Child shaming reinforces cycle of bad behavior

By MEGAN PALBICKIchild shaming photo_small

A new fad has emerged from the dog-shaming craze that has swept the Internet: child-shaming.

In a world of increasing technology and the pressure to keep up with social standards, a new generation of parents are taking to the Internet and social media to carry out their parenting for them.

This very public form of punishment is appealing to some parents as a form of parental humor and a way to teach their kid a valuable lesson.

But has this fad gone too far?

Blogs like mommyshorts.com have credited themselves with coming up with this idea they call baby or child shaming, in which the parent submits or posts photos of their children with signs regarding something they did wrong.

For example, one sign said, “I dropped my blankie on the street and waited until we got home to say something about it.”

Some comments on the site claim this teaches a child to be able to laugh at themselves; others have said this is a way to make light of otherwise frustrating situations.

You chuckle at a couple photos.

However, this trend has turned from mommy fun to serious attention-seeking.

It has taken on the form of sandwich boards with statements like “I steal” or “I have a bad attitude” with kids pacing down sidewalks on busy streets.

The first time I encountered this online was when I saw a viral picture of a boy at Christmas holding a sign that stated, “I have to take back my PS3 that I was getting for Christmas because I wasn’t grateful to receive a Captain America action figure (that I received from church) so I’m going Christmas shopping for other kids with the refund money!”

While the harsh punishment may or may not fit the crime, the morality question that comes to mind is not about the discipline skills of the parents involved but the very unethical manner in which they did it.

While recent generations have been noted to coddle their children with participation trophies and entitlement reinforcements, the issue here is that these parents publicly and nationally humiliate their children.

Punish your child if the situation warrants it, but do not completely break down his or her self-esteem and self-respect because of something that might not have been that big of a deal in the first place.

Public humiliation can be devastating to anyone and even more so to a child.

During this time when children are developing their self-esteem and personalities, public humiliation can damage this delicate process of self-development.

A punishment, like any other part of the family dynamic, needs to be amongst the family only.

A child’s misstep should not be passed around as chain mail. If children are humiliated as a form of punishment, they will model this behavior.

However, if children are punished in a way that allows them to understand what they did wrong and still maintain their dignity, they will be more likely to model this behavior when dealing with others in the future.

Remember the Internet can act as a protective mask, allowing the freedom to post what we would like without consequence.

Always punish for the sake of learning, not just for the sake of punishing.

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