Wake Me When The ‘Humiliating My Teenage Child’ Trend Is Over

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shutterstock_107326679Another day – another story of a teen disciplined with humiliation.

Gentry and Renee Nickell of Crestview, Florida, were sick of their teenager acting out and worried about her disrespectful behavior. Instead of taking away her car keys or grounding her – they decided to make her stand on the corner of a busy intersection holding a sign for an hour and a half. Because distracting motorists on busy streets is a great way to punish your child. From Yahoo Shine:

On Saturday, the teen spent 90 minutes standing at a busy intersection with a hand-written sign describing her sins.

It read: “I’m a self-entitled teenager w/no respect for

authority. I’m also super smart, yet I have 3 ‘D’s’ because I DON’T CARE.”


Some of the passing motorists took pictures that were shared on Facebook. The parents claim they haven’t seen the pictures and really didn’t think that the public would notice too much. Hmm.

“I wasn’t even thinking about what the public was going to think,” her mom, Renee Nickell told theNorthwest Florida Daily News. “I was thinking about our daughter. It was for her to be in the public and recognize what she had done wrong.”

“We spend so much focus on not wanting to hurt a child’s self esteem that we don’t do anything,” the Nickells said in a statement defending the punishment.

“Walk a mile in someone’s shoes,” the statement read. “We must undo at home what the world tries to tell her is better.”

I find it really hard to believe these parents weren’t considering what the public would think. These stories of parents humiliating their children as punishment go viral all the time. I also can’t believe that in a time when we are finding it so essential to teach kids not to humiliate and bully each other – parents are even using this tactic.

When I was in the seventh grade, we were doing a group project in class. I ripped a piece of it by accident, and muttered under my breath, “Ugh. Your so stupid, Maria.” My teacher heard me unconsciously insult myself and made me stand up in front of the class and issue myself a heartfelt apology. Seriously. The first one I gave when I stood up wasn’t “genuine enough.” She made me do it twice. I was made fun of about this for months.

Now, I’m not one of those people that has a fantastic memory. But this incident is burned clearly on my brain. Why? Because it was awful. Did I stop accidentally insulting myself? No, I still do it to this day. Did I begin to develop ways to handle people teasing me? Yes. I still have the sharp tongue I began cultivating in middle school. I’m not saying this is all her fault – I’m saying adults need to be really careful when they decide what is “character building” for a child.

Parents – please, please, please – just stop. Humiliation is a horrible punishment.

(photo: alejandro dans neergaard/