by David McElroy
An Indiana mother is upset that her 14-year-old son keeps getting into trouble with the law, so she’s trying a new tactic. She shamed her son this week by requiring him to stand on a street corner wearing a sign proclaiming his transgressions. (See video below.)
Is this effective punishment that might turn a child around? Or is it small-minded shaming that will only damage him? Or something else?
Dynesha Lax of Fort Wayne, Ind., says that the juvenile court system was of no use in helping to get her son under control, so she believes extreme measures were called for. The boy has been convicted of multiple felonies and Lax claims the court system hasn’t done anything to effectively punish him.
“He constantly chooses to break the law,” Lax said. “I’ve had my son in the [juvenile court] system and he ends up getting nothing but community service. So today I decided that if he wants attention, we are going to get him some attention.”
Some people who saw the situation called police to report Lax, although it’s not clear what law they believed Lax was breaking. Still, it’s understandable that people would be uncomfortable with this sort of public shaming of a minor.
I understand the mother’s frustration, but I’m not sure her solution will do any good. I also wonder about what other effect it could have on the kid. I’m ambivalent. I don’t like this solution. I doubt it’s going to do any good. But I couldn’t support taking away the mother’s right to try it.
Honestly, I suspect that if a parent has reached the point that she has to resort to this sort of measure, she’s already lost control of the child. If a 14-year-old will constantly break the law and defy his parent in this way, a couple of hours of shame next to a city street isn’t going to change that. Whatever happened to make this kid’s life go wrong, it happened long before now.
What do you think? Is it a good idea? Or is it simply counterproductive shaming that has no chance and might even backfire? Or do you see it some other way? Watch the video and leave a comment to say what you think.