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Public Shaming Is No Way to Discipline Our Kids

embarrassedBeing a parent is hard. We all know it. We do our best to teach our kids right from wrong and give them some kind of solid foundation from which they can grow steadily into adulthood. So it can be upsetting when they make the wrong choices — and punishment is a tricky business. More and more people, including myself, are choosing not to spank because it’s not only physical assault but it’s demeaning and humiliating. So why then, are some of the same parents who opt not to spank choosing to humiliate their children in other ways?

I just don’t get the public punishment phenomenon that’s been sweeping the nation for the past several years. Sad kid on a corner wearing a sandwich board proclaiming his shameful shoplifting penchant, a photo posted on Facebook of a child holding a sign announcing the embarrassing misdeed, and in this era of technology, parents recording the shaming for a wider audience or uploading videos wherein they chastise their children that always seem to go viral. Jeannie Crutchfield, a single mom from Wyoming who learned her 14-year-old daughter daughter was skipping class took hi-tech action.

As ABC news reports, Crutchfield showed up at her daughter’s school and used her phone to record her daughter walking around school, seemingly in the act of leaving. Crutchfield kept recording as she confronted, taunted, and shamed her daughter all the way to class. Then she uploaded the video to Facebook with the caption, “This is what happens when my daughter Rickilee Durrant can’t act right at school … enjoy parents.”

While Crutchfield tells ABC News that since the video was posted online, her daughter’s school attendance has been steady, I still think parenting via public humiliation is shameful — not for the kid, but for the parent. I get that she’s a frustrated mom who felt like it was her last recourse but I have a solid No Humiliating My Child In Public policy. Ever. I am the adult. I am the calm in the storm of their life. Period. How is shaming my child in front of strangers going to teach them to respect themselves, or me, for that matter? Being a kid is hard and embarrassing enough without the people I trust most in the world jumping into the mix and causing the shame.

Image courtesy of ThinkStock

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