I read an article yesterday over on The Frisky and I honestly couldn’t go without sharing my two cents. You can read the whole thing for yourself, but basically the article was about a child who was being punished by her step-mom for bullying other students. As her punishment she had to wear “ugly” clothes from a thrift store.
Seriously I don’t know where to start with this one.
Let me say that I do give the step-mom props for wanting to teach the child that bullying and making fun of others isn’t OK. I hear far too many stories that make wonder why parents don’t do more. So kudos for wanting your child to be a functioning member of society.
However, I don’t agree with this form of punishment in any way shape or form.
I do think that sometimes when people see how something really feels it makes them think twice about doing something to others. But I don’t think that’s the way to teach a child they shouldn’t do something. I know I am not a parent, but I am an aunt and I did teach children for years. I really feel that children learn what’s right by understanding why something is wrong. Children are also largely a product of their environment – they tend to behave from things they see and personally experience. So I am not sure this punishment really touches that.
Also, I think this opens things up for a whole other world of problems. I mean, doesn’t it kind of teach kids that it’s OK to make fun of people for wearing “ugly” thrift store clothes? So I kind of think it reinforces the idea that some classes are better than others. And that’s not something we should teach our children. What about the children who wear thrift store clothes? How are they supposed to feel knowing that it was a punishment for another child? Just wonderin’.
Side note: I love thrift stores – it’s one of the things Mr. T and I love to do in Brooklyn. And I shopped in them when I was in high school. I had these awesome corduroy bell bottoms that I found there. I wish I still had them.
I also don’t will never agree that publicly shaming your child is ever a way to teach them a lesson. I actually don’t even understand what kind of lesson that teaches them. To me it just makes the adult seem like a bully as well. And you can’t solve a problem by using the very same thing you’re trying to solve in the first place. Just doesn’t make sense.