Spanking or Public Humiliation?

ByABC News via via logo

Nov. 22, 2005 — -- Disciplining a child is one of the hardest jobs for a parent. Should they yell, ground, or spank? Or not?

Some parents have devised more creative ways to teach their children a lesson.

Tasha Henderson decided that her 14-year-old daughter, Coretha, needed to shape up in school. Henderson said Coretha was chronically late and got poor grades and that the only thing that would get her daughter to change was to make her proclaim her mistakes to the entire community. So the mother made her daughter stand at a busy intersection in Edmond, Okla., with a sign that read "I don't do my homework and I act up in school. My parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."

"At first I really didn't want to do it, 'cause you're thinking I don't want to embarrass my child like that," Henderson said. "However, it was a consequence she was told she'd have to deal with."

Coretha wasn't happy about it, but she said she learned a lesson.

"I was embarrassed and I was kind of mad, but sad that I had to do it," she said. "I think it helped me a lot. It helped me to realize that I can do better and try harder."

"Good Morning America" parenting contributor Ann Pleshette Murphy said she does not think humiliation tactics benefit children.

"I really don't think that humiliating your child is the way to go, because it doesn't really foster learning," said Pleshette, who also disapproves of spanking.

Nevertheless, Henderson isn't the only parent using this approach. Kansas City mom Jessica Murafetis made her 12-year-old son, Dustyn, pace outside her workplace while wearing a sandwich board which declared that he is the class clown to the world.

"He got suspended yesterday for the seventh time," Murafetis said.

Henderson stands by her unusual tactics.

"I have an average 14-year-old child, who will try to get away with what she can," Henderson said. "She knows mom and how far mom is going to go. Now she really knows how far I will go."

Pleshette Murphy offered several tips to discipline children.

For example, an effective punishment for a teenager might be to take away cell phone privileges.

Another effective punishment might be to add a responsibility or make a child write a letter of apology.

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