The good doctor, the Media, those making comments, including myself--Monday
morning quarterbacking! We weren't in the situation and should withhold
judgment.My spouse and I have raised children, taught others in
school and church, and have made our share of mistakes. But we've learned
that children are pretty resilient after all.At least part of the
key in successful child-rearing is in how willing we are to recognize that the
child is a burgeoning adult-to-be. Do we discipline with the "because I said
so" syndrome, or treat them with dignity and respect as we teach? Do we work
hard to make sure they understand our actions toward them completely? If a
bitter pill is necessary to help them learn, do they understand that we share in
their pain, but know the outcome is better than the continued bad behavior?I'm willing to give this step-mom a little slack. If, as stated,
she has a valid mother-daughter-friend relationship with the child, and
continues to strive to foster it as the child grows, things should turn out
right for both.
"After wearing a different style of clothes to school, Kaylee says she has a
different take on the effects of bullying. She said “it’s stupid and
it’s mean” and it hurts people."What else is this
child supposed to say? Of COURSE she is going to say that.I think
the mom is the bully! One for the punishment, and two, for allowing this story
to be public knowledge. How do you think Ally feels now that every person she
knows has intimate knowledge of her bad behavior and humiliating punishment.The punishment did not fit the crime, IMO. Ally is going to eventually
realize she was bullied my her step-mother.
Think about how you would feel if your bad behavior was on a website for all to
see! Did the child agree to let this situation be open for public discussion?
Doubt it! From the article, I don't see much evidence that the child is
okay with the punishment or the public discussion. Honestly, I wish news sites
would refrain from publishing these personal stories about children. The child
has no say. I would NEVER allow my child's personal info and behavior into
the public domain. Come on people. And yes, forcing a child to wear
ugly clothing to school to teach a lesson is heavy handed. There are many other
ways to encourage a child to be kind to school mates.
The article talks about teenage bullying but the girl in this article is in the
4th grade. Better to nip this behavior in the young before they reach teen
years where it is much harder to get the message across that bullying is wrong.
The Mom did the right thing.This story not only went nationaly but also
internationaly as well. Hope parents around the world learned a lesson from
this Mom in Murray, Utah.
Some of the posters here are equating this teaching moment with bullying. I
couldn't disagree more. One poster even called humiliating a teenager
abuse itself. I think this definition of abuse is overly broad. Learning is not
always a pleasant experience - if we follow this line of reasoning, asking a
child to do their homework might be considered abuse (after all, they don't
want to do it and it causes distress). We must teach our children.
And where we have failed to teach them, we must take corrective action. It will
not always be pleasant, and indeed life will not always be pleasant. Some of the
most rewarding efforts are far from pleasant. But humiliation in this context is
not abuse, particularly where it teaches empathy for someone that was being
truly abused by this perpetrator.
It seems to me that Dr. Goldsmith's suggestion of having the child do
volunteer work as a from of punishment is not a wise thing to do. The last
thing I want to teach my kids is to equate service with punishment. I think
this mom is super wise and the punishment could not fit the crime more
So is it okay to tease to justify the means! I can't believe the school
would turn their heads at this little girl being teased in order to teach her a
lesson. According to other sources the girl was teasing the other
because of wearing a tank top and shorts. I think it's because parents
enforce a stricter dress code on her and her church perhaps also encourages this
that gave her the idea she can publicly ridicule a child dressing against those
standards. After all the school allowed her to be teased to teach her a lesson.
The other news claimed the woman was not even married to the dad.
Its not her place. The step mom didn't dress the child in a tank top and
shorts, that would have been teaching her a lesson.
Sometimes, what it takes to change someone's behavior and attitude about
bullying is to put them in the position of the person they had bullied. That
lets them see how it feels to be on the receiving end of what they were dishing
out. In this case, it also apparently may have given her some insight into the
attitudes of her "friends" who turned on her when she had to wear
clothes that weren't "cool" enough for them.
DavidMiller.. I agreeI 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.
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.
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.
$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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think the stepmom enjoyed embarrassing her stepdaughter. Anything to drive a
wedge between father and daughter.
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".
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.
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.
The mother was good enough to take action, and the daughter was good enough to
receive correction. Now an apology is in order.
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.
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
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!!!
Yes - the best way to teach a child not to be a bully is to bully them.
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
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