Mom’s Punishment for Son Goes Viral & Some Call It Abuse (VIDEO)

mom punishment son viral video

The Facebook video has been viewed more than 40,000 times and liked by over 8,000 people. In it, a school-age boy marches back and forth, weeping, while holding a stack of books over his head. Between sobs, he chants, “I’m not going to disrespect my teacher. I’m not going to disrespect my teacher.”

The question being raised by this clip is this: is what we’re seeing an acceptable form of punishment? Or is it emotional abuse?


It’s not clear how old the boy is or what exactly he did to get into trouble, but he looks to be middle- or high-school age, and I’m guessing he must have talked back to his teacher. His parents seem to have come up with the idea of having him walk around holding the books, repeating what he’s been instructed to say: “I’m not going to disrespect my teacher,” and “I love school.” At one point, someone filming him laughs out loud.

Here’s the video, along with a brief news segment discussing it:

WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The clip has made its way to various media outlets, who have been asking parents and parenting experts to weigh in on the method of discipline. Some parents say they don’t think it was that bad, and one mom even said she might add it to her own parenting repertoire for the future.

Experts, however, are mostly in agreement that the mom in the video went too far, with one family expert saying it may be the sort of thing that causes more long-term trauma than, say, a spanking:

Emotional abuse is more long lasting and really does more harm than physical abuse.

My personal reaction to the video is that it doesn’t look like something I’d choose to inflict on my kid. I don’t know the specifics of what he did, obviously, but I’m guessing the problem has happened more than once and the parents feel like they were ready to do something drastic to change the kid’s behavior. Still, humiliation as a punishment method doesn’t work for me, and I don’t really see the point in making the kid recite something that isn’t necessarily true for him (I’m referring to the “I love school” part).

However, watching the video didn’t make me feel overly upset for the kid. I guess my gut feeling was this isn’t a choice I’d make, and I don’t like it as a parenting choice, but it’s still a personal decision, just like deciding what you let your kid eat or how late they can stay up at night or what kind of independence you allow them. It may look problematic to me, but it doesn’t raise the sort of red flags that obviously abusive actions do.

The fact that the video is triggering strong reactions definitely show we have varying approaches to what is and isn’t controversial when it comes to discipline. In this case, I don’t think there are any clear answers one way or the other.

What do you think — does this video seem abusive to you?

Image via YouTube

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