Mom's 'Thrift Store' Punishment Stirs 'Shaming' Debate

Utah mother sent her daughter to school in thrift store clothes after catching her bullying.
4:12 | 05/23/13

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Transcript for Mom's 'Thrift Store' Punishment Stirs 'Shaming' Debate
Next up in the "heat index," novel way to stop bullying. It comes from a utah mom who decided her fiancee's 10-year-old should wear thrift store clothes after she was caught taunting a classmate for the way she was dressed. Is this creative or shaming? Cameron mathison has the story. Reporter: She is a self-proclaimed fashionista. To make this more pretty. Reporter: When her parents received word she was teasing a fellow student about her clothes. We were just shocked. Reporter: They decided kaley needed to take a walk in that girl's shoes. She said, you're ugly. You dress sleazy. You're mean. She needed to know how inappropriate she was behaving. Reporter: So her stepmother took her on a shopping spree at a local thrift store. I would say, kaley, find the ugliest dress you can find. She would pick stuff out and hold it up and say, mom, look at this thing. It is the ugliest thing I've ever seen. I say, oh, yeah, yeah. Reporter: She had no idea those ugly clothes would be for her. The next day kaley's parents forced her to wear the jut fits to school. So she went to school and what did they do. They teased her. Reporter: To two days she endured criticism from her classmates. We really think if you felt how this little girl feels, you might have a little empathy for her. Reporter: What was it like wearing them to school. Terrible. Like why would they do that to me? Like I'm still a normal person. It doesn't matter what you wear. Reporter: Would you have your mom and dad teach you this lesson another way? No? You're happy they did it this way. Kaley later apologized to the girl she bullied and now they are best friends. But some parenting experts disagree with this type of humiliation punishment claiming it can be harmful to a child's self-esteem. Through humiliation the child learns that they're less than, that they're defective, they don't think this is the way to teach empathy. Reporter: But kaley's parents stand by their decision. For us we really felt like it was the best idea and it was the best solution to help kaley be the best person she could be. She learned exactly what we wanted her to learn and we couldn't be happier. Reporter: For "good morning america," cameron mathison, abc news, salt lake city. A whole lot to chew on. More with dr. Karen gordon. Thanks for coming, author of "a guide to dealing with the teenage years." It seemed to work in this case. Good idea. I think it's a creative idea. So here's a stepmom concerned her stepdaughter is bullying another child. Creative consequence. What I like about it, you know, the traditional thing, you take something away. What I like she created an experience lesson to teach about empathy. Get a child to put themselves in the shoes of somebody he. Here a mom came up with a creative idea and it totally worked. It did but you can imagine a situation where, you know, the same set of facts and the other kids in the class end up blaming the girl for what happened. You know what I find interesting, when I siee across north america, so many parents are afraid to have consequences of what will happen afterwards. When I work with parents I want parents to base on principles, not based on emotion. If I put a consequence my kids will stop talking to me or it'll backfi backfire. We're looking at it backwards. We've given too much pow story kids. Parents have to take their power back and say, this is not right so here's going to be the line and we're going to try to figure out in terms of a way for you to develop these amazing skills. So when they are adults we can be friends. Absolutely. I had somebody tweet me saying they weren't sure about it because they thought it might equate wearing clothes purchased as they did with being bad. That that was a bad thing. I grew up wearing ndhand clothes. So did i. So did we all. How is it so bad. It would be different if the mother is making her daughter wear clown costumes. She's simply getting her to wear secondhand clothes. And bullying is such a big problem. It is. Creative, loving parenting. Hey, do you guys watch "he will london"?

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