Destroying Your Child’s Heart – One FB Picture At A Time

Now writing at HeidiStone.net.  Come on over, sign up to get updates, and join the conversation. 

I wrote recently about the Private Parent and shared a few things I do in an effort to build a solid, if somewhat hidden, foundation in the lives of my children.

A heartbreaking situation between an acquaintance and her teen son prompted those thoughts several months ago.

Intense conviction flooded my heart and mind while we shuffled awkwardly and flushed red with him as she ranted and railed in a fit of maternal frustration and helplessness.  His eyes filled with tears and his voice cracked in an attempt to maintain some kind of composure and dignity while his mother stripped him naked and flogged him with her words.

In the middle of my kitchen.

In front of our whole family.

In that moment I was overwhelmed with a burning desire to Never Ever Ever be the one who shamed my child in public again.

Along with this desire, to privately parent and publicly praise my sons, I have been bothered… ok, honestly, I’ve been offended by the current trend toward the “Parenting Done Right” tags on pictures of children and teens being publicly humiliated.  Giggling parents plaster these images all over social media and news sites while laughing family and friends, strangers and pundits, memes and fail sites put their shame up for the world to see.

You know the pictures I’m talking about.  They are the images with phrases such as;

“My daughter was twerking at the school dance.”

“I’m not old enough to be drinking with my friends.”

“Smoked Pot, got caught. Don’t I look cool? Not.”

The list goes on and on…

Katherine Bindley, on HuffPo, wrote a great article detailing this new trend in parenting complete with plenty of examples. Interested in viewing the shame of others?  Go there and read her take on it.  Good stuff.

Public shaming is awful and is nothing less than societally sanctioned parental bullying. Especially harmful to the young people against whom it is used as a weapon, the ramifications will resonate throughout their lives. They aren’t as tough as we pretend we are.

Friends, this is not funny or classy.  It is brutal and base.

Not even a little bit funny.

It’s not laughable when they are the tiny ones with lisps and shiny smiles blissfully unaware of the sign that just announced, to the ENTIRE world, they pooped in the tub.  Someday they won’t be 4 and someday they might care.

That’s a genie that can not go back in the bottle.

Frankly, this kind of behavior is as enjoyable as watching a hunched over man, his hands in the stocks, a tattered shirt blowing in the rain of a smoke-filled Middle Ages afternoon while raw sores and stiff muscles covered in rotting food attempt to shield a broken spirit.

Imagine that is an image of the heart of your child. 

So, what could it cost you to post a picture of your kids in the “Get Along” shirt?

  1. Bully your kids and they will learn to fear you.  As in be afraid of you.  Cringing in your presence and hiding their lives from you.
  2. Publicly shame your kids and they will learn the only important character development is to be found in a good public persona and the fool’s gold of value based solely upon outward perception and public approval.
  3. Mock your children as they struggle and they will learn to never share their struggles with you. 
  4. Share their weaknesses with the world and they will find the world to be cruel and will put you in the role of the cruelest of all.
  5. They will think they are a joke, not to be taken seriously.  Their pain the only commodity to sell.
  6. They will treat you as you have treated them.

Think I’m over-reacting?

What if the red faced person was you with the sign, standing on the street corner, and your sign broadcast:

“Forgot to pay the cell phone bill and we got cut off and have to pay the late fee.”

“Yelled at a co-worker and lost my job. Now we are losing our house.”

“Went out and got drunk with my girlfriends and now I have a DUI.”

What if you and your spouse are in one of those Yelling Seasons and your kids posted a picture of you in the “Get Along” shirt?

Wouldn’t that be funny!?  I mean, everyone fights, so it’s hysterical!

Wait… You aren’t laughing?

Maybe you don’t like being humiliated in public.

Why do you think your kids can handle it any better than you could?

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Check out some of my other parenting posts:

Reconciling Parents/Restoring Children 

Connecting With Your Teen

Do Teens Have Brains (Part 1)

Yes, Teens Have Brains 

Storyline-Of Adjustments

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686 thoughts on “Destroying Your Child’s Heart – One FB Picture At A Time

      • I practiced attachment parenting and my teens are great. However, being a teen is
        Hard- even harder in 2014. I would rather die than hurt them with my words.

        • I also believe in attachment parenting. My son is only 22 months old, but even at this age I see parents who are, in my opinion, abusive so that thier kids will “learn”.

          • I agree with you 100%. I hate that type of practice Patrick. How in the world a 22 month old child can learn without our support. I can’t stand when parents let their children go through bad stuff in order to “learn”. People like that don’t deserve to have any children. What they are creating is a child with no self-confidence. A child raised attached to his parents is more confident at the time of socializing with others, but it have to be attached to both in order to work.

            • Yeah, let’s baby the hell out of our kids. And let’s continue to celebrate mediocrity. That’ll build confident and productive members of society.

            • I disagree with the fact that a child attached to their parent is more confident in social situations. I’ve seen some of these attached children and prying them from their parent’s leg is like pulling teeth. Letting children learn on their own (to an extent) is what builds confidence. How will they learn to be independent and confident when someone is always doing things for them? Not allowing them to do things for themselves shows them that you have no confidence in their abilities therefore they will think they are not able to do it.

            • I don’t agree that you don’t allow them to go through the bad stuff in order to learn as it is their mistakes and the consequences of those mistakes that often teach them the best and most long lasting lesson just like us as adults. However, I don’t think that a parent should unnecessarily put their child through something awful just to let them learn a lesson. Posting the pictures is them going overboard, but allowing them to suffer the natural consequences of their actions without stepping in and saving them from those consequences, now that to me is good parenting that will lead to lasting positive results.

      • Though I know the pictures are the point of this article, I would like to add that I can’t stand the recent spate of quotes going around FB lately about how you should beat your kid and they’ll be better citizens or “I got whipped with the belt when I was a kid and I turned out fine!” Well, I didn’t turn out fine. I just want to let people know that not every kid turns out fine after a childhood like that. Thanks! This was a fantastic article and I reposted it! Cheers!

        • Amen. I spent years in therapy and on handfuls of antidepressants because I was sure there was something wrong with me. There was…my upbringing. I don’t have kids because I can’t imagine being able to help a new life believe they are worthy of air. I’d only continue the pitiful cycle, in absence of knowing how to do better. Great article. Thank you.

        • Those sound awful. I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard since this post came out from people who have continued to struggle throughout their adult lives due to some of the issues I attempted to address. Thanks for coming by!!

        • I do get what you’re saying but I think it is just an over exaggeration of a statement because upbringing back then is no longer today in most cases… And yes we did not turn all turn out fine. I like to tell myself the past stays in the past but I do remember and not sure I will ever forget. and not even sure they know what they have done because I don’t even talk to my parents and they live on the other side of the world. But I kept a promise to myself I would never ever do that to my children and I did not, I don’t even understand how you can do that to your own child seriously!

        • I have unfriended people on Facebook for that, and also broke off a friendship with a couple who advocated child abuse and shamed/smacked their kids right in front of me. Reported them, too. I thought our society had progressed beyond that. :P I don’t know much about attachment parenting, but I do remember what it’s like to be a child.

          • I haven’t had to unfriend anyone yet but I’ve had friends complain when I’ve posted anti-child-whipping pictures. They all say they turned out just fine. I’m betting 1) they aren’t really as ‘fine’ as they think they are 2) they may have a less sensitive personality than I have or 3) they didn’t get beaten as much and as hard as I did. It’s not self-pity…it’s my reality. I was terrified of my dad and , though he’s been dead over ten years and I’ve been through lots of therapy, I still have flashbacks of hiding in the closet and holding my breath hoping he wouldn’t find me…of hyperventilating from fear and passing out as he came after me snapping that belt with a grin on his face. And he loved me and I loved and hated him! He would have saved my fanny from a burning building. But he was sick. I’ve forgiven him but I’m still terrified when people get angry or argue loudly around me or, God forbid, get into fistfights. I have, as an adult, literally dived under tables to get away from people arguing loudly. That usually stops the fight pretty effectively!

        • I agree with you Terri. I recently saw one of those “belt” posts that said, “As a result, I suffer from a psychological disorder known as ‘respect for others’.” I responded with, “Interesting. My sons, 22 and 23, suffer from the same disorder without having been subjected to corporal punishment.”

        • The way my heart drops, the pit of fear that it evokes in my stomach when I see those images you speak of… I am not fine. I am better but I will never get back the years it took from me… or the multi-thousands of dollars in therapy, medications, self-destructive behavior…an on and on…
          Just wanted to say you are not alone…

          • I still see parents treating their children worse than most mammals treat their young (I worked in a certain large retail store for years and the things I saw would curl your hair!) and I tell myself, I can’t change the past but I can damn well try to make sure it doesn’t happen to the next generation.

      • I was just remembering my childhood this sleepless night and the article I wrote contains some of what you have written. A sensible child might even feel driven to end his/her life,especially when those “comments”come from their own parents more than once; no need to be public at all.I am proof of that. In my time was no internet and it all happened behind closed doors and no one had a clue. Kids need love and their home should be a protected haven from things like this.
        THANK YOU.

      • Heidi I totally disagree, I am not here to promote child abuse in anyway, but as humans we learn by our mistakes and are ridiculed by our peers, if your parents care enough to teach you a lesson and you always consider the results of your actions, then by all means I applaud them! I truly believe in my heart, that by making an example of someone publicly affects and reaches all the while by teaching that these behaviors are unacceptable universally!!!

        • I don’t think wearing the get along shirt is a bad idea. But taking a picture and posting it to the internet is another thing all together. I know of someone who disciplined their child in a good way that taught the child responsibility, but then posted a picture of the punishment to their FB page to show the world how her child misbehaved and that they were a great parent who disciplined their kid in a great way. It was more about the mom than the child learning a lesson. She just wanted her friends to glorify her methods of parenting. She could have easily taught the same lesson without posting the picture. I can understand punishing a child in a public manner if their offense directly effects the public, but if not I don’t see the point of it.

          • I think it can be taken a totally different way. We all struggle at times as parents. If a friend of mine thinks of a creative and effective way to deal with a behavior issue (which all kids have), then I appreciate the post as shared information. I don’t really feel that the get-along shirt is demeaning. Siblings fight. If my mom had just put us kids in a giant shirt instead of beating us, I wouldn’t care if she posted it. For some reason we have a generation of parents who feel that coddling their children is more important than preparing them for life and now we also have a generation of “emo” teens who are overly sensitive and feel a destructive sense of entitlement. You can’t assume that another person’s method of parenting is wrong just because you would do it differently. Not every method works for every child or every parent.

        • My grandma gave me the best advice, ” Don’t do anything you don’t want to be news in the paper” she was raised in a small missouri town where everyone knew everyone else’s business. No it’s not funny when your going to loose your house as an adult because you didn’t act responsibly at your job, but word gets around regardless how private you want your life. Helping to teach your children takes more than one style, choose what will work for your child so they don’t have to learn the hard way. Child abuse is not acceptable. Parenting your child the way that works is.

    • Absolutely Thank You! I have seen the pictures you refurred to and I felt sorry for the children. Dog shaming and children shaming are not the same. Love is all we all need to become good loving people. Thank you again for your insight!

    • Makes people like me wonder who raised the parents. My grandparents raised us and would not even correct us in any way in public. We were told to wait in the car and we would talk when we got home. We were never demeaned or told we were dumb or stupid, maybe that is why not one of us has ever been in jail or any kind of trouble in our lives, have always held good jobs and raised good kids ourselves.

    • “They will think they are a joke, not to be taken seriously. Their pain the only commodity to sell.”

      Sorry but middle school girls twerking at a dance are the joke and they won’t be taken seriously. They are there twerking in front of their friends, why not share this embarrassment with the world.

      “Smoked Pot, got caught. Don’t I look cool? Not.”

      Same goes with this quote. They thought it was cool with their friends. We live in a social media world now. It’s better that they learn that things can’t be hidden anymore now than later in life.

      Same with “Sexting”, girls and guys will learn real quick how much their “significant other” truly respects them when they find their photos being spread throughout the entire school.

      Better learn to become paranoid at an early age and not send or do anything that you wouldn’t want someone to see.

      This is the world we live in today.

      And to answer your question, “Yes, I think you are overreacting.”

      • what you do with your intimate circle of friends is not the same thing as what you share to the world. in the same way a published work is totally different from a diary or a piece you just show your inner circle

        • That’s true but I think the message would be to be careful of social media. I’m sure some of the pictures referred to were only meant for an “inner circle” or people they trusted, but if 40 of your friends each share it with 200 of their others friends and so on. . . Suddenly your child’s weak moment is the new viral photo. Once on the internet, you’re never undoing that. E.g.

          http://www.salon.com/2013/10/02/my_embarrassing_picture_went_viral/

      • I agree. Kids don’t take things seriously because parents allow their kids to hide behind them and bail them out whenever they do something wrong. Kids are so disrespectful now because they are not held accountable for their actions.

        • “They say our children are becoming immune and have no feelings or respect for others but I think it’s becoming more like that because more and more that is what they are being taught by the same parents that want to discipline them in this manner.”

          Kids are disrespectful because their PARENTS are disrespectful to them. Disrespect is TAUGHT.

          • Oversimplified. Disrespect is also taught by the social circle and mass media. The parent can stay respectful and still lose.

            • Thank you. To use your word, I don’t appreciate the oversimplified concept that a child with behavioral issues is only that way because their parents are doing something wrong.

          • Selfishness is an innate action. Some kids are disrespectful because of their nature and they are allowed to get away with it by their parents.

            • We are NOT the products of our environment. As Snady stated, some of us have learned to overcome our situation. I suppose I should be an alcoholic who will abuse my children. I should hit them, curse at them, let them go hungry, molest them, and beat my husband/wife in front of them. We are not made from cookie cutters and that is what needs to be kept in mind. Such articles are great for some but not all.

          • I so agree with your comment Nikki,kids now a days think they all have entitlement.I have a daughter with Aspergers and she has hardly any boundaries so she blurts out things to the world that should be private.Try and talk to her and she thinks i’m being disrespectful to her.She feels i should mind my own business or not be friends with her on FB. I would never scold her in front of anyone.

            • She has aspbergers you jackass of course she’s gonna blurt things out that’s what aspbergers is

        • That seems to indicate that the only method of disciplining a child is to shame them on social media. How do you suppose people raised their children before Facebook was around?

          • I got spanked when I was a total jerk in public even if it WAS well known that being a total jerk in public is completely within the purview of any kid…A couple (ok, a few) rounds of that particular brand of public humiliation taught me that being a total jerk in public bears consequences…I didn’t learn to fear my parents and to be honest, I had already shamed myself by being a total jerk in public…Spanking IS and ALWAYS WILL BE the most effective means of dicipline a responsible and caring parent can employ…Any disagreement will of course be invalid…

            • I won’t say that I have never spanked my children, because I have a few times and all it does is make a bad situation worse. My son acted up in public a few times when he was little and we got through it without my ever having to lay a hand on him. The most effective tactic was my leaning in close and explaining to him that everyone in the whole store could hear and see him throwing a fit. That got immediate results. I just don’t think spanking is the most skillful tool there is. There are other methods but they do require self control, thought, and patience so I realize they are not for everyone.

              I’m curious, if spanking is by far the most effective method, why do you suppose you required several spankings to correct one single type of misbehavior?

            • Amen to Jeff….
              We are raising a bunch of self centered egotistical jerks who think the world revolves around them. That there are no consequences to your actions. If we do something wrong, we should feel ashamed. It’s called, having a conscience. Your mindset only feeds this behavior and is a large contributor to the degradation of our society as a whole!

            • Heather lol they learned from the best. Old, self righteous, hypocritical parents and grandparents have been saying that crap for generations just like kids rebelling and acting like total douche bags is nothing new. On the bright side don’t worry the world isn’t going to end. down side is when the next generation goes through this phase your still going to be pissed off.

        • I agree–I don’t think it’s necessary to handle the situation in front of an audience, but parents don’t even take their kids to the bathroom to have a stern talk or into another room. You have to stop bad behavior when its happening–not wait until you are home in 3 hours and say “remember when you did this, I didn’t like it–your punishment is X” and now the two incidents are nearly unrelated.

          • I used to think the same thing. But you’re actually wrong. Punishment does NOT have to happen immediately. I wrote about this very thing somewhere else in the comments. Children are not like cats or dogs who are incapable of relating consequence to action long after it happens. Your statement ““remember when you did this, I didn’t like it–your punishment is X” and now the two incidents are nearly unrelated.” is a little silly. Of course they are related and most kids, as human beings capable of higher thought, are intelligent enough to put the two together. And as many others have pointed out, techniques that work can vary from kid to kid.

            I have one child who is easily disciplined. A stern look or talking to is usually all it takes. The idea of being grounded or losing her phone is pretty much all it takes to keep her in line. My 14 yr. old is more stubborn. She doesn’t care if you ground her, or take her phone/computer away or every book she owns. There is nothing that is sooo important to her that she’s not willing to go without, for extended periods of time. I’m talking weeks to months. So how do you discipline a kid like that? Beat them? Not my style. And I’m still weeks or months out from the bad action that initiated it by grounding her or taking away things that she is willing to go without in her stubbornness. Lesson learned? I don’t think so.

            For my 14 yr. old, the best tactic is to let her know that she has done something wrong or not done what I asked her in a reasonable amount of time (I’ll call it X) and that there will be consequences to X. And then wait, could be a couple days, weeks or even a month. But wait for her to ask for something she WANTS or wants to do. And then deny her, explaining that is the consequence of X. Because then I’ve found the thing that I KNOW she wants or wants to do. That technique may not work for you but it worked like a charm for my daughter. With her it’s a matter of being a little creative and finding that certain something that will actually hurt a little bit. And sometimes that takes a little bit of time in order for the punishment to be effective. So yeah, I COULD make a swift judgement and say, take her phone immediately. But if she doesn’t care if she loses her phone for a time, how effective was that fast consequence?

            • Agree!!! Although when Im trying to dicipline (for readers, this is different than punishment) I’m not looking for something that will “hurt” and I don’t think that is Your meaning of that either, but something that will have an impact and realisticly teach them the lesson we, as parents, are trying to Get across. Our job is to raise responsible, respectable and respectful adults. How we treat them matters.

            • so you would rather teach her that no matter how long ago it was, or to what degree of disobedience/disrespect “x” actually was, the punishment may not fit the crime but that is what it is just because she wants something enough to actually ASK. What you actually are teaching her is lie…. lie about how upset she is that you are grounding her from her phone for a week…. lie about ASKING permission to do something that she really wants to do- in case you are holding punishment for something she has forgotten about- and just do it anyway. It doesn’t matter, because she will either GET to do it and face the consequences/punishment at some other unknown time in the future… or not get to do it because she is being punished for something that she has done in the past.
              THAT is real good parenting….. (sarcasm)

            • Won’t daughter just learn not to ask for your permission when she wants to do something and just do what she wants since she knows you’ll say no?

            • Um, no. Do you think she will live her life forever after never asking for something or to go anywhere? Eventually she is going to want something or to go somewhere with friends and at that point, and only that point, she doesn’t get it or get to do it. It’s a one time thing for each infraction. She’s not told no repeatedly for the same mistake. One mistake equals one “no”. And if I have to wait her out for a month or 2, then so be it. She might forget about it in the meantime, but I don’t. And she sure as heck remembers it then when she is not allowed to do something she wants to do.

            • Also, the beauty of this technique is that, at least in my daughter’s case, it only take a few times of that happening for the message to get through. And now, she almost always does whatever she is told or asked to do. So I don’t have to wait her out and tell her no later. That’s the whole point of the technique. For them to learn that there will be consequences to negative actions and for them to be adverse enough to THEM personally for them to not want to screw up and thus modify their behavior to the manner you want it. I can’t remember the last time I had to use this technique on her b/c she is pretty compliant about following through on tasks now. Discipline is about molding and modifying behavior. It is proactive, or it should be, rather than reactive. I was proactive in getting her to see the error of her ways and to change her behavior rather than giving her a task and then immediately doling out a meaningless punishment when she didn’t do it, time and time again, where she learned no lesson or had no incentive to modify her behavior.

          • This is based entirely on age. A 3 yr old needs more immediate involvement, whereas a 13 yr old will remember and understand the incident a few hours later, perhaps when you have more privacy to discuss the issue and in more detail.

            • Excuse me, but if THAT is what you inferred from what I wrote, you are too much of a moron to be online. Who exactly the *&^% do you think you are to judge me and what works in my situation with my kids? Try some functional reading for once. My daughter KNOWS when she doesn’t do what is expected that there will be a consequence. Sometimes it’s quick and sometimes it’s not. How the *^%# you think that encourages her to lie is beyond me. Seriously, you are too stupid to even try help and understand the rationale behind it. Mind-bogglingly dumb. SMH.

            • “My daughter KNOWS when she doesn’t do what is expected that there will be a consequence.”

              What methods have you found to be the most effective for communicating the cause/effect of behavior = consequence? You say your daughter knows and I am fascinated. I struggle with often seeing, clearly, that my kids see that connection.

            • Heidi, she knows from experience. And she knows because when she fails to do what she is supposed to do, I let her know straight up that because she chose not to do what was was asked of her, there will be a consequence. It may be a couple days or a week or even a month from now but there will be one. Heck, it could be later that day. It isn’t always a long drawn out affair. But I don’t just let the bad behavior/choice just slide unaddressed and then spring a punishment on her without correlating it to a bad behavior or choice weeks later. That WOULD be ridiculous and I suppose that is what debby is thinking happens? IDK. She knows right at the moment of transgression that she has done something wrong and to be expecting a consequence. It’s not a covert operation. We have clear and open communication. The point is to wait until I can find something that will sting a little bit so that a lesson can be learned. That IS the point of a consequence, is it not? To be a little uncomfortable and learn from your mistakes? To arbitrarily mete out a consequence for the sake of “swift justice” that has no meaning or impact is kind of pointless. I COULD say to her immediately to hand over her phone. But if she doesn’t care whether she has a phone or not, how meaningful was the lesson of that consequence? In her mind she’s thinking, “Meh, whatever. Doesn’t bother me not to have my phone. Take it.” Disciplining your child is supposed to help them learn something and to modify behavior. Some kids learn differently than others or take longer and with some kids you have to be creative. This just happened to be a technique that worked for her. My other daughter is totally different and consequences can usually be imposed immediately that have an impact. Losing her phone or ipad DO impact her. She cares about having them and a connection to her wide circle of friends and she doesn’t want to be cut off from that. My other daughter doesn’t care about that stuff. She has a very small circle of friends and tends to be a major introvert so losing a phone or computer do not phase her. She is also a homebody, so grounding her immediately is pointless. It may be 2 or 3 weeks between times that she actually goes out in normal life without being grounded. She’s home a lot anyway. It takes a little more more work, thus a little more time to find the thing that will make her take notice and that she will actually care about not getting/having/getting to do in order to make a point with a consequence. I’m not sure how that makes me such the crappy parent that debby seems to think I am but, whatever. It works for my family. No public shaming involved, no airing of family business online, little yelling or anger and the lesson gets learned. Man, what a horrible parent I am. And yes, that was sarcasm. I should say that I do recognize that with small children, this probably won’t work as well. Little ones, I believe, need a more immediate lesson. Just as they are all about instant gratification and wanting what they want when they want it, so should the discipline happen as soon as possible. But for preteens and teens, who have the cognitive ability to correlate action and consequence over a broader time frame, this can work. It did for me. Good luck find what works best for your family!

        • Congratulations, you’ve left in my mind the impression that you are not only lacking children of your own, but that you have forgotten what it’s like to be a child.

          Kids don’t take things seriously if you train them to act that way, or allow them to behave as such if that is their disposition. A spoiled brat is not born, he is made. Aside from that, however, kids take a LOT of things seriously- friends, games, favorite books or shows, etc. Even social status is a thing in elementary school.

          I’m 25 and don’t have kids of my own. But I still remember what it was like to be one. This is how I know that the article is correct. Public shaming of your child will not benefit them in the long run.

        • Hiding and ignoring innapropiate behavour is definitely not the right course of action, bit acountability should not challenge or undermine a PERSON’s, and eapecially not a child’s dignity or self worth.

      • While I agree with some of your sentiment, your logic seems a bit flawed. You say it’s better they learn things can’t be hidden now, and you want to teach them that by exposing potentially damaging information? Now the world and future potential employers know your kid smoked pot in high school. That’s like teaching someone to be weary of poison in their food by poisoning their food.

        • If the child acted wrongfully in public, he shamed himself. That is enough shame if it is then disciplined privately by the parent. If the child needs to make restitution or ask forgiveness in the public venue because that is where he acted out then that is reasonable. That is an entirely different matter than putting what they did on display for the world and letting whosoever take their potshots at them. Love covers a multitude of sins (faults, failings). Love deals with a person with respect giving them a chance for a change of heart and making it right. When we force someone to right behavior we have not really effected any change. We have to learn to motivate people to change and that is never done through shaming, belittling, yelling or any such negative behavior. Negative behavior does not change negative behavior but only promotes more. Children that have not changed their heart about something will only do it in secret if they have been shamed. Encouraging right behavior goes much further as does modeling right behavior by the parent. Even role-playing right behavior helps. If a parent is willing to shame their child on such a wide scale, then I bet that parent has already been using negative behavior on their child and already lost their heart. One of the worst things parents do is hurt their child by belittling, disrespecting them and such and then never make it right with the child. Our children are not our property to do with as we think best. They are a trust on the future. We need to seriously look at our own lives when we have children because what we do, they will do in excess. If you really looked at Heidi’s blog, you would see someone who walks a transparent life with her family and with the world through blogging. She has some wisdom to share with those who will listen.

        • The biggest problem I see here from reading the posts is quite simply that you are teaching children how NOT to be responsible for their actions. Do you know how many apps, and sites there are for teens to “sext” or show off their party pics? These wouldn’t exist if kids weren’t using them! You can’t tell me you are all that naive in believing that only your inner circle of friends see these photos. You might as well walk naked through the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve…..less people would see you. These kids post “selfies” of themselves showing off “abs” and almost ALL the teen girls have at least one down the shirt pic showing their cleavage in their profile just to get “likes”. I have 2 teen girls and 2 teen boys, so I am speaking from experience. 99% of the embarrassment comes from being caught by their “stupid” parents. Why don’t you look at this from another angle……try being a parent who gets pics e-mailed to them of their daughter’s naked bathroom “selfie” found on a “sexting” website that supposedly only posts the pics for 5 mins. and is deleted.

