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Scaring Your Child Senseless & Public Shaming: Good Parenting Practices or Nah?

teacher's paddle used to spank children in classroom

teacher's paddle used to spank children in classroom

The Paddle

Back in the Good Ole Days

Back in the day, children were a lot more disciplined then they are nowadays. You didn't hear about children committing suicide because of bullying, neither did you hear about children carrying guns to school and blasting their peers and teachers. Our modern day children have gotten out of control. Some people attribute their unruliness to numerous factors including:

  • they've taken God & prayer out of the schools
  • parents can get arrested for physically disciplining their child
  • people don't like for others to correct/discipline their child

I remember my mama telling me that when she was growing up (back in the 60s), children would get paddled by the teacher who would then tell the parent, then they would go home and get spanked by the neighbor, then spanked by Mama when she got home, then spanked by Daddy when he got off work. You "spank" a child nowadays, you're liable to end up behind bars.

parent spanking young daughter for saying bad words

parent spanking young daughter for saying bad words

Parents Use Alternatives to Spanking

So what do you do as a parent when spanking is unacceptable and time-out no longer works? Some parents have decided that punishment and confiscating items don't leave a lasting impression. They have decided to increase the intensity to truly teach their child a lesson. Read over what these parents have done and you decide if the discipline is acceptable or if the parent has gone too far.

A Father Scares His Son Senseless

A father is concerned about his son constantly misbehaving. When he finds out that his son has gotten in trouble yet again for being a bully in school, the father enlists the help of two police officers to teach his son a hardcore lesson. The boy is not truly arrested in this video, but from the fear in his voice and on his face, he genuinely believes that he's about to take a trip to the slammer. Watch the video and you decide if the father's method of discipline is acceptable or if he went too far.

Father Scares Son by Having Cops Arrest Him

What Do YOU Think?

Public Shaming of Teenager for Sneaking Boys into the House

A 15-year-old in Palm Coast had to stand at one of the busiest intersections in Flagler County holding a sign that read: I sneak boys in at 3am and disrespect my parents and grandparents. Her mom and stepdad had tried other means at first, like putting her on punishment and taking away her electronics, but she only laughed at these forms of punishment. But she wasn't laughing for the 2 1/2 hours that she stood at the intersection with her face an unbecoming shade of pink.

Passersby had mixed reviews. Some honked their horns and waved in agreement of the punishment. They felt like this was tough love and it would get her attention before she got law enforcement's attention. Others felt like this was abuse and it would only make her act out worse. In case this punishment isn't enough, her mother is already considering even stricter punishments, such as shaving her head or making her hold up the sign at her high school.

Watch the video and you decide if the public humiliation of this 15-year-old was appropriate or did her parents go too far.

Teenager Publicly Humiliated for Sneaking Boys in the House

What do YOU think?

Read Their Story Here

Parents' Scare Tactic Fails & Lands Them in Jail

Two Staten Island parents end up arrested and in jail when a plan to teach their out-of-control daughter a lesson backfires in their face. Their 6-year-old daughter came home from school, in trouble yet again for acting out in school. The parents came up with an idea to scare some sense into their badly behaved daughter. They decided to take her to the precinct to show her where "the bad kids go."

The problem is that the officers at the precinct refused to play along with the parents. They weren't amused by the situation because they felt that it was an inappropriate course of action for a child that young. The mother then became upset and allegedly began to say things like, they only came for help, their daughter was out of control, they were going to leave her at the jailhouse and if they wouldn't take her, then they'd take her to the firehouse.

The girl then watched her mother and father get handcuffed and taken to jail charged with endangering a child and attempting to abandon a child. Read their story (which includes a video) and then give your opinion in the poll questions.

What do YOU think?

Ted Poe, judge in Houston who gave creative sentences that often dealt with public shaming/public humiliation for rehabilitation

Ted Poe, judge in Houston who gave creative sentences that often dealt with public shaming/public humiliation for rehabilitation

Mike Hubacek, the man whose drunk driving took the lives of a husband and his nanny

Mike Hubacek, the man whose drunk driving took the lives of a husband and his nanny

Before You Rule Out Shaming (Public Humiliation)

The number one question in this hub would probably be: is shaming appropriate for young children? I think people are less concerned with is it effective as they are with is it appropriate.

