Shaming as a Parenting Tool

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Christian Ledek | @sea_led | Staff Writer

It’s becoming more common for parents to publicly humiliate their kids on social media to teach them a lesson or sometimes just for kicks. A 13-year-old girl took her own life a little while ago, possibly in part because her dad cut her hair off and uploaded a video of it to Youtube.

While notes written by the girl Izabel Laxamana before her suicide suggest that the video itself was not the only reason why she committed suicide, it may have been a contributing factor. A lot of people laugh at videos like the dad who shot his daughter’s laptop but is this ever an effective parenting technique?

It’s tough to say that there’s a clear answer. I would suggest it has the potential to be an effective parenting technique. My parents told me growing up when I first got a cell phone that if I ever went over data, or they felt I was using it too much, they would take it away and I wouldn’t be able to text my friends. That seemed to work for me, because I got it taken away once for going over my data, and the month without it seemed to be like a social nightmare. Having to call my friends and ask what they were up to instead of just shooting them a text message was the biggest inconvenience of my adolescent life.

If, instead of being “grounded” from my cell phone, my dad would have broken it in front of me, shot my reaction without me knowing and posted it online, I believe I would have been unbelievably upset. I may have even held a grudge against both my parents, not just my father, for doing such a thing. However, I also believe that it would’ve been an effective parenting technique because I wouldn’t have gone within a mile of going over my data limit.

I think it’s tough to say that if someone commits suicide over their parents trying to teach them a lesson that shaming them should never be used again as a parenting technique. Shaming has proved to work to teach kids lessons for generations. I know that when you’re a teenager, image is everything. You define yourself by how you look and you define others by the way they look. Thankfully, we grow up and realize that image isn’t everything and doesn’t define who you are as a person.

But a 13-year-old girl might not know that yet and it could contribute to you making a terrible decision you can’t take back. If I ever have kids, I don’t see myself posting videos online of me shaming them. I’m not saying I might not use shaming to get a point across or to teach them a lesson, but I think that it should stay within your family. It seems safer to go that route because I can’t imagine the guilt parents would have to live with knowing that they contributed to their own child’s suicide.