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Father Publically Humiliates 'F' Student Son as Punishment


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33 replies to this topic

#1
Alan Chapman

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Father forces seventh-grade son to stand on the street wearing a sign about his failing grades

Michael Bell Sr. was upset by the fact that his son came home with three F's on his report card, so came up with an unusual way to teach the self-proclaimed 'class clown' a lesson.

Throughout his spring break this past week, Michael Bell Jr. had to stand at the corner of a busy intersection in Miami while wearing a poster that told passers-by about his bad grades.

The teen had to wear a poster that read 'Hey, I want to be a class clown. Is it wrong?' on his front side.

On his back, there was a longer explanation for inquisitive drivers: 'Hey, I'm in the 7th grade and I have an 'F' for the semester. Is anything wrong with that. Blow your horn if you don't think so. Thank you!!!'

CNN video


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#2
tjnyc

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I hope nobody will take me the wrong way when I say that this is not exactly cruel, abusive, or evil of the father. The son looks like he understands what his father is trying to do, and has taken what he perceives as 'just punishment,' without much apparent torment or pain.

That said, there obviously exist much more powerful and constructive ways to persuade the son to do better in school, which include trying to sensitively and openly understand his lack of motivation, patiently explaining the positive consequences of doing well / the negative consequences of doing poorly, and overall just trying to establish a strong and motivating bond with his son. This may, in turn, give him the resoluteness and willpower to do well in his coursework to "make something of himself" (the connection between the 'doing well in school' and 'making something of one's self' a separate issue), which he seems to be lacking, judging from the way he speaks in the video.

In summary, my initial reaction is that this act—on its own—doesn't constitute immoral parenting, but rather just poor parenting.

I'd really like to hear what you and the other regular posters think and feel about this.

Thanks,

Tony


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"It's way too dangerous to follow the advice of people who aren't empathetic, even if they are right."


#3
Lowe D

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Yeah, this father, he really made something of himself.


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If we have souls, they are made of the love we share. Undimmed by time, unbound by death.

Oblivion


#4
FreedomWins

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In summary, my initial reaction is that this act—on its own—doesn't constitute immoral parenting, but rather just poor parenting.

I'd really like to hear what you and the other regular posters think and feel about this.

The father has failed the boy for years.

 


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#5
Magnus

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I hope nobody will take me the wrong way when I say that this is not exactly cruel, abusive, or evil of the father. The son looks like he understands what his father is trying to do, and has taken what he perceives as 'just punishment,' without much apparent torment or pain.

That said, there obviously exist much more powerful and constructive ways to persuade the son to do better in school, which include trying to sensitively and openly understand his lack of motivation, patiently explaining the positive consequences of doing well / the negative consequences of doing poorly, and overall just trying to establish a strong and motivating bond with his son. This may, in turn, give him the resoluteness and willpower to do well in his coursework to "make something of himself" (the connection between the 'doing well in school' and 'making something of one's self' a separate issue), which he seems to be lacking, judging from the way he speaks in the video.

In summary, my initial reaction is that this act—on its own—doesn't constitute immoral parenting, but rather just poor parenting.

I'd really like to hear what you and the other regular posters think and feel about this.

Thanks,

Tony

Merely because the boy has internalized the shame does not make the infliction of shame remotely moral. 

Reverse the players and ask yourself how you feel about it.  What if the son forced the father to wear a sign listing his failures and walk the street?  If I did that to you, under duress of some threat, would you consider that to be immoral?  If a husband did that to his wife? That's what UPB means -- universality of moral principles, even in the context of parent-child relationships.

What is it about father-son relationships that makes people think that "parenting" includes forcing the son to do anything? 

I have a son.  It is not difficult to get him to listen to me.  He's actually devoted to me in a way I sometimes find overwhelming.  My opinion of him means virtually everything to him.  It is easy to become frustrated and lash out, but I have to constantly remind myself how he will learn 99% of what I teach him by example.  The content of my yak-yak at him means nothing. What I do means everything.

Applying that idea here, what is the meta-message being sent from father to son? Ignore the content of the sign.  The message is, "I tell you what level of self-respect and social respect you will have."  Or, "I control you."  There are a lot of non-verbal interpretations one could draw.  But none of them is morally defensible.


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"The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime."


