SmackDown: Would You Publicly Punish Your Child?
Public Punishment Is a Much-Needed Dose of Discipline
by Jessica Samakow
I always wondered about the slackers in high school. You know, those kids who never turned in their homework on time and wrote two sentences as answers on tests when the question clearly asked for three paragraphs. As I watched them snooze on their desks, I would think to myself, "Hmm, do their parents just not care?"
If a kid is failing, I wondered, how could their parents not get involved?
One Florida mom did get involved when her child was failing in school, but some are questioning her tactics. Ronda Holder is being criticized for forcing her 15-year-old son James to stand on a street corner with a sign reading, "GPA 1.22 ... honk if I need education," Salon.com reports.
Some claim that this act was both humiliating and ineffective, and she was even reported to the Department of Children and Families.
I could understand how this punishment would be cruel if given to a child who was truly trying their hardest in school and was just having difficulty understanding the curriculum.
But, as Holder says, this was not the case with her son. She says she has tried anything and everything to get him to raise his grades. Her many attempts to help him were unsuccessful, but it was ultimately his indifference to the matter that prompted her to punish him publicly.
Completion weighs heavily on high school grades, so, even if a student fails a few tests, in many cases, as long as they have completed all of their assignments, they can still pass the class. It is probable that a kid who tries hard and completes his work, even if he is having a lot of trouble understanding will perform better than a kid who slacks off out of laziness.
Ronda Holder had her son's best interest at heart. She values education and wants him to do the same. If that means embarrassing him into caring, then, so be it. Even if he starts making an effort in school just to avoid humiliation on the streets, his grades will most likely improve.
And, isn't academic success the ultimate goal? Isn't that a win for everyone involved?
Instead of criticizing a mom who is exhausting all options to salvage her son's education, shouldn't we be criticizing the parents who do nothing at all?
Holder's son is probably not the only kid who is failing in his school, and he is certainly not the only kid in the nation who's struggling. But, unlike Holder, many parents sit back and watch their kids fail without doing a thing. If anyone should be reported to the Department of Children and Families, it should be them.
One day, when this slacker of a teen is mature enough to realize that his mom acted on his behalf, he will thank her. So, in the meantime, we should be applauding her -- not criticizing her.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.