Does Public Shaming Teach Kids or Scar Them?

Some parents think public discipline works when other methods fail, but many feel public shaming is just parental bullying. What do you think?

Patch file photo
Patch file photo

A 12-year-old boy in Spring, TX, is the latest child to gain unwanted attention from unique punishments.

Dylan had to stand on a street corner in a Houston suburb for three hours with a sign that read, “I was suspended from school for cussing out my teacher," USA Today reported Friday.

A close family friend said the punishment was because Dylan had cussed at two teachers on two separate occasions. She made the sign with the blessing of the boy’s mother and then sent him to stand on the street corner for three hours.

USA cataloged several other instances of children being publicly disciplined—from an 8-year-old girl who had to wear a shirt that read “I steal” to a 15-year-old who had to hold a sign that said she sneaks out with boys.

But many parents are appalled by such public shaming. On Tuesday, blogger Heidi Stone described watching an acquaintance who “ranted and railed in a fit of maternal frustration and helplessness” at her teenaged son. Stone said she resolved at that moment to never shame her public in child again. 

“Public shaming is awful and is nothing less than societally sanctioned parental bullying,” she wrote. “Especially harmful to the young people against whom it is used as a weapon, the ramifications will resonate throughout their lives. They aren't as tough as we pretend we are.”

Patch wants to know what you think. Does public shaming teach recalcitrant children lessons when other methods fail? Or is it just bullying that leaves emotional scars? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Amelia January 17, 2014 at 06:50 PM
I think it's horrible. Certainly not good parenting.
Eric Anondson January 17, 2014 at 07:36 PM
I'm for more of it.
Randy Marsh January 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Kids need to be taught shame. When it doesn't take place we end up with adults like the watchdog.
Mike B. January 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Public shaming for adults and children is a good idea. Most good ideas such as this come from Texas.
Donald Lee January 18, 2014 at 01:28 PM
I think everyone here should raise their own children, and not presume to raise other peoples'. The phrase "mind your own business" comes to mind. That is a good rule, and we should follow it whenever possible.
Randy Marsh January 18, 2014 at 03:15 PM
That's fine, Donald, at least until your laissez-faire bad parenting lands in my backyard or one of my kids has to listen to their teacher getting cussed out in school. Just how much exemplary and responsible parenting do you think has taken place with a 12-year old cusses out two different teachers?
Donald Lee January 18, 2014 at 05:33 PM
I don't know how much bad parenting there is by parents, but I know that armchair quarterback parenting is going to be worse. Minding one's own business is a good policy, especially with parenting. The biblical admonition is that before you take the speck out of your brother's eye, take the log out of your own. Good advice.
Randy Marsh January 18, 2014 at 09:01 PM
I have to be honest, I stopped reading after you used a lower case "b" on Biblical.
Roy Roscoe January 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM
There is no such thing as perfect parenting. "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is a metaphor but there are more kids ruined by too little parental discipline then not enough.
Joel Stegner January 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM
Very lazy parenting - too little too late. In the case of cussing one's teacher, a written apology and some "community service" time at school would work. As for stealing, taking away a privilege or some "house arrest" time would suffice. The risk in calling your kid bad or a thief is that they might believe you and notlearn the right lesson. And if another parent is abusing their child, there is nothing wrong with saying something, if a person has the courage to do so.
Mike B. January 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Public shaming is an equally good idea for adult criminals as well... in addition to jail/prison time.
Donald Lee January 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Ultimately, we are social creatures. There are few incentives more powerful than the urge to be accepted. We all want the approval of those around us, and will go to great lengths to get it. "Public shaming" can take many forms, and some are so clumsy as to be terribly misguided, but there is no doubt that the approval of others is a powerful motivator.
Roy Roscoe January 21, 2014 at 02:39 PM
Parenting is, in part, walking a tightrope between building pride, confidence and self esteem on one side and tearing down haughtiness and arrogance on the other. It's not accomplished with one event but a process with many examples.
Donald Lee January 21, 2014 at 03:03 PM
Well put. This is one reason "advice" is often so bad. You can recommend actions, but often the spirit and tone of the actions are more important, and those are often hard to describe, much less teach.
Eric Anondson January 26, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Parenting is about preparing your kids for the world, not protecting them from it. There is a difference between shaming and bullying. When it I crosses to bullying it I has crossed a bright red line, but not all shaming is bullying. Not being able to see this distinction is a bad thing for a parent, seeing all shaming as bullying, and seeing nothing wrong with bullying their child, both equally harmful to kids.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something