Comments about ‘Woman uses public punishment to teach a lesson about bullying’

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Published: Wednesday, May 22 2013 2:15 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

Good for you Mom. I don't see it as a punishment, rather a learning lesson. What is the kid that sees their donated clothing on TV to think. "I wore that to school. Was I being punished?" We should always be grateful for what we have. The clothes do not make the person. Kaylee, you are the same good kid in whatever clothes you wore, and now you know a little better thanks to Mom. Bullying makes a beautiful person ugly, even if they are wearing fancy clothes.


Dr. Douglas Goldsmith with his school and licensing credentials soundly trumped by the creds of the functional relationship between Ally and Kaylee.

Expert advice should be considered -- not blindly followed -- when making a decision.


Yes - the best way to teach a child not to be a bully is to bully them.

Saint George, UT

Per the article, Dr. Douglas Goldsmith of The Children’s Center in SLC said, "What happens with that is the person walks away at the end saying, ‘Now I’m really angry. That was humiliating, and I’m angry.’” He suggested teaching children empathy by having them participate in volunteer service activities.

I WOULD HOPE SO, Dr. Goldsmith. Let the offending bully walk away angry, confused, humiliated, isolated, and all those other similar descriptions. That's precisely the intended result.

The bully, however, doesn't have to endure the situation for their entire lives as is the case with some victims.

Also, volunteering in meaningful service activities is TERRIFIC and should be a lifelong pursuit. However, again, the volunteering children will never know what it's like to be financial poor, homeless, neglected, etc. unless he/she has truly experienced it.

That is why Kaylee's mom had the perfect solution. HATS OFF TO MOM!!!

Shenandoah, IA

Bubble, you're absolutely correct in your general statement. But I don't see how it applies to this story. The girl who had to wear the ugly clothes wasn't bullied by her parents. As for the rest, too many children have very little respect for authority, including their parents. Teaching respect for parents is part of teaching respect for authority -- teachers, judges, police officers, etc. -- and society seems to be trying to teach our children the opposite, so we have an uphill battle to begin with. Parents should be able to discipline their children without society second-guessing their choices, just because they subjectively believe that another choice would have been better. Back in the olden days, this was called "correction," "punishment," or "discipline," not bullying.

Dr. Goldsmith sounds like an overeducated elitist who grew up as an only child and has no children of his own; because otherwise, he would understand that the textbook answer doesn't work on some children, and the average parent -- who doesn't have a doctorate degree in child psychology -- has to improvise with what they think WILL work for THEIR specific child, at a moment's notice.

Beaver Native
Garland, UT

I disagree with the title of the article. I don't think that the mother was using the method as punishment, but rather having her child walk in someone else's shoes for a while. The difference between punishment and teaching in this situation would be the attitude and approach of the mother. If the mother was doing it to punish the young woman, it would surely backfire and all the young woman would have learned is resentment. Instead, the mother seemed to be using it as an opportunity to teach the child compassion and empathy.

Bountiful, UT

The mother was good enough to take action, and the daughter was good enough to receive correction. Now an apology is in order.

Salt Lake City, UT

Couldn't disagree more with this parental strategy. The bullying child has been publicly humiliated now (a form of bullying). She seems sweet. The parents are fortunate that their approach hasn't backfired ... yet.


Perhaps if the parents had previously taught the child compassion and not taught her that the value of fellow human beings is tied to things such as clothing, this situation would never have occurred to begin with.

Beaverton, OR

Parents can teach all they want to, but the child still has choices that they make. Whether or not the child will follow the example and lead of the parents is one thing. The child is still under peer pressure at school to follow his fellow peers, in taunting or doing other distressing acts.
We can all see logic and flaws with this example, but let it be known. The child learned what she needed to learn. Each child learns differently. It's up to the parents to distinguish what is the best learning situation for their child.
Mom did a great job, as the daughter did for walking in the shoes of another. They both "got it".

Idaho Falls, ID

I think the stepmom enjoyed embarrassing her stepdaughter. Anything to drive a wedge between father and daughter.

Jane B
Portland / Clackamas, OR

I really don't like it when these situations become public knowledge. I wish parents would think twice before allowing private information about their children into the news! I feel for these kids. How would the parents feel if their mistakes were plastered all over the news???