          • I think the point of the original blog was that parents should keep their parenting OFF the internet. It is not necessary to post your family business all over Facebook in order to be an effective parent.

            • But then to turn around and promote attached parenting is an extreme. You don’t discuss private family matters on FB period. But keeping your kids accountable for their actions by disciplining them appropriately and effectively is another story and in no way harming or shaming them. That is parenting! Why throw a title on it but only to make it more complicated than needed?

          • So your daughter publically humiliated you by posting a naked selfie and that’s unacceptable so you’re going to show her a good example by disciplinig her in public by posting something even more humiliating on Facebook? That makes all kinds of sense!

          • Thank you Dad! I read the whole blog and found myself in agreement with MOST of what was being written. Then I was reading the comments… and the whole thing just kept sticking in my craw. You hit the nail dead on target!!! The problem IS that the children are not being taught to be responsible. Maybe shaming isn’t the answer, but neither is keeping it all “private” and “hidden” from the friends and peers… who MAY be doing the same things. I believe that is only teaching them to be a different person in public… one who doesn’t appear to have any problems but to HIDE the “real” person, activities, foibles, problems, addictions, disfunctions…. etc. If it isn’t in the public view, then you can do whatever you want. It is the whole “behind closed doors” mentality. And THAT is what makes for irresponsible adults who feel like they can get away with whatever because it is a “private” matter. Do any of you remember the “billionaire boys club”? Those young men were recipients of parental intervention whenever they misbehaved, and they grew up thinking that they could get away with anything. And they ALMOST did.
            I do not believe in humiliating a child just because you can, and there are limits to shaming a child. But one must remember that it IS the parent’s responsibility to teach the children to be RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS. Obviously, there is a limit to what you can teach a small child, but by the time they are teens, they SHOULD be able to decide if their actions are what society deems acceptable for their age group. If the child is 14, 15, 16 and getting drunk or high…. that is NOT acceptable behavior for their age. If they are sneaking out at the same ages and TPing the neighborhood, c’mon… that is age appropriate but it is vandalism…. so the punishment should in that case, be to clean up the neighborhood. Getting drunk or high…. yo can almost bet the bank that they are NOT alone and sure… make that kid hold up a sign with their behavior on it…. They will learn that it was IRRESPONSIBLE and DANGEROUS…. standing on a corner holding a sign with their “crime” written for everyone to see, whether they are shamed by it or not, is very MILD punishment compared to what it COULD HAVE BEEN!.

      • I agree. It as more about creative and fitting consequences, those pictures are not meant to shame the child. Each person requires different consequences to learn their life lessons. Just because you believe in only waiting until you get home and holding their hands and telling them life is a soft squishy place where their indiscretions will always be a secret does not prepare them for reality. I can guarantee that after a child experiences a creative consequence that fits that they are greatly less likely to repeat that behavior. Parents are allowed to be creative and have fun with parenting. Time outs and getting grounded and doing chores don’t always make sense towards correcting behaviors and teaching our children to be well rounded adults with a sense of humor. And the parents that post those pictures are not posting pictures of every act, the child is not living a shame life online. They are provided with an opportunity to learn a lesson and grow into the people they are to become.

        • I hope your kids find something embarrassing about you and post it online.
          Teach you to teach your kids ‘creative and fitting consequences’

          • May I ask what makes any of you “Anonymous” posters any better than those of us who believe in our childrens’ abilities to LEARN from their mistakes? I will be the FIRST in line to say that I have made MANY mistakes in my life, but I have LEARNED from them and VERY RARELY have repeated the same mistakes.
            And something embarrassing about a parent???? give me a break!!! Do you think it is NOT embarrassing to be at work and have the police call because your teenage son is caught across town at a rival High School during hell week and then have to go to your boss and ask permission to go to the high school because they cannot just let him leave…. he has to be escorted home by a parent or go to jail. Or be in a movie theater on a girl’s night and have the police come in and get you because a group of teens, including 2 of your own, have been detained from a high school football game- not their school- for vandalizing cars in the parking lot.
            YES it is embarrassing, but everyone that I know with teenagers, has dealt with the same issues.

            • Interesting that you wanted to criticize the way I parent MY daughter in another post and I read a little further only to find you talking about having not one, but TWO, of yours hauled into a police station for vandalizing cars. Hmm… I see how well YOUR way of parenting and disciplining is going. Guess who has never had to pick THEIR kid(s) up from the police station. Uh, yep, that would be me. You might want to work on dealing with parenting and disciplining your own kids before you criticize someone else on how they deal with theirs. And just so you know, very few of the parents with teens that I know, including myself, have ever had to deal with something like that ever happening. You need a new set of acquaintances if that happens to be passe in your circle.

            • Please reread my comment about being called by the police…. my boys were NOT taken to the police station…. I was taken to them… ALL of the parents who were called/tracked down were taken to the kids at the stadium. The police asked the kids and my boys KNEW that they could call on me…. that they would have to face the consequences, but it would be better than going to jail. The police gave the parents the choice as to what we wanted done with the kids…. I wanted mine driven home in the backseat of a police car and then the boys spent the next 2 weeks doing clean up at the stadium parking lot and giving free car washes at the church. These 2 boys are now grown men. And they still remember that consequences occur. They tell me all the time how glad they are that I let them make mistakes, and that I taught them HOW to learn from them by the loving discipline that they received from me.
              But my kids, all 4 of them, knew their boundaries and they knew that if they crossed them, there would be consequences…. Luckily, I never had to deal so much with the internet because it just wasn’t the social hub that it is today. I learned when they were all very young that they responded differently to punishment/discipline and that never changed. But they knew that if they did something wrong, they would receive some sort of punishment … and it would be dealt with before their heads hit the pillow for the night. I never once dealt out punishment while I was angry. I ALWAYS listened to what they had to say unless they began screaming or using profanity… then the discussion was delayed until they were able to continue in a civilized manner. I never yelled at them and you can count on your hands the number of times I spanked. I am EXTREMELY proud of my children and the wonderful adults that they have become. They have made mistakes and learned from them and have moved on. They face up to their responsibilities and are willing to admit when they falter and know to take the appropriate steps to fix whatever the problem is. My children NEVER feared me, they respect me. And even when I felt like I was doing a horrible job raising them, they let me know that I wasn’t. I inherited my 4 children from my sister who passed away when the kids were young, but I had been with her helping with them for their entire lives.
              I do not want to tell anyone how to raise their children, and I was not trying to tell you. I was stating my opinion of how that situation seemed to be ineffective…. withholding punishment….. I still cannot see how it can possibly end up being the best choice. But she is your daughter, do what you want…. just remember, that knife cuts 2 ways. I do not know your situation or your daughters, and you do not know mine or the parents who utilize the tactic of having their child hold up a sign stating their “crime”. … so don’t judge them either.

            • My dear, I wasn’t on here judging anyone. I simply shared a technique of disciplining that a child therapist shared with me when I was bemoaning the fact that my ADHD-inattentive teen was difficult to punish/discipline because she didn’t care what got taken away from her. Have you ever tried grounding a kid as a punishment who simply does not care if they are grounded? Or taken a phone or whatever away from a kid who literally would rather go without the phone (or whatever) than do the chore you have told them do? Think about that for a second. There are kids like my daughter who actually are willing to be grounded or lose their phone/computer than clean their room when told to do so. So tell me how YOU would deliver consequences to a teen in that situation. You seem to think it must be immediate. Tell me what you’d do since you seem to have all the answers and know the only right way to discipline a kid. Is the grounding or loss of the phone REALLY a consequence if they don’t care? Heck no! So when I mentioned this to the therapist she was seeing (for guidance on coping skills & how to manage her ADHD w/o medication), this was one of his suggestions. And lo and behold, it worked. For my daughter. The point of it was to find the thing that will make an impact on her when grounding or losing other privileges/items don’t. And believe me, even days or weeks later she is smart enough to correlate the punishment to the crime because I have already TOLD HER about the fact that there will be a consequence in the future. And now, she would much rather do the dreaded chore than take a chance on not doing it and then not being able to do something wants to do the next time she asks. But you decided to swoop in, poo poo the suggestion, all but come out and say I was a shitty parent who was making a liar out of my daughter and then literally point out your sarcasm. But hey, I’m not supposed to take offense? Get real, lady. As you said, you didn’t know my situation but you certainly felt compelled to comment on it and ridicule me/my choices, didn’t you? All kids are different. What worked for your kids might not work for others. What works for one kid in my OWN family doesn’t always work for the other. But I do the best I can. I have great kids. They are kind, do excellent in school, are great athletes and involved in a couple of sports, have gotten commendations in school for numerous things like behavior and academic excellence, they both have a wonderful sense of humor and are all-around great kids who despite what you think, are NOT compulsive liars and are not afraid to talk to me about things that go on at school or in their lives. I don’t think, I KNOW, I am doing a damn good job with them, no matter what you or anyone else thinks.

            • As a parent, I can’t imagine being in your shoes. I’ve never experienced anything remotely like that with my children. However, I had a few delinquent experiences as a teen and the response of my flabbergasted parents was to hide from the truth that I was a troubled young woman who needed guidance and a helping hand. Their responses led me to believe they were embarrassed and ashamed of me. Beliefs that estranged me from my parents for years until I was able to gain some perspective and see my my parents as people who tried, maybe failed, but loved me any how.

              I pray you are able to find a way to reach your son and repair those bridges.

            • “I will be the FIRST in line to say that I have made MANY mistakes in my life, but I have LEARNED from them and VERY RARELY have repeated the same mistakes.”

              This is awesome. I am forever doing the same stupid things over and over. I would seriously give up toes for the ability to keep from making the same mistakes.

              Cheers!!

        • you can guarantee?? I have three totally different. What works with one with never work the another. So to be able to guarantee something when it comes to parenting is pretty bold. I would never publicly shame my children. I also don’t believe in the wait until we get home attitude. I pull my children aside away from everybody else and explain the consequences of there actions. In some cases yes it is the natural consequences other times it will not as the normal consequences is inappropriate Having a parent put in the public everything you do to embarrass the is also not natural. I have three teenagers two of which have ADHD. I have always been told how wonderfully behaved and polite they all are. Never once did I post their mistakes and misbehavior for public viewing.

      • I do not exist to make my children “paranoid at an early age”, I am here to protect them and show them that there can be beauty in the world. Forgiveness is learned. Respect is learned. It’s terrible parenting like public shaming that is teaching children today that it is ok to bully. Why not? Their parents do it to them…..

      • Amen. I agree I would rather my kids learn from.me than their peers. jail is real the world is real. Why let our children learn from.others when it’s my job to teach them how this real world will be. I teach I support my children in all they do. But I also teach fear me. Cause later in life they Need to know there are consequences to every action either good or bad.

      • Agreed! If my parents did this to me after I did something wrong, no way in hell would I do it again. Harsh actions need harsh consequences, especially with smart ass kids who think they can get away with it because it’s “anonymous” online.

      • You’re seriously suggesting GIRLS (ie UNDERAGE) deserve having their nude or semi nude photos SHARED if in a hormonal lack of judgement send a pic to their (likely also underage) boyfriend?? You are advocating for distribution of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY just for an “I told you so”? You’re sick.

        • Sara, who???? who suggested anything remotely close to that? APPROPRIATE discipline….. IF an underage girl was caught sharing a semi-nude photo of herself to ANYONE whether in a hormonal lack of judgement or not, is SCREAMING, BEGGING for some kind of attention. If it were MY daughter, the discipline/punishment would be something like…. loss of UNSUPERVISED phone and internet usage for a month, AND you can BET that I would come up with some way for her friends to know why she is no longer on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instaflix. BUT there is NO WAY I or any other parent with even 1 drop of sense would EVER share a photo that goes against what we are trying to teach them NOT to do!!!! That would be the case for a SIGN saying something like “I showed bad judgement by encouraging disrespect towards myself and other girls. So my Mom is making me stand here with this sign to show that I respect myself. Girls- do NOT allow disrespect towards females to exist because of you.”

          • “‘Girls- do NOT allow disrespect towards females to exist because of you.'”

            Yes! This is a fantastic sentiment!

            Can we model for younger women how to be intelligent, reasonable, beautiful, articulate, and worthy of the respect of others?

            What do you believe are the best methods for accomplishing that goal?

            • Heidi, what do I believe are the best methods for accomplishing that goal? I may lose some on this one, but I believe that it begins with God. As a single parent of 4 now grown children, the youngest of which is a girl, I can honestly say that each day was begun and ended on my knees in prayer asking/thanking my God for the guidance and wisdom to instill in my 4 charges how to become the adults that He wants them to be.
              Looking back on it, I know that I made some mistakes, but I was given the opportunity to correct those mistakes in my parenting skills. I was raised by both a mother and a father and the most important thing I recall about my upbringing was to learn that I was important, my opinions were important, whether anyone agreed with them or not, I learned that generally if I was able to adequately articulate my opinion/motivation/desires/etc AND the possible consequences, they were worth the chance to let it play out. I was taught that there is a time and a place for certain activities/physical appearance/behavior and to mix them up, portrayed the wrong impression-be it real or imagined.

      • THE hardest part of parenting is learning to let your child learn the hard lessons, and the older they get, their decisions become more important…BUT, you make it clear as a parent that YOU are the safe place, that you will help them, not hurt them… That help does include discipline and guidance, but SHOULD NOT include ridicule…

      • That’s where there is a difference between being a mature adult and a child. Children and teens aren’t mature; they’re trying to figure out their confidence, and they make some pretty dumb decisions while getting there. Handling anything in a mature manner not only helps build their foundation of respect for their parent and the lines of communication, but also gives them an example to follow. Adults who humiliate their co-workers or post inappropriately can risk being terminated; why would we offer less protection for our youth? I’m not a soft parent– I’ve heard “that’s not fair, I’m moving out, you hate me” many times when I lower the boom on my kids for either foolish actions or downright dangerous behavior. I’ve taken phones, destroyed phones, taken cars, grounded for a month, removed everything from their room, unplugged the tv and had them weed for hours– but not without level-headed discussions about what was done wrong, better options, and my desire for them to develop character. The result? I still take away cars and phones, but I have an 18 year old son who hugs me and tells me he loves me every day, even if I’ve won the “Lame Mom” award. One question to ask before posting as an adult (which our children rarely ask either) is, “Why am I posting this? ” Do we need attention too? Are we reacting, or is this a carefully chosen response? What kids do may seem like a joke, but parenting isn’t. Do it right the first time, and you’ll be surprised how your kids will follow suit.

      • Actually, I tend to agree more with you then the ones who are crying out for justice for the children. So the parents should not post these things, it’s wrong and shames the child…oh no….ever really took the time out to see all the things children post on the internet? Cursing, drug use, selfies half naked in the bathroom mirror, hateful and threatening things after a breakup, twerking etc, so it’s ok to post as long as it comes from them, right? Anybody care that sometimes parents are embarrassed? Working hard to make sure the kids have all the latest fashion, the latest sneakers, the latest I phone, I pad, computer, cars at 16 etc but God forbid we shame the children…..sorry to say but we live in a generation where children (obviously not all) think they have all the rights and the parents better give and give or else they will be labeled as bad parents. No wonder we lost control.

      • I agree. And as far as your “adult example” goes, maybe that does need to happen. Too many people these days are under the mistaken impression that there aren’t real consequences for their actions, and this needs to change.

      • Thanks for the other side of this. I think there has to be a happy medium somewhere. The world has changed and so must parenting.

      • Right, because if you smoke pot or make some other minor mistake as a teenager you deserve to be shamed by your parents on the internet. Yep, that’s loving parenting. That won’t push your kids away at all or cause them to hate you.

        Considering girls have been continually harrassed and ended up committing suicide for pictures being shared around online that they never meant to be, I find your attitude really obtuse and pathetic. I’m sure you think this is ‘tough love’ but it amounts to little more than being a sadist and a bully. How would you like pictures of you doing something stupid and embarrassing to be shared all over the internet? Of course, I guess you’re perfect and you’ve never made a single mistake in your life you wouldn’t be ashamed of people knowing.

        I was raised by parents who never publicly shamed me because they loved me too much to do something abusive like that and yes, it is abusive. Go read about child abuse because you clearly think it takes something as extreme as beating your child to be an abusive parent. There’s such a thing as mental and emotional abuse.

        I really hope you don’t have access to children.

      • Agreed. So much concern is out there protecting these ‘little children’ from the slightest anguish. In Colonial ays and in England they put social offenders in Stocks for all to see. It shamed the offender and made an object lesson to others not to repeat the practice. Now we have teen aged sex offenders, teen aged bullies, and none of them are being held accountable for their actions. How many teen age girls must commit suicide from shame because her ‘friends’ helped her get drunk or stoned, then took advantage of her helpless condition?
        I’m not in favor of abuse. But child discipline started early enough will help kids avoid the specter of seeing their faces held out for ridicule.

        • I guess I see what the point of this argument is because I know that a parent can go over the line with some kids because it is the fad to publicly humiliate kids. But I also know that kids need coping skills and since I can’t be there 24/7 with them, I would rather push them a little so they learn to cope with me so that they don’t become like my cousin’s suicidal son who has no coping skills. My cousin didn’t want anyone to speak harshly towards her son but did nothing to correct his bad behavior when he was young, except to medicate him for ADHD, and now as a teen he is institutionalized and unable to function in society. I think telling my son to deal with whatever consequences I chose for him is teaching him to cope, I was told to do this when he was a toddler even, and that may mean publicly displaying his wrong doing if a public apology is necessary or if it will teach him that bad behavior does not feel good.

      • I soooo very much agree with you. Who knows the total and complete frustration these parents are/have gone through with unruly children? If you have “perfect” children….good for you, but first maybe you should try putting yourself in these parents situations before you spout off your opinions!

      • If you feel so strongly that this lady is overreacting, then why are you posting anonymously? Also, I hope someone publicly shames you so that you can understand how it feels. I’m not a parent but even I can come up with better ways to deal with a teenager acting out than to attempt to murder their self esteem.

        • Hey I just want to say a few things here.

          First of all in regards to parental discipline, there is a right and wrong reason for every action. There could be cases where this style of parenting is done from a place of love, and just trying to fit the punishment to the crime.

          Every type of discipline has the potential to become wrong. It depends where it comes from. If it’s from a place of extreme, over-exaggerated anger or a desire to ridicule I agree that it is wrong. But if it’s done from an honest attempt to help a child learn a hard lesson and the parent is there in every moment guiding them through it and helping them to understand why it is being done, then even placing it for all their friends to see on the internet can be a teachable moment.

          If someone is bullying someone online for example. It’s very public, it’s very hurtful. Do you think the bully deserves anonymity? I don’t, I think they should be made to at the very least apologize in the same manner they used to send the threats or names…Online. This is to be done on TOP of a face to face apology. If the child is not willing to apologize, then yes…I believe the world should know what they did and the punishment given insofar as the world of the child..Their friends and contacts online. This of course would be one of the few instances that taking a punishment into a public avenue would have a reason to be.

          And before you say anything I WAS a victim of public shaming, on a website where I didn’t even know the person who was doing the bullying. I have been called things on youtube and other places that are super nasty…My crime? Having fun, singing, all wholesome activities. I have replied to these people, blocked them and contacted the sites in question but really nothing is done about it. What about my self esteem? Would that make me worth less than these people if someone decided to broadcast what they’d done to me in a public way? If someone decides to do nasty, awful things to another human being they should be made accountable and in this day and age the quickest route is social media.

          That being said…..For many things I would say a private approach is the better one. Not everyone needs to know everyone’s private business. I don’t need to know that Junior stayed out past curfew, or was caught under age drinking etc.

        • You’re insane if you really believe that those signs are going to destroy their spirits! As they grow older they need to know how to behave in private as well as in public. The more you coddle them the more they’re going to continue with the same behaviors. When they become adults and expect the same kind of coddling there is going to be plenty of embarrassment when the real world gets a hold of them.

      • Why can’t you teach them without posting the pictures of it on the internet where their boss in 20 years can find it?

        • Because a lot of times these are teenagers that need to realize that sort of thing is permanent. And I would bet my life that many of those teenagers were being punished like that to not only punish their behavior but also to tie in poor internet behavior as well. My mother made a point on Facebook to make public that my little brother was being so disgusting, crude and disrespectful towards people that she was blocking him from her feed and grounding him from the internet & his phones internet access too. And even that didn’t work. The current generation has a lot of kids & teens that act like self entitled pricks because people like this already bitched & moaned about spanking your kids to the point where you can’t do it without some idiot telling your kid that as a parent YOUR in trouble for disciplining them. You take away real discipline then you have to expect new disciplines that actually affect what teens care about so it actually has an impact. My mom did a great job raising kids – me and my older sister could be spanked and we learned to respect people both in private and public because we were punished in both capacities. My mom couldn’t punish my brother in public by the time he was at the stage where he tested her. Now, at home he listens but the minute someone outside the family is around he is the biggest asshole you’ve ever seen, especially to my mother. Because he knows even if he’s punished in private – socially he looks cool to his friends. People need to wake up and realize that if coddling your kids works, good for you, but don’t attack the rest of the world for getting with the times and actually parenting their kids the way that THEY know will work.

      • Yeah this article makes me angry. I think your adult to child comparisons ridiculous. First of all, you should never yell at a co-worker at work or you should get fired. And getting fired is a form of public punishment. They deserved it. Forgetting to pay your bill happens to all of it and it should not compare to a child who has chosen to publicly “twerk” and make an ass of themselves without the help of their parents.

        I read a news article today where a girl was publicly shamed for bullying a school student. She is being punished for doing the same exact thing to someone else. I think punishment fits the crime, especially since its an eye for an eye situation.

        For the record, I would never yell at my child in public or in front of family to the point of crying but that isn’t the same thing as other situations that you have described above. I agree not all behaviors require this kind of treatment. But you need to acknowledge the fact that social media is causing our children today to commit acts that we would have never ever considered years ago.

        If you don’t discipline your kids from bad behavior, how are you really protecting them. Most bad acts committed today are by kids that are spoiled rotten. They don’t vaule the importance of a little modesty and humility.

        • “But you need to acknowledge the fact that social media is causing our children today to commit acts that we would have never ever considered years ago.”

          Social media, ipso facto, people in society who utilize social media, is complicit in the offering of information to inspire and to denigrate the most easily manipulated element of our society, the naive teen. I believe that all sentient and functional human beings are capable of making choices. But, do you not agree that the punishment should not only act as a deterrent for future behavior but also serve as a mode of reconstructing the broken and weakest among us who make these poor choices rather than breaking them further?

      • I really, really disagree with your statements that we should learn to become paranoid at an early age, rather than learn (and teach) respect and responsibility. Yes, we should teach our kids to be very careful with how they present themselves, in person and online. But, you seem to think any young person who does something out of poor judgement deserves what they get. Have you honestly never, ever made a mistake in your youth? Have you no compassion for the world our kids are growing up in, where one mistake can literally destroy your life? For example, sexting or a photo taken without your knowledge or consent can now end up circulated to your entire town or end up on a porn site, resulting in severe depression and possible suicide as it does in a shocking number of cases. Just google ‘cyberbullying suicide’ to get an idea. Where is your humanity?

        Parents who do this to their children, in order to instill some life lesson, are cyberbullying their kids and only teaching them to bully and humiliate others in order to get what they want or feel powerful. If those are the values you admire and want to pass on to your children, I feel sorry for you, and even sorrier for them.

        Cyberbullying is the modern equivalent of a public beating which seems archaic and unnecessarily brutal in the modern age. How will bullying and publicly humiliating your own children look to future generations? About the same, or worse, I expect.

      • In these cases the one who is posting is not the child but the parent. Children do have to learn that what they put out out on the Internet can hurt them BUT they should not be learning that lesson from their own parents posting! A parent is the one person that should always protect, love and help their child. The parent is essentially making it more difficult for them. If my daughter or son was twerking at a dance or smoking pot I would not take a pic and post it to Facebook. I would be marching my them home for a long chat. I am a dr so the chat would involve stories of drug addiction and std’s but there would not be any Facebook photos

      • You are right about the longevity of pictures on the internet. Now there’s a good chance that colleges & future employers will see these shaming photos. Good parents don’t need Facebook or to abuse their children for likes. Good parents sit with a child & explain right & wrong. Good parents set an example and HELP their child when they start to struggle. Of course jr high girls are going to twerk & teenagers are going to experiment with drugs- it’s their parents’ jobs to protect them & set them straight. Don’t let this be the world we live in.

      • When I was growing up, I was told that “a leaf floating down a gutter cannot control where the water takes it, but a person DOES have control and should stiffen his backbone when he/she is tempted and NOT stoop to vulgarity. You DO NOT HAVE to do what other people do no matter how good a friend they pretend to be.

      • Seriously over-reacting! I’ve seen and witnessed teachers shaming and publicly embarrassing kids more than I’ve seen parents shaming and publicly embarrassing kids. And, if the parent/s feels that they need to publicly embarrass their child it’s probably because it’s been an issue that has not been taken seriously by their child and, sometimes, a little public embarrassment is all it takes.

      • Here’s the deal: punish them for what they did, not for who they are. Shaming is never a good tool for parenting. Your children will just hate you. Source: my parents used shame as a punishment. Never worked. I just have intense bitterness towards them.

      • “Better learn to become paranoid at an early age” ??? NO. Responsible for actions, yes! That there are consequences for inappropriate / bad behavior, yes! As a parent, I am responsible to help my child learn these lessons in ways that make them stronger NOT in ways that make them insecure and paranoid. I want my daughters to know without a doubt that they are unconditionally loved and that they can trust their parents to always act in their best interest. They may not LIKE everything we do. They don’t have to agree with our decisions. BUT when I displine my daughters, my goal is for them to learn what they need to learn to make better choices in the future. I will disipline my child in private as much as possible and if not possible, I will maintain my cool and keep myself as lowkey as possible. I will make things uncomfortable for her, if I need to, for her to learn what she needs to learn, but I will avoid in as much as I am able, publicly humiliating her. There are plenty of opportunities for me to use the bad examples of others’ poor social media choices for her to learn what is inappropriate. She may make bad choices and have to live with the consequences of that, but I, as her loving Mother, hope I NEVER am the cause of my daughter’s public humiliation as in the examples mentioned in the article above.

