Sunday, April 24, 2016

"This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you..."

I ran across an interesting discussion on Facebook this morning.  A friend of mine posted an article about a mom who took her kids to Dairy Queen, bought them each an ice cream cone, and then, when the kids didn't say thank you or smile at their server, threw each kid's ice cream in the trash can.  She then told her kids that someday, they would probably have a job working at Dairy Queen and they needed to learn how to be polite.  Then, the mom got on Facebook and bragged about what she did.  Her post went viral.

I wonder why this woman felt the need to let everybody on her Facebook friends list in on her decision to publicly humiliate her children.  Now, not only were her kids embarrassed at Dairy Queen; they were also embarrassed online.  Or maybe they will be someday, thanks to Facebook's "On This Day" feature.

Personally, I am not a fan of parents who post about their bright parenting punishment ideas on Facebook.  I realize I'm saying this as someone who doesn't have kids, so maybe I don't understand why it's anyone else's business what you do to teach your kids right from wrong.  I just think that if you're going to punish your children, you should punish them privately and not turn it into a public spectacle.    

I'm not even going to say that what this mother did as a lesson to her kids was necessarily wrong, per se.  Having worked in the service industry myself, I agree that kids should be taught to be polite and appreciate what they have.  I'm not sure I would have done what she did in that situation, but they're her kids and it's up to her to discipline them.  As long as the punishment gets the point across, right?  Maybe her kids learned a lesson.  Maybe they just think their mom is a mean asshole.  Who knows? 

It's just that I don't understand why so many parents feel the need to brag on Facebook about punishing their kids.  Properly disciplining children is a huge responsibility and I'm glad to know parents are taking it seriously.  But when someone blows their vuvuzela online about publicly shaming their kid as a form of punishment, I have to wonder what their motivation is.  Do they want a cookie?  I guess for some of them, a pat on the back, a Facebook like, or a "way to go" comment will suffice.

Of course, I get that the Internet kind of encourages narcissism.  I've been accused of being narcissistic myself, simply by writing this blog and sharing my posts.  And some folks, who don't understand why I titled this blog "The Overeducated Housewife", assume I'm bragging about my education.  So maybe I'm wrong to assume that every parent who relates stories about the "wise" punishments they dole out to their kids is trying to brag.  Maybe it just seems that way.  I think many people are generally turned off by bragging, so they are sensitive to people who break their arms patting themselves on the back.

We're always looking for feedback, aren't we?  As long as it's positive feedback.  We don't want people to disagree with us and we hate it when they confuse us with facts.  Let's face it.  If our minds are made up about something, other people will be hard pressed to change our perspective.  

Here's another annoying trend I've noticed.  The same types of people who brag on Facebook about punishing their kids will also challenge others to "live better".  Here's an example.  In Germany, we are required to recycle.  Many Americans don't recycle back in the States.  For many reasons, we just throw stuff away in a common bin with no thought about where that stuff ends up after they throw it away.  So, not long ago, I noticed someone on my friends list challenging people out in Facebook land to recycle.  

Now, I don't think it's a bad thing to encourage people to recycle.  I just don't like it when people get holier than thou about things like that.  It's one of my pet peeves.  Moreover, why should you feel the need to set an example for people other than your kids?  I think instead of "challenging" people to live more like you do, perhaps it's better to comment on how your habits have changed.  Rather than posting, "I challenge you to recycle like we do because it's the right thing to do.", you could say "Since we moved to Germany, we've learned to recycle more."  That way, rather than presuming to challenge people and setting yourself up as an example to be followed, you might just turn out to be an inspiration.   

Anyway... those are my thoughts this morning.  And I'll say it again.  It's probably a good thing I'm not a mom.


  1. I wonder what made this mom arbitrarily decide on a particular day to be a thank you policewoman. Expressing appreciation is a good thing and it is something most children pick up easily and do consistently if their parents both model the desired behavior and expect their children to say thank you from an early age. The fact that not one of the three said you would be a reasonable indication both that the parents aren't saying it consistently and that the parent hasn't expected it in the past.

    I agree that publicly shaming children isn't a good parenting practice.

    1. I think it's sad that this ended up being news.

  2. It boggles my mind what some parents will do on facebook. It's as if this woman's children have no right to privacy. It has become an alarming trend to publicly shame your children. What it says to me is that the parent is failing to execute their duties as a parent. The parents are becoming the bullies. Maybe I am being too harsh or judgemental. I am not the perfect parent. I am positive I make mistakes everyday. I do try to keep in mind when I am disciplining my son how I want to be treated as a human being.

    Here's one lesson I learned. I am a passionate person. When I get excited, upset, joyful or just about any other emotion my voice gets louder. I tend to be loud to begun with so I the volume in my voice can put other people off. Anyway my son is a sensitive soul & I discovered early on that the louder I get he less he hears me & just shuts down. So I changed I make it a point when I discipline him to speak firmly but with less volume. He knows I am displeased with his behavior. I explain to him why his behavior is unacceptable & he corrects whatever it is he is doing. Does this happen 100% of the time?...No it does not, there are occasions where I blow my top like a crazy, stressed out working mother who has had enough. On those occasions I go to my son & apologize for my behavior & then Explain to him why I was so upset with him. We both learn something & move on. I also do not post hid bad behavior on facebook.

    Not a perfect parent, but I work at it everyday. I listen to my friends & learn techniques from them. Something I feel very strongly about are my responsibilities as a parent. I am not raising my child to be a superstar athlete, an entertainment icon, or the next Nobel prize recipient. Let's face it not everyone can be those things. I believe it is my job to raise a good citizen. I want him to be kind & I want him to be happy. Shaming your children on social media only hurts them & the rest of us because they learn it's ok to be bully.

    1. Your son is lucky to have you, Mary Beth. I know how passionate you are! ;)


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