-- Max Stirner


#6
Alan Chapman

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I'll explain what the story is really about and then the reason why I posted it will become clear.

 

The father is attempting to compensate for his own failures, shortcomings, inadequacies, and lack of ambition by punishing his son, deflecting attention away from himself and toward his son, eliciting approval and validation from passersby, thus vindicating himself.


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#7
hkw

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I hope nobody will take me the wrong way when I say that this is not exactly cruel, abusive, or evil of the father. The son looks like he understands what his father is trying to do, and has taken what he perceives as 'just punishment,' without much apparent torment or pain.

I'm not sure what "the wrong way" is but this is exactly cruel, abusive, and evil.


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#8
FreedomWins

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The father is attempting to compensate for his own failures, shortcomings, inadequacies, and lack of ambition by punishing his son, redirecting attention toward his son, eliciting approval and validation from passersby, thus vindicating himself.

Right. It's not like "Hey, this is great for the kid because it will help him." It's like "Yeah, that's what you deserve, you loser!"

Because the goal isn't helping the kid to get what he wants out of life while still taking care of what's necessary. The goal is to threaten and hurt the kid until he starts obeying!


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#9
tjnyc

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I hope nobody will take me the wrong way when I say that this is not exactly cruel, abusive, or evil of the father. The son looks like he understands what his father is trying to do, and has taken what he perceives as 'just punishment,' without much apparent torment or pain.

I'm not sure what "the wrong way" is but this is exactly cruel, abusive, and evil.

I mentioned not taking me the 'wrong way' just to say that I don't endorse this act as a proper or desirable way of improving his son's grades. I acknowledged that it's stupid and ineffective, but was questioning the interpretation of the action's (im)morality and the father's motives.

Yeah, this father, he really made something of himself.

He doesn't have to be successful in order to want his son to succeed, does he?

Merely because the boy has internalized the shame does not make the infliction of shame remotely moral.

Reverse the players and ask yourself how you feel about it.  What if the son forced the father to wear a sign listing his failures and walk the street?  If I did that to you, under duress of some threat, would you consider that to be immoral?  If a husband did that to his wife? That's what UPB means -- universality of moral principles, even in the context of parent-child relationships.

What is it about father-son relationships that makes people think that "parenting" includes forcing the son to do anything?

I have a son.  It is not difficult to get him to listen to me.  He's actually devoted to me in a way I sometimes find overwhelming.  My opinion of him means virtually everything to him.  It is easy to become frustrated and lash out, but I have to constantly remind myself how he will learn 99% of what I teach him by example.  The content of my yak-yak at him means nothing. What I do means everything.

Applying that idea here, what is the meta-message being sent from father to son? Ignore the content of the sign.  The message is, "I tell you what level of self-respect and social respect you will have."  Or, "I control you."  There are a lot of non-verbal interpretations one could draw.  But none of them is morally defensible.

Thanks for putting forth the standard of UPB. I tend to judge whether parenting is immoral by looking for signs of the child's pain and humiliation; if none is present, then the act of parenting is not cruel or evil, but merely unwise. UPB, however, seems to ignore any of these emotional markers, and considers an action from the perspective of, "will most (emotionally healthy and rational) people prefer this action, if done onto them?" It sounds like an act (in the realm of interpersonal relationships) can be judged as immoral by UPB standards, even when all parties affected do not experience emotional/physical hurt or sense "foul play." Let me know if this is accurate.

...And also for sharing about your relationship with your son. Like many others on these boards, I was treated somewhat the opposite way to how you treat your son, insofar as lecturing (or "yak yak," as you call it): I faced, on average, a two-hour long lecture a month, about something or other that I did or thought 'wrong.' I have mixed feelings about these and the other questionable parts of my childhood, and I'm still trying to parse out the moral/immoral and the aeshetically preferable/unpreferable parts of my upbringing (which is probably what motivated me to post in this thread). Despite mixed feelings about my own childhood, I think that your child is very lucky to have a father who cares enough to effortfully apply UPB and the "lead by example" principle to your relationship with him (and also to discuss them in an internet forum). :]

However, despite a sound UPB argument and the insightful psychological interpretations, I'm still inclined to believe that the father genuinely valued and desired a good future for his son, though his methods of correction were grossly misguided (to say the least). It's hard for me to jump from the argument that bringing his son out in public with a sign like that was objectively immoral--which I'm now willing to accept--to the conclusion that the father was motivated by a desire for cruelty or sadism (i.e., that he is evil himself). Let me know if I put up a straw man here, or if anybody thinks this is true; it just seems too extreme and unreasonable to say that the father is blind, cold-hearted, and only motivated by his own insecurities--which he's now projecting onto his son, and looking for external vindication--without acknowledging that the father may actually be trying to show his son the potentially negative consequences of not being accountable for his actions, which he probably had to learn the hard way throughout his life.