But one thing is certain. Texas congressman Ted Poe (former judge) is one of the prime advocates for public humiliation and he launched the "shame law" back in the 90s that not only has helped keep our jails and prisons from overpopulation but has brought about some of the lowest recidivism rates ever. Ted Poe was notorious for sentencing people to sentences that dealt with public shaming along with other stipulations, like community service and getting the needed help (a mandatory AA class).

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One example is of a man named Mike Hubacek who at the age of 18, collided into a minivan, taking the life of a husband and nanny (the wife survived). Hubacek was drunk, his blood/alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. He was pummeling at a 100mph when he crashed into the minivan, and somehow he managed to live. He was sentenced to 10 years for intoxicated manslaughter but after only half a year, Judge Ted Poe let him out on shock probation. Many people were appalled that he received such a short sentence, but he had many stipulations attached to that sentence, including he couldn't operate a vehicle for 10 years, had to constantly carry a picture in his wallet of the people he killed, had to wear a sign at one of the busiest intersections in Houston stating "I am a drunk driver and I killed 2 people" under the supervision of his probation officer. He also had to care for the victims' grave sites and, attend AA classes and speak to youth about the dangers of driving drunk.

Years later, he became the posterboy of what positive effects public humiliation can have. You can read his story here or watch his video below.

Video Footage of the Accident that Mike Hubacek's Drunk Driving Caused

In closing

In a world where physical discipline (spanking) is frowned upon and where grounding only punishes the child instead of eradicating the behavior, some parents have found creative alternative ways to rehabilitate their child. Some parents try to scare their child senseless while others humiliate their child in the eyes of the public. What is your take on this subject? Do you think these parents are taking punishment too far or do you think it's a good idea? Please leave your comment below.


© 2014 Jessica B Smith


Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on October 01, 2014:

Thanks for your comment. You make some really good points that parents should consider if they ever feel pushed to this point. One point is that it might be seen as an invitation for other men to approach your teenage daughter, thereby making matters worse. Could public shaming of a child be possibly creating a monster who holds everything inside(guilt, shame, hatred) until they eventually grow up and explode on the world?

Anne Gillingham from Los Angeles, CA on September 02, 2014:

In the case of the teen sneaking teen-aged men in the home ... problem is ... that could be taken as a welcome sign, for more mature men.

If this were my daughter I would also be afraid for her safety. If she gets labeled as "public sexual property" then she could be in imminent danger. There are some guys out there who might figure "well if she is easy with Tom, Bob and Michael she will be easy pickings for me."

I am not a huge fan of the use of shaming tactics. From my personal experience, they do a lot, long term, to make the child internalize and personalize every single transgression, when s/he grows up.

ANISH N R K from Kerala, India on May 31, 2014:

If a parent spanks the child who have stolen from his purse, what will follow is that the next time he steals he will make sure that his father will ever know. Physical punishment and humiliation does not eliminate a behaviour, it will only suppress it for the time being. It will also lead to the evolution of the following:



negative emotions like resentment and revenge

modelling parents aggression

Jessica B Smith (author) from Sanford, NC on May 30, 2014:

Thank you for your comment, Asksadie. More and more parents are choosing the public humiliation route (just go to youtube and key in "children public humiliation"). You write "humiliation breeds humiliation" and "humiliation destroys esteem." You make some very interesting points that parents should keep in mind and consider when their child has pushed them to the edge and they choose public shaming as a last resort.

Obviously, you are against public shaming of children. Are you also against public shaming of adults? One adult was caught stealing at a store and his punishment was to stand in front of the store for a week wearing a sign that read, "I am a thief. I got caught stealing at this store." The store owner said for the entire week that he was there, they didn't have one single incident of theft. What do you think about public shaming for adults?

ASKSADIE on May 29, 2014:

Humiliation breeds humiliation.

While children need boundaries and consequences, I have yet to see humiliation work, with children, or with my patients.

Rather than teaching and modeling, humiliation destroys esteem and, as the old saying goes: "Is a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Rules that are known, provided with consequences that are immediate and relate to the misbehavior is what I teach. Generalized remarks about personality are devastating.

There's a difference between behavior and personality. The punishable part is behavior, without sacrificing personality.

This is a critical distinction. We want our children to own their morality, not consider our demands a threat to their egos.

Marnie Macauley MS.

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