You know, sending your kid to school in clothes like these is borderline. There’s nothing OUTRIGHT obvious or shameful about it. When I think of public shaming, I think of that idiot father who blew a hole into a computer (instead of, you know…wiping it and donating it) and aired his family’s dirty laundry to a wide audience. I think of the parents who make their kids stand streetside with things like, “My name is (X) and I stole (Y) from (Z).”
Punishments like that serve no purpose. The world is made for children to grow into adults; not for adults to grow into and to pander children. I think a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “What if I did something inappropriate, and my boss/spouse/parents treated me that way in response?”
If you don’t want your child to learn to do it, don’t do it yourself. Becoming a bully yourself does nothing but lower the parent to the child’s level, and in many ways, it teaches the child that it’s acceptable. The original article gives no indication that the parent ever tried to talk about the problem. “Kaylee” in this story is obviously old enough to talk these things out.
Why is the kid going around calling another girl sleazy? Is she jealous? Is her future step-mom the sort who always has something judgmental to say about girls wearing certain clothes or women who have certain types of bodies? Is there some other conflict going on with the girl she was bullying, and so she decided that teasing the girl about her clothing was the easiest way to knock her down? Sending the kid to school in awkward clothes is a band-aid for the short-term, not a resolution for the long term, in many cases.
Public shaming often breeds resentment and guilt, and rightfully so. If I did something at work and my boss publicly shamed me in front of all of our co-workers or made me do something humiliating, I likely wouldn’t be working there much longer. Kids also deserve respect – even when they do bad things. There was no reason Step-Mom couldn’t pull her stepdaughter aside, talk it out, figure out a plan of action, and inform her daughter of punishments if she was ever contacted again (i.e., withdrawing privileges, groundings,etc.).
I get the impression from reading the article (“We didn’t want to do just another grounding…” leads me to believe that’s because they’ve been ineffective in the past) that this is a family that doesn’t do too well with making and sticking to punishments. Actually, it’s a very common problem with families. They make the threat of grounding the kid for a day, and by the next morning, the kid’s already out living life as usual.
If people could actually make and stick to their punishments, and inform kids of consequences when rules are broken ahead of time, it would help a lot. It wouldn’t leave parents rage-spanking their kids or public shaming.