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"It's way too dangerous to follow the advice of people who aren't empathetic, even if they are right."


#10
nathanm

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Humiliation and mockery aren't exactly great motivators for people to succeed at something worthwhile.  Sure they use it in the military, but that's so you'll be a better killer and order-follower.  No amount of tar and feathers will make this kid do wonderfully in academics.  Besides, it's likely the crap they were trying to teach him was more of a joke than any he was telling in class.


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"The government always sneaks in when I'm half seized-over and purloins the very thread from my hanky!" - Joad Cressbeckler


#11
Chisleu

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Posted Image

His dad looks really, really high.

Maybe his dad's education was limited and this is all he can think to do to motivate the kid. If we take the stance of nurture > nature, on average, then how can we expect anything but an F student if his father was an F student? I don't know this, but I know smart parents seem to have smart kids.

It would be interesting to know what his father does for work.


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#12
azile

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This is very, immature, pathetic behaviour from an adult who should know better.

There's no way that public humiliation will benefit this young lad, the only consequences of this will obviously only be harmful.

What makes it all worse is the popular approval of behaviour like this from the public - it makes you despair!

"The system has failed you don't fail yourself."


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#13
Lowe D

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Yeah, this father, he really made something of himself.

He doesn't have to be successful in order to want his son to succeed, does he?

He doesn't want his son to succeed.


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If we have souls, they are made of the love we share. Undimmed by time, unbound by death.

Oblivion


#14
Lowe D

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No amount of tar and feathers will make this kid do wonderfully in academics.

That's not true.  I'm sure you remember the Tiger Mother story.  This form of parenting is mostly tar and feathers, but often produces magnificent puzzle solvers.

If only life were a rubiks cube... god knows a lot more libertarians would be happy.


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If we have souls, they are made of the love we share. Undimmed by time, unbound by death.

Oblivion


#15
A man

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I'll explain what the story is really about and then the reason why I posted it will become clear.

The father is attempting to compensate for his own failures, shortcomings, inadequacies, and lack of ambition by punishing his son, redirecting attention toward his son, eliciting approval and validation from passersby, thus vindicating himself.

 

How can you come to a conclusion that would require hours of examination by a therapist based on a few lines of text in a tabloid media?


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#16
Alan Chapman

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Based upon what I've read, observed, and experienced, I recognize the pattern of behavior.

 

Projection (which is what the father was doing) involves ascribing one's own undesirable character traits upon others in order to deny them in oneself and excoriate or punish others for them.


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#17
A man

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Well to me it sounded like a quick copy and paste type of conclusion. And considered the source (a tabloid article) I cant agree with such a conclusion. There is a real chance the father thinks he doing whats best for the kid.


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#18
Alan Chapman

Alan Chapman
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There is a real chance the father thinks he doing whats best for the kid.

 

Of course he does.

 

I didn't realize that dailymail.co.uk was considered a tabloid. The story was reported by numerous news organizations.


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#19
A man

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All media are tabloid these days :) and I would even say that journalism is dead

But back to the topic :  the point still stands about there being virtually no chance of knowing the mind of the father based on the small soundbites news organizations give us, regardless of who they are.

 


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#20
Brandon Buck _BB_

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"I tend to judge whether parenting is immoral by looking for signs of the child's pain and humiliation"

 

Abused children, particularly those who're only mentally abused, more often than not show no outward signs of pain, humiliation or fear. Doing so would in all likelihood bring about more abuse later. And just to clarify, I said "particularly those who're only mentally abused" only because the physical damage done to the brain cannot be readily seen like black eyes and fat lips can. Of course, the brain damage done by mental abuse is just as real as a black eye or a fat lip but, it does not heal.

 

This is why "the son looks like he understands what his father is trying to do".

