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Family First: Experts say 'no' to public shaming

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

It's a trend that has landed some parents in hot water, punishing the child, recording the act and putting it online for the world to see. It's called public shaming, a type of discipline that experts say could leave some long term effects.

Public shaming has become the 'new norm' for some families. The post usually go viral and are either applauded or shunned by a cyber audience. Some parents say they do it to teach the child a lesson or simply to embarrass them for wrongdoing. Psychologist disagree, saying the approach could do more harm than good.

KSLA News 12 showed family psychologist Dr. Bruce McCormick videos that were posted online by parents disciplining their children, he was shocked at what he saw.

"I think the motivation of parents is understandable, they want to do a good job of setting limits on the children's behavior and responding in a way that really works," says McCormick, "But the notion of shaming in general and certainly shaming in social media is very ill considered."

Dr. McCormick says parents use a shaming technique like those we see on social media leave a painful memory that would last a lifetime. The approach could even come under the criteria of psychological child abuse.

"We all want to do a good job of parenting our children and it's very tempting to go for a very abrupt quick fix but problems that are serious enough to warrant a reaction that strong are not the kind of problems that you make go away just by being meaner, bigger and rougher than your child, says McCormick."

So could this behavior lead to the child being removed from the home? We spoke with the Department of Children and Family Services, they told KSLA News 12:

"In this case, we would consider whether the event crossed the line from discipline to emotional maltreatment or physical abuse. If that's the case, we would work to improve their parenting skills and find better ways to discipline the child."

Dr. McCormick says either way public shaming could ultimately damage the child's life.

"It is very likely to seriously erode and maybe even permanently long term impair the relationship between the child and the parent."  

Dr. McCormick says public shaming has as much to do with the parent as it does with the child. If you feel it is your only option, he says you should reach out to a counselor to find a better solution.

Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved.

 

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