Secondly, I do not agree with this solution at all. Any punishment that is meant to humiliate the child is abuse. Surely there is a better way to teach the needed life lesson.


Maudine; Perhaps the child was taught correctly. We are allowed to make the decisions that we want to make in spite of or because of the way we are taught. I know of many families where siblings turn out very different, even though they were brought up with the same teachings. And to Jane B; How did the paper get this information, and were you standing next to the mother and listening to the entire discussion? How would you have handled this with one of your own children? And I'm being generous and letting you do it with a child you know and not a complete stranger.

Bountiful, UT

I think one of the keys that makes this situation great with Ally and her step-daughter is that she didn't go straight to the embarrassing punishment. Ally talked first and gave her child the opportunity to change before resorting to the more creative approach. We don't know exactly what was said in the earlier discussion but I'd bet that Ally gained some insights in that conversation that led her to this particular solution - Ally was not just throwing a tantrum or trying to humiliate her (ex)bully-daughter. The fact that the approach worked is a testament that she did it right.

This is one great score for engaged parenting.

Salt Lake City, UT

I am glad the parent took action, I am not willing to criticize the action because I don't know all the emotions and conversation that took place in the process to correct unacceptable behavior. I do not agree with JaneB's lament of surely there must be a better way. What way? Moaning and groaning about an elusive "better way" results in inaction a perpetuation of the unacceptable behavior. Parents need to act swiftly, decisively to adjust behavior to accepted standards.

The daughter was hurting someone else, and she got a dose of her own medicine. Was she hurt? Yes, did she learn something about this affair? Time will tell but it is the parent's job to step in and correct. Sometimes the parents overreact but at least they act.

I am aware of a son mouthing off to his mother severely, only to find himself punched to the floor by his father and told if he did it again he would thrown out of the house. This little attitude adjustment seemed to work fine, the son realized he was not top dog and changed behavior. Parents and son now have a good relationship as adults.

SLC gal
Salt Lake City, UT

It sounds like the little girl wore the clothes, learned her lesson, and life moves on. I don't get why it gets media coverage, but in the end, it worked! Isn't that what counts?

Heart and Mind

$50 for a couple of outfits at a thrift store? What kind of lesson was she trying to teach? How about $15 for two outfits?

Orem, UT

Heart and Mind

"She bought SEVERAL outfits from a thrift store for under $50 for her stepdaughter to wear to school."

Kaylee wore two of those outfits to school.

Salt Lake City, UT

I believe it is a Father and Mother's right to teach or punish their children according to their parental rights, excepting for abuse of course.

I also believe that we should teach all to repent and forgive. The Savior has given us conditions of repentance, and retribution is never mentioned in them. The only mention of punishment is the bitterness the unrepentant consign themselves to, the cup they choose to drink from.

Even those who will not accept these beliefs must surely realize the bigger problem here, the future of those who have done wrong.

Children are far more likely to choose rebellion from a step-parent than a birth-parent. This is common knowledge that no step-parent is without. For them especially, being rash in punishment displays a willingness to welcome their likely rebellion, to serve one's own satisfaction to punish, rather than choosing what will best teach and effect a change.

Again, it is the parent's right to rear. People can choose how they punish. They can even choose what they want to believe about their effectiveness. But they can't take away agency. They can nourish it or fight it.

Salt Lake City, UT

DavidMiller.. I agree

I believe there is a better way, which is to teach. I worry with articles like this that some parents will look at the face and accept rash decisions instead of well thought-out punishments. Teaching choices instead of fighting them is the right way. I believe for step-parents it is even more true.

I wanted to clear that up as my last comment wasn't put very well. I believe the problem, or dilemma, is in the effecting a change. We can choose to approach it with that purpose in mind or we can choose to get even and satisfy ourselves. Unfortunately, many still choose to fight their children instead of parent them.

Maudine.. I think Shimlau made the point very clear, but I want to add to it.

Growing up, I knew a family that taught their children good principles yet half of them ended up making pretty bad decisions contrary to what their parents taught. While I wasn't taught such things in my own home, I was taught in THEIR home. I followed their example instead. Not only do we have agency, but mentors outside the home.

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