 

Of course he does. My father never once hit me save the few very rare occasions of "formal spankings" with a belt but I was scared shitless of him until I was about thirty years old. And, he never did anything like this to me.


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#21
DaveDoggOwns

DaveDoggOwns
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I quite frankly don't understand this punishment. Why did his dad train him to be a class clown to begin with? How can he be so smart and so stupid at the same time?


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#22
Lowe D

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How can you come to a conclusion that would require hours of examination by a therapist based on a few lines of text in a tabloid media?

If therapy demanded hours of examination to conclude that an adult is disingenuous in his stated reasons for publicly attacking a 7th grader, therapy would be hopeless.

If you don't mind me asking, have you ever done therapy?


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If we have souls, they are made of the love we share. Undimmed by time, unbound by death.

Oblivion


#23
Lowe D

Lowe D

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Abused children, particularly those who're only mentally abused, more often than not show no outward signs of pain, humiliation or fear. Doing so would in all likelihood bring about more abuse later.

This is a key observation IMO.  Dissociation is the norm, not outward signs of distress.  Those come later, or at least they did for me.

The worst thing about a bad childhood is that while it's happening, the child isn't permitted to show how bad it is.  Not by the parents, or by outside authorities.

My father never once hit me save the few very rare occasions of "formal spankings" with a belt but I was scared shitless of him until I was about thirty years old.

This is an interesting sentence.  He never once hit you... except all those times he did.


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If we have souls, they are made of the love we share. Undimmed by time, unbound by death.

Oblivion


#24
Brandon Buck _BB_

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Lowe - Yes, that is indeed an interesting sentence. Or, more accurately, it's an obfuscating sentence. Its roots lay in the common wisdom of parenting that was and still is prevalent in society. e.g., "I don't hit my kids but if they need it, I will spank them".

 

So, to clarify, my father only ever hit me with a belt, on the ass and never without warning. That doesn't make it right but I can't help but imagine that being clocked in the face with a fist is a lot more traumatic than the former. And, of course, those formal spankings were the least of the reasons why I was scared of my father.


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#25
Alan Chapman

Alan Chapman
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Dad punishes son with "Homeless" sign

Another case of "creative discipline" has hit the news: A Maryland dad forced his son to carry around a sign that said "Homeless, Won't Listen to Parents" after the 12-year-old didn't call home on time when he wanted to spend the night at a friend's house.

Kevin Burks of Waldorf, Md., joins a long line of parents who have resorted to unconventional measures to get through to their kids. There was laptop-shooting dad, who fired eight bullets into his teen daughter's laptop after discovering some disrespectful posts, and became a folk hero of sorts when he put the whole thing on YouTube. Another mom posted a photo of her 13-year-old daughter with an X superimposed over her mouth on Facebook to teach her a lesson, again about being disrespectful. Then there was the North Carolina dad who made his daughter carry a sign saying "I have a bad attitude," or the Florida mom whose son was forced to carry a sign saying "Honk if I need education."

Clearly, all these signs are a sign that parents of teenagers are frequently driven to their wits' end. Teenagers push our buttons, and they're very good at it. While experts say punishments that rely on public shaming are a bad idea, fellow parents tend to respond with applause.

"You go mom!! Since when is it wrong to teach your children to respect you????" one TODAY Moms fan commented on our Facebook page about the X-photo discipline story.

"Finally!" another mother wrote. "Parents actually parenting!!"


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#26
masonman

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God I can't imagine at what limit a parent's action switches things like this from "good parenting" to "abuse." Stripping a child naked and handcuffing him to a stop sign? "Finally! Parents actually parenting!" One day humanity really is going to look back on all this as highly barbaric. And for not calling home on time? Jesus. He's not "pushing your buttons" he is just being free. Though I know a "free child" terrifies many people.


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The Anarchist Shore


#27
A man

A man
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How can you come to a conclusion that would require hours of examination by a therapist based on a few lines of text in a tabloid media?

If therapy demanded hours of examination to conclude that an adult is disingenuous in his stated reasons for publicly attacking a 7th grader, therapy would be hopeless.

If you don't mind me asking, have you ever done therapy?

 

Sorry for the laste reply, you know how it is with well...life. Yes I have done therapy in fact I'm currently in therapy with some interesting results. Now I'm not saying you need hours of therapy to decide that attacking a 7th grader is wrong. I'm saying that I dont trust the media one bit when it comes to reporting accurate. The media want to sell, they feel no obligation to do anyone a service.