      • I think the point is that no child should have to be afraid of their parent demoralizing them in front of the world. All shaming teaches a child is that they should never show their weaknesses. Every teenager, heck every human being is going to make mistakes. The worst thing in the world a parent can do is to teach a child that they cannot be trusted to handle these mistakes. That is when they go to great lengths to hide when they mess up and a little mistake turns into a gigantic problem with lasting repercussions. Public opinion and image is paramount to pre-teens and teenagers. You are cutting your nose off to spite your face if you think parenting by shaming works. Your child will still mess up, they will just learn not to let you know about it because you are not to be trusted. They will go to their friends for advice, they will lie to your face and sneak around behind your back. And if they ever REALLY do screw up, you will be the last person in the world they will call for help for fear of giving you any ammunition.

        • “And if they ever REALLY do screw up, you will be the last person in the world they will call for help for fear of giving you any ammunition.”

          You just said that very well and showed the true outcome of shaming and demoralizing our children. If a child makes a mistake that affects a large group of people then he should make it right (apologize, make restitution) with that group of people, but there is NO place for sharing his mistake with anyone who is not a part of the problem in the first place. That will destroy your child’s trust in you and any further communication of any depth and possibly even the relationship.

          On Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 10:01 AM, Heidi Stone

      • Anyone else find the comment I’m replying to ironic? I mean, it’s a positive statement on the efficacy of teaching kids to take responsibility for what they post online through social media embarrassment, but the poster has decided to remain anonymous.

        If you really feel this way about taking public responsibility for your actions online, shouldn’t you “own” your posts? Or do you, in fact, find value in privacy… even in such a public venue as the internet?

    • I just wanted to say that I LOVED this article. As I was reading what happened between your friend and her son, in your home, in front of your family, my own eyes filled with tears. Shame and violence are perpetrated generation after generation and, in my opinion, the best parents out there in the world are the ones who are adult enough to realize tearing down another person, stripping them of dignity and respect isn’t parenting. It is bullying. As I’ve explored parenting options that don’t include using physical, emotional, or mental violence toward children, I’ve become a much better mother. I don’t want my children to fear me; I want my children to trust me. I don’t spank my children anymore. I am working on not yelling. Discipline of any form does not take place in front of others because it makes them feel horrible and makes me look like I’m not handling the situation.

      • Discipline isn’t the same as punishment and CaN be done in public. For example, you and your child are at a play date and your child carelessly plays with the others’ toy which results in the toy breaking. Talking to them about it and telling them that they will need to replace the Broken toy is an example of proper public discipline.

    • My daughter has a live in boyfriend, who is very satirical with her two children. My grandson has some attention issues and we have known this since first grade. I am so upset, because I recently discovered he calls my grandson “Brain.” I, told my grandson, he calls him that because he is so smart, but he told me he calls him that because he is not smart. I am of course very upset, but, I am treading on eggshells dealing with these issues. I cannot interfere or I won’t be allowed to see either of my grandchildren.
      HELP.
      yaya

      • Depending on the jurisdiction you live in, your rights to see your grandchildren may be protected by law. Some recognize the rights of extended family in child protection and support issues, in light of the belief that keeping a child within an extended family is in the child’s best interests. Many judges will look favorably on engaged grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in any case where a child’s custody is in question and the alternative is foster care outside the family.

    • You have made me think, I mostly agree, just going to have to write my own take/description…. I think either in public or private kids grow better with love than with shame

  1. I just made this point on a yahoo news comment. I think its pathetic that parents think it’s cool to humiliate their children in this manner, instead of finding a better way to discipline their children.
    Not to my surprise, people disagreed with my statement. I think it’s so sad that our society is so accepting of to much of everything now a days.
    They say our children are becoming immune and have no feelings or respect for others but I think it’s becoming more like that because more and more that is what they are being taught by the same parents that want to discipline them in this manner.

    • “They say our children are becoming immune and have no feelings or respect for others but I think it’s becoming more like that because more and more that is what they are being taught by the same parents that want to discipline them in this manner.” Excellent point and very insightful to put the two issues together. Thanks for coming by!

      • Yes, “…our children are becoming immune and have no feelings or respect for others…that is what they are being taught by the same parents…” Yes. The evidence is in the comments EVERYWHERE on the internet: rude, mean, profane bullying by adults. It’s The Garden mentality, feeds the sin-craving for power over others.

    • Your statements are quite correct and I find the overt way that some people continuously use Facebook to tell the world how great things are going for them have forgotten about being humble and don’t consider that for some people things might not be so great…

      • Thank you for saying this. I struggled during the holidays with how “put together” people seemed to looked on FB. We, as a family struggled and continue to for various reasons. I don’t post my or my family’s struggles. No one’s business. It is makes me wonder if everyone’s lives are really that great. Or it is a “keeping with appearances” thing. Happy for those who have happy things happen, but the constant “look how great we are” stuff is hard to see all the time.

        • You have hit the nail on the head in regards to why social media can be damaging. No one wants to air their “dirty laundry” online (generally speaking). People look at all of the “look how cool my life is” posts and pictures and then compare their lives to what others project theirs to be. We have to remember to stay in our own lane (don’t compare ourselves to others — everyone’s journey is different), and do the very best we can. Some days we will fall short. That is okay. We win by standing back up after a failure, persevering through the hard times by being true to ourselves and choosing what is best for our families even when that choice is the harder one. We can not control others, but we can always control how we react to others. Being real, with all of our flaws and still moving forward -that example is an important gift we can give our kids.

        • Maybe I share “too much” according to some people, but I like to think that one of the beautiful things about social media is the ability that we have to connect with others, share the burdens we have and expand our support networks in our times of trouble. Knowing that others have the same problems tends to make them a little easier to bear. Not to mention, opening a dialogue allows for others who might not be as strong to open up and lighten their
          burden as well. “None of their business” is fine if that is what you are comfortable with, but know that not talking about our struggles only makes them harder and for some, increases the stigma.

          I suffer from an anxiety disorder and while I don’t talk about it often, every once in a while I will post something in regards to it. Sometimes a simple status, other times articles, blogs, helpful sites about dealing with mental illness. I’ve also dealt with some pretty heavy financial stuff. Do I post all the gritty details? Definitely not. But sometimes the “why can’t money grow on trees?” status slips out and other times I’ll post some tips from financialsites or creative money saving techniques I’ve come across in my journey to financial stability. Of course, I think using common senseand discretion are important- my FB friends do not know everything and I would not want them to. But I do think it is important to find a balance. Your FB page has the ability to be a reflection of who you are, where you’ve come from and where you are going (if you want it to be such). It’s nice to look back at some of those tough times and see that they were overcome. For what it’s worth, I find that keeping up with the Joneses is overrated….

          To those who “keep up appearances”…maybe they should ask themselves “Why?”

      • Thank you for putting into print what I have felt many times, Anonymous! You’d be appalled at the number of people who don’t have perfect children who made the AA++ honor roll; don’t have husbands who surprise with flowers and brand new cars; nor careers with huge pay raises or promotions. Many people really are depressed and struggling with a career field that has been decimated; husbands that are alcoholic or abusive in some other way; or their kids are in jail for some reason or another, even though they never were publicly humiliated. Sometimes, it feels as though some people use FB in a game of one-upmanship. Good things can be shared, just don’t go way overboard about how God has so magnificently and overabundantly blessed you, when your brothers and sisters are suffering. Would you go to a soup kitchen and brag about the gourmet, 7-course meal you had last night at that fancy new restaurant? A battered women’s shelter and brag about the romantic getaway your husband surprised you with? This is the downside of social networking, I suppose. Give your heartiest thanks to God in your prayers and praises in private. Give thankful comments on FB, but keep in mind how many others won’t even have enough to eat, be safe in their own homes, or have heat for their comfort. It is my best guess that struggling people compare themselves to others, too, and come away feeling very un-worthy, un-lucky and hope-less.

        • FB isn’t a soup kitchen; it’s MY profile and place to share stuff of my choosing with my friends. It amazes me how many people want to dictate what others put on FB because it makes them feel bad or they don’t like it. How you feel about my stuff, especially when it isn’t directed at you, is not my responsibility and there’s a really easy solution – UNFRIEND.

          • I agree, M, my profile, with all the privacy settings I’ve put in place, is for me and whomever I want to share it with. If you don’t like what I post then unfriend me. I’m not sunny all the but I also don’t use fb as a private journal.

    • Why would they have any feelings or respect when their own parents don’t respect them or consider their feelings. People are taking out their frustrations o their own children,. Shame on them

      • Heidi, my husband and I have no children yet, but I am sitting here crying over your article. We have discussed ways of discipline when we do have kids, but bullying is not something we would do. I have to admit, I was one who laughed at the Get Along shirt. I never thought about it being so HURTFUL and damaging. What a great article and thank you for writing it!

        • You know even a young child say 2 or 3 can understand being set in a chair and told that was a bad thing to do or even a tap on the hand of a young child about to grab something they shouldn’t doesn’t harm them but making fun of them and humiliating them in front of someone else will destroy them quicker than anything. I would rather know someone is spanking (not beating) their children than to see what these parents are doing now days.

  2. Just wow. I can say from my own experiences that ALL 6 of those points are completely accurate. I vowed even in childhood not to be the cruel and mocking parent that my mother was and I have kept that vow. There’s certainly no lack of discipline but never does our discipline involve belittling or public humiliating. And kids aren’t the only ones who owe apologies! Mom & Dad have been known to say ‘I’m Sorry’ too – boy does that keep a parent humble!

    • I apologize way more often than I care to admit. However, I MUST be willing to be the kind of person I am asking my children to be. Especially when it is difficult. Thanks for coming by.

      • I totally agree with that. Like you, I apologize to my children when things get out of control or when I get out of control (I’m human, this happens). I want my children to grow up and apologize when an apology is necessary.

  3. Something that I am learning is that instead of beating my child up with my words in public when she has done something wrong, I wait until we are alone and explain to her what she did. She has much more respect for me and thanks me all the time that I treat her with such respect in that area.

    As for apologizing Heidi — it takes a big parent to go to their child and admit that they were wrong. Your children will respect you more knowing that you are a parent who makes mistakes and does not mind owning up to them.

    For some reason, it allows a child to relax and not think that they have to be perfect like most parents make themselves out to be :) Kudos to you!

    • ” I wait until we are alone and explain to her what she did.” That is the way you make an ally of your child instead of an adversary! Well done! :) My boys are teens and we are entering the age of the Consultant Hat instead of the Benevolent Dictator. It’s not an easy adjustment, I promise. But the work, the looonnngggg conversations, the prayer, and the tears are all worth it. Because they are. :) Thanks for coming by!

      • As a family member of children that frequently talk back rudely and behave disrespectfully to both their grandmother and me (their Aunt), I’ve had a difficult time navigating this one. I respect my sister’s desire to not publicly shame them, but at what point does the parent need to speak to them in front of someone else (even family) to correct bad behavior in the act? It seems to have less, or no impact later in the day when the incident is not in their mind, and it makes it difficult for other family members to spend time in the household.

        • Is public shaming necessary still? I’d say if your sister needs to correct their behaviour around family members she should do so tactfully and not have to shame them. There’s nothing wrong with correcting bad behaviour in public it’s all in the tone and the words that differs the correction from tact to shame. But on that note I’m sorry they are so rude to you I know my kids would never get away with that!!

          • Consequences, its about consequences for bad behaviour at an early age. Todays society is not holding our youth reponsible for their actions. Instead they set their moral compass by watching reality TV, celebrities, and musicians behave outrageously without repercussions. If they post their bad choices on social media why shouldn’t the consequence be displayed on social media?

          • I find, especially with young children, that waiting until later doesn’t always work but when these incidents occur in front of family, friends or in public, my happy middle ground is removing my kid(s) from the situation to speak to them privately about their behaviour. While being removed from a situation may feel embarrassing to some kids there’s a fine balance between allowing your kids to feel some discomfort for their actions (read, learning accountability) and doing it in a way that’s not demeaning, rude or offensive. :)

            • No, I have had to pick a young child up and walk out and set them down right then and explain why that was not ok, and they would be going home without their toy or candy that day. I think the mother that screams in Wal Mart to shut up and call their kids dumb and stuff is why so many kids are so disrespectful today

            • I completely agree with you Melissa!! I have little ones too, and I have found that “waiting until home” lessens the impact of the discipline, because they have forgotten about the incident in which they misbehaved. I too have removed them from the situation and spoken to them privately about their behavior, and warned them of the consequences if they continue. They have been made to immediately apologize to the person/child they were causing trouble to, and they have had to spend “time out” even if they were with other kids. Now when my teenager, gets told “wait until we get home”, he knows that he has really stepped over the line — but he doesn’t get publicly shamed. I have heard conversations in stores between parents and their kids, and it is really ugly, embarrassing, and uncomfortable for all involved — the parents, kids, and passerby. Sometimes it’s been so bad, I have to refrain from intervening, and asking them to “take it outside”! For some parents make a “show” out of disciplining their kids and showing others “who’s the boss”! Ugh! But kids must be held accountable for their actions in a better way than public or FB shaming!! :)

        • Exactly. Sometimes public shaming is the only way to curb the behavior. I only advocate this though if the negative behavior is harmful to others, wilfull and persistent. And the child is unresponsive to quiet, private discussion about the issue

          • If a child or teenager was misbehaving in the privacy of their own home, why publicly shame them as a course of discipline? It it setting them up to be made a mockery of and to get ridiculed and bullied by other adults and ever their peers. Would you want someone to publicly shame you? There are ways to provide logical consequences that can be very effective without being public (for rhe cyber bullying teen picture, have her sell her ipod ans donate the money to anti bullying projects, but don’t post it all over facebook) Effective discipline is keeping their dignity intact and showing the same respect that is expected in return while still using logical consequences for their behaviour that is reasonable for the misbehaviour.

            • I wanted to respond to the idea of logical consequences. I agree with logical consequences, as long as they are real- world consequences. If my 4 year old bites a kid in preschool, that other kid may bite or hit him back, he then knows that bad behavior = pain and quit biting, that is a logical consequence. If the other kid goes to the teacher and the teacher says ‘that is not nice’ and leaves it at that, he is stubborn and onery enough to continue the bad behavior because talking to him does not help. He may want momma to be called so giving him what he wants also does not help. When he is 11 and still bites, I will post a picture as big as can be down at the grocery store of him holding a sign that says he is in trouble for biting and everyone in town will know that my kid is acting like a brat. I am okay with that. The consequences are now that he won’t be invited to a friends house for a while or he won’t make new friends as easily. It may be that people ask him if it is for real and he has to own up to his mistake multiple times. It will surely teach him not to bite. He should be humiliated by his behavior, especially if it is not a victim-less issue. It’s not like we are asking teens to admit to something private like not having safe sex and getting an std, but if a girl gets pregnant, that consequence isn’t so private is it?

            • @lisa, if your 4 year old bit a child at preshool and the child bit him/her back, then it is a natural consequence instead of a logical consequence. Natural consequences are ones that happen naturally without any involvement. Logical consequences are ones that have involvement by the teacher or parent and are fitting to the act. Example, not being allowed to sign out a new library book because you forgot your old one, etc. However, logical consequences don’t always have to be just a slap on the wrist. They can be quite harsh as long as it fits the misbehaving act. Publicly shaming a child on facebook for a misbehaviour that was done away from social media or more privately is not a logical consequence as it does not relate to the “crime”. Then there is punishment which is intended to hurt the child (not simply another child biting back), and does not fit the “crime” being done. This is where posting a picture of a teenager with a sign saying they got caught smoking pot, etc. Maybe that teenager will learn a lesson without it being posted all over facebook with the intention of humiliation, etc.

        • When my boys were little, I always told my brother and sister that they were the adults and they had to make the kids behave because me telling them that uncle does not like them to play with his hat and uncle telling them don’t touch the hat is very different things. Now that they are bigger, they would not deliberately be disrespectful but they are still testing boundaries and things need to be brought to their attention as it arises because later on, it gets lost with their perceptions and excuses. I personally think that to say a child should never feel shame even if what they are doing is shameful is to teach them to ignore their conscience because after all the consequences are worth the feeling they get when they misbehave.

          • well said!!! I see a lot of parents trying to be their child’s “friend” instead of their PARENT. with that mentality they attempt to facilitate an easier way and “protect” their child from experiencing REAL emotions like GUILT, DOUBT, JEALOUSY, EMPATHY. the emotions responsible for an inner dialogue (in the child) of, “I shouldn’t have done that. that was not a wise choice. I am gonna be in so much trouble!!”
            I can tell you what would happen in my house if I WAITED until the time was right to “reprimand” my boys or took the “gentle” approach…THE WOULD RUN ROUGHSHOD ALL OVER ME.

            • You are not your child’s friend until they are in their 30s or have children of their own…that is not your job. Your JOB as a parent is to prepare your children for the real world and hopefully give them more chances than you had. As society changes, so must discipline. Social media is a very dangerous thing filled with real, major consequences. And the discipline must fit. Sheltering them so they do not understand the consequences of real-world actions and social media virality is doing them a disservice, not “saving the children.”

        • There is a world of difference between a swift reprimand in public and a loud berating in public. Sometimes a child does need to be reprimanded at the time of the disobedient act. But this is not what the author is addressing. To tear a child down and berate them in public goes far beyond a swift and quiet reprimand. It is never necessary to put a child down in public in order to make him/her behave. To do so will only create a deep resentment within the child and possibly be the cause of more rebellion down the road. Also…what you are referring to sounds like a family matter that needs to be addressed between the child and the adult he/she is being disrespectful too…along with the parents. It does need to be addressed. But this is not what the writer here is talking about.
          Hope this helps. I hope that helps. I think your example is just an altogether different issue.
          blessings to you and yours!

        • Something I’ve learned over the years is that discipline does not have to be immediate. It doesn’t even have to be later in the day. I struggled with my one child who is very stubborn and with whom many discipline techniques seem to have little or no effect. She was seeing a counselor learning how to deal with her ADHD and cope with anxiety issues and I asked him what do you do with a kid who doesn’t care if you ground them, who doesn’t care if you take their phone away, who doesn’t care if you take their books away, who will stubbornly sit in an empty room and STILL not do what they are supposed to do. I couldn’t seem to find the sweet spot that would really get her to sit up and take notice. And he said that I needed to tell her up front that if she did not do the task I had given her that there would be consequences. I did not have to tell her what they were or when they would happen. I didn’t even have to know myself at that point. But the next time SHE asked to go somewhere, to a friend’s house, to the movies, whatever, even if it was a month from now, I should simply remind her of the fact that there was a time when she did not do what she was asked to do, that I said there would be consequences and now the consequences have arrived. By waiting for her to show interest in doing something, I had found that certain thing that would make her take notice. Worked like a charm. After a couple times of not being allowed to do what she wanted to do, she now is much better at doing whatever it is she is asked/told to do. I would imagine this same technique would work for smart-mouthed kids as well. And no public shaming or confrontation need be involved. Although I have to say, as a caveat, that if my kids were disrespectful to my mom or sister, I probably would call them out on it immediately and if my nephew ever was disrespectful to me, would have no issue letting him know that his behavior was unacceptable, regardless of whether my sister was there or not. I feel like you teach people how to treat you and allowing such disrespect kind of tells those kids that it’s ok and you’re not going to do anything about it.

          • Wow thank u! I have a stubborn hard head teenage girl who I’ve been struggling with finding a form of discipline that changes the behavior. I always thought it needed to be swift and immediate but doubling her chores for the day or taking her phone or other belongings just made her angry. She didn’t self reflect on what she could have done differently. She learned no lesson. All it did was frankly, piss her off.
            I am hopeful to try this new method of warning Of consequences then waiting for the right time. She’s a social butterfly so there’s always an event or sleepover she’s planning. A few times should get the point across and then hopefully just the warning will stop the behavior. Maybe this will be the trick to get through to her.
            Thanks again!
            Sara

            • Good luck, Sara! It seemed like SUCH common sense when he said it. I wondered how I never considered it. Like you, I believed that justice needed to be swift and immediate. But I’m thankful he opened my eyes to a different way. Your daughter will still be pissed when you tell her no days or weeks after the transgression, mine certainly was, but they get over it. I don’t care if my daughters get mad at me once in a while. I’m their mother, not their bff. Honestly, I think it pains ME more to tell her no than for her to hear it. She’s got a very small group of friends (all 2 of them) and she doesn’t do a whole lot outside of school with them. She tends to be a bit of a homebody and also is busy 6 mos. out of the year playing Jr. Olympics club volleyball and I am usually encouraging her to get out and do more, go more places when she’s got the free time. So to have to tell her no to going out and actually being social for once isn’t easy. But it was necessary and thankfully it didn’t take too many times of being denied for it to sink in with her.

        • I have raised my four children — I pray — with dignity and respect (altho’ to avoid the “our life is great” picture, I’m also a yeller and have made my share of mistakes!!) and my first thought in dealing with family is that I would say something in front of family much more than I would in front of a larger circle of family or acquaintances.

          Here’s the thing for me! When a child/teen speaks disrespectfully, they might not realize that it is a shaming thing! They have shamed the adult they’ve addressed disrespectfully, no? Then it should be handled carefully and firmly but immediately.

          Apart from that, my children and I have a signal for public uses and when it involves something they’re saying that they shouldn’t I have a subtle, but very stern face where I roll my lips in (indicating to close them)…my kids mostly get it and will stop! LOL! Then we talk later about what was going on and why it wasn’t appropriate!

          The whole thing of parents shaming their children on the internet to me smacks of parents who haven’t disciplined their children appropriately, drawn appropriate boundaries, and are now out of control themselves trying to change behavior that they set down in the first place! Hmmm…parents with control and boundary issues have children with control and boundary issues? How weird is that?

        • When my children are misbehaving at someone else’s house, or in front of someone else, I pull them into a different room for a little bit. That way I can discuss with them what they are doing right away, but still not embarrass them in front of anyone.

        • If my kids (a teen and pre-teen) are rude to a family member (or any adult for that matter), I’m going to call them on it immediately… in front of whomever they chose to be rude to. They are not small children who might say something they don’t realize is rude. They are old enough to know the rules, the consequences and to understand that rudeness is a choice. If they push those boundaries (which I consider immoveable), then it’s my job to push back. A simple “That was rude. Please apologize to _____.” will do the trick, and a little bit of embarrassment on their part is just fine, in my opinion. But then, I’ve also been known to speak up to kids I don’t even know, when they’ve been cursing a blue streak in front of my kids when they were small. Unacceptable behavior is just that… and by accepting it, we tell them it’s OK.

      • Marvelous article and great comments to read. I had the blessingof my two oldest sons moving home after college and it was an adjustment for all of us. My husband and I opted for the roles of wisdom keeper and reserved the parenting roles for our youngest sone who was still in early adolescence. It held hidden blessings for all as we learned to have mutual adult respect. We enjoyed it when they asked for our opinions or support but kept our tongues tied when necessary. Failures and bad decisions on their part became their teachers and we became their soft places to fall. Blessings for all of us..

  4. I have a question. When I see these pictures, I assume that these parents have tried the punish at home and praise in public approach and it didn’t work. I don’t know, don’t personally know any of these people, my question to you is assuming they have tried this approach, and the child’s behaviour has escalated, What would you recommend the next step be, assuming you don’t want your child in jail?

    • My take on it is this: IF you believe that the only tool left in your parenting arsenal is to put your child on a street corner with a sign, wear one too. Don’t take pictures and plaster them all over your social media with the very pointed “funny” tag lines that make this seem like a colossal joke and not the desperate attempt of a frantic parent. If public humiliation is the only recourse? Why not let them get arrested? What consequence are you shielding them from by making them a byline in news article? Are you teaching a fellow individual to evaluate their behavior and make better decisions? Or are you teaching them to avoid getting caught? I feel for any parent who has reached the end of themselves and is genuinely seeking a solution for their child’s out of control behavior. How many of those parents would choose counseling, family therapy, or even personal responsibility over the creation of a giant sign and the selection of a street corner? Lots of food for thought here. Thanks for coming by!

      • I can see two sides to this. I saw a video of a girl having a tantrum, and her Dad was filming her. She kept running away and screaming, “Turn the camera off! Turn it off!” and my heart just hurt for her. To be so out of control and have someone filming it and laughing at you… I just wanted to track that guy down and beat him up. I put that in a different category than the “Get Along” shirt. I don’t see the Get Along shirt as an attempt to humiliate a child and break their spirit. I might be wrong, but I do think there’s a lot of gray area there. I don’t think you should put a picture of your child on the Internet that they’re uncomfortable with, ever. If you could get someone else arrested for doing it, why would you do it?

        • The problem with the get-a-long shirt is taking a picture and posting it on the internet, not the shirt itself. There’s no grey area when you’re purposefully posting a picture with the intent of shaming.

        • agree…the “Get Along” shirt is not going to break their spirit. there are other situations that may, but not that. how about the dad who walked around in short shorts because his daughter refused to change hers after he asked her too. he posted pictures of himself doing that to make a point to her….”shaming” himself on her behalf. http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/dad-wears-short-shorts-to-teach-daughter-a-lesson–becomes-online-celeb-171218029.html shaming your children is NEVER EVER acceptable. as was stated above, though, naked baby butt pictures have been around for a long time. who knows…there may even be some drawings in caves of such things ;)

        • For one reason any thing that is put on here will be here forever, somewhere floating around. Do you want a picture of your child in any type of situation that is now or could become uncomfortable for them later.

        • My sentiments exactly! The video you’re referring to left me steaming mad. There is definitely room for common sense here. Not all children are the same, situations, parents, cultures, ages, etc… As a parent who does not want to permanently scar your child, you have to use better judgment and know what is too far. You can be a bully, or you can be a pushover, with words or actions, but there is also a grey area for sure!

          And IMO adults should(and frequently are) publicly shamed when they commit certain offenses. As parents we want our children to have a sense of dignity and never tear that down, but show them that some behaviors are shameful and you can redeem yourself with a dose of humility. We are all human and no action or shaming can ever be so terrible that you cannot redeem yourself if you are loved. I definitely agree that some parents focus on the punishment rather than the love and respect. Some go too far the other direction, afraid that they can never hurt the child’s feelings. Either style of parenting can work on one child and harm another…

          I was a very shy sensitive child and I was shamed for some behaviors and took it badly. But when I was bullied, I knew how to handle it because I was also taught self-worth. All I’m saying is… Yes there definitely is a grey area. If only everyone could take child development classes before raising kids. Even after that, it’s still much more difficult than someone without kids can imagine. Too much judgment.

