Mom Who Made Daughter Wear an 'I Steal' T-Shirt to School Is a Parenting Genius

Say What!? 54

stealIt's one of those inevitable questions that comes with parenthood: what is the best way to discipline our kids? One Colorado mom came up with a controversial answer. Jessica Rocha forced her kid to wear a t-shirt announcing her bad behavior in bold letters. It was this mom's last, desperate attempt to get her child to stop stealing. Problem is, the school won't allow her to carry out the punishment and that's just plain wrong.

More from The Stir: Hey Parents: Stop Publicly Shaming Your Kids & Get a Life

Jessica said she had done everything to discipline her kids, including writing apology letters, taking away their toys, sports, and other privileges, but nothing worked. Her 8-year-old daughter Aurora kept stealing from stores, neighbors, and her mom's purse, and her 9-year-old son Xavier was a bully who back-talked to teachers and was mean to other students. So she decided to make them wear their confessions in front of their peers. Her daughter's shirt read:

I Steal!! Steal means taking property belonging to someone else without permission ...

She had planned on making an "I'm a bully" shirt for Xavier too, but as soon as school officials saw Aurora's shirt, they demanded she cover up. They called the punishment too "demeaning." But the child herself actually thinks it's a good idea. Even though other kids made fun of her, it helped her remember not to take things. After one day of wearing it, she has stopped the stealing.

I know this is unorthodox but I think this mom should be applauded for her out-of-the-box efforts to curb this behavior. This could really work for some kids. For parents at their wits' end, this could be the solution they've been praying for. So many of us make excuses for our kids or won’t admit to their wrongdoing. Jessica isn't waiting for the problem to escalate or get to a point where there is no chance of getting through to her children. The school should support it, especially when it comes to addressing the bullying epidemic. Jessica's actions took a lot of courage. So many of us worry about what our friends and neighbors may think, but we should all be so brave, so proactive. This mom isn't just doing this for herself, she is doing it to make her kids better people, better citizens. Shouldn't she be supported in that effort? 

See more on this mom's story:


Do you think this type of discipline is too extreme?

behavior, bullies, discipline


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tuffy... tuffymama

Did Mom try spanking them? Is she parenting with consistency? Has she tried behavior modification? is the child mineral deficient? Is the mom setting a good example? Are there men in and out of Mom's life, causing stress on the child? Hmm. Lotta questions. I don't agree with making her wear the shirt to school if she wasn't solely stealing from classmates. I bet there is much more going on here than we know.

Cheryl West Smith

She's their step-mom, the bad behavior may be the kids acting out because of her presence on the family!


Yeah Cheryl?  It could never be that the BIO MOM is not bothering to parent, and the step-mom is left to deal with the fallout?  Noooo, of course not!  It's NEVER the bio mom's fault....

Sterotype much?

Angela Spivack

SLA28, Cheryl was not saying it was the step mom's fault, she did not mention the bio mom at all. These behaviors have more than just one cause, regardless of who is or is not parenting. And where is the bio dad in all this? What is he doing? Maybe they should take the girl to see the jail like my parents and see how fast she stops stealing. These children need guidance and it sounds like the parents are doing what they can to stop the behavior, and no, I do not think this is too much. I will speak to my children in public when they are not making good choices, and loudly enough for ALL AROUND to hear. They do not like it, therefore they discontinue the behavior. We also talk about it at home and discuss rules and expectations. And rewards when they make good choices.

Serina Moore

I think it is a great idea.  I would do it to my children if they were doing that.  And I think it has nothing to do with her being the step mother.  She is the one caring for the children.  And the girl said it made a differance in her behivior, so why the big stink? It did the job and the school should back off.  I hate how schools say how you can disipline your children.  She did not beat them so back off.


Tanya Joines

No I think it is a grate idea and i think more parents should do the same i know i will give it a shot thanks.

Beth Snow

That mother did one hell of a job! KUDOS to her! I see parents using the shirt idea more and more.. and it has a higher rate of changing kids then spanking them or taking things from them. Embarressment is truely the key to discipline. As a child my parents would say out loud in public what i was doing wrong. It was embarressing and by the time i was 10 i stopped having such bad behavior. Think about it, most every kid wants to feel better then the next. Everything is a competition. So putting their behavior out in the open to their friends, they would want to be the "best" so their whole attitude changes.

Jamie Garsa Haag

I think it's a great idea, however, after finding out that it's the step-mom...I think she may have been  overstepping her boundaries.  I would be livid if my kids had a step-mom who did this without consulting me on it first. Besides that, I see no problem with it.  What's worse, embarrassing your kid at school, or waiting for them to get arrested to learn a lesson?


Angela Hurst

I think any punishment involving public humiliation is wrong, for children.


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