Publicly punishing your kid by making him or her hold a sign seems to be all the rage now. Like the teen who had to hold a sign saying "I'm a self-entitled teenager" and the parents who made their kid hold a sign saying he stole headphones. In fact, so many parents do it that there are lists dedicated to it.
I'm always on the fence about these things. On the one hand, yeah, parents should discipline and punish when needed. On the other, do kids really need public humiliation piled on top of private punishment? (Especially when everything goes viral nowadays!!) Now comes this sign that a dad in Texas made his fourth grader hold at a busy intersection that read, "I'm a bully. Honk if you hate bullies."
The dad, Jose Lagares, says that his son had been in trouble numerous times in school for bullying behavior. In the past, this type of thing was ignored, and it's great that bullying is finally getting the attention it deserves as something that needs to be eradicated from schools. Children who are bullied can suffer lifelong issues -- not to mention even end up committing suicide.
So, it's good that this father is taking his son's bullying seriously. He's not shrugging it off -- and he's not encouraging it. He told KCEN:
Bullying is also a form of public humiliation. Maybe he understands that when he humiliates someone publicly that doesn't feel good. Hopefully he'll take that with him so the next time he tries to bully someone he'll think about it twice.
But isn't making a kid hold a sign like this a form of bullying too?
I think back to my own mistakes as a kid -- like the time I stole a cassette tape from a store -- and the absolute humiliation of the cops calling my grandmother (whom I lived with) and my grandmother's copious tears of embarrassment and how, frankly, the LAST thing I needed was more humiliation!
I think if I was made to hold a sign that day and stand in front of my town, my friends, the parents of my friends, for something I did in a moment of pre-teen idiocy (hey, your brain is NOT fully formed yet), I would, even today, be angry about my treatment -- rather than embarrassed at what I did. In fact, the disappointment my grandmother had in me was more than enough to make me never steal anything again.
But Lagares, who got a lot of criticism for his actions, says he had tried every form of punishment he could think of, including grounding, and the problem wasn't stopping.
However, it makes you wonder if this kid is a bully because dad is? I don't want to play blame the parent, but if this is dad's first reaction to disciplining his son -- to publicly humiliate him -- then you start to get a sense of where he may have learned this type of behavior. The fact that this kid will have this video online forever is really unfair too.
Lagares, however, says that the over-the-top punishment "seems to have worked."
Do you think this was right?
Image via WWLP.com