      • I do love the food for thought and the discussion. What always has confused me about the parents who are “sharing” their children’s poor choices or poor behavior is why don’t they understand they are also pointing out their shortfalls (for lack of a better word) as parents.

        If their child made a bad choice, which happens…shouldn’t they take part of the responsibility. Why weren’t they guided –by their oh so wonderful parents who are so confident they can throw stones at glass houses– to make better choices.

      • Heidi I agree when my sister and I was young we were given a tour of the city jail (empty) and told that is where people who could not learn to control theirselves and be respectful of others many times ended up. We certainly didn’t want that to happen and I think it was a good experience to have had. We were never threatened with jail or scared just was explained that could be one of the consequences of not thinking and behaving right.

    • I don’t know. I bet there are parents who are waiting for the chance to to get to try out these punishments on their kids. They watch it on the news, they see the attention it gets the parents. How many parents are doing it themselves for the attention? Just a thought.

      These pictures are terrible. I know my parents would have done this.and I would sure hate to have all of my mistakes today to be blast all over the internet.

      Don’t we try to teach kids to not post things on the internet they are not proud of?

  5. So is all embarrassing stuff now considered being a bully? Doesn’t every parent or grandparent sometimes take a picture of their baby in the bath, or on a baby rug with their butt in the air? Those pictures all went in photo albums when I was growing up. My family members knew that those photos would be looked at by someone not in the family eventually. That’s the same basic idea, do we now consider that public shaming or humiliating?
    Yes, there is a line when it comes to yelling in public and there’s a line when you post images online. But not every little bump in the road can be considered a shame/bully. If we go down that road where does it stop? Why can’t things just be funny and worth sharing sometimes?

    • Youre kidding, right? You’re making a slippery slope argument by connecting a baby in a bathtub to humiliating a teenager on the street corner and all over the internet. C’mon. I mean, really. Do YOU even buy you right now?

    • There is a huge difference between a photo and deliberately publicly humiliating a child and if you don’t understand that I hope you don’t have children because clearly you aren’t mature enough or smart enough. You are looking for a way to justify abusing your kids already.

      • Gladys when you start berating people you lose all credibility in your argument and sound like you are being a bully, which is what you are trying to argue against. I believe they brought up the pictures of baby in the bathtub because that was one example in the article above – Look who pooped in the tub. I think that example kind of stretched her point a little too far but she was just trying to point out that we shouldn’t shame our children.

        • That example was in reference to a photo a parent posted on FB shaming their 2 year old with a sign that stated they were in trouble for pooping in the tub. It had nothingto do with baby ppictures that have been around for ages.

      • again, the author mentioned posting pics/comments about your kid pooping in the tub. that’s why erin brought it up. no need to insult her.

    • Shaming someone for mistakes made on the journey to learning how to be a decent human being is a lot different from showing a tiny naked butt. There is no shame in having a body. There is a big difference between shame and embarrassment. Look at the intent behind the two situations being compared here and you will have answered your own question, Erin. In a way you are right, some things are funny and worth sharing sometimes, and some things aren’t. As the adults, we should be a little better at discerning between the two.

    • I totally agree with you, Erin. There’s a big difference between yelling at your child and shaming them in public and posting pictures like the “Get along shirt” one. This is not a black and white issue, there absolutely are gray areas.

      • Exactly. The “Get Along Shirt” was brilliant…and as a child who misbehaved consistently when I was younger, I guarantee you the mother had tried many other ways and that was the last straw. If my parents had done that, I would’ve have hated it then. Would I have behaved better? ABSOLUTELY. Anyone who has been a victim of actual, real bullying–such as myself–knows there is a vast difference between something such as the “Get Along Shirt” and bullying.

  6. So, what you are saying is that you would equate a 14 year old young person standing alone on a street corner with a sign that declares his/her struggles to the world while being subjected to the ridicule, unkindness, and mockery of friends and of strangers to be the equivalent of the naked butt of a toddler in the bath tub? Really?

    And the parent who takes a picture of their child, as she struggles, and then makes a meme of it by plastering it all over social media is somehow different than the peer who, upon doing the same thing, could face suspension or expulsion from school? Just wondering if we are on the same page.

    Sure there are funny things to share. Share the funny! Lol about it all day long. Humiliation isn’t funny. Awkward family photos. Now, that is funny. Cruelty isn’t funny. An attempt to shame someone into compliance? That’s not remotely funny.

    • Especially, because most of those posts are NOT left for family and close friends. I have seen more publicly humiliated children that I don’t know shared by friends of friends, or just complete strangers, than my own social media friends. It isn’t the same, simply because a cute picture in toddlerhood that is eventually shared with the best friend or boyfriend is still chosen by you or your close family to share with someone you know, and the picture was taken with no intent to harm.

      Most of these pictures, which I assume created the inspiration behind this post are being left for millions of bystanders to tease and congratulate the punishment for a behavior that could have been left private and behind closed doors.

      Honestly I thank you for your post. I don’t intend to publicly humiliate my kids, but even recently when taking a picture on my phone my seven year old daughter said “please tell me that isn’t going on Facebook.” It was simply a picture of her learning to tie her shoes, something I was proud of, but something she would clearly have been embarrassed by. It made me rethink everything. When they were babies they had no voice, no real clear choice in how their lives were shared with others. To her that was me telling all of our friends and family that she was seven and still couldn’t tie her shoes.

      Between her voice and your post I have really rethought everything that I will be sharing about my kids on social media. Even if it is not public shaming, they should have a right to decide what is put out there about them on the internet, a place where you can not revoke the display once it is out there for others to observe.

    • I think I see Erin’s side. Heidi, you had mentioned:
      “It’s not laughable when they are the tiny ones with lisps and shiny smiles blissfully unaware of the sign that just announced, to the ENTIRE world, they pooped in the tub. Someday they won’t be 4 and someday they might care.”
      That statement has entirely different meanings depending on the actual intent (malicious, educational, sharing an enjoyable story, etc), and I think that is where Erin is trying to pose the question and possibly get some clarification. “So is all embarrassing stuff now considered being a bully? Doesn’t every parent or grandparent sometimes take a picture of their baby in the bath, or on a baby rug with their butt in the air? ” At what point does the cute embarrassing become malicious humiliation?

      IMO What Erin is asking is for a public consensus then on when/where the line is drawn.
      Scenarios: as a toddler still learning control, some actions that would be considered embarrassing are cutesy funny (IE: oh look he spit up and looks like such and such – look at my cute child). However years down the road that same child would see the image and be embarrassed.

      Situation: my parents share stories of me as a kid learning – first kiddy pool in the back yard, I thought was a bath tub and took off my swimmers. Innocent enough situation, but my parents still share the story with some friends and family – embarrassing to me as an adult now, but still an innocent situation. Now there is that sign out there that says I made a big mistake that has been shared. Was that a situation of bullying, should I report my parents and grandparents and other family members that continue to share that story of my learning and development? No, it’s a story of learning and development.

      Some issues with the Shame Shirt – I have looked into some of those stories and situations, and it’s a parent putting it out there as a technique to share with others (are your kids fighting, try this out, it’ll help them to work out their differences – at least in our case it has). Maybe those parents should blur out the faces to protect the identity of the kids, maybe they should have shared it with just their really close friends, but then friends of friends get it to the public, and then the public turns and twists the intent in to a malicious act.

      As for the youtube and meme craze for posting – are these actions any different than sending a video to America’s Funniest Videos? Some of the kids there openly admit they were having a bad day, and have let it go. Obviously if done too often it may scar the child, and that is not what we want to happen.

      Heidi, you make excellent points, and this is definitely something that every parent/adult should read and consider. Now Erin’s being curious and expressing a question for discussion. I can see she understands what is being discussed, but maybe playing devils advocate by asking exactly where does one draw the line?

      (side note – sometimes to post questions for discussion comes across as seeming ignorant – and takes thousands more words to clarify or make it write – as I have rattled on here to come to Erin’s defense and ensure that she is in the same boat as everyone else – malicious humiliation as a lesson is not right. However, cute embarrassment is obviously acceptable but to what degree? If everyone had read all of Erin’s notes, you’d see that she agrees with the point of the article. “Yes, there is a line when it comes to yelling in public and there’s a line when you post images online. But not every little bump in the road can be considered a shame/bully. If we go down that road where does it stop? Why can’t things just be funny and worth sharing sometimes?”

      But then, maybe I’m misinterpreting some of the responses and comments. I just felt like she got more backlash for her question that was truly deserved. On a well written but short editorial with a couple of comparisons – it can leave room to interpretation.

      And talk about bullying – someone comes out, and being curious, inquisitive, yet seems to be berated on a public forum (IMO). Another similar topic – constructive criticism vs. criticism… or if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Acknowledge the sides, and help everyone learn and understand. These are the points that stands out in the article. Be a teacher and help to better society as a whole. Don’t just be a critic and tell someone they are wrong for their thoughts/actions.

      I hope my opinion has been able to come out clear – and my intent is understood the way I would like it to be understood.

    • “It’s not laughable when they are the tiny ones with lisps and shiny smiles blissfully unaware of the sign that just announced, to the ENTIRE world, they pooped in the tub. Someday they won’t be 4 and someday they might care.”
      Heidi, I’m confused. I agree whole heartedly with what you said about using public humiliation to discipline, but don’t get why everyone is jumping on Erin’s comments. You included the above in your article and I think that was what Erin was speaking to.

    • Agree that people’s struggles should be used to publicly shame them. But where do you draw the line between a person letting their dark side perpetrate destructive behavior on someone else and merely “struggling” with something? If I had a daughter struggling with an eating disorder there’s no way I would shame her whether publicly or privately. However if I caught my son or daughter cyber bullying awkward kids at school and they rejected attempts to privately address the subject and persisted in the behavior because they found it fun or wanted the approval of their peers then shame away, they deserve it.

        • So you are saying that it isn’t okay for the child to bully other kids (which it isn’t), yet it is okay to set the child up to be bullied themselves? There are ways to deal with the issues without publicly shaming the child and not just a quiet conversation about it.

      • Think about that for a minute. Why would your bully cold “deserve” it but your eating disorder child not? Both are outward models of inner self loathing. Children bully because the feel worthless and no good inside and they want to make someone else feel that way, too. How would publily shaming then put a stop to that behavior? They’ll just continue where you can’t see them because now they feel even worse about themselves.

        • The bully child in my example demonstrated a persistent pattern of hurting others and openly rejected other attempts to stop the behavior. You could be struggling with something inside if you but if you use that as an excuse to hurt people, and you fight against people helping you deal with it, then measures need to be taken. Evil perpetrated on others needs a closed environment to happen. Bring it out and expose it to society at large and the perpetrator starts to think twice about repeating it. I am talking here about wilful, conscious decisions to do destructive things after failure of private attempts to address it.

          The eating disorder child example is in a totally different stratosphere altogether so I don’t agree they are comparable manifestations of self loathing.

          • It’s not an excuse, it’s a reaction. It doesn’t need to be shamed or put on public trial. Discipline can happen without needing the world to be in on taunting your child.

    • I do find it funny that a child, whether 4 or 14, that insists on independence and struggles with making the right decisions will still resists the parents rules and guidance and does wrong anyway. It’s hilarious that the 14 year old could be tried as an adult if they break the law in a couple of years but they still act like a 4 year old. I think it is really funny that people think this child should be treated with the same respect as an adult but refuses to act like an adult and respect others. Children and adults should feel ashamed when they act shamefully, it means they have a conscience.

      • There are ways to give the child a chance to experience shame without announcing it to the world. There is a difference between consequences that allow children to experience shame themselves and publicly shaming them where people they haven’t met yet, etc can ridicule, berate, and bully them. I’ve seen some comments adults post on the child shaming pictures and they were downright horrible. Why would a parent want to publicly hurt their child like that? It just causes further resentment towards the parents.

  7. I agree with the gentleman before me. What if this is a last resort? What if the 14 year old picked this punishment instead of an alternative?
    Sadly I don’t know the families in question.

    Maybe I’m the only one and that’s fine. But I do believe that a photo is less damaging in the long run, then a hospital, a foster family, or a jail cell. Perhaps a police record won’t follow them around the rest of their lives after they turn 18.

    I have a very close friend who was kicked out of her house at a very young age because her mother bullied her privately. She had to live on her own before the age of 18 and was lucky enough to make the right choices. I’m no stranger to that system, but I know the other side of the coin also. Children completely spoiled in public and given stern lectures in private but never any real punishments. One of those children is in jail until he turns 31.
    I’m sure if that family could do it all over again they would choose one humiliating moment over a jail sentence.

    • You’re not alone Erin. I agree with you. I have raised 2 sons to adulthood and now have a 6 year old that will be a teenager far too soon and I will shame the hell outta that child if I have to before I give in and allow her to have a criminal record that could possibly follow her for the rest of her life… I will also spank her too if she needs it to make her toe the line( can’t you hear the gasps of horror flickering through the internet, can you imagine.. spanking a child! OMG terrible!). Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Not everyone can afford a therapist or family counselling(that’s an option for rich folks only, not everyday people that struggle financially). I have several friends that have publicly shamed their children, after all other options have failed. And despite what you would read here, their children were not traumatized to the point of being fearful of their parents or forced into a life of hiding in a dark corner in order to forget. But what they did learn was that, actions have consequences in life and if you don’t want people know you’re acting like an ass, don’t act like one.

      • If you think counseling is only for rich people you clearly have not looked. Most communities have low or no cost options.

        Its also very sad that you assume to know the private struggle of those kids. Definition of hidden…

        Its also sad that you think shame is a deterrent down the wrong path and not an accelerant.

      • if they are so problematic that is the only option it is YOUR fault, not theirs. If your kid acts like an ass it’s because his parents are asses and that my dear is your consequence, not his and you should take responsibility for your bad parenting instead of blaming your kids. You are not teaching them responsibility when you don’t take any yourself. If you want to teach consequences stop blaming them for your screw ups. You are teaching them to blame others for their mistakes.

        • “if they are so problematic that is the only option it is YOUR fault, not theirs.”

          Wow… What a ridiculous oversimplification.
          Look… Children, at any age, have free will. They act how they want to act. And sometimes they act out regardless of the quality of parenting.

          I agree that parents are always somewhat responsible for their childrens’ actions… but they’re not 100% to blame. Again, children (like any human) has free will.

          If a parent takes 100% responsibility for their children’s misbehavior, THAT teaches the child to blame others for their mistakes… It teaches the child that they are NEVER responsible for their own actions.

        • Yeah, no. Society has a lot of influence on children, no matter how good or bad the parenting. And there are MANY stubborn, strong-willed children who misbehave ON PURPOSE because they find it amusing to drive their parents up a wall. That’s not the parents’ fault; that’s the personality of the child. The 60s are over…and this “hippie parenting” is bringing generations of entitled, self-absorbed people into adulthood with no real idea of consequence.

      • Yeah, tough love. Love, without coddling destructive behavior.

        Kids need to know that there are consequences to doing bad things.

        Thanks for promoting real parenting, which sadly is being lost these days.

          • Not sure where your statistics come from. I haven’t seen any to support your point.

            Actually what is your point?

            • My point is that you stated that tough love parenting is lacking these days and that is simply not true. Look up the stats on parents who spank, which are usually the parents who believe in the tough love approach. Take that stat, which is about 80%, and take into consideration that some parents who believe in tough love may not necessarily believe in spanking and you have a high value on making children pay for their mistakes in a public or suffering (agreeably in my view) type way. If you don’t believe the stats are that high, I just did a quick Google search and found this:

              http://www.chastisewithlove.com/statistics.html

              Looking at these stats, it seems to me that my parenting style is in the minority so all those “entitled” children everyone is talking about “these days” are more likely to be a child who is tough loved than a child who is parented gently.

      • I totally agree. I am a teacher and I wish more parents would shame them, because sometimes the saying goes” shame on you”. I think a child should learn what shame feels like. Sometimes the only way to do that is to publicly shame them. I know that people say that other children bully because they feel bad inside. I am going to tell you that is a load of crap. I work with adolescent daily. They bully to be popular not because they feel bad about themselves. So those children you be made to feel how they make others feel. Sometimes that is the only way they learn.

        • Yep, of course you should feel bad about hurting others. Bullies don’t. Shaming then just helps them to experience the bad feelings they SHOULD be feeling when they hurt others. You’d be helping them be normal human beings.

        • I am a bit taken back by your comment. I am also a teacher, and I could never publicly shame another child. There is a big difference in consequences where the child experiences shame and publicly shaming the child. Publicly shaming the child hurts them more in the long run and shows the child that they are not respected. Why would a child show respect if they feel like they are not respected? There is also a difference between public shaming and discipling in public. Would you want people to publicly shame you in the classroom, or online where anyone can see? Children are humans too and have feelings and emotions just as much as us adults do. They can experience shame without it being made public.

        • My mother is a teacher and she would agree with you.

          Kids who bully do so because they get off on hurting other people. Sure the underlying cause of that varies… But think about your typical bully:

          The popular jock, or the head cheerleader… Those aren’t the kids that are lacking self-love or love from others. Those are the kids who take advantage of the power that popularity affords them.

          • You don’t think so? That just shows that you are only looking outside. You don’t think they have anxieties? You don’t think their parents maybe are pushing them from behind, wanting them to be “the popular kid”, so they do thing that would make them “popular”? You don’t think that those kids have things to deal with that you are simply not seeing or are not privvy to because it is their PRIVATE life? Or maybe they have parents that didn’t care about raising them. Or maybe they have parents that gave in to every want and made them feel like they were the centre of the universe. These are still things to pity.

      • Gloria, I’m with you. A little embarrassment can be a good thing. I don’t believe in doing it for everyday bull, but when you’ve begged, pleaded, cajoled, talked, coerced, bribed, etc, & your little darling won’t stop or change? EMBARRASS THE HELL OUT OF THEM OR SPANK THEM. This is why our children have become delinquents. Everyone wants to be their friend, not the parent! My youngest(who’s almost 29) got her last spanking at 16. She took off, at night, at a campground, during “The Diggs” which was a volleyball tourney. Most of the campers were there to get drunk or/& get laid. 600 sites. See where I’m going…gone for 2 hrs. When she finally showed up I had gone from worried to mad to worried to mad etc. & was on mad. I followed her into the house & brought my hand back, swung down then up & hit her butt hard enough to raise her off her feet some. Followed behind her further & did it again. Kept following as she turned around & walked back out of her room. She smarted off & I did it one more time. She & I are VERY close & she NEVER did that again! Things that are Harmful deserve a spanking, & NO, I did not say BEAT! If they aren’t or just flat out won’t, stop their behavior, yes, embarrass them. Usually by then they are old enough to figure out WHY this is happening & understand the consequences. Embarrassment as a child(under 15) hell no. They are still too silly. It would seriously hurt them & your relationship with them. My youngest has a 5 yr. old daughter now & I absolutely love the way she deals with her. When she was a baby & having separation issues, B. would take her chin, make her look her in the eyes, & talk very low & slow & directly to her. Letting her know she PROMISED to come back to get her & when she’d get back she’d do the same thing & tell her see, I told you I’d be back to get you. And when she acts up, she’ll do the same when she can. Or if she’s trying out a tantrum, she’ll ask her if she’s coming or not & start walking off. Some of this(the tantrum part) she got from me, the rest herself. But I’ve asked her what she would do(now that she has a child) in the same circumstances. She swears she would’ve done the same with one exception. She wouldn’t’ve let her back out of her room! You have to know your kids. Be able to talk to them. And yes, I have butt pictures of both my kids, & YES I PULLED THEM OUT for special men that came into their lives. There is a difference in embarrassment & embarrassing! Learn it!

      • YES!!! so glad to know Gloria and I aren’t raising sociopaths!!

        *for those who don’t know what a sociopath is: a person incapable of empathy, incapable of accepting responsibility for their own actions- believe their actions have no consequences or are the fault of others, incapable of feeling guilt for wrongdoings*

        • For those who don’t know, a “sociopath” is an individual who has antisocial personality disorder (which may also be called dissocial personality disorder).

          This is a disorder with no proven cause, though it is suspected to have both genetic and environmental causes. It is possible that the environmental merely increases the expression of the genetic disorder.
          Therefore, by showing a distinct lack of empathy towards your child, you could in fact be teaching them not to have empathy for others.

          Beyond this, if a child is developing antisocial personality disorder and is showing signs of it, this is the point at which the parent should be making appointments with a psychologist. To do otherwise would be terribly neglectful…

          • “if a child is developing antisocial personality disorder and is showing signs of it, this is the point at which the parent should be making appointments with a psychologist. To do otherwise would be terribly neglectful…”

            Right… Because people who exhibit sociopathic tendencies are always psychologically deficient… Surely it couldn’t be that they are just being difficult and testing your patience.

            I can’t stand this assumption that acting out = “disorder”. We have a “disorder” for everything now:

            Oh, my child is hyper? That means they have ADHD! Quick! To the doctor for some yummy pills!

            Oh, my child acts out? They don’t take me seriously? Quick! Better rush little precious off to the psychologist so they can talk about “feelings”.

            Kids are smarter and more cunning than you give them credit for.
            Some people must not realize their kids are PLAYING THEM.
            They will continue to do so until you assert yourself.

            Meanwhile, you’re paying hundreds (if not thousands) to a professional discussion-haver when YOU should be the one having the discussions and setting strict ground rules.

          • Not every behavior in the negative is due to a “disorder”…another problem with society today. Let’s not FIX the problem…let’s give it a “disorder” name, thereby making the behavior semi-acceptable, and drug the person! Most people I have come across with sociopathic tendencies or behaviors are BRILLIANT and not psychologically deficient in any way…and their therapist agrees. Try again.

    • I agree, an embarrassing photo may less damaging in the long run than the hospital or jail and a felony record. We never berated or disciplined our youngest in public, no matter embarrassed we were about his behavior. He was not motivated to good behavior by anything we tried: deprivation, bribing, talking at length, counseling … you name it, we tried it and it did not work….strong willed that he was. So, what was left … we prayed a lot. He got arrested when he was 18 hanging out with a 17yo we told he was no longer welcome in our home or on our property (he brought drugs into our home). 17yo went home with parents, ours went to jail. He now has a felony on his record. Five years later he is in rehab because of the choices he made (that he was taught were bad). With some kids, maybe the public embarrassment is all it will take to make them straighten up, when everything else has failed. Maybe it will not. I don’t think it would have helped with our son. He was hell-bent on doing what he wanted when we wanted (from a very young age). Counseling and therapy did no good before he was arrested. Didn’t do any good after. Hopefully, now, after being homeless and drunk for a year and a half, he’s started to make better choices.

      Parenting some children is never easy. There are no “one size fits all” parenting techniques. Some kids are just destined to do everything the hard way until they, hopefully, learn on their own from their mistakes.

    • But the problem is it usually is’nt just one time, this is an on going situation in some houses. I don’t think any of us think our children will be destroyed by one humiliating experience but when it happens and then is laughed at and as I said on the internet it is there forever. Really do you think it is a viable option ever. I don’t, spank the child if you have to, but I do know that there are other ways to teach a child starting when they are tiny and so many think it is funny when they hit mommy or daddy and laugh about it. The messages we use must be consistent for their whole childhood

    • I agree with you Erin. If a parent had to chose between shaming a child publicly or that child going to jail… I’d hope they chose the shaming which would only last for a little bit versus the lifetime effect of going to jail. I was publicly shamed once or twice while growing up and it taught me not to do things in private that I would be ashamed of doing in public. And I plan on doing whatever is necessary for my child (he’s 3) to grow up into a productive and respectful member of society. If that means talking to him and giving him endless lectures to spanking to public shaming. He will know that their are consequences for his actions.

    • Watching Judge Judy deal with young people on national TV can be very embarrassing for the children (and parents) who are in denial. I think Judge Judy walks a fine line between embarrassment and shame with the intention of helping these people change for the better. Judge Judy reads people very well and adjusts her degree of hard talk for each individual. I like her style and I believe watching her can show where the line being discussed here can be drawn for many different people and situations.

  8. What about another option? Perhaps, for those with younger children they make sure they have the time to develop a strong relationship with their children that gets better through out the years. Simply because society dictates that our children will become hooligans as teens does not mandate that MUST be true in your family.

    I am confused by your statement, “Completely spoiled in public and given stern lectures in private” as I have never disciplined this way.

    My children, from the time they were young, experienced what I believed were age appropriate consequences. At 14 and 16, this looks like loss of privilege, technology, public apologies, and, I can think of a few times, where they have been required to make restitution through work effort or monetary compensation. Sometimes both. Their public behavior IS addressed privately, if that is needed, while the private conversations and parameters are clearly defined.

    My thoughts remain that if you are going to utilize this kind of parenting, be willing to stand with your child out on that corner. Put yourself in their shoes. Try a little empathy and compassion. I refuse to believe this is the last resort. They are not the enemy. Are you really willing to become not just adversarial but untrustworthy as well?

    And addressing the jail issue? IF my child commits a crime, they should face the consequence of their choice. Knowing I will not protect them from criminal behavior is a strength in our relationship. I wouldn’t expect them to protect me from prosecution were I to participate in illegal activities.

    • Oh, my gosh. I am a mama of 5 boys (7, 4, 3 and 21-month-old twins), and I am reading this in a week when I have been raked across coals because I parent with empathy and compassion and not with an iron hand. I believe all children should be honored, that they all have a significant contribution to make (have you ever had a conversation with a 3-year-old about life and beauty and God?), that they are PEOPLE. I truly love your words, Heidi.

      • Yes to love, empathy and compassion. But you can’t neglect the balance with discipline and limits. Our close friends followed the love and compassion philosophy, no stern words, no calling out their kid’s behavior as unacceptable, or spanking with their son. Result? Only smashing a metal toy train on my son’s head and wildly swinging a fallen tree branch in the middle of a group of 5 year olds. “Timmy, please play nice. Timmy let’s let’s share with our friends. Timmy,let’s find something constructive and fun to do with your friends. Timmy, I don’t think little Johnny felt very loved when you punched a hole through his skull with the corner of your solid steel toy train. Why don’t you be a good friend and get him a tissue to wipe his tears. And also some bleach for mommy to hide the blood on the carpet.” That kid could have done with a bit of shaming. He damn well should have been made to feel bad about what he did.

