4-Year-Old Forced to Hold 'I Hit Little Girls' Sign Sparks Custody Battle


I think most parents can identify with the challenge of not knowing how to get your child to change their bad behavior. It's a tough situation, and despite what most people like to claim, there's really no one-size-fits-all answers that work for every family. That said, opting to discipline through public humiliation is almost always bound to be controversial -- especially when the child is only 4 years old.

Rob Devine decided to address the fact that his 4-year-old son Tristan was hitting his female classmates by forcing the child to stand on a busy street holding a sign that read "I hit little girls." Tristan's mother not only vehemently disagreed with this choice, she's asked for child protective services to punish Devine.

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Devine said that after talking to Tristan and taking away his games didn't improve the situation, he brought Tristan to a busy street near their house to stand with the sign for about an hour. According to Devine,

I want him to know you can’t go out and do these things and expect them to go away unnoticed. And expect me not to deal with it.

Tristan's mom Brittany Tweed said the boy had no idea what he was being forced to do:

All [Tristan] knew was that he was hot, exhausted, and he wanted him to pick him up. And for me to take him away from that situation. (...) I feel degraded for him, I feel sad for him. Rob has had issues in his life, and no one put him out on the street and made him use a sign.

Tweed says Tristan will not be going back to his father's house, and she's asked CPS to intervene. As for Devine, he said he has no regrets, and he'd do it again if need be.

I’m not gonna lie, if this persists and this doesn’t work, then I’ll figure out something else. It’s trial and error, kids don’t come with an instruction manual.

Here's a news clip on the story:


Oh boy. This is such a sad situation all the way around. Considering the child's age, I really don't agree with the father's choice -- but the real tragedy is that these two adults can't work out their parenting differences so that the child can continue to be with both of them.

Of course, maybe there have been more poor decisions on the father's behalf that mean the boy would be better off without joint custody, but if it's all centered around Devine's reaction to the child's hitting issue, I'm not sure CPS really needs to get involved. What should be happening is that everyone should be getting counseling so they can resolve their problems and work together to address Tristan's violent behavior.

Do you agree this dad should lose his parenting privileges over the public shaming incident?


Image via ABC News

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