Parental Public Shaming

There’s a frightening trend in parenting these days, which is made easy by social media, and the ease with which a video or a blog post can “go viral.”  It’s the trend of using public shaming as a means of “teaching” your children a “lesson.”

In some cases, public shaming is not even designed to teach the child a lesson; it can be for the purpose of teaching others.   You know – like the pastor who keeps humiliating his family by telling stories about them in his sermons.  Except now it’s worse, because the audience has gone from a hundred people to thousands, possibly even millions.  Friends, family, and complete strangers.

Recently I saw a blog post from a “Christian blogger” who was very sarcastic in the way he addressed his child’s sense of “entitlement.”  I think it’s good to talk publicly (in generic terms) about the sense of entitlement that we all (yes, even adults) have here in this very comfortable me-centric society of ours, and it’s also good to talk about it privately (in a specific and personal way) , but it’s not good to address these issues in a way that will publicly shame our children.  As Laura says, “the internet is forever.”  Someday that child will grow up and have access to every little thing her father ever wrote about her.

Public shaming is a betrayal of trust.  Discipline, when needed, is a private matter.  I’m so grateful that my Heavenly Father doesn’t announce to the entire world why I am in need of discipline.  And believe me, He could make a video to end all viral videos, or a blog post to end all blog posts.  Just as God treats me with tender compassion – even when disciplining me, so I hope to do the same with my children.  May I never provoke them to wrath by inappropriate or unreasonable discipline toward them!

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