        • This is the problem I find, Jonathon. Just because someone says they parent with empathy and compassion, people assume there are not boundaries or limits within that empathy and compassion. We have many boundaries and limits with our children. Come on over to my blog, and you’ll see more of the story. But please, don’t assume that our children run wild and do anything they want and will be a menace to society. How about we parents remain open to all the different ways of parenting, believing that each parent knows the best way to parent their own child, about whom we know virtually nothing. We are a parenting community, and we should extend grace, not condemnation (forgive me if I’m wrong, but your comment sounds very sarcastic to me). I can assure you, my sons have never smashed other children with toy trains or fallen tree branches. And if they ever did, we would correct and teach them a better way to interact with other children, not just let it slide. If you’re really interested in knowing about empathic parenting (when it’s utilized the right way), try reading Haim Ginott’s book, Between Parent and Child, published in 1965. Or Alfie Kohns Unconditional Parenting or John Gottman’s The Heart of Parenting. They changed the way I looked at all children. We parent from a place of love, not control and humiliation. We guide our children into who they are…we don’t change them into who we want them to be. Maybe this isn’t for everyone. But we’re sure in our path.

  9. I agree with this article to some degree.. However, I have put my children in time out in the library, the grocery store and anywhere else they choose to misbehave. I have made my daughter publicly apologize to her class, she is 13, when she and a few classmates caused the class to be unable to watch a movie due to some bad behavior. If someone in class chose to record this, it would be there for the whole world to see, and I’m okay with that. See, I myself recall a time when teachers used to be able to single out a child for bad behavior, but this is no longer the case as someone might get their feelings hurt. I recall.when I was spanked in Jc Penney for beig bad. I can assure you that was the first and last time that I was bad in that store. I don’t think that chastising our children on purpose in public is the solution, however who are we to judge others parenting when we make mistakes with our own kids. I say focus on you and yours and create the bond you want with your children.

    • And yet, in your unwillingness to “judge others”, you have judged me. Ironic.

      This isn’t about hurt feelings. It’s about relationship and building trust with the young men or women who are powerless within your care. But, if that doesn’t prompt you to seek compassion or empathy? I can’t make you see it.

      I just shared a few ways I believed it could effect both parties involved. Take it or not.

      Have a great day!

      • I didn’t take her/his? response to be judging you…but you clearly took it as such. She (he?) closed off with a ‘live and let live’ ending and certainly not with the ‘snark’ of an accusation and then ‘Ironic.’

        I found myself quite agreeing with your post and, as you mentioned in another comment, ‘hearing you’ and getting the point you’re making. But this response from you seems quite lacking in the point you strive so hard to make in the post. I’ve also worked daily with more than 2,120 children in 15 years and sadly know that not everything works for every child. Treat every child with respect? Respect should be a fact, an ‘of course’, a ‘without question’. But the day-in-and-day-out for some parents with some children calls for individual response in the best interest of parent and child, that doesn’t always look like some of the things you were describing in your post, and that was what I took from the original comment, and not made in a disrespectful way…which I don’t hear in the tone of “But, if that doesn’t prompt you to seek compassion or empathy? I can’t make you see it.”

        Surely, there can be others’ opinions that are different but not dismissed?

        • Well said, Deborah, I felt the same way! I agreed with the blogger’s original post but then quickly lost respect after reading her harsh response to this reader, who was vulnerable enough to share their thoughts and then got attacked simply for having a different opinion. I too didn’t take their comments as being judgemental and felt the author’s defensive and snarky response was rather mean spirited.

          • Thank you Ruth. For someone who just wrote about negative social media humiliation, I wonder how that comment would be categorized. My intent was only to share my thoughts and opinions just as Heidi did.

          • I 100% agree that I have nooo idea where the response from “Heidi” came from. It was like someone else took the keyboard away. Jaime in no way acted like they were judging anybody. ugh – I’m surprised the human race has lasted this long…..

      • Wow, I am very shocked at your response since nowhere in my post did I judge you or anyone else for their opinion. No one has the answers to parenting. I was mearly giving some examples of how I was raised and how I have chosen to raise my children. Each child is an individual and needs to be treated as such. I have 3 kids, all of which are treated according to what works for them. Please spend some time reading my previous post and you will see that what you thought was judgement of you was in fact just my opinion of what was written from my experiences. Hope you have a great day, and thanks for the read. People really do need to see this from all sides.

        • Jamie, the best part of this whole being thrust somewhat unwittingly into the limelight (thank you interwebs) is the freedom to converse with people who see things differently than I do. Unfortunately, for both of us, there is no sarcasm font. There is no mental image of me smiling, laughing, or nodding along with anyone.

          I didn’t mean to leave you hanging. When your reply wasn’t a quick rebuttal of my response, I figured you had just moved on to the another “thing”. Probably something more interesting!!! :)

          My response was flippant and I do apologize for not being more thoughtful. My perception of your statement and tone were obviously erroneous. So…. In an effort, to respond more carefully, let me say this:

          You stated: “I have put my children in time out in the library, the grocery store and anywhere else they choose to misbehave. I have made my daughter publicly apologize to her class, she is 13, when she and a few classmates caused the class to be unable to watch a movie due to some bad behavior. If someone in class chose to record this, it would be there for the whole world to see, and I’m okay with that.”

          And I would say KUDOS to you for being a consistent parent. I totally have done those things when my kids were younger and as they have gotten older, I believe in making public restitution to a public misdemeanor.

          My original intent in the article, dang you WordPress for not having an INTUITION font so people can hear my underlying thoughts, was to expose the mentality and philosophy of shaming our children as a mode of humor or even character transformation. I can’t help what happens outside of my control. Should a classmate post something demeaning or unkind, I would talk with my kids about the repercussions of public behavior in a public world. Should it be something the adversely effects them or causes them great distress or pain? I would do what I could to intervene.

          Social media is fast-paced and largely unforgiving to those who don’t have pretty smiles and well-put together life packages.

          My hope, in all of this is to inspire dialogue that gives people an opportunity to think. How do MY actions impact others? What does my laughter say about me?

          Thank you for coming by. I do apologize again for misreading you and misrepresenting your words. That feels terrible.

      • After reading some other opinions on my post, I felt the need to let you know that you are a hypocrite. You speak out against negative social media bullying yet when my opinion differs from yours, you attack me?
        How is your comment not a negative attack on me? I have plenty of compassion and empathy, but you wouldn’t know that since you do not know me. But instead of simply stating that we have different opinions or chose to react with this comment. I am very disappointed as I thought the point to this was to share without the fear of judgement. Thanks for proving my point for me!!
        ” But, if that doesn’t prompt you to seek compassion or empathy? I can’t make you see it.”.

        • I like how she still hasn’t responded to your comments, especially when she said in another post how important it is to admit to your mistakes. I saw nothing judging in your original comment.

          • Thank you for the support. It is greatly appreciated. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. We should support each other even if we disagree.

            • Rock on Jamie – that was just a ridiculous response. It was like someone took the keyboard from her. You explained yourself very well and kept your cool.

            • Jamie, Deborah, Ruth…agree with everyone. I was never totally on board with the original blog. Yelling and screaming at your child in public is never acceptable. Posting pictures in a “Get Along” shirt, a cute baby butt…can’t quite picture those as shameful. Parents have been taking pictures of naked babies and kids in the bathtub probably as long as photography has existed. Each parent must discipline to the personality of the specific child. Every single one is different. I read above about the 7-year old asking the mom not to post a pic of her tying her shoes on Facebook. If your child makes a request of you because they’ll be humiliated, then I agree, only a bullying type would ignore the plea of their child. Again, I find it doubtful that a “Get Along” shirt is humiliating.

              I’m not sure why Heidi took such offense to your comment, Jamie, but there must be some hurt there. I didn’t read a judgmental tone in it at all. Reality is perception for us all, isn’t it?

      • I don’t see the part where Jamie judged you, Heidi. She brings up good points and I think you’re just upset that she doesn’t fully agree with you.

      • Huh, I’d never read your blog before, but came here because a friend directed me to this entry. As a developmentalist by trade and parent, I thought the conversation was interesting. Until I got here. Won’t be visiting again. Certainly wouldn’t ever feel comfortable expressing my feelings here.

      • You weren’t being judged. However, your “if that doesn’t prompt you to seek compassion or empathy? I can’t make you see it” was HIGHLY judgemental and a little rude. Now that’s ironic.

  10. Years back in 1991 in Burlington, Ontario, a mother decided to teach her rebellious curfew breaking 14 year old daughter, Leslie Mahaffy, a lesson and locked her out of the house. The mother of course had hoped this would teach her daughter a valuable lesson about obeying curfew and rules. The little lesson spiraled out of control in the worst way. Sadly serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka saw the girl out alone at night and took her. That was around the time that everything in the Niagara Region got very scary for young girls, me included I was 13. When I see the shaming posts and the other “This is what a good parent does” type of posts, my heart breaks a little for that young girl and those parents. I am sure they replay the events of that day and that night and would do anything to change it. I wish parents followed the same rules they gave their kids when they were little, “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. No one likes to be embarassed and the pain is that much worse when it is your family doing it.

    • That makes my heart hurt. I can’t imagine the pain that family goes through when they remember those days. I’m not here to tell anyone how they should parent, however, I do believe this parenting behavior not worth affirmation but pity and a clear discussion of the impact of the words and actions on the children and young people being imposed upon by their concept of “discipline”.

  11. Very, very well said. My hope in all that I post online about my son is that one day he read all my instagram posts and it will feel like a love letter to him. Social media is here to stay, so we should be using it for the good of those we love, not for shaming them.

  12. I’m glad there was not social media when my children were young. When discipline was required, I went in, close to their face and whispered the consequences if their current behavior continued. A parental mistake I made wasn’t going to be around forever! I will say that I have whispered into my teenager’s ears, “if you continue to embarrass me publicly this way, I will embarrass you in public and you will not know when it is coming.” It usually stopped the behavior quickly so the punishment was not required. However, I know that I have made public mistakes with my kids….at least social media didn’t make me part of public criticism either.

    • Haven’t we all made mistakes? If I had a nickel…. And those mistakes have a price tag. It saddens me that I see these parents who have limited regard for the price they are paying in terms of trust and relationship with their children.

    • Exactly but the word was whispered the consequences, you did not make it public in front of 10 million people. I have taken my children into the rest room and spanked them
      ( in the appropriate place) waited for them to get over it, washed their faces and we all went back out to do whatever we were doing before the bad behavior. Yes, there were probably others who knew what I was doing but it was not humiliating to the child beyond that moment in time.

  13. Thank you for a perspective I had not considered. I think it can be challenging as parents to find a balance between tenderness and rule-enforcement. But I agree that a good test is “would I be willing to submit to the same punishment?” We cannot be self-righteous or hypocritical as people or parents.

      • Of course I wouldn’t be willing to submit to the same punishment. Who would voluntarily choose to be shamed. None of us want it. But if I hurt people, and did it repeatedly, and refused and rejected other modes to control my destructive acts, would I deserve to be shamed? Yeah I would think. Would it make me feel bad? Yeah. Would it mess me up inside? Most probably. Would it discourage me from hurting people again? I could see it doing that. Would it make me think about what I had done? Definitely. But if everyone got together and said hey no we can’t shame him it’s too cruel then I would think great I can keep hurting people and not much would happen except a lot of tolerance and enablement.

  14. I don’t think I shame my children, I don’t bully them, do I? This article has made me stop and think about how I talk to and about my children. I will be more aware of my speech and I will talk to them to see what they think. Thank you for the article, thanks to the commenters above. I may be doing some apologizing of my own!

    • That is brilliant! I wouldn’t have called it “bullying” the way I used to be so frustrated when the boys were little. But, my husband challenged me to examine my tone and behavior toward them. And I saw an extraordinary growth in the closeness of the relationship between the boys and myself when I was willing to stop and listen, bark less/wag more. :) I don’t think you will ever lose your way by being more thoughtful and intentionally kind and compassionate toward your children. Or toward anyone for that matter.

      • Heidi you are wonderful. My wife goes completely nuts when she gets frustrated by something my kids do. When I challenge her to examine her tone and manner of speaking she goes completely nuts at me. I’m talking screaming at maximum volume and hurling insults in a continuous rapid fire stream. kudos to you for responding to your husband’s input with self reflection and positive attitude, and for having the love and humility to make changes for the better.

  15. I appreciate parents with your mindset. I was one of those children. I was made to stand on the corner outside my high school with a neon yellow placard around my neck that read “I let my parents worry all night because I forgot to call them.” It had been prom night and I was too caught up in my own thing. It slipped my mind to call them but, as I had my step father’s cell phone, it was within their capacity to call me. Instead, they publically shamed and humiliated me. I may not have had a Facebook photo but I got a biased article in the town newspaper. Yay me. No, it was not a last resort. I currently do not speak to my mother or step father and haven’t for over a year. We never really had a relationship, though my mother certainly liked to pretend we did.

    I have two of my own now. I suppose I should thank my mother for showing me the way I will never parent. I want my children to look back on me and love what they see, not wish I had been another mother.

    • Ouch. I am so sorry that happened to you. Not cool. I know you will parent differently. :) And your children will be blessed by a thoughtful parent. Thanks for coming by!

    • I have not spoken to my parents or brother in 13 years. I refuse to allow their dysfunctionalism into my home or family. They taught me how NOT to parent. You are not alone. Kuddos to you for making a hard choice.

      • Honestly, it really was a hard choice. The toxicity was weighing me down but it was so hard to let go of the family image I so desired. No one wants to cut off a family member, especially not your parent, and I had a sort of horrible Stockholm Syndrome attachment to my mother. My husband let me make my own decision but I could see it weighing on him, too. It just wouldn’t have been fair to continue putting my own little family through that. After I made the final decision, it didn’t feel like such a hard choice after all.

        I truly am sorry you had to go through something similar. Some days I truly wish I was the only one with family like this, not to be a martyr but so I was safe in the knowledge that no one else had to feel the way I did.

    • You were in high school. More than likely a senior in high school. You were old enough to know better and old enough to know why your parents took the measures they did. So what you had to stand outside with a sign. I can assure you that what you felt wasn’t nearly as heart wrenching as what your parents felt on prom night. Get over it. I cannot sympathize with you regarding that particular incident.

      As long as parents communicate with their children in love and explain the measures they take (within reason) then there really isn’t anything to cry about. The story about the two kids in a tee shirt brought back memories of my own. I was 1 of 6 children so naturally we didn’t always get along and we didn’t always like each other, my parents had a remedy for that: they made us stand in a corner and hold hands. They made us tell one another that we loved them and why we loved them. Guess what? It worked. Though there are no photographs depicting this I wish there were. The problem here isn’t that parents are holding their offspring accountable, the problem is that resiliency isn’t being taught. Love and patience aren’t being administered. Respect isn’t being shown – from both parties (obviously I’m referring to teenagers and not little ones).. I will say that seeing a video of a teenager being beaten by his uncle made me cringe, not b/c his actions didn’t merit an old fashioned ass whooping, but b/c of what it might do to him internally knowing that his punishment was being blasted all over the world wide web. That doesn’t compare to holding a sign or sharing a “get along” shirt. If I had to take my choice between a public spanking and standing with a sign saying I broke curfew, I’d go with the sign. Kids are spoiled and entitled. You don’t get so caught up in yourself that you “forget” to call home. Nope. At some point you think to yourself “hey, it’s late, I should probably check in with my mom and dad…” smh.

      • No. You just lose track of time, suddenly you realize just how very late it is, and think to yourself “If I call them now, what if they’ve fallen asleep? I’d be waking them up.” Not to mention, you may also think to yourself “They’re going to be angry, nothing I do or say right now is going to be good enough to make this better, so what’s the point in calling now?”

        • That’s crazy. I recall my parent’s telling me to call them at any hour – even if it meant I was probably going to wake them up. Waking them out of their precious sleep was the least of their worries. But guess what?! I never got so caught up in what was going on that I couldn’t remember to take 5 minutes to call home.

          Stop making excuses for your young adults!!! Smh. Teach them how to be responsible young adults so that they may grow into responsible adults. Period.

          • Oh, you got to leave the house on a regular basis? Lucky! As it was, I was so caught up in being allowed out AND on a date that it slipped my mind. Isn’t it unfortunate tat we can’t all have the same life? It isn’t an excuse. When was the last time you had to check in with anyone? Oh, you mean you are an adult and people expect you to take care of yourself? So I guess it isn’t a vitally important life skill.

      • No mistake deserves public humiliation. The fact that you wish me to “get over it” is actually quite key to the reason why we have children that don’t have any empathy. That and you are obviously assuming that my parents loved me and were at their wit’s end. Since you don’t know the back story in any one family, that is a dangerous assumption to make.

        I had never done the like before they chose this method of punishment. As a matter of fact, I almost never left the house, never went on dates, and was never out late at night. I wasn’t wreck less, I didn’t smoke, drink, wasn’t into drugs, and took care of my little sister and the house while my mother was single, still doing that when necessary. Was I perfect? No, of course not, I am only human. But these are the main concerns when looking at this issue. I wasn’t a bad kid that needed to be punished harshly, I was, as you stated, a senior in high school that made a mistake and maybe hoped that my parents trusted me to make the right decisions, since I had given them no reasons to doubt my judgment. That is something people need to stop and think about for a minute before they assume these parents are only doing this because “nothing else worked”.

  16. Great read!!! I agree, treat your child like you want to be treated or suffer the consequences of your actions. If you can’t swallow that pill then be a considerate human being towards your children. Imagine yourself as a elderly person with kids who are just like YOU! When I was working at a CNA, I always wondered about people who were in the nursing home with no visitors on the holidays, no pictures of their family or grand children, etc. Now that I have my own kids and am older and wiser, I completely understand.

  17. It breaks my heart to see or hear parents behave so poorly with and to their children. I was told that I would never have children. I was blessed with one son. He is my champion, hero, comedian ….. The list goes on. When did ‘parents’ start thinking this was ok? I just don’t understand their thinking process. I pray for those innocents and their misguided parents as well.

  18. Thank you, I agree so much. I was a 14 yr old girl who lost her virginity to a boy I was obsessed with, and my parents found out. I was publicly humiliated by them, they told EVERYBODY. The priest, my grandma, the nuns at my school, you name it. They wanted everyone to feel sorry for them, that they had a daughter who would “do that to them”. I am 40 now, and I still feel pure hate for them when I think back on it. And btw, it didn’t work, whatever they thought about how they “fixed” my behavior; I got pregnant anyway at 17. (Who is now 22 and perfect and about to graduate from college this year!!)
    But I will never forgive them for that. I needed them to help me, not make me want to crawl in a hole. My kids will always know I’m there for them!

    • These stories!!! How could anyone think this is a good idea? I mean, there are families who err on the side of telling no one and pretending bad things never happened! As for “pregnant at 17″? That must have been difficult for both of you. But a baby? That is NEVER bad news. Such a gift. Good job, mama!! And way to determine to be the kind of parent who speaks love and kindness into lives!!! Maybe they will learn from you after all!

      • Heidi, if you think all of the parenting stories you’ve seen so far have been bad (as to the ones that are really crazy) I know a few that can top those, for example, my Mother spoiled my sister and neglected me, continues to spoil her even though she is the bad child of us, the one whome does drugs and smokes, drink, etc. and I have not done anything of the sort, she has had sex with many people, male and female, and I haven’t so much as held hands with a girl. (I am a 17 year old boy, my sister is 14) so you can imagine what type of parent my mother is, and I have only just recently developed a relationship with my father, so yeah, it’s been tough, I’ve been alone a long time, and if you think this is a sad story you should hear about my friend Kristean, she was left outside in the freezing weather, as a toddler, just because he didn’t like her, luckily her good samaritan of a neighbor took her in that night, otherwise she would have died… And it gets worse when I get to the part about her brother-in-law…………….. It’s a messed up story, but anyways, I appreaciated the article, wish I could have had a good mother as well lol.

    • Honey, forgive them and let it go even if you don’t realize it it colors your life to. I was harmed a child and my grandmother told me, I had a choice I could hate them and they had won or I could forgive them and I would win. Has been very true in my life. I know it is hard but do it, you don’t have to have anything to do with them but forgive them.

    • You feel pure hate for them? Please realize that at some point it stops being about what they did when you were 14 and starts being about what you’re holding on to and why. There is a lot of room between 14 and 40. That’s a lot of hate to be carrying around. You’re only hurting yourself by holding on to childhood problems. Try to forgive them b/c it’s only going to stifle your growth of you don’t. It sucks that they told everyone something that was so personal and delicate when they should have been tuned into your emotional and spiritual needs. That was such a delicate age and act… no doubt that they handled that WRONG!!! Sorry about that.

      We have to remember that a lot of what our parents do is learned behavior. They learned something during their upbringing and never unlearned it in their adult life. Not making excuses for parents, but there are always underlying issues that the children may know nothing about.

  19. This is a great post. I really hope your points get through to so many parents who struggle. I guess the only thing this post is missing, are alternatives for those parents that are struggling, and currently believing that the shame route if the most effective, when it clearly is not. For a few kids, it may seem to work in the short term, but it will backfire on you!
    I would love to hear other readers alternatives, but the one that has worked the best with all my kids – bear hugs during tantrums. We do not talk until they are calmed down enough to handle conversation. Trying to reason with a kid in mid-tantrum is simply not possible – or advisable. If a tantrum is not involved, move straight to the most simplified reasoning path you can create. Do not continue verbal battles. Do not get snarky in your responses to your kids. Listen, and respond as you would to your boss. I guarantee you will see a change. Understand they love you, and simply want to know and feel loved, seen, heard and respected. If we can model that for them, that is what they offer back to us. What more can you ask?
    Are they going to have rough days? Yes, but when was your last rough day, and how well did you handle it? Do not expect more perfection from your kids than we can provide as adults. (Down off my soapbox now )

    • “Bear hugs during tantrums” Best. Advice. Ever. :) What a beautiful expression of loving someone, in the middle of ugly, until they are able to talk and express themselves better. Love. Love. Love.

      My husband knows that the best way to talk about something difficult is to rub my feet while we talk. It’s like magic!

      • Only two of my boys ever had a tantrum. I always felt that it was a reaction they were having to an overload of emotion that they did not know how to deal with. I always allowed them to have them and never punished them for having strong feelings and being able to express them. They learned to go to their room and let loose, they were never allowed to be destructive during a tantrum. Afterwards they always wanted to hugged and cuddled and to know that they were still loved.

        • I remember my sister, when she was a teenager she destroyed her room while she was mad even tore the curtains off the windows, my grandmother didn’t say a thing except made her clean it up and live without all the stuff she had destroyed for a few months. Never happened again

    • As a kid I was in a restaurant with my mom and siblings. There was another mom with her kids and her little girl was having a major meltdown. The mom was struggling but doing her best to ignore her. After several minutes of screaming my mom looked distraught and said, “That little girl needs a hug”.
      Best gift my mother ever gave me. Whenever one of my kids would have a tantrum or meltdown that lasted more than 5 minutes I would just stop and quietly say, “Do you need a hug?” Most times he/she would say yes, come in for a hug and begin to calm down. I’m not talking about giving in to the tantrum or not standing my ground if I said no to something, etc….I just found that it gave my kids an “out” of the tantrum and let them know that I was forgiving them even as they were screaming.
      My four children are now passed the tantrum stage, but I still ask them from time to time if they need a hug and even my two teenagers take me up on it.
      Thanks Mom!
      p.s. Being a mom is wonderful and tough. We are all trying to find our way. Best advice I can give….never stop listening and learning!

  20. I appreciate your article here. Too often, people are unwilling to say/teach/post unpopular things. Kudos to you! As a counselor, teacher & speaker for women’s conferences, homeschool expos & in-home groups for the last 20 years, this article holds great interest for me. I sooo agree with not humiliating AND doing unto others as you would have them do unto you as regards our children, especially, but also regarding everyone else. I would so love to see everyone, especially parents, realize that doing unto others is not just a kid idea! I have no fantasies about being perfect, as a wife, a parent or a person. But fortunately, the truth is not based on my performance. Like it seems you do, , I know the truth to be based in God’s Word. And my peace is maintained greatly by remembering that as fact! Thus, my effort is always to teach that truth – not change it per circumstances or behavior. I have often said, “Truth is not performance-based”. Thankfully! And as apologies were not something I heard as a kid, apologizing is something I’ve worked very hard to learn to do. In fact, I’ve often repeated that I’ve become a professional apologizer, as I have to do so very often. I’m sure we could find an exception to the article, but I pray people, instead, will work to receive the message you were trying to give. Or at least the one that it seems you were sharing. It’s a great message! Personally, I never enjoyed humiliation growing up. Or ever, for that matter. And I’m confident no one else ever enjoyed it either. God help us to remember His truths! And may He bless you in sharing them!

    Lisa Brown
    lisabrown@gmail.com

  21. Posting a picture of your child doing an emberasing thing on the internet when it was something that they can’t help (like pooping in a bath at a young age), I agree, is not good. However, to claim that public disiplin of your child is wrong and harmful under all surcumstances, is just arrogant. It shows just how distorted and convoluded this generations concept of “parenting” is. Publicly disiplining your child does have a place, and time that is appropriate. It not only aids in the correction of the wrong behavior, but it instills a sense of public respect in your child.

    My parents did not let me get away with wrong doing, or bad behavior just because we where in a public space. It taught me to maintain my manners and respect for others, a trait that I am proud to have today, escpecially seeing the complete lack of respect shown by children now, and even worse, the lack of respect to others shown by fullgrown adults.

    Yes, you are emberasing the child. But that’s the point! You’re not acting in a way that should scar them for life, but a way that makes them learn the lesson, for fear of more public emberasment. Remember, you’re their parent not there best friend. If you have lost your chil’s trust, it is bevause you have done nothing to earn and demand it.

    Yes, I said “demand”. Not by yelling and being oppresive, but by being a parent. You are a major influence in the childs life. They see when you set rules, and when you allow those rules to be broken without immediate correction. When they realize that they can control your actions simply by doing wrong only in public, then why should they respect you? You’re allowing them to publicly disrespect and emberace you, without your disipline! And if they don’t respect you, why would they ever trust you?

    Yes, your child will be embarrsed, and they won’t like it, but then again that is the consequence for there action. I am someone who was publicly disiplined, and am still young enough to remember and experiance it. I may not like it, but I learn my lesson. I am not menataly or emotionaly scared. Unless you think having respect for my parents and others is a psychological disorder. In which case, I feel sorry for your children, and I especially feel sorry for you.

