I am a thief.
Ok, I was a thief. When I was about 4 years old I decided that I simply had to have a piece of candy from a large display at a grocery store. It was just sitting there calling my name. In current parenting parlance, "I made a bad choice," and helped myself.
When my mom caught me red-handed, guilt written across my face, she marched me straightaway to the front of the store to speak to the manager. Though I don’t remember the specifics of what he said (I seem to remember jail was mentioned), what I do remember crystal clear is my painful embarrassment at having been called to account in front of the whole store, as curious customers looked on. I felt as small as my distorted image in the store’s overhead security mirror showed me to be.
I never stole anything again. I also have an aversion to hard candy. Coincidence?
But uncomfortable memories aside, I have never been arrested, and I have excellent teeth, so I guess my mom deserves a smiley face sticker on her parental reward chart?
I'm glad I didn't commit my youthful larceny in today's climate; otherwise my mom might have whipped out her smart phone, filmed my humiliation and uploaded it to the Internet in less than five minutes flat!
I may have found myself to be an instant viral video star, like a young Texas lacrosse player who currently holds that title. He earned the dubious honor when he recently made the poor decision to cut the line boarding a Southwest Airlines flight. His coaches marched him to the front of the plane, and had him read a prepared statement of apology to the entire plane, and filmed the whole thing. (You can view the video here.)
Using public shaming as a mode of discipline and then broadcasting it to the larger public via social media seems to be becoming a thing in the last year.
Many people are familiar with the infamous "Facebook Dad" who blew his "disrespectful" daughter's laptop to smithereens, and posted the video to her Facebook page. There are many many more examples of public shaming of kids—kids holding signs in public places detailing their transgressions seems to be a particularly popular one.
This week in Parent Chat, we'd like to hear your thoughts about this trend in disciplining children. Do you think it is warranted? Do you think public shaming is an effective and appropriate mode of discipline? Why or why not?