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#28
Lowe D

Lowe D

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So, to clarify, my father only ever hit me with a belt, on the ass and never without warning. That doesn't make it right but I can't help but imagine that being clocked in the face with a fist is a lot more traumatic than the former. And, of course, those formal spankings were the least of the reasons why I was scared of my father.

There isn't any way to know what would be more traumatic.  "Formal" "discipline" is humiliating, degrading, and terrifying, and sometimes it could be more traumatic because of the lack of sympathy from others.

If you don't mind me asking, what did your father do that was more frightening than attacking you bodily?

 


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If we have souls, they are made of the love we share. Undimmed by time, unbound by death.

Oblivion


#29
Arius

Arius
  • 786 posts

Just imagine the scenario with two adults and the horror will become clear.

"Husband forces wife to publicly humiliate herself after burning dinner"

"Woman leaves whining elderly mother, wearing degrading sign, at busy intersection for hours"

"White man makes disobedient slave carry offensive sign through town"

"King orders all serfs participate in 'wear dunce hat day'"

"Executive makes secretary wear revealing clothing"

I could do this all day.  Totally not UPB.


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#30
Brandon Buck _BB_

Brandon Buck _BB_
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I'm sorry for the delay in answering your question. It really caused me to do some serious thinking and I did not want to answer it until I felt like I actually could, if that makes sense.

 

In short, it was a fear of abandonment/disapproval.


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#31
Jeremi

Jeremi
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Imagine putting this into the context of employer-employee. You would have a lawsuit so fast your head would spin. And the plaintiff would win easily.


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I love all who are like heavy drops falling one by one out of the dark cloud that lowers over man: they herald the coming of the lightning, and perish as heralds. 

Lo, I am a herald of the lightning, and a heavy drop out of the cloud: the lightning, however, is the Overman!

 

- Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra


#32
Alan Chapman

Alan Chapman
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Pooped in the shower: Readers, experts weigh in on dad's 'shaming' photo

One dad took his disgust with the dirty work of parenting to the Internet. He had his smiling, pajama-clad daughter, who looks to be about 3, pose for a photo with a sign around her neck that read: “I pooped in the shower and daddy had to clean it up. I hereby sign this as permission to use in my yearbook senior year.”

Now the unidentified dad who shamed his daughter for the world to see on Reddit is getting a dose of his own medicine. Thousands of online commenters have weighed in, with many calling him a mean dad who went too far, sapped his daughter’s confidence and violated her privacy.


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#33
masonman

masonman
  • 928 posts

"Not so fast, experts say. Without knowing anything about the girl’s childhood, it’s too soon to know what one photo will do or what kind of parent the dad really is." Really? I feel like I know exactly what kind of parent that fucking dad is.


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The Anarchist Shore


#34
Alan Chapman

Alan Chapman
  • 5303 posts

This barber will publicly shame your misbehaving kid with an old man’s haircut

 

Got a kid who’s raising hell? Afraid the police will be called if you break out the belt? A suburban Atlanta barbershop may have a solution for you.

Three days a week, parents can take their misbehaving kids to A-1 Kutz in Snellville and ask for the “Benjamin Button Special,” which Russell Fredrick and his team of barbers are offering — free of charge — to parents who want to try a novel form of discipline.

The cut involves shaving hair off the child’s crown until he begins to resemble a balding senior citizen, inviting that unique brand of adolescent humiliation that can only come from teasing classmates and unwanted attention.

. . .

Xanthia Bianca Johnson, a Washington-based psychotherapist who works closely with adolescents and families, told The Post that in her experience, using shame as a disciplinary tool is often counterproductive. When children misbehave, she said, they’re letting parents know that they’re in distress. The goal of effective discipline, she said, is giving children an opportunity to reflect on their mistakes; that, she said, becomes increasingly hard to do if they’re “distracted” by blame and shame.

“There’s lots of research that supports the fact that when a child is blamed or shamed it triggers their nervous system, and when the nervous system is shut down, it is directly connected to the brain,” she said. “The part of the brain that processes logic gets shut off and it can actually stunt physical and emotional growth.”

 

Follow link for photos.


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