This Facebook Post About Disciplining Kids Is The Only One That’s Ever Deserved To Go Viral
Social media has a bad rap when it comes to its involvement in parenting and punishment in particular, and rightfully so. Every few weeks, there’s another story about a parent whose social media pronouncement about their child’s misbehavior and its now embarrassingly-public consequences goes viral: pictures of humiliated children wearing sandwich boards to tell the world how bad they are, dressed in clothes meant to humiliate them, or having their property destroyed to ‘teach them a lesson’–which is fine as long as the lesson their parents are trying to teach them is, ‘How much you’re able to learn and grow from this discipline is less important than how many Facebook likes I get out of it.’
But this morning, the story of a parent going online to discuss her kids’ awful behavior and its resulting fallout has a different outcome, and it’s one we should be applauding, not condemning. The mother, Kyesha Smith Wood of Birmingham, Alabama, took to her Facebook page to talk about daughter and step-daughter acted after they were dropped off at the local movie theater to catch a screening of Cinderella on Friday night:
That is a refreshing breath of parenting-done-right fresh air. Let’s break it down:
1. No pictures or florid descriptions of how badly the kids behaved or how spectacularly they were punished, just an acknowledgement that they were way out of line.
2. A focus on putting things right, not on punishment braggadocio and how you are an awesome parent who is Winning At Discipline.
3. An apology from the parent, not just one from the kids.
After it was posted in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Wood’s post was shared thousands of times on Facebook, so that it did eventually come to the attention of Rebecca Boyd, the mom from the theater. So thanks, Mark Zuckerberg: because of her post’s reach, Wood was able to connect with Boyd to make amends. It’s sometimes hard to remember why social media is such a pervasive force in our lives, but this is a pretty good reason to keep it around. (Except for Google+. There’s no point in Google+, unless you like tumbleweeds.)
Stories like Wood’s are a good reminder that the point of discipline is to teach kids how to live in this world. Consequences should be proportional and related to the misbehavior–not as over-the-top and inventive as a parent can dream up for their Instagram feed. Yes, Wood’s kids might be embarrassed by their mom’s post, but they probably learned to pipe down during a show, because chatting during a movie is a cardinal sin if anything is. They also got a lesson about compassion, and most importantly of all: that it’s never too late to try to set things right once you’ve messed them up.
(Image: PromesaArtStudio / Shutterstock)