
    Publicly Humilating a child or Privatly Beating them??

  12. Zimmer

    October 11, 2012 at 1:59 am

    The principal at my child’s school has said she wants to start this. Sorry, but to me that’s a good way to cause a child to hate school for the rest of their lives. What happened to old-fashioned detention?

  13. DSAPEER

    January 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Everyone’s got an opinion, but at least these parents care enough to be engaged and address the kids. I applaud them as any parenting is better than no parenting and your way overstating the “damage” this can do. Shame on you…. you should focus on the parents who have no engagement with their kids.

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