There’s no specific way to discipline your child, but some acts of discipline can really damage your child mentally and emotionally. Public punishment, especially on social media, is one of those acts.
For years, Facebook has been the home for publicly punishing children and teens, and it’s quite frankly getting out of hand. Recently, a video circulated on Facebook that actually made it to the news stations, that shows a mother from Georgia beating her teenage daughter because of provocative pictures that the daughter posted on Facebook. While the choice to discipline the young girl is normal, the choice to discipline on Facebook Live is what caused controversy.
It’s not hard to see that some parents believe the idea that if the punishment is severely harsh, then the child will change their behavior out of respect and fear. While that statement holds some truth, let’s not forget that punishment has other psychological effects also. Let’s not forget that the purpose of discipline is to serve as a deterrence, and not as an embarrassment or way to shame your child. The same way a child or teen feels when they’re bullied at school, is the same way that they feel when they’re publicly punished. If you understand how detrimental bullying can be to the emotional and mental state of an adolescent, then you should understand how serious the effects of public discipline can be. “Since she doesn’t know how to act on social media, I will embarrass her on social media”, is a dangerous mindset to have. The idea that the punishment should fit the crime should not apply when it comes to social media and punishment.
The Georgia mom whose name wasn’t revealed, took to Facebook to share a post after the Facebook Live video stating, “I love my daughter with all my heart, but she won’t disrespect me.” Does the whole world need to know that you’re beating your daughter to gain respect from her? Can anyone imagine how the girl felt going to school the next day? Why should she have to deal with her peers laughing at her because they were able to see her get a beating? The act of public punishment crushes your child’s ego, lowers their self esteem, and will make them the subject of peer harassment that can continue throughout the remainder of their years in school. Whether it’s disciplining on social media, in front of his/her’s classroom, or in front of others in a grocery store, public punishment can negatively impact your child’s idea of self-worth, and they may grow to have issues respecting themselves and others. No matter how bad they screw up, as parents it’s your responsibility to remember that they are human and will make mistakes. So let’s keep the disciplining in the household and off the streets and Internet.
Written By: Kahina Ray
Follow Kahina on Instagram: @_k.ray