    • How does a child learn how to respect you when you are disrespecting them? You have to remember that children don’t know the meaning of respect until we teach them and you can’t teach respect through embarrassment. If a child is acting out in public, do you take the time to figure out why or do you just punish them and teach them that their feelings don’t matter? It isn’t really about being a parent or a friend, it’s about teaching and caring for a person that is separate from yourself. Would you punish your significant other for being upset in public or would you figure out why they were upset? Finding the underlying problem solves it much better than punishing the effect of that problem. On the same note, why is it okay for the child to be publicly embarrassed but not you, since the child’s behavior would embarrass you so?

    • Apples and oranges here. I agree that there are times when a behavior needs to be addressed on the spot even in public and there can be some embarrassment involved. These are usually rare occurrences. The other is when a parent will belittle a child for making a simple mistake and they will let everyone know about it and carry on about for a while. I have seen that happen a lot and it always has broken my heart, even as a child when I would have a friend have this happen to them. I have seen parents refer to their children/grandchildren with belittling name calling out in public and within hearing of the children. One is discipline and the other abuse.

  22. A friend of mine posted a video of his son on Christmas, opening a box that looked like a laptop (the present he really wanted) only to find it was really a box of coal. He and his wife laughed and laughed and then made fun of his son’s reaction to the coal and told him it was because he was “bad at school” and that he wouldn’t be getting anything for Christmas. His son is 9. The look on this boy’s face broke my heart- the whole this was cruel. I was also shocked at all the friends and relatives who commented on how “funny” it was and how they really “taught that boy a lesson”. When did this become parenting?? Breaking a child’s spirit is a just wrong and so, so sad.

    • That is awful and heartbreaking! I cannot even imagine doing that to a child. While poor school work needs to be addressed and corrected, this is clearly NOT the way to do it. And I agree, breaking a child’s spirit is never OK and should never be an option. I can only imagine the damage the parents have done to their relationship with their son!

    • That is emotional abuse, plain and simple. I hope there is somebody in that child’s life who is able and willing to reach out to him and give him the support he needs to realize that, even if he didn’t do well at school, he DID NOT DESERVE to be treated this way. People seem to forget that the root of “discipline” is to “disciple,” to teach and model and set an example, not to manipulate or bully.

  23. What happened to the good old days? The days where parents didn’t act as children. The days where if you misbehaved you got spanked didn’t matter if you were in public or not, not to bully or humiliate your child but to teach them. I was spanked when I was a child and I learned every time I got spanked but today parents are scared to pop a kid on the butt for fear of CPS getting the kids. Now they have resorted to bullying these kids on the internet? I blame society where is this country going!

  24. My husband I don’t have children yet, but when we do, we will not publicly humiliate as a form of punishment. We have chosen to follow the Bible, which has been around for a pretty long time, and it says in Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 “DO NOT embitter or provoke your children to anger or they will become discouraged. Instead, bring them up in the instruction of the Lord.” I was raised by my mother and grandmother and they chose to follow the Bible. I am so glad they did. I tested them as I got older, but they stood their ground, in love and discipline. I love them with all my heart and forever am grateful for not humiliating me. I am sorry for all the people I’ve read about tonight who didn’t have it that way and I pray for your hearts to heal. Thanks Heidi for your article. Maybe it will open the eyes of some parents.

  25. A few thoughts:

    To Cynthia: Just WOW!! What a shameful nightmare! There is NO TIME when that is EVER appropriate! God help that child…

    To: “I blame society where is this country going!” — There is a saying most of us know well: “As goes the home, so goes the church, so goes the state, so goes the country … ” “Society” behavior begins at home! As we train our children, we are quite literally shaping the future!

    To: “I have seen parents refer to their children/grandchildren with belittling name calling out in public and within hearing of their children. ” — I, too, have heard parents very publicly calling their children names, and wives very publicly calling their husbands names. I can tell you for certain that I have never seen a good result come from that bad behavior. And the very people doing the name calling seem to be the ones with the least tolerance for anyone else calling them anything slightly negative or behaving toward them in a manner that is not perfectly grand. Clearly, these folks are not “doing unto others as they would have others do unto them” – clearly, and sadly, that is not a thought that governs their behavior. Again, in my entire 49 years, I have NEVER, EVER seen anything good come from these bad choices. Name calling is *never* ok! It *always* reaps bad fruit… A large clue might be the attitude one feels when name calling – as it is most often accompanied by a great anger and hateful sarcasm.

    Far too often people think, speak and do things without taking any personal responsibility for any of it. We must “think with the future in mind!” *Our* actions also have consequences, just like those of our kids and everyone else. Every thought, word and deed is a conscious and willful *choice*! That applies whether we think about it or not. That said, at no time does the importance of discipline (or training or love) ever diminish. And all *real* discipline is done in love, whether hard or easy..

    God help all of us always! (Climbing down from my soapbox too …)

    Lisa Brown
    lisabrown@gmail.com

  26. As a teen myself (16) I found that my parents taking those kind of photos, mocking me and making jokes actually made me a stronger person. As much as I didn’t like it when I was little it taute me how to laugh with others at my oun expense and not take it so personally. I agree however that this is only except able in moderation and if its too hurtful it does leave children with negative retaliations as there only option. Facebook photos like the ones mentioned are the consequences of ridiculous behaviour and I find them entirely nessisary. I love my parents and I don’t have any hatred towards the jokes they made. My only concern is to raise mine the same way.

    • But you have to agree there is a difference in taking pictures and showing them to family and even friends and laughing about them and putting them on the internet for everyone to see that is cruel.

    • How is it necessary to post a photo to facebook shaming a teenager who was caught drinking? Smoking? Having sex? Or anything that doesn’t even involve the internet or hurting other people? Those things should be dealt with a consequence that is relevant to the behavior. If a kid is caught hurting or bullying another kid then it should be dealt with between those involved. The bullier should make it right with the people he/she hurt. Posting a picture of It on facebook does not make it right.

    • Only to an extent. What if the child is just plain evil? In the child shoes I would enjoy perpetrating suffering on others and would be glad that I could get way with it.

      • NO child is plain or pure evil, yes there are difficult children there are children with mental problems that must be addressed but there is no such thing as an evil child. There has been something that caused their behavior and thought patterns.

      • To put oneself in another person’s shoes does not mean do as they do and be them, but to understand their thoughts and perspective.
        If you find you do this with your child, and their thoughts and perspective are as you described, you should make an appointment with a psychologist, as they have a mental disorder.
        They need help, not shame – besides, if they do have a disorder, they may not understand shame the way you do.

  27. While I agree with the majority of your article; I do think that some parents who “publicly shame” their child are doing it for the greater good. It’s one thing to post a video of your 9 year old getting coal for Christmas, that is just disgusting. It is another for the parents who after multiple attempts a privately punishing their teenager for possible dangerous behavior (drinking, posting innappropriate things on social media, etc.) I cannot blame

  28. While I agree with the majority of your article; I do think that some parents who “publicly shame” their child are doing it for the greater good. It’s one thing to post a video of your 9 year old getting coal for Christmas, that is just disgusting. It is another for the parents who after multiple attempts a privately punishing their teenager for possible dangerous behavior (drinking, posting innappropriate things on social media, etc.) I cannot blame parents for taking to their teens Facebook page to explain why their teen is in trouble and why they will not be on FB, Twitter, Vine, SnapChat, etc for the next two months. It’s the equivalent of when I was a teenager and my parents would answer the house phone and explain to my friend who was calling that I was grounded, and what my punishment was, and why I would not be attending the mixer that Friday. My friends also got the message, her parents give a damn about what she does. To this day my friends and I still laugh about it. I think there is an appropriate time and place for this. Times have changed, and sometimes it takes a powerful message to get across to your teen and their friends that parents still care about what they are doing, and there will be consequences for their actions. And just for the record, as an adult if you go out and get a dwi you will get publicly shamed, your mugshot will be forever available on the internet, and if your town is small enough you will be all over the local news. This is what we want to make sure DOESN’T happen to our kids. Making them have a little fear if the consequences, and teaching them people do give a crap about what they do and how they behave now is the way to do that.

  29. I definitely agree. My children and I have a great bond and wicked sense of humor, so we will goof on each other, but never humiliate. Especially as a punishment.
    When I was a young teen I was put on probation for something dumb, but my dad used it as a form of control (divorced parents). Well, I snuck out one night and got busted. Instead of an in home punishment my dad thought he would rather inform my probation officer, whom was very strict. My public humiliation was being shackled at the courthouse in front of everyone, arms, waist and feet (really?!) and having a body search where they made me open my bra and all. Then driven to the weekend detention house. My probation worker was the one who drove me the hour trip and told me that she thought I was a good kid and this was really extreme as a punishment. My dad had REQUESTED it.
    I spent the rest of my teen years nearly hating him and it caused a huge rift between us for many years. He lost out on having a real relationship with me and really knowing me. It’s only been the last couple of years where I’ve opened up to him and he’s been able to get to know me better. I forgave him long ago, but most definitely never forgot the major damage he and his wife did. I know they have a lot of regrets now, but you can’t change the past, you know?

    • Dear Christen,

      Sorry you had to go throug that.. I have a question… when you snuck out that night, was it the one an only time you did so?? Or had it been several times and your dad let it slide? Did your parents go to court each time you had to appear?? Did the probation officer show up a few times and your dad lied for you (purgery)…. Did you ask your dad (parents) to purger themselves in front of a judge? I once called the police when my teenage son broke his probation – and I never lied for him in court or to any officer of the law (be it police or probation or his lawyer)…. Believe me, it as the hardest thing I have/had ever done… he “hated” me at the time – today, he understands why I did it… (may not like it).. but we have a good relationship. His friend, whose mother did purger herself and was not “there” for him, well she abandoned him and at almost 30 years old… is still having it rough and has not contact with him mom….

      I am sad that my son had to experience being arrested and going to jail but I do not feel guilty for making that call…. He had to understand the consequences….

      • I had never snuck out of his house, and he didn’t let anything slide. He would call in for every little thing to the point where she had to tell him that these were matters best worked out in home, not with a probation worker.
        Yes, he was definitely at any hearing/meeting. As for ever even considering asking him to commit perjury , or anyone for that matter, absolutely not. Even at that age I couldn’t fathom being so selfish as to ask someone to do something like that. What I knew then and still do now, was that he made a bad parenting call. I know that some situations call for desperate action, but this was not one of those situations. As an adult, what I realize is that he used it as a form of control like a shock collar on a dog. He was very strict and my mom was too lenient and he felt scared and didn’t like that he couldn’t control my environment except for every other weekend. He made those decisions based much more on the control he could gain as opposed to what punishment I actually deserved. I would have understood had he tried any other approach first and failed, but he basically did sneak attacks with zero communication. Personally, I think it’s pretty damn extreme to find out he called my po because I was tardy five minutes to school…

  30. I think sometimes, for my mother, she forgets that some things are more her kid’s story than her’s. For example, when a sister of mine was assaulted, it was about what happened to HER little girl and she talked about it with everyone – including me – without considering that maybe that little girl had a right to privacy.

    Even in the simpler things… It’s one thing to know a future boy or girlfriend might see those embarrassing photos, if they ever meet the parents. Another to know that teachers, acquaintances, future potential employers and anyone who is literate can review those embarrassing moments with the click of a button. Also, these shaming photos… What are those doing to that child’s future employment opportunities? We should be teaching our children about online discretion, not airing in public what should be kept private.

  31. I am a parent that have been shamed in public for my lapse in judgement and poor behavior. Yes, it was embarrassing and terrible-but I have learned from my mistake and have not repeated it.

    • But the whole discussion and question could you not have learned the same lesson with the same results without the public humiliation?

  32. I agree with your premise … however I am not sure those parents are laughing, maybe some of them, I think it’s more of an attempt to show them just how real/dangerous photos on social media can be, while I have never done that I do understand the frustration and feelings of helplessness that can come with teenagers! I also understand the losing it in public part so again while I do agree with the thought behind your article and protecting our children’s hearts I do think grace for those parents is in order too as we do not know what else has been going on.

  33. Kids have to learn responsibility. If you parents that don’t want your babies embarrassed, will wait, the juvenile authorities have detention centers that will teach them. Then your sweet babies can deal with PD when they grow up. Do what you need to instill values and a conscious.

    • Judy, juvenile facilities are full of shamed children without healthy feelings of self-worth and no memories of parents saying, “I love you. No matter what.”

      • Juvenile facilities are full of children who didn’t have a strong role model, were not disciplined appropriately, who were enabled to or at least allowed to engage in poor behavior without consequence, and who were not protected from bad influences.

        And who were not loved. But love is not the only factor.

  34. Thank you so much for this article. Let me disclose that my husband I do not have children by choice. When the story of the father who shot his daughter’s lap top was on the news and on social media, I was horrified and I was even more horrified by the people who lauded his actions. I couldn’t fully express why I found it so distasteful but now I see why. It was indeed bullying. No one should be bullied, especially a child that one has been entrusted to raise.

    • If the father spontaneously shot the laptop with no provocation he needs his head checked.

      However what was the daughter doing on the laptop? How did she treat the father leading up to the incident? Was she using the laptop to engage in immoral or illegal activities? Did she consistently demonstrate that the laptop was more important to her than the rest of her life and her family? Did she have an unhealthy obsession with it? Did the father feel like he was losing his daughter to whatever it was she was doing on it?

      Everything changes when you have children. You will go places emotionally that you never even knew existed once you become a parent. You would kill for them, die for them, kill because of them, in extreme circumstances.

      My teenage sons love playing shooting games on their xbox. They would do that all day every day if they could, instead of playing a sport, hanging with their friends, learning a new skill, going on a bike ride with the family, trying a new restaurant, getting their school work in order so they have as chance at college and beyond.

      I am a mean killjoy parent because I limit their Xbox time and “make” them do the aforementioned things, which are a total drag and not fun at all. They roll their eyes and gasp in exasperation. They rush through everything with the single minded purpose of getting back on the Xbox with the least interruption. I would be so glad to shoot the dan thing, but I don’t own a gun. I would never have bought the Xbox, but my wife insisted, only because they were never home because all they wanted to do was go to someone else’s place to….. Play Xbox.

      You may not understand now, but your perspective get turned upside down and inside out when you have kids.

      • Because your feels totally make it okay to shoot your kid’s possibly expensive laptop. Yadda yadda parenting makes us do strange things. If you have anger problems to the point that you end up shooting something your child owns, then you need counseling, not a gun and not people lauding your actions.

  35. brutally honest. My kids are grown but I know at different times I publicly humiliated them Not always on purpose, sometimes I just didn’t think before I did or said something. I am sorry.

  36. I do agree to a certain extent but I think being able to laugh at yourself is also important. My children and I are always being daft and silly together but if I do share a picture or video of them doing something funny I do seek their permission! I would never do something to intentionally humiliate or upset them.
    I think if a parent IS intentionally doing something to cause embarrassment in the public spotlight then that is wrong.

  37. What the heck is this paragraph talking about???

    “Frankly, this kind of behavior is as enjoyable as watching a hunched over man, his hands in the stocks, a tattered shirt blowing in the rain of a smoke-filled Middle Ages afternoon while raw sores and stiff muscles covered in rotting food attempt to shield a broken spirit.”

  38. I find it interesting how many people seem to label discipline as bullying. It is fear of this very label that has created the generation of unruly, undisciplined and disrespectful children we deal with today. Yes, there is a line between discipline and bullying/abuse.

    However, do NOT lump them all in the same category. And discipline cannot always be sweet and comfy. Many times good behavior comes from uncomfortable consequences, and sometimes those consequences must be public because their misbehavior was public.

    We have a few generations of coddled children … and our out-of-control youth is the result of that. (Knock out game, anyone?)

    Yes, the Bible says “do not provoke your children to wrath”. It also says “spare the rod, spoil the child”. The “rod” is a metaphor for discipline. Parents must discipline. That is our job as a parent. “Train up a child in the way he should go”.

    And yet, despite of all we as parents do, there are just some children that will not be taught and must learn it all the hard way, and sometimes at the hands of government … which definitely does NOT have a loving hand.

    • Actually, the Bible doesn’t say “spare the rod, spoil the child”. That is a poem.
      Discipline means to teach, like disciple, it does not mean to bully/punish/or otherwise mentally or physically harm your child. Jesus didn’t beat all the little children, he had them come to him to learn in God’s LOVING embrace. We guide our children in the way they should go, we don’t train them like they are animals that need to be broken in. A simple understanding of normal, healthy child development would do the world a lot of good and would show parents when to be concerned about a certain behavior and when not to. It’s not coddling to understand your child and empathize with their feelings. It’s not coddling to accept that your child is an individual and not an extension of you.

      Ad for your reference to the knock-out game, it is actually still far more common to find a child who receives spankings than a child who is treated respectfully so, perhaps, that is children trying to regain power that they feel they have lost.

      • Proverbs 13:24
        Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

        Spare the rod, spoil the child is a simplified interpretation of the bible passage. The point being that a spoiled (coddled, given everything they want, don’t bother to confront when they misbehave) child is really not a loved child. Parents who truly care for their children and are concerned in producing civilized and productive citizens will discipline their children. I never mentioned one way or another about whether the discipline should be physical, mental or emotional. But all discipline affects a child in a mental and emotional way. I was spanked as a child and I turned out as a very productive citizen because any spanking happened as a last resort when I was a child. I behaved because I didn’t want that to happen again. Cause = effect.

        I’m not too worried about the poor psyche of the hoodlums who are involved in the knock-out game. But it is a very good illustration of lack of proper discipline in those boys’ lives. Note I said “proper”. We have no way of knowing if they were physically abused or not. We can deduce from their behavior, though, that they are acting out to get attention. Probably from neglect rather than a simple spanking.

        I speak from years of experience. I’m not a young mother. I’m a mother of 4 children, grandmother of 3. ALL of those children had to be handled in different ways to achieve good behavior. Each one a challenge in their own right. There is not “one size fits all” for raising children. The author of this blog expressed her opinion on public shaming of these children, but she really didn’t know all necessary about the situations in order to give “advice”. If a parent wants to bathe their children and praise and never correct their misbehavior, they get what they deserve, both the parents and the children, unfortunately. I’ve seen children who were never disciplined who hated their parents because they were not given boundaries and did not suffer consequences when they crossed society’s boundaries.

        A child’s behavior in public affects more than just the child. It affects all those around that child in some way or another. If that behavior is bad, the child should suffer negative consequence because of that behavior. Most children’s psyches are not nearly so “fragile” as so many make them out to be. Those psyches are made fragile by those same people. We are crippling our children socially because of lack of discipline.

        • But that right there is part of the problem. You don’t care about the “hoodlums” and what they are suffering. THAT is a lack of empathy and uncaring towards the trials of a child. Do I think they should get off Scott free? Of course not! But I do believe that they deserve sympathy and the proper consequence for their actions, which is whatever the punishment for assault is. You want to get real with your kids? Teach them proper in the beginning and let societal consequences go from there.

          • part of my whole point….the parents they have have not taught “them proper in the beginning”. BUT at some point these kids make choices on their own. They are their choices, not their parents’ choices. They choose to act in away that they KNOW is contrary. No one can tell me these kids don’t know that what they’re doing is wrong. Of course they know it’s wrong and they DELIGHT in doing it, out in the open, in public. What a thrill. When a kid gets to this point in their lives, there are influences other than their parents … even if the parents are in the picture and doing everything they know to do to keep their kid on the “straight and narrow”. When a child is this age and is making his/her own decisions to behave badly, there’s little left for the well-meaning parent to do. I speak from experience on this matter. Some children will go the way they want to go regardless of good, healthy upbringing.

            • Thanks mkheadley49. You show yourself to be considered and wise. Your gracious and respectful responses to those who disagree with you show your maturity and understanding. You should know that there are those of us who wholeheartedly agree with you.

            • Aura that maybe true that a person’s brain is not fully mature until 25 but that is also an excuse for just not thinking at times. We know right from wrong by the time we are 5 or 6 years old. Yes, we rebel and do other dumb things over the years but we do know basic right from wrong at a young age IF we have been disciplined and raised correctly.

          • Wow, when I was 18 I was working two jobs, volunteering & living on my own not partying or doing dumb things. By 21 I owned my own home bc I got burnt on rent to owns. My bank account went negative often trying to pay bills, no cell, no cable, only what was necessary. No outside help, I worked for it! You know right from wrong, granted you live and learn and will make mistakes but you have a choice to what type of person you are and want to be no matter your background as a kid bc mine wasn’t the nicest and I knew I didn’t want to become my parents so I made the sacrifices to change my situation. 25??? REALLY? That’s an excuse, sounds like babying your kids to me which equals setting them up for failure in the real world. I may have had it tougher then what needed to be but it built character and respect of what I have and the drive & determination to better myself and others. Kids need tough love just as much as positive reinforcement, it should be a balance. Be your kids parent first, friend second. (I do have 2 boys) They need your support sure but they need to learn that their actions have consequences too. Sometimes they need to fall to learn. I think discipline is is situational so it is too hard to just generalize on here. I do think kids get away with way too much and that shows as our society weakens. The whole kids could take a pic of you and post it, how does that make you feel…whaa You are the parent, not them it does not work that way. Grown-ups can argue, you can’t agree 100% of the time and if you never disagree in front of your kids surprise they wont know how to handle it in the real world! Just like you need to show your kids love so they appreciate good quality’s too! (If they have a loving solid background they’re not going to jump off a bridge bc you punished them, calm down) Bad choices for adults like DUI already have repercussions = jail, fines, community service, classes, loosing your kids, house, etc. your really trying to stretch a point. If you solely use one form of discipline like beating them or always publicly shaming them, I can see where that could hurt someone or give them issues but to not teach them lessons in life or cover for them, get over yourself! You are part of the problem.

        • Yes! Today’s society has blacklisted many of the forms of parental discipline leaving little else but using such shaming techniques to parents. The author whitewashes the issue. As adults we DO suffer public humiliation when we engage in financial mismanagement or inappropriate job behavior. This CAN act as a deterrent. What tools are left in a parents box to deal with unruly ignorant and inappropriate behaviour of their teens.

    • I don’t think it is so much labeling discipline in general as bullying, but how some people discipline their kids as bullying. Examples are publicly shaming your child on facebook simply as a “revenge” tactic, for your own amusement, and to belittle your child for the misbehavior they have done that is nowhere near being related to social media. The comments people make on those shames can be bullying the child. Discipling a child by grounding them for breaking curfew, not being allowed out on a Friday night until any missed homework is completed, etc is not bullying. Posting what your child did online for your amusement and for the sole purpose of shaming/humiliating your child can be bullying.

  39. This made some really good points. I never saw myself as a parent to post that type of picture most of them never really bothered me (although a few did). I guess I didn’t really take the time to think about it and now I have.

  40. This is a really good article! I have seven kids and they LOVE for me to post pictures of them on Facebook. Once in a while I will take a picture and they will ask me not to post it and I will not. I do though love to get there insight as to why they do not want me to post it. Reasons of course I would never think about. I have to also say that sometimes they want me to post a picture and I will tell them no and then we also talk about why I will not. It’s our job as parents to teach our kids what is appropriate and what is not. How you treat your kids online or in person is how they are going to treat other people. Just food for thought!

  41. This is wonderful! It sparked a post for me that will go up tomorrow and will link to this post. I was wondering if you would mind if I use your photo (the child’s head down with the quote about mocking our children). Thank you. This truly is a wonderful post.

  42. This should apply to our spouses and loved ones as well. Why is it when a group comes together, it’s always someone trying to “one up” each other. My husband does this, mine does worse, etc. I made a vow to try very hard not to bash my husband in front of others and certainly to never start something that would be in public. No one likes to be humiliated. I just wish he would do the same sometimes.

    • I detest that behavior between spouses! I boost my husband up, as he does me. Never do we tear down. It’s also disrespectful in my opinion to be in the middle of a couple doing it and it makes this awkward, as if they expect you to crack up with them. It’s sad.
      This Isn’t to say that my husband and I don’t goof on each other. We do. A lot. Lol. But it’s lovingly and never hurtful.

    • I have purposed to never publicly humiliate my husband just as I have purposed to not do that to my children. I have not liked being treated that way myself, so why would I do it to someone else? And especially to those who I love and spend my life with?

  43. This should apply to spouses and loved ones as well. I made a vow to try very hard to now embarrass my husband in public. Why do we always have to “one up” each other

  44. As a child care worker I get to see all these lovely children when they’re not with their parents and I can tell you this much from my experience of working with elementary school aged children for over the last five years. I think the trend to put an importance on children’s feelings wants and needs above the family’s or communities has created a behavior of entitlement for children. The fact that the children who were dealing with drug addict parents and messy parental separations were more often well adjusted and well behaved than children who were just coddled by there parents is frightening. So maybe public shaming on a cyber scale isn’t the way to go, but not too long ago if you stole something you’d be publicly shamed when you’re parents told you to go return it. Now you MAYBE get a stern talk, but your parents will say that they’ll buy you what it is that you need, not addressing the idea of stealing, just saying “this is embarrassing for me add a parent and I don’t ever want this to happen again.” Public shaming may not have worked for you guys, but I can whole heartedly say that I never wanted to feel that humiliated for MY ACTIONS. And you know what, I love the person who made me do that, she made me better. The funny thing is that the author makes it feel as though shaming is unwarranted, I imagine that in most of these situations children actually did not pay attention to their parents and therefore were made to feel with the consequences of THEIR ACTIONS alternatively.

    But you know what this is all my actual experience, I’m not making any assumptions on what I’ve seen others do.
    Frankly I think this article is shit, where are your stats, did you interview anyone, or did something just make you upset and you felt the need to tell everyone else that you had a visceral reaction to something? If that’s the case, call it as it is; you can’t make huge statements and not back then up. No disrespect and only good intentions here, but perhaps you should do some more studying and inspect the world more before you put your word and your thoughts or there to assert that public shaming is bad and that children will essentially not have a good relationship with their parents if their parents keep it up.

    • You’ve got to be kidding. There are plenty of studies that say that children in damaged families are NOT well-adjusted. There also plenty of studies that show people don’t learn when angry, in pain, or feeling embarrassed.

      There is a HUGE difference in giving in to every desire of the child and being respectful of their thoughts and feelings. I sometimes can not buy myself something I want so occasionally the same is true for my children. BUT if someone is ridiculing me and degrading me in public, I guarantee that all I am thinking about is how much I hate them.

    • If my children ever steal from a store, I will take them back to return or pay for it, with a sincere apology from their lips. However, it would be done as discreetly as possible.

