I am featured in The Sun Newspaper today about the disturbing & damaging trend to publically shame children on the internet and on social media.
WRITING an apology letter, going to your room or sitting on the naughty step: for generations, these have been the go-to punishments doled out out by fuming parents.
But it’s not enough for a new wave of mums and dads taking discipline to another level entirely – driving over their children’s Xboxes, shaving their heads or throwing their Christmas presents on the fire, before uploading videos of the act online.
There are over 30,000 of these clips online, and they’re sparking a furious debate about disciplinary tactics.
In one film, a pair of furious adults shave the heads of their kids for “being bad in school” and “hitting females”, while in another, a mother shows her son the PlayStation she’s bought him for Christmas, only to tell him she’ll be taking it straight back to the shop.
With the camera rolling, two more boys hold up their less-than-ideal grades from school – as punishment, their dad has given them “old-man haircuts”, and they’ll stay that way until their work improves.
Yet another dad waits for his daughter to come home from school before presenting her with a giant, retro 90s phone and confiscating her iPhone 6 – she faints and collapses to the ground
Some might justify these videos as the extreme versions of “tough love”, but the trend has already led to some devastating consequences.
In one of the most shocking videos, mum Jessica Beagley forces her son to drink hot sauce for lying, and then screams at him while she makes him take an ice-cold shower.
The woman claimed that she had attempted to deal with her son’s behaviour with more traditional punishments, but nothing worked.
This particular example led to a court case, with the woman being convicted of child abuse, handed a suspended sentence and a $2,500 fine.
And this so-called “child-shaming” phenomenon is gathering steam.
From failing at school to using swear words, not tidying up after themselves or bullying other kids, the reasons for such punishment go on and on.
Given that so much of our lives are now documented and recorded on the web, it’s no surprise that disciplining our children is now live-streamed too.
“The thing that’s so weird about this is that they’re videoing themselves,” says parenting coach Sue Atkins, who cried when she watched one of the clips.
“Who’s this for? Why are they doing it? This is not for the benefit of the child, is it?
“It’s all about attention. Why aren’t they just engaging and teaching their children how to behave properly, and using positive methods? Why shame them?
“They’ll never get that respect back from your child.”
In one bizarre child-shaming video with over 45million views, a raging father responds to his daughter’s Facebook post by shooting her laptop as punishment.
Underneath the clip, he writes: “Maybe a few kids can take something away from this… If you’re so disrespectful to your parents and yourself as to post this kind of thing on Facebook, you’re deserving of some tough love.
“Today, my daughter is getting a dose of tough love.”
The parents in favour of these unusual methods of punishment believe that they’re coming up with more “creative” ways to discipline their kids.
There’s also, of course, the added humiliation for the child of knowing that their wrongdoing and punishment have been broadcast to the world.
And they know that the adult is the person in charge – there’s nothing they can do in these situations.
This powerlessness is seen in the film below, as one father drives behind his son while the boy runs to school, his rucksack shaking on his back.
“Don’t be a friend, be a parent,” says the man in the car.
Most of the parents plumping for these extreme methods believe they are doing so as a last resort.
But while these measures may appear to “work” in the short term, experts believe they are doing more harm than good in the long run.
Parenting coach Sue Atkins worked as a teacher for 25 years and now helps families be positive in their parenting.
She understands that kids can be challenging – “but we are the adults, we’re the ones who have to be responsible. If you have to resort to shaming your child, you’ve lost the battle.”
She claims that the embarrassment caused to the child will lead inevitably to anger, which might come out in the playground or, more disturbingly, in later life.
Many parents, she says, will have learnt and experienced such forms of punishment themselves as children: “Parenting tends to get passed on.”
You can read the full article in The Sun LINK
You can read my alternatives and article Why shaming your child on Social Media is NOT a good idea LINK