Sunday, June 21, 2015

Embarrass

Izabel Laxamana.

You might now know her name, but there is a chance you know her story. On Friday, June 5th the 13 year old jumped from a vehicle she was riding in, off a bridge and onto an interstate.  In the weeks previous, a video of her father cutting off her hair had been leaked online and has the Internet up in arms about public shaming of children as discipline.

I don't understand this new trend where parents feel they need to make a YouTube video of themselves disciplining their children.  I don't understand why dealing with your child's behavior needs to go viral, and it makes me wonder what is more important to the parent: social media kudos (because some parents agree with their actions) or discipline.

While my memory of the situation might be different than what actually happened, I distinctly remember being grabbed by the arm and forcefully removed from the room for a growled admonishment behind closed doors after telling another child to "shut up" at my birthday party and then being forced to apologize.  I was embarrassed because I was threatened and forced to cry before being sent back to apologize.  I'm 29 years old and this event that happened on my 6th birthday still makes my stomach churn with the humiliation.  I should not have been made to cry and feel threatened for telling another child to shut up, though I wholeheartedly agree that I should have been made to apologize.

The thing is... I'm not wholly against kids feeling ashamed of their behavior in public.  I'm not saying that I agree with the guy who videos himself running over his daughter's cell phone with the lawn mower.  I'm also not agreeing with the guy who made his kid wear a sandwich board declaring him a liar and a thief. What Izabel Laxamana's father did was not discipline.  Cutting off a girl's hair for partying or inappropriate social media interactions is abuse, plain and simple.

I support public "shaming" when it fits the crime, and by that I mean things like the kid who goes around on social media bullying and degrading others should have to post a public apology before having their electronics taken away or their accounts cancelled until they can behave appropriately.  A kid who disturbs an entire classroom with their behavior should have to apologize to the entire class.  If you should your ass, you should have to show your face to apologize...and if you've ever had to do that, you know how embarrassing that is in and of itself and I believe it is fair.

But this thing where parents do things to humiliate a kid that are completely unrelated to the offense?  Dragging out dirty laundry completely unrelated to the situation?  What the fuck is that?