Recently a father went on Facebook to air out his anger as well as actions in what he thought would be a good lesson for his daughter to learn after breaking some rules.
Of course the post went viral with tons of responses, but while I read his comment about the circumstances, other issues came to mind about what was not shared on that very public day.
I certainly understand why this father (Kevin Jones) was upset in his discovery. However, there was a key line in his Facebook message that popped out to me that we as parents should take heed to.
I drew my attention to one line that revealed something that maybe others didn’t pick up. “I uncovered that she had been doing this for quite some time.”
So that tells me several things. Rules were implemented, but for some reason were not checked for a period of time. Was the computer in plain view to see in case there was an issue? If sites were accessed through a phone, were checks being done? We will never really know the answers but these are good questions as parents to ask ourselves when it comes to the internet and how our pre-teens and teens can access sites. If we as parents implement rules, we as parents also need to follow up on them.
I think anyone in his position would be very angry (rightly so) but unfortunately in a rash decision, shame as a correction was brought to this young daughter (who by all means was too mature for her physical age being 10 and 5’9). As parents we all need to take some responsibility when it comes to our teens and children accessing sites through computers and phones. By doing so, it can save grief for us parents and keep our children safe from the dangers of the internet.
Now I realize that pre-teens are smart and can outwit and manipulate to the tenth degree, but we as parents HAVE to be smarter. That is one of the reasons why I wrote, “Mom The Spy” to give a glimpse into the world of us parents needing to stay on top of things. Like all parents, we are either in denial or make bad mistakes, just like this dad and many of us have.
Could he have handled this situation much differently and still get a good result from it? Absolutely YES! But, we will never know because when parents make these types of decisions (with anger) by public humiliation, there is a lost opportunity to making a difference and keep a child’s self-esteem intact as well as a loss to open communication with a parent.
Pre-teens nowadays are growing up faster than ever before. It is difficult to stop what has been started and they themselves don’t always understand why they do the things they do. Remember, their brains are not fully developed yet. There are of course others who do know, like when they are repeatedly in complete rebellion with their parents.
In reality, I don’t live with this family and don’t know the dynamics of this family, but this father’s response is a growing trend among parents who are frustrated, and angry.
Pre-teens are going to push the boundaries out of curiosity and peer pressure. We need to expect that. We hope that they won’t break trust or do something to put them in harm’s way; however our first goal is to educate them in WHY we make the rules that we do. Shoving a bunch of rules down their throats and expecting them to obey to the fullest will only lead them to disrespect us as parents. It doesn’t allow them to at least have a tiny bit of room to earn some responsibility and trust as well as add their own thoughts to what is going on in their age group.
Communication is the key, along with some rules and consequences. There is nothing wrong with giving consequences but I believe that it is something to discuss beforehand, not after the fact in which you are putting your pre-teen in a predicament of humiliation or more harm down the line.
Here’s an example. What IF a child gets so upset about the public humiliation that they try to harm themselves? What IF they ran away because in their mind, they thought their parent hated them and didn’t love them anymore by making that punishment so public? What IF they lost any good friends that they did have because they were all afraid of this parent and also being publicly humiliated? Do you see where this is going?
Public humiliation seems to be on the rise but not every child, pre-teen or teenager will respond in the same way and it leaves room for some very serious emotional and quite possibly physical injuries. This isn’t the “Look and see what my kid did and how I’m going to respond!” game. I appreciate the fact that this father tried to do something right because honestly there are a lot of fathers out there that do not care at all. But unfortunately, he was misdirected into believing that public shame is the answer.
So, if you find that your kid had done something really wrong, take some time to cool down and “privately” speak to someone who can give you some good perspective before reacting.
Remember, there are ALWAYS underlying issues going on and some of it may have to do with you as the parent.
The purpose of this post is to bring out the trending issue of parents humiliating or shaming their children on the internet for the benefit of correcting their children. Although for some, the correction has worked. However, for many it only instilled a disrespect, hatred or hurt that could and will be detrimental to that child or teen’s well being. This post is NOT about bashing Mr. Jones. Humiliating a child publicly should never happen and correction should be a private matter.
I am making my post public because I am speaking up for the child or teen who cannot speak for themselves (Case in point – the recent story of a mother who shaved her daughter’s head because she didn’t brush her hair and my other post called, “Abusing Your Gift – Thinking of You Jake”).
I have seen countless children/teens humiliated by their parents and it turned into nothing positive. Should I sit back and let it continue or should I speak truth and remind parents that their children are gifts from God that should be treated respectfully, even in correction or punishment. We are to correct with love but unfortuntely in Mr. Jones case, even though I am sure he loved his daughter very, very much, the correction was not in her best interest.
If I say nothing, then that would speak as if I am agreeing with Mr. Jones and I do not. I am sure he is a very nice person, but I am also sure that most counselors and those in the psychological field would not agree with this approach.