    • Knowing Heidi I know she did not mean that you do not have a child return what they stole, pay for it, ask forgiveness or whatever else needs to be done to make amends. That still is not “public” shaming as you are dealing with the wronged parties not the whole world. That is very effective parenting to have a child make restitution for their actions and whatever harm they have caused. If a child does something on a “public” scale then a “public” restitution should be made but that still is only the parties involved not the whole world. I find parents whose children can do no wrong intolerable and those parents raise children who think they are entitled. We all do wrong, we all make mistakes and we need to learn to humble ourselves and make it right when it is a result of our own wrong choices. That is called taking responsibility. But I can tell you if you’ve read the stories on here where parents have publicly humiliated their child instead of seeking restitution it has severed the relationship. Some children just are head strong and you have to let them go when they are old enough to make their own mistakes. It is very hard to do that as a parent but hopefully at some future time they will return humbled and teachable. Parenting is the hardest job in the world and I have found with my 7 children that it has kept me crying out to the One who gave me those children over and over and over again. I can also tell you that He has been faithful to give wisdom when needed and to humble me when that is what I needed.

    • Two words: Barbara Coloroso.

      I am also an early childhood educator working with a different ages. While I was in school I learned all about effective discipline, natural and logical consequences, and keeping children’s dignity in tact when disciplining. This article is actually quite factual as pretty much every point has been stated in my textbooks with research to back it up.

  45. I will be sharing this on my personal Facebook page, as well as our business Facebook pages for parents and child care providers. I have also found this trend very troubling, and unfortunately it is still a commonly used approach in many schools. Anything to raise awareness and help people to understand that this is not empathetic behaviour, and at it’s worse, can be downright dangerous.

  46. Frankly, the drunk driver in your example deserves to be publicly shamed. They could have killed someone else because of conscious choices they made.

    • That part really ruined this whole thing for me. I seen this shared on Facebook and was about to share it myself as it expresses something I have been feeling for a while. Unfortunately that DUI quip is a massive stain on what is otherwise a fine article. A DUI is not a mistake or something a family can deal with and resolve in the privacy or their household and among family. It is a Crime where an individual put the lives of the general public at risk. Its already public knowledge and should stay that way forever.

  47. I have two children 13 (daughter) and 12 (Son). They are on Instagram constantly, especially my daughter. I have made it a rule that they are not to post any picture of each other (or the family) that has not been OK’d by the other. I have started to do the same with my FB account. If they don’t like the picture, it will not be posted. In the digital world these photos will live on the internet forever. It is not like a funny photo that you have in a photo album or stuffed in a shoe box. These photos can come back to haunt them way into their future.

  48. My son was actually humilated by a teacher who, in front of me, pointed her finger at him and declared that he was “too stupid” to be in their magnet program for math and science, and was too immature to be responsible enough to turn in homework. This, in a team conference with his other teachers, when I went to explain about his lengthy stay at Shriner’s Hospital. Needless to say, I immediately asked for my son to be transferred to another school which was granted, He went on to major in math at the University of Kentucky and to become an actuary. I wish I could find that teacher and tell her (publicly) how close she came to destroying a brilliant mind and a beautiful, caring heart.

    • There is a difference between correcting a child and tearing down their self esteem. she in no way corrected a child. Telling a child he or she is stupid is demeaning and inappropriate!
      The article above is not about demeaning a child – they specifically mention making a child admit their actions publicily when doing something illegal.

      • Incorrect. The above article is talking about publicly shaming a child when they make a poor decision. Fighting with a siblings is not illegal nor is it a public matter. Pooping in the tub, not illegal and not public. I can understand that bullying is more public than not but it still is just a poor decision made by a not fully formed brain. Please research child and teen brain development and behavioral development.

  49. Lol. After reading the comments. It is funny how the author can’t practice what she preaches. Easy on paper, and a hypocrite when the time comes to back up what you say with action. Take that spec out of your eye….yeah I will keep the 2×4 in mine. Thanks for reading my garbage. smh

    • You clearly didn’t read where she apologized for her mistake.

      Sometimes it isn’t about being a hypocrite. Sometimes, it’s about firmly believing in a certain practice while you are still learning how to navigate it. I would hate for someone to judge me solely by my actions while I am still learning how to regulate them!

  50. I agree in general with not shaming your children on the internet, unless perhaps they misbehaved publically in a way that effects the public, and they were warned before that this would be a consequence, and I would be right there with them and the sign if I ever felt this was the best or only course of action for some reason. Although I would perhaps word it as a public apology, (i.e. a sign saying “I’m sorry for spray painting mean words on the school, I am taking responsibility for the clean up). I think a more effective approach though would be to apologize, in person, to the people actually affected by the behaviour and take any possible action to fix whatever damage was done. Whether that be apologizing to a teacher, their classmates, their friends parents if they worked with their friends to deceive the parents etc. They do need to feel a sense of responsibility and consequence (and maybe shame) for their action, however it should never cross into shame for themselves as a person. It’s the distinction between telling your kid, “You need to study more because you failed your test since you were always hanging out with your friends, you are going to have to tell your friends you can’t hang out until you pass your next test” or “You need to study more because you ARE a failure, (and I am going to post your grade for all to see so you feel ashamed of yourself)”

  51. Very very valuable post – thanks for sharing it. As a mom of 22 kids (most with special needs) I have seen my kids bullied and shamed enough by society – I do not need to add to that burden. I know I have embarrassed them at times, but not intentionally. This blog in combination with your Private Parenting blog are so essential for all parents – may I have permission to copy and share them with classes I teach to foster and adoptive parents and caseworkers? (with attribution of course)

  52. I think as with anything in life, there has to be balance. I do not claim to be a perfect parent, and I do not believe anyone can. We all have to learn what works best for our family and our children. I have public shamed my kids, when it was warranted, and nothing else worked. It got my message through. Growing up in the 60’s, it was nothing for a parent to shame you, and you would so anything NOT to be shamed in front of your neighbors, friends, and family. Kids are bolder today, and do not fear anyone. Sometimes extreme behavior warrants extreme punishment.

  53. I’m not sure I agree with this article – Yes I agree that you should not Humiliate your children – however I do completely disagree on the comparison between the adults paying bills and children being called on the carpet for behavior. If an adult loses his job and is uncapable of paying than that is not something that they can control. CHildren CAN control their behavior and should learn how to correctly conduct themselves….if a child smokes pot – HELL yes I am going to call them on the carpet. It’s illegal! If an adult performs an illegal act then they too suffer consequences! There is a major difference between posting a funny pucture of your kids – I would never post one of a child in a get along shirt but I have made my child publicly go to a store owner and return or pay for the pack of gum they took without paying. They need to acknowldge their behavior. I also will correct my child instantly in public or otherwise if the correction is needed immediately – such as my child hitting someone or taking someone elses things. I will no berate them or go on and on in public though. BUT please comparing someone who made the choice to drive drunk and put others in danger is in no way anything even similar to a get-a-long shirt.
    Act like an adult and quit comparing things that have nothing in common. this sounds too much like the “feel good, everyone get along” and “lets allow our children the same privileges and “rights” that adults have” bunch of baloney I think. There shopuld be limits and appropriate action but no so little that our children grow up thinking they are self entitled.

    • This, in one sentence, seems to me to sum up what the author was aiming to communicate. Thank you for saying it, and thank you for understanding. Namaste.

  54. I speak from experience, if you treat your child in this way or similar way “for their own good”. They will see your hypocrisy!! When they call you on it and you deny it… they will begin to grow in their hearts a place that you can never reach again and will never be welcome again!!! It is not so much the beratement, which sucks, but the hypocrisy, that really hurts! Parents are supposed to be adults… and in the eyes of a child, Reasonable and intelligent. You treat your child horribly and You will have no relationship that is worth anything with them and I agree with any who think that the fastest way to falsify your argument is to berate another that you do not personally know!!!!

  55. Fantastic post. I never saw it as bullying before. I have not posted those kinds of photos of my child, but I must admit that I have seen the ones you are talking about and have laughed at them. My bad. Thanks for bringing to my attention that this is actually a form of bullying. I will no longer view them in the same light.

  56. Thank you for this reasonable and loving response. There are ways to deal with things without shaming. With love. With respect. And with grace. I think sometimes people get caught up in the shaming, to ‘scare kids straight’ when they forget that children need to be properly encouraged to good behaviour, instead of being reminded of past mistakes, and that they need the grace to make choices that are their own – and to have ownership of them good and bad. It is easy to ‘lay down the law’ but so hard to repair relationships.

  57. I thank God everyday that facebook didn’t exist when I was a kid…My mother was a pro at publicly shaming us and I hated her for it. I never told her anything and hid everything from her for fear it would make the front page news….Thankfully I like to think I’ve learned from that and didn’t do it to my kids.

  58. I love the idea of adults having the sign… if you were a little more accountable for your actions you might think twice before doing dumb stuff

  59. I think this article is far too generalised. Comparing teenagers and preschoolers? Pooping in the tub to illegal drinking underage? There is a huge difference between an innocent childs mistake to a teenager doing something illegal and being caught knowing what kind of consequence that could have. So all embarrassing stories are bullying now?? I’ve posted status updates about my toddler pooping in the tub and my friends all giggled am I a bully to my kid now??

    Lets face it, We live in a socially driven world and we forget that teenagers are publicly humilliating themselves daily. Eventually that picture of them drinking with thier buddies underage or that half naked picture will come up in a job interview…. will the parents still be to blame then? Dont teenagers publicly embarrass their parents daily with status updates about how much they hate them? So a teenager on fb is just “expressing their feelings” but a parent having a teenager face a consequence and being held accountable for a mistake is bullying?
    Children are innocent in their behaviors and should be treated as such but a teenger who knew full well of the consequences before thier actions?
    I havent seen every shaming photo or video. I believe their are some that go too far and are humiliating to the individual but we can’t know every background and every side to each of them… maybe the teen choose thst punishment over another , maybe this is the third offense, we dont know.

  60. Beautifully written. Thank you for this! I agree wholeheartedly. Shared this directly on my FB page, hoping your words will inspire parents to work harder towards building our kids up rather than constantly tearing them down.

  61. Heidi, I have not yet experienced the ups and downs and joys of motherhood; however, I do have a mothers heart and have nannied many children. I want to thank you for so concisely and clearly bringing this point home. I especially appreciate the point you make about it being ‘bullying.’ That will hit home with people. Bullying is all over but has been directed more towards children of all age ranges. This behavior is truly bullying and not loving or character building at all. Unfortunately, too many parents want to be the ‘cool’ parent and/or their child’s best friend rather than being their parent. As a result we have a lot of children, teens, and young adults who do not respect any one or anything and think the world revolves around them. To me being a parent means nurturing them – in every aspect of their life – to help them to know and fulfill their purpose. It also means training and guiding them to be loving, respectful, productive, and impactful people -throughout their entire life.

  62. I am curious about the situation with the friend. Did you stop her? Or point out what was happening, in case she did not realize she had gone too far? I sort of feel like standing back and then posting about it on your blog is the same as what you are Blogging about. I do think your points are great, especially when you put it in an adult perspective…. “I forgot to pay the bill…. ” etc.

    • We did talk about the situation. And I wish I could say she was willing to change. In her mind, that was an acceptable way to deal with the situation. She knew where I stood. Before they left, I held her son while he sobbed on my shoulder. I will never forget how that boy shook.

  63. From Brene Brown’s book, _I Thought It Was Just Me_: “You cannot shame or belittle someone into changing their behavior,” and ” “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

    • Oh yes you can. As a kid I stole a pack of of gum from the local corner store. My mom “shamed” me by making me take money from my allowance, walk back to the store, line up at the register, then in front of all the people there tell the store owner what I had done, apologize to him, promise not to do it again and pay for the gum.

      It was the hardest thing I had ever done.

      But after I paid, the store owner ruffled my hair and said it’s OK, we all make mistakes.

      Here’s what I learned from that “bullying” incident.

      – stealing hurts the victim
      – it’s a not ok to take something that belongs to someone else
      – if I hurt someone, the right thing to do is make amends not do it again
      – make it right, make the commitment to do right from then on, and there can be forgiveness and restoration of right relationship
      – mom loves me enough to deter me from wrongdoing and show me there are consequences
      – if mom loves a stranger so much to do right by them, how much more will she do right by me since she loves me so much
      – I don’t want to steal because I understand its consequences for both me and the victim

      Thanks mom for using that incident and letting me experience a degree of shame and humiliation to teach me a valuable lesson and make me a better person. You truly showed your love to me and I love you all the more for it.

      • Exactly Jonathon! My parents made my brother do a similar thing.
        Consequences for your actions,what a novel idea! ( instead of looking for someone else blame.)

      • That was not shaming that was teaching you to take responsibility for your own choices and actions. There is a difference between that and shaming. It is one thing to deal with a person and their taking responsibility for what they did with the people it affected (sometimes there is inadvertently a little wider number of people that witness it) and with putting it on view for the whole world to see. That is a prideful thing on the parent’s part and also an immature way of getting back at their child. Young people won’t learn from that other than to stay as far away from the person who did that to them. If you teach your child to take responsibility for their choices and actions because you love that child and want their success they will know that is what you are doing. If you want to shame them for shaming you, you will lose the relationship with that person.

        • “If you want to shame them for shaming you, you will lose the relationship with that person.” Well said, Serena, good to see you here!! Always love your input, my friend.

    • That book was phenomenal. Seven years of research. So much good stuff. I agree wholeheartedly. We cannot be shamed and remain whole people, as she proved with her hundreds of thousands of research participants. Have your read her other, Daring Greatly? Really good as well.

  64. Thank you for posting this. As a child I was humiliated at my mother’s expense. What seemed like a joke for her tore me down inside. I can relate with everything you listed. As an adult I am struggling to forgive her for it. Now that I am a mother myself I am careful about where and when I reprimand my child…always privately. I never want to inflict the pain and humiliation I went through growing up. What may seem small now can stick with a child forever.

  65. Hear, hear! Someone posted a series of those images to Facebook the other day and I called them on it, saying that it was bad parenting.

    Shame doesn’t work. As a child, my mom would often shame me, telling me I was being ‘antisocial’ when I was just being quiet because I had no idea what to say. I still struggle with socializing to this day, and I don’t know the fix for that, but at least I know that that I don’t have to start talking just to be talking. :P

    Another instance of shame happened when my mother would ask people at the church to pray for me while I was making bad decisions as a teenager. I couldn’t walk around the church without feeling that everyone was staring at me. And she still wonders why we left that church… Thank goodness she softened up quite a bit when we gave her some grandkids. The change was so dramatic that I wondered what happened to my original mother… :)

  66. I was one of those who thought the public shaming was ok till I read this post and put the adult in the teens place. You’re absolutely right about shaming these kids, I’m ashamed that I supported it. Thank you for the wake up call.

  67. I guess among my group of FB friends I never saw that kind of humiliation thrown at their own children. My daughter once said FB was meant for college classmates to stay in touch and wasn’t meant to be a means for parents to monitor their children.(She’s 27 and no, still not a FB friend. She says “want to catch up? call me”

    When I was young pubic humilation was getting yelled at or spanked in public. Like the kid who screamed loudly when mom wouldn’t get her a candy bar in the checkout line at the grocery store. What she got instead from mom was de-pantsed and given a good hiding right there on the spot. No one batted an eye back then(except us kids snickering under our breath)

    These days mom would be arrested and seen on the local news at 6.

  68. I absolutely agree that shaming has no place in parenting be it in public or in private. But there are two issues here. Shaming – uh, just no. And privacy – more up to interpretation.

    Where I am shifting some is sharing the funny stories, pictures of my older kids (ages 6, 5, & 5). And do I have a lot of them! I don’t think there is anything embarrassing about those stories when it comes to younger kids. But my older ones now have a sense of privacy. Well, one of them does. The other two are as “out there” as their mother, but one of my sons embarrasses easily. My rule is, “If I wouldn’t want someone to ask me about it in front of him after seeing the post, I shouldn’t be publicizing it.” And if I am not sure, I ask them if I can tell people about it. Sometimes the answer is no, and I always respect that. I am guessing that as they get older, more and more things will be put into this category.

    However, there is something to be said about the individual family’s choice to live publicly being a valid option (with some boundaries). I get this author has very high and close walls for her family, which is great. There are others of us who have lower and further walls, also great. My husband and I would be those people. As a mom, I tend to be really open about my parenting successes and failures. (As a human, I tend to be open about personal success and failures.) While I would never take pictures of my kids being punished or make fun of the serious work of discipline (because that is shaming), I do share some stories of struggles we have had with our kids and how we handled them (or just struggled) publicly on facebook and/or my blog. I’ve had a lot of really amazing feedback from as far away as the North Pole (no kidding) from people who were encouraged and helped by it. There is real value in that to me. Heck, would any parenting book even exist if we didn’t talk some about our kids’ “private” lives. If there is no sharing of some sort, not the shaming kind of sharing but the information/counseling kind of sharing, we have little opportunity to learn from others.

  69. Wow! I’m a teenager, but somehow I knew nothing about this! It’s appalling to me! The two that really got me angry of the comments I saw were the ones: Honk if I need an education, because perhaps he has trouble testing, so why not help him in this skill rather than telling the world that he couldn’t do the test? The teen probably felt bad enough just knowing he couldn’t do it! The second was the “I wasn’t raised this way.” I will not deny the fact that bullying is wrong, nor can I justify it with what I’m about to say, but I was once a bully, but I bullied because I was bullied and I wanted to defend others who were being bullied, unfortunately I went about solving the issue in the wrong way when I found my own strength and found that adults either didn’t believe me or thought that I needed to toughen up to know the lesson of life. I don’t support bullying, but it doesn’t make it any better for the parent to bully their child who is bullying.

  70. Let’s first agree on one thing: kids sometimes do really dumb stuff. These dumb things may vary in severity and consequence, from the toddler bathtub poop to the teen getting caught doing drugs or driving drunk.

    Let’s also agree on this: that whether we like it or not, there ARE consequences for our actions, many of them social in nature.

    And this: sometimes a lesson is not learned until we allow our children to be exposed to the negative consequences we try so hard to shield them from.

    With these three things in mind, I think it’s important to realize that when shame or embarrassment have to infringe on our children’s lives, it is all in the delivery. My parents were not shy about allowing me to discover the consequences of poor decisions if I chose not to listen to them. It was done in a very calm, matter of fact way – without malice – and afterwards, they made it clear that they loved me and had not wanted to see me hurt via open lines of communication. Let’s just say I learned quickly that they had my best interests in mind and it was probably a good idea to listen to them.

    Classic example: when I was 10, I tried to shoplift. I got caught. Instead of jumping to defend me or shield me from the consequences of my clearly wrong choices, my mother allowed a security guard to bring me to the store manager for a talking-to. It’s obvious now that none of them intended to do more than spook me into good behavior, but at the time I was terrified I would get into real trouble. The consequences of that dumb move were that I wasn’t allowed in that store unaccompanied, and my mother made me volunteer at a community charity organization for a few weeks. Was I embarrassed and ashamed? Hell yes. Was my mother wrong for the way she handled the situation? Hell no. Did I ever attempt to shoplift again? Nope. Do I feel that my mother “destroyed my heart” in the course of this rough and scary lesson? Absolutely not. I love her for teaching me how the world works in the gentlest way possible, and for helping me to become a good person who is fully aware that I am accountable for my own choices and actions.

    In my opinion, good parents will sometimes let their children stumble for the sake of a lesson, but never fall. This is where the line between ‘parental bullying’ and just being a good parent has to be drawn.

  71. Let’s first agree on one thing: kids sometimes do really dumb stuff. These dumb things may vary in severity and consequence, from the toddler bathtub poop to the teen getting caught doing drugs or driving drunk.

    Let’s also agree on this: that whether we like it or not, there ARE consequences for our actions, many of them social in nature.

    And this: sometimes a lesson is not learned until we allow our children to be exposed to the negative consequences we try so hard to shield them from.

    With these three things in mind, I think it’s important to realize that when shame or embarrassment have to infringe on our children’s lives, it is all in the delivery. My parents were not shy about allowing me to discover the consequences of poor decisions if I chose not to listen to them. It was done in a very calm, matter of fact way – without malice – and afterwards, they made it clear that they loved me and had not wanted to see me hurt via open lines of communication. Let’s just say I learned quickly that they had my best interests in mind and it was probably a good idea to listen to them.

    Classic example: when I was 10, I tried to shoplift. I got caught. Instead of jumping to defend me or shield me from the consequences of my clearly wrong choices, my mother allowed a security guard to bring me to the store manager for a talking-to. It’s obvious now that none of them intended to do more than spook me into good behavior, but at the time I was terrified I would get into real trouble. The consequences of that dumb move were that I wasn’t allowed in that store unaccompanied, and my mother made me volunteer at a community charity organization for a few weeks. Was I embarrassed and ashamed? Hell yes. Was my mother wrong for the way she handled the situation? Hell no. Did I ever attempt to shoplift again? Nope. Do I feel that my mother “destroyed my heart” in the course of this rough and scary lesson, and any others? Absolutely not. I love her for teaching me how the world works in the gentlest way possible, and for helping me to become a good person who is fully aware that I am accountable for my own choices and actions.

    In my opinion, good parents will sometimes let their children stumble for the sake of a lesson, but never fall. This is where the line between ‘parental bullying’ and just being a good parent has to be drawn.

    • Your mother practiced good parenting. Bad parenting would have been telling everyone you knew and more what a moron you were for doing that. It appears you have a wise mother and that is something to be grateful for indeed. There are so many that aren’t for sure!

    • Agreed – parental responses should NOT be “social-media” in nature. I also believe the reverse is true; parental responses to achievements of their children should not “social media” in nature either. Don’t want to inflate their head too much or bring attention to individuals who prefer a comfortable solitary existence (and yes children know themselves that well).

  72. Thank you for reminding me of what parenting really means. I love my children but sometimes I’m guilty of being overly grumpy whenever they do something wrong. I’ll be more patient from now on…

  73. Thank you for writing this article. These pictures have always made me cringe. I hurt for the child that is being shamed are scared for the adults these children will become.

    It seems that there is a misunderstanding in the comments between the definitions of discipline and punishment/shaming. It is quite possible (and highly effective) to discipline without punishment. To discipline is to teach, to punish is to cause harm with the hope it will change behavior. Shaming is a form of punishment. Study after study is showing us that punishment does not work. In fact the research is so overwhelming that our penal system is starting to change how they operate because it has become obvious that the system is only hurting society and not helping. The new positive programs that are slowly being implemented are seeing impressive results.

    There are multiple comments along the lines of “I was “bullied” into returning that gum I stole and made to apologize to the clerk, and I’m glad my parents made me do that.” That’s awesome that your parents made you do that, but here’s the thing… that wasn’t bullying, that was discipline. That taught you to be accountable for your actions and to apologize when you do something wrong. Now if your parents had pulled out their cell phone and recorded this apology and then posted it on FB with the caption “not such a tough guy now” then that action would cross over into bullying.

    There is a common misconception that peaceful parenting means that you never discipline your kids and they can do whatever they want and you can only say “oh, please don’t do that honey” as they’re hitting other children or climbing on the dinner table. This just isn’t true. Peaceful parenting is only effective if there is constructive, consistent discipline. It is also possible to discipline a child in public without punishment or shaming. especially when they are young. A teenager should be at the age where they are spreading their wings and learning how to function without their parents looking over their shoulder all of the time. At that age, it may be more appropriate to talk about whatever happened later and in private.

    Yelling at anyone in public or in private does not work, period. Think about what happens when your boss or your spouse yells at you. What happens? You shut down, you stop listening to anything that person is saying and you become defensive. Children at any age react the same way. Now this doesn’t mean that if your child runs away in a crowded mall that it’s not ok to yell “stop” (or whatever word you have taught them), that is teaching them safety. But when they stop, it is not effective to continue yelling and berating them. All they will learn from that is “next time I will run faster when I hear the word stop so I don’t get yelled at again.” Instead follow through with whatever discipline that is age appropriate.

      • I love this, Marlena. I write a lot about our journey toward emotionally intelligent parenting, and I find this is also what people assume, that parenting with empathy and compassion means there are not boundaries and limitations. There are many. Parenting this way just means we’re seeking to understand the heart of our children, seeking to lovingly guide them into the people they already are deep inside instead of controlling them into the person we want them to be (and this has nothing to do with permissive parenting and everything to do with understanding and teaching). I get very personally attacked (and my children are predicted to be menaces to society and one more entitled child in the world of entitled children) for my efforts, but I know that most of the people who say these things really and truly don’t understand (and assume much).

        Thank you for providing your voice of wisdom to the discussion.

  74. I think that we need to spend more time talking with our children and less time yelling at them. I do get tired, and frustrated, and disconnected at times, but I try to talk and problem solve with my children, if/when they are open to doing that.

    • Very well said. I was just thinking “how rude” when I saw a child being punished and a pic of it on fb. Then I read your article.

  75. A tangeable connection to parenting has been slowly erroded by people who busy themselves with other things, especially when their children are young, and leave it to “the world” – daycares and schools – to raise their child. They might be great child-minders but children need love and attention: to connect with their parents. Evenings and weekends does not leave enough time for that connection to deepen. Got a pre-teen on your hands that you can’t “control”? Go back ten years and re-visit your mistakes. Have a child that doesn’t respect you? Ask yourself if you carved out time to foster that. Hitting, shaming, and bullying are what people resort to that a/ have no decent tools in their parenting kit, and b/ lack the patience to react with maturity and grace. Your “out of control kid” is a mirror image of your out of control parenting. It isn’t the child’s fault. It’s yours. Publicly shame yourself.

  76. Heidi, While I mostly agree with you, I do think that too many parents go to to the other extreme and treat there children like porcelain figurines… Parents, who are afraid that their children might not be their friend, give the child no discipline what-so-ever, and the majority of those children, who I’ve seen raised that way, end up narcissistic, neurotic, and expect the world to bow to there special needs, because mommy and daddy told them they could do no wrong. A child needs some kind of discipline. A parent needs to be a parent and, yes, earn their child’s respect.

    There is one instance I did not see you mention and the was the one where there was a daughter who got caught viciously cyber bullying another girl at her school and the mother posted the picture of her holding a sign saying she had to sell her cell phone and give the money to an anti-bullying site. That one is I think a good example of doing using this form of punishment – It is exactly what the child was doing to some other poor girl.

    I do agree in most cases this is not a good form of punishment, but in this instance and in all peer cyber bullying cases this show the bully exactly what it feels like to cause this type of shame.

    Just my thoughts…

  77. This is very true, when i was about 15 i got involved with the wrong friends and had them over when my parents weren’t home once and a bunch of her medication ended up getting stollen. even though she said she was so ashamed of me because she was convinced that i had something to do with it, which i didn’t, she could wait to tell my whole family at our annual Christmas eve party and if somebody missed the story she had no problem repeating it over and over and it was pretty much the whole topic of the night. Well the people of that side of the family never looked at me the same they looked at me like i was a drug addicted criminal. I was adopted into that side of the family so the way they looked at me and addressed me from then on made me feel like ey all disowned me and didn’t want me in their family. After that i distanced myself from all of my family to the point where i felt like i have no family. it still feels the same now as it did then, and this was ten years ago, enough said

  78. Parents have resorted to this because they aren’t allowed to actually “parent” their children anymore out of fear that someone will call CPS because they spanked their child or raising their voice to them. By the time they are of age where they should learn the basics of acting like a young adult instead of drinking, partying, or bullying others, it is far too late. The whole “Dr. Spock” generation, who was about time-outs and no spankings, are now reaping the fruits of their “superior” parenting.

    I’m not saying it’s right, but when you rob a child of proper discipline because societal standards has dictated that spanking and grounding your child is wrong, this is the fallout. This far different than when I was a child and I stole a piece of candy at the store checkout when I was 8 and my mother publicly disciplined me for it. I deserved it. It wasn’t broadcast for the world to see. I wasn’t bullied. Not only did I embarrass myself, but I embarrassed my mother as well. It was the disappointment that she had in me and understanding the consequences of my actions that taught a valuable lesson. I don’t see any lessons to be gained by shaming your child on Facebook to see how many likes you can get. It’s stupid and silly.

    My children are both 15 and 17 respectively. I can’t remember the last time I actually had to spank either of them, but they also know they are the child in this relationship and I am the parent. They also know that they aren’t too old to get their butt lit up if they step out of line too severely. It’s an unspoken agreement, and they know we (their father and I) will keep our word in the end if need be.

    I don’t have to prompt my kids to do their homework. They are A/B students and study hard on their own. They clean their rooms and do their chores without any prompting. They speak respectfully to adults and say their please and thank yous. Why? Because when they were little, we instilled in them proper values, disciplined them appropriately when they were in the wrong, and made sure they understood there were consequences for their actions. What’s truly sad is that we are the abnormality, not the norm.

    I can’t explain to you what it feels like to have a parent pull me aside and ask me if my children are always this polite and well mannered. It’s like a mystery to them… like there’s some hidden secret that I’m not sharing with the world. And as they talk to me, complaining about their own children, we endure interruptions, screaming, yelling, and backtalk… all in the span of the 15 minutes that the other parent does nothing about other than screaming, “Shut up and go sit down,” several times over.

    One parent I knew forbade his child from having candy. The child, who was 7 at the time, stuffed his mouth full of candy that he had “found”, although stolen is the word I’d like to use. The parent and I both watched him as he unwrapped every piece and stuffed it in his mouth until his cheeks were bulging. The boy walked up to his dad to talk to him afterward but could barely speak a word since his mouth was so full. His dad asked him, “Is that candy in your mouth?” The kid said no and his father did… NOTHING. That’s right. Absolute-freaking-lutely nothing. If it were my child, they would have been made to spit out the candy, gotten a spanking for disobeying AND lying, and then grounded for the next week or two. But for some reason, it is perfectly acceptable to 1) allow your child to get away with NOT listening to you and 2) to do NOTHING about it when they lie about it.

    And people wonder why their children are so monumentally fucked up that they have to resort to shaming them on the Internet and in front of their friends in such an extreme — and sometimes brutal — way. Sure, it gets their child’s attention, but for how long?

    • You know, before I had kids, I was all blacks and whites. This ALWAYS works and this NEVER does. I have found the truth to be much differently nuanced than I thought. For some kids a time out and a stern look can crumple their most defiant moments. Other kids require more. But all kids require love, honor, respect, and consistency. Why does tough love seem to equate, all too often, the destruction of the free will and dignity of another human being?

      • They have free will. That free will boils down to two things as a child: doing the right thing or doing the wrong. And they will find that will doing right, their ability to do the things that they want increase exponentially.

        Love and consistency are the two biggest things that children need. They need to understand that you love them and are punishing their bad behavior in an effort to teach them good morals and behavior. But honor and respect are developed over time and are earned. It is hard to respect your child who is a heathen and is in all sorts of trouble due to their bad choices. Likewise, it is hard for a child to respect a parent who cared so little about their upbringing. It is a two way street. And respect also goes hand in hand with trust. I trust and respect my two girls. Also, they trust and respect myself and their father. We have no secrets and they feel honored to talk to us about their problems or ask questions about the curve balls life throws at them. This developed because we showed our love, even if it was tough love at times, and because they respected not us but themselves enough to do the right thing in life by listening to our guidance.

        Yes, not all children at equal. A time out can be as effective as a spanking, but it depends on the child. However, it is scientifically proven that before the age of 6 that children respond best to some form of physical punishment because their brains haven’t developed enough to reason the consequences of their actions by words alone. This doesn’t mean you beat your child. (I know what beating is because my father did it with a PCV pipe for the slightest infraction… although I don’t regret the past. It is something I can’t change. Instead, I learned from it and understood what proper punishment should be for a child, but I digress.) The point is that you CAN spank your child to get their attention. Spanking should go along with a talk that explains why they got in trouble and suffered the punishment administered. It doesn’t destroy their dignity. It’s called discipline, although I have always used physical punishment as a last resort when grounding, time-outs, or other punishments were in effective. It has never been my first go to, but I have always been consistent and followed through on my words.

        Now, as far as my two children go, my oldest would fall apart with a disapproving look from either me or her father. She would burst into tears and run to her room and feel absolutely horrible that she disappointed us. She rarely saw a spanking. My youngest, on the other hand, got spanked quite often during a spell in her younger years, but not because we hadn’t tried everything else. She was very pigheaded and didn’t listen.

        No two children are alike, but its not too early to discipline them appropriately… whatever those methods are. And no parent should be above spanking their child when they need it. To say that I have two healthy, well adjusted teens that were spanked when needed early in their life is a testament to how well it works as a form of punishment.

        • I believe every parent has their own path. We are a parenting community. What would it look like to support one another instead of eyeing those other kids and their parents through our critical lens and thinking what a massive failure they are? What if we stepped in to love both parents and children? I think we might all be better for it.

  79. My mom died when I was 12 and I am now going on 23 as of January 10th. My dad couldn’t raise a teen daughter to save his own back side because sadly he himself had been shamed and bullied as a kid and in turn he did the same to me after my mom died. I can remember so many times he would shame me in public over what I now see were rather small, arbitrary things and I would be absolutely mortified by him. It took me years to grapple with that shame he embedded into me and I still struggle with it some times.

    I look at this trend of public shaming of kids on Facebook and I feel rather lucky that my dad is very Facebook illiterate as well as fairly computer illiterate as well. I can only imagine the amount of damage that would have have caused if he was able to do something like that.

    I both sympathize and empathize with those kids who are subjected to this kind of humiliation. I also block and report such pictures as inappropriate content to Facebook in the hopes they get taken down.

  80. Thank you…I couldn’t agree more! Just had this discussion with someone on Facebook yesterday who praised a mom for shaming her daughter. It’s just wrong!

  81. I would like to say a few things, and I hope i do it accurately… I don’t see the need to post humiliating photos of our kids, they do enough of that themselves. I have, however, always corrected my children regardless of where we were. I have always believed they need to be dealt with immediately. If you will be bold enough to backtalk in public, I will call you out on it in public. If you decide to cheat in school, you will go to your teacher and admit what you did… etc.Mind you, my intentions have never been to be “a bully” as some people refer to it, but rather to teach them accountability for their actions. And to let them know that nothing is truly private. If they misbehave, someone will hear about it; lot’s of people will. Teachers, other parents, family, etc. If they know they will be facing consequences immediately, even in public, they will put a bit more thought into their actions. And, I must say, one of my kids is almost 21, is an extremely honest individual, comes to me for any and all advice, and trusts me implicitly. So, there can be a happy medium between the two philosophies where kids can be called out without destroying them as individuals. Thank you, though for your point of view, it really made me think!!

  82. I saw a post yesterday where a child was holding a sign saying something along the lines of “I got caught cyberbullying and now have to sell my iPod and donate the money to a bullying charity” It was not exactly that but that was the general sentiment. All I could think of was – why are your parents bullying you by putting this on social media – it was extremely ironic and it really bothered me.

    • I can understand to a certain extent using social media with that particular example. The child bullied someone else online and the punishment given was in a similar context. Often as parents we look at our children and go, “How would you feel is someone did that to you?” How can we expect them to feel if they are complacent or ignore us as parents when we try to get them to stop? Perhaps this girl has a repeat performance of bullying others and this was the mother’s last straw. Perhaps other forms of punishment were administered. We just don’t know, but I can say, that if my child was pigheaded enough to not grasp the concept that bullying others (online, in general) is wrong, then perhaps a little taste of her own medicine was in order. But, like I said, I could only see this particular scenario be a possible solution to teach a lesson under the right circumstances.

      Anything else deserves a different sort of punishment in the context of what the child did wrong. Not everything in life is a social media event.

      And I don’t get the whole cyberbullying either. For starters, how hard is it to block someone on Facebook or just to log off the damn computer and walk away? I suppose that is a topic for discussion another day.

  83. as a parent of 2 boys in this entitlement era I haven’t found many disciplinary actions that mean a doggone thing to either of them. my parents NEVER hesitated to snatch me up in a store for pitching a fit and acting like a spoiled brat, never once considered NOT telling me to WATCH MY MOUTH when I smarted off NO MATTER WHERE WE WERE, and openly and lovingly corrected me in front of friends and family when I was outright wrong…I AM NO WORSE FOR THE WEAR!! I’m so sick and tired of parents that pussy-foot around their kids. you do realize you’re showing your kids that you are a coward and they have the upper hand, right??? children should absolutely have a healthy fear of their parents!!! I didn’t want a spanking in the grocery store after the first one so I made sure I didn’t act like a fool again. how is it ok for your kids to embarrass you in public and you to do nothing??!?! are you kidding me??? how your kids act in public is a DIRECT representation of their level of respect for YOU. you better believe if I catch my 10 year old bullying anyone, whether it be cyber or otherwise, he WILL admit to it publicly. further, it will be my fervent hope that the embarrassment he feels deters him from that dangerous, despicable, and cruel behavior in the future! get with it people or your children will NEVER respect you or any other adult in their lives!!

    • I babysit three boys who are very willful and don’t listen. This is a reflection of the inconsistency and lack of discipline their parents do in regards to their children. Their five-year-old is VERY willful and I have had to punish him for misbehaving by sending him to his room. His parents make the mistake of letting him out of his room after 5 minutes if he’s been good. He’s come to expect that he can get what he wants if he cries or is out of their hair for 5 minutes.

      Myself on the other hand… well, I handle it quite differently. He was totally perplexed when I wouldn’t let him out of his room. I told him “I am the adult in the situation, and you are the child. You come out of your room when I say you can, NOT when you decide. I don’t care how well behaved you think you are.” It was essentially a battle of wills. My will won out of course, and he learned after two days of acting up that I had the upper hand. Now, if he’s asked to go to his room, he does throw a bit of a fit, but he goes willingly now and does his time without question.

      And I am consistent with ALL the boys. I don’t punish them all when only one of them is the problem, unlike their parents. I am also not above banning all electronics if they can’t behave, which they think they can’t function without and throw the worst fit imaginable when I take them away. (Again, another example of parents using video games, gadgets, and TV to babysit their children. Ugh.) At first they said they hated me and called me mean (along with a few other choice names along with some cuss words), but now they respect me and look forward to having me watch them. The five-year-old told his mom that I was his favorite babysitter (and they’ve been through a few who have up and quit) and the nine-year-old said that he likes me the best because I actually care about resolving the problem instead of yelling all the time… even when he doesn’t always like the punishment I give.

      Their mom and dad have commented that they’ve noticed a marked improvement in their behavior after I’ve been watching them. It makes me feel good that I can do something for the boys on a positive level, but I’m NOT their parent. It shouldn’t be my job to instill these values in their children. I can’t help but feel a little sad that these three boys are going to have a rough road to hoe later in life because the lack of respect they have for their parents (and other adults) and the sense of entitlement they’ve developed by manipulating to get what they want so early on. I know they respect me, but like I said… I’m not their parent. My influence is only temporary, unfortunately.

  84. This is an excellent article. I see there are tons of comments (also our culture now to think we need to input on EVERYthing), and I didn’t read them all. But plain and simple, this is an excellent article and should make people truly think about how they use social media and their children. Probably most people should be actually spending time with, talking to, reading to, or playing outside with said children instead of investing tons of time on social media, but that’s beside the point. Thoughtful article and more people need to be having this discussion. Thanks.

  85. I just want to say that I was one of those people. I got a good chuckle out of some of the pictures. I never stood back and took a look at how much those pictures would really affect the child involved. I didn’t see it as humiliation for some reason, I saw it as a way that the child would never dare do such a thing again.
    Thank you for opening my eyes! I see it from a totally different view point!

  86. Many courthouses have proven that the “public shame method” like with holding signs out in public has proven to be the best method so far in correcting delinquents. That being said, you don’t know if these parents have attempted everything else. Obviously, if you’re a decent parent, when one approach doesn’t work, you go down a different road, if that one doesn’t work, you take yet another road until you wear out every single approach possible. Now, the public shame approach should never be the first method because peace & modesty should always come first, it should be a method at the bottom of the list, but I comprehend why the parents could feel it needs to be used after many other attempts, ESPECIALLY if they notice improvement after using it. Every child is different, every situation is different. I don’t look at anything in black & white really. I’m not a cold robot. There are always many stories & many intentions behind everything, sometimes things that we would never think of on our own & would feel like a jerk once pointed out to us. So, that’s my take on this concept.

  87. Great article! I couldn’t imagine posting anything negative about my precious little ladies. They are such wonderful sources of inspiration and watching them grow (struggles and all) is the most amazing gift I could have ever been blessed with.

  88. Barf. What a waste of column space. You have a confused premise and don’t develop it well. Disciplining a child in a public setting is completely different than plastering an embarrassing picture of them for the entire world to see. I have no problem spanking my child in front of people he knows; it helps him understand how he is supposed to behave in public settings. But your article speaks to a tiny minority that choose for viral humiliation. You could suffice to say, “Use common sense when parenting. Don’t make everyone point and laugh at your child.”

  89. Wow, Heidi your article was amazing to say the least. I know it will cause alot of controversy by disagreeing with insensitive tactics but you dont need to argue whats right because rights dont need to be argued they may need explanation only wrongs need to be argued. I wish more people would jump on the sensitive loving bandwagon instead of curbing their normal lazy physical abuse into a more destructive intensive mental abuse.

    To the guy who left the anonymous comment above me. Did you know its illegal to publically spank your child in most states as defined by child protective services. Like in VA and WA you can only legally punish your child in your car or in a bathroom. Hope your using your common sense when parenting to check with your states CPS regulations before you spank your child in public.

    • As my sons tower over me by almost a foot, at 14 and 16, our discipline usually takes the form of restriction of privileges, restitution if applicable, additional chore load, you get the picture. But that is a good point. I will say this about all forms of physical discipline, never lash out at your children in a moment of frustration and anger. Take the time you can to teach yourself the skill of self-control and both of you will benefit.

    • Did you know that it is also illegal in VA to hunt on Sundays unless it is a Raccoon, whether you and your family are starving or not? Did you know in WA you cannot harass Sasquatch? I can site what law that comes from. So, laws don’t mean reason.

      Next up, can you site the laws you talked about? I can’t find them anywhere.

      The most important role of a parent is in the instruction of a child so that he or she may enter adulthood as a well-adjusted and contributing member of society. One of the biggest frustrations of many parents is finding the appropriate method for disciplining a child. Maybe you can tell me… in cases where a parent has tried most positive reinforcement and nothing is working, are they right or wrong to try alternative methods to help teach their child right from wrong? Wouldn’t it be as abusive to continue to use parenting tactics that do not yield results for your child in particular and allow them to enter adulthood susceptible to a life of drug use, prison, prostitution, homelessness, unemployment or even the more simple things like no sense of accomplishment or even loneliness?

  90. Thanx! This post is helpful in a way but what about parents who dont do that but their kids humiliate them publicly, like yell at them or shout nomatter who made them upset. I wont say i dont shout at my kids or i dont use harsh words but i do make them feel ashamed incase they r not realizing their faults or taking my lenience for granted.

    • No matter what my kids do I am the adult. And I choose to love them and treat them with the respect and dignity they obviously would need to desperately learn. I can’t tell you what that looks like for you. I can only say that taking the time to respond intelligently and in non-inflammatory ways will go further toward helping the situation than heating it up with your own frustration. That is a hard place to be and I pray you find some answers for your family.

  91. For the most part, I agreed with your post. I do not agree with public shaming of children and I have made it a point to never call my children names. However, you need to realize that some of the parents who do this are completely at the end of their rope. They are desperate, they have tried everything they can think of, they are broken and they fear for their children’s lives. If there is a better way to get through to their children, they honrstly have no idea what it is. Rather than berating and shaming them, perhaps some empathy, compassion, and understanding would be a better way.

  92. I don’t necessarily agree- parents who posted pictures each had a back story, some of them resulting in the “public shaming” as a logical conclusion to the child’s own bad choices. …and a better alternative to more dangerous progression of consequences for bad actions. It’s our jobs as parents to prepare our children from adulthood…many kids these days live their lives in a very public way through social media and say and do things without thought to what will happen tomorrow. In some cases I can see where a “Public shaming” would be called for. At the beginning of the artificial the writer mentioned a friend who had ripped apart her son at another persons house in front of another family…this is different than posting a picture of your tween to social media to punish them for bragging about something …(I remember vaguely a mom who had her daughter post a picture of her holding a sign because daughter had posted inappropriate photos…something like that-any way…) ripping apart your child, name calling, put-downs, etc, as a form of discipline is never okay. It’s not discipline. It teaches nothing positive. Discipline teaches. Always. Consequences to actions teach. Yelling ” You never do anything right, you don’t listen, you’re stupid…” -not discipline, weather you do it privately or in the middle of the mall.

    • What I would reply to every person who has recommended the use of public shaming:

      “…a young woman…whose doom it was to wear the letter A on the breast of her gown, in the eyes of all the world and her own children. And even her own children knew what the letter signified…Let not the reader argue that…the times of the Puritans were no less vicious than our own, when, as we pass along the very street of this sketch, we discern no badge of infamy on man or woman. It was the policy of our ancestors [the Puritans] to search out even the most secret sins, and expose them to shame, without fear or favor, in the broadest light of the noonday sun.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne in his short story, Endicott And The Red Cross (precursor to a more famous novel – The Scarlett Letter).

      I thought we were beyond this. By more than a couple centuries. Surely, we are better parents than this now, right? Better people? Or we should strive to be.

      In my opinion.

  93. I keep hoping that parents like this will one day need an organ or a rare transfusions from the children they’ve publicly shamed, and that the kids say, “Sorry… Should have thought of that when you humiliated me online.”

  94. Thank you. This week’s viral photo post by a mother of her 9 year old cyber-bully has broken my heart. That child did wrong, but her mama clearly taught her all she knows about how to be a bully. With a reach of hundreds of thousands in a heartbeat, social media shaming is something to protect our children from, not subject them to. Shame on parents who sell their children’s soul and spirit for a few likes and shares. Shame.

  95. Sorry, I have to disagree on a certain level… All parents do some sort of public shaming of one sort or another. The Get Along shirt, come on now.. Why not? Let’s interview these kids ten years later, when mom or dad show these pics to whoever they are dating.. 9 times out of ten, the kid as an older person is going to laugh at how they were..
    Sometimes this technique does work for some children.. This might not be my style of parenting my 18 yr old son, but sometimes nothing else will get through to them..
    They interviewed one girl that had a sign for stealing, years later. She said it was embarrassing but she will never steal again.. One comment I do agree with on this sight, not all kids work the same.. Kids don’t react the same, it not a one size fits all..
    My parent did publicly humiliate me all the time growing up.. I’m not angry with her. I have grew up learning how to live in society by following the rules. I work in a prison where many did not learn this..
    Sometimes parents don’t always do the right things, no one is perfect. If you say you are then you are not living in reality. I’m not going to put someone down for posting a pic of their kid doing something wrong.
    Most kids learn from it and move forward… If they don’t, then that is sad… Maybe they need family counseling to learn how to forgive and move forward in life..

    • Thank you for posting this! Some parents may, in my opinion, take this practice to the extreme or step over the line, but what it comes down to is this… children, especially teens, need to know that their actions define them. It is a GOOD message to each of our kids to act the way they would like everyone to perceive them. That is one problem with our society today, that we don’t teach our kids that they must take responsibility for their actions, that there are consequences for their behaviors. If a teen learns that they will have to put their face behind stealing, drug use, and even provocative behavior if they continue on this path, there is hope. But if a habit or a personality is established before they can learn that adulthood is serious, that it might be hard to find a job with a half nude Facebook photo or a failed drug test, did you really do your kid justice by not shaming them?

  96. Excellent post. Congratulations on such good work.

    Shame and guilt are two different things. For anyone who would like to consider this further, Brene Brown has done a lot of work on this and has 2 TED talks that can quickly reorient anyone who clings to the notion that shame has redemptive or restorative value.

  97. It’s always good to take time and question myself before posting: “Would I want someone to share this story/photo if it were about me?” And even if I wouldn’t care, am I sure about the other person’s feelings? When my conscience causes me to pause, I should listen to it. Better safe than sorry on this one. Good food for thought and discussion Heidi. Thanks

  98. Nicely done as it generated several comments when I first read it. I thought I would share my reaction and follow up post here since I posted my comments on my friend’s post (who shared your article.)

    “Whoa. I didn’t really get it until she threw it right in my face right around “Think I’m Over-Reacting?” I don’t believe I shame my child when posting on Facebook. I tend to revel in the joy of him simply being in my life. Or I would like to think that’s what I’m doing. But I will certainly be more sensitive and aware now. Thanks for sharing Wendy Flynn Del Monte. I’m going to share as well.”

    “Good point about presumption, Jennifer. I believe I post for good, not evil. But the author certainly dug up some shame with me. So, off to therapy to figure that one out!”

  99. I get what you are saying… but, can I throw in my 2 cents?

    We have a society built on running to mommy & daddy to solve our problems: it starts at home with helicopter parenting, then moves onto the school yard where children have grown OVERLY sensitive to things that even 80’s kids dealt with just fine on their own, and now we have our court rooms PACKED with people suing people and anonymous tip lines which actually get abused.

    Why is a little public shaming wrong? Are we afraid to see children feel bad about something they did wrong? How will they ever comprehend the extent of their actions if it continues to remain a case of “your misbehaviour will always be our little secret.”?

    I feel as if this article was written by a non-parent, and all the comments seem to reflect as much. To be clear, I do not agree with constantly embarrassing children and making them feel “small” but making them realise that their actions are a reflection of how people will view them and letting them feel that responsibility for themselves can’t be all that wrong.

    With love,
    -Me

    • “Why is a little public shaming wrong?” Because, we don’t live in 1980 anymore. Because, once it starts, the snowball effect makes mountains out of molehills in no time at all. Because, working to instill a sense of decency, honor, and self-respect will carry my children (I am very much a parent, friend) far further than shame ever could. Thanks for your two cents. :)

  100. Hold the phone! Who are we to deem a parents skills lacking? How in the world do you think you just made your “friend” feel? How dare we deem ourselves the author of what is right and what is wrong. We can’t say they are wrong for dealing with their children in that way. It’s their children not ours. How would we like if our friend brought up us in the same way and wrote an article about how they deem our parenting wrong. I understand that we all have a right to voice our opinion, but how is this any better then the bullying you described. Are we not being bullies ourselves because we are publicly shaming parents who don’t parent their children like we think they should. We should all be ashamed of ourselves. We all make mistakes and there is no reason to blast parents who parent their children the way they deem it fitting for their children. I’m not saying it’s right, but I a m saying we don’t have the right to say it’s one way or another.

    • “Hold the phone! Who are we to deem a parents skills lacking? How in the world do you think you just made your “friend” feel?”

      So is that the point we’re at? NOTHING is objectively wrong? We can’t recognize that screaming at your kid in front of other people and calling them names is a bad thing? Being “judgmental” gets such a bad rap, but sometimes we’re called on to actually judge our own or someone else’s behavior and do something about it! I agree that the talk of being “convicted” to do something about it, like it’s a divine mission from God or something, is obnoxious, but calling out a parent on mistreatment of their child is a duty that we all share in society.

      • I do have a faith based on Judeo Christian values, however, I view “conviction” as those things upon which your core values are based. When confronted with something which challenges those core values, the response is often to hold more tightly to them. Ergo, conviction.

        Thanks for coming by.

  101. This sounds like more of the silly ‘everybody must get an award for participation’ and ‘we don’t keep score because we don’t want anyone to get their feelings hurt’ nonsense that has driven our kids into a state where the slightest challenge to them causes them to simply give up. They can’t tolerate not being able to do something instantly and great. Sissy parenting, destroying our children. Nothing more.

    • Thank you Jimbo!! We learned to defend ourselves from the class bully. If we’d had no class bully we would have missed out in a serious learning experience!! My sister and I had to sit on the couch and hold hands if we were bickering, we learned to get along!! There’s even a picture if it!! Whoooo. And no I’m not screwed up over it. I also got spankings and I mean SPANKINGS, and I’m grateful for it!! I learned to do the right things instead of suffering the consequences of the wrong things. And people wonder why our society is going to sh!t.

  102. Reblogged this on Cloth Diapers and Foam Weapons and commented:
    I love this post so much. Whenever I see one of those pictures, it makes me extremely uncomfortable.
    While I understand the intention behind these pictures (and yes, I choose to believe that most parents using this tactic have their kids’ best interest at heart), I think most people fail to understand the impact this form of public shaming can have. I think the Middle Ages-person-in-the-stocks metaphor is very apt, because this is what the Internet can become very quickly, and people underestimate that.