Public Humiliation as Punishment?

Many of you may have seen the recent video uploaded by a Denver mother who found out for the fifth time that her 13 year old daughter had created a Facebook page where she lied about her age, posted provocative photos, and was accepting friend requests from older men. The mother took away her phone over a year ago, took away internet access, and yet, her daughter was still able to create another page while at a friend’s house.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/21/living/feat-denver-mom-public-shaming-video/index.html

I personally am not a fan of public humiliation as a punishment for my children. Just looking in from the outside, this child seems to have a self esteem issue already if she is seeking this kind of attention from men. I would venture to say that publicly humiliating her would only make things worse. However, I have not had to deal with the extent of this issue with my own daughters and I hope it never comes to this. I applaud the mother for being vigilant enough to actually find her daughter’s Facebook page (which she was blocked from) and taking action to keep her daughter safe. She is obviously at her wits end in dealing with this issue and saw no other option.

The parenting expert in the article disagrees with public humiliation as a punishment as well but offers no alternatives other than taking away privileges and working things out with her daughter as a team.

So, if not public humiliation, then what is the proper punishment for an action like this? Are there other options? The phone and internet have been taken away. She has been grounded for the summer to only staying inside and reading books. So now what?

I agree with taking away what matters to your child. Take away the cell phone, video games, the internet, and set restrictions on when and who they are allowed to go and hang out with. All of these things are great currency for punishments. But, this is the fifth offense for the same crime…..

A positive male role model would probably be beneficial in this situation. This can help tremendously in young teenage girls seeking male attention. I can vouch for this as I was one of those teenagers who wanted male attention (thank goodness social media was not around then!). The mother and daughter live with the daughter’s uncle, so he could possibly be a good source for this.

This single¬†mom is doing the best she can and goes to night school so I am sure it is hard for her to stay involved in her child’s daily life, but knowing the types of friends your child has is important. Teenagers are mostly influenced by their peers. I can’t speak for how their household is run, but I would encourage the mother to communicate more with her daughter on a daily basis and not only when her daughter is dong something wrong. A family counselor would be a good place to start with opening the lines of communication. If the daughter is constantly lying or hiding things, she obviously does not feel like she can come to her mother for advice.

I wish this family the best and they are not alone in this struggle with adolescent behavior and social media. I would love to hear other ideas from parents out there! If you have been in this situation or have some great advice, please share!

Big Mother is Watching YOU!

My preteen daughter, Evie, received her first cell phone last Christmas and it has turned out to be an asset on those crazy days when she is at marching band practice until the evening hours after school and I haven’t seen her all day. I remember how excited she was when she opened the tiny present under the tree and I remember telling her that I could see EVERYTHING she did on the phone just by logging in to my account online. I told her I could see all her texts, all her phone conversations and everything she looked up online. If I caught anything questionable, the phone would be taken away. I might have fibbed a little on exactly what I could see on my account but it seems to be working. I search her phone every once in a while and check the history just to make sure she is following the rules and I have yet to find anything suspicious. We also told her she was not allowed to have any boys’ phone numbers unless they were family. We are definitely not ready for that yet.

The Selfie Queen! The Selfie Queen

But recently she asked me, “Mom, can I have my own Instagram account?”

Red flags started going up in my mind immediately. Of course, we got the “all of my friends have one,” sob story from her so my husband and I had a decision to make. I’m sure many people are already shaking their head “NO!” while reading this, but we decided to go ahead and let her have one. Our ultimate decision was based on the premise that we think it is better to start early and teach her what social media is and how to properly use it, instead of having her sneak behind our backs and create her own account without us knowing about it.

These are the ground rules we set:

-no following anyone you do not personally know.

-all friends she wants to add have to be approved by us first.

-anyone posting something that we deem inappropriate will be unfollowed immediately.

-her profile must stay private to her followers only.

-I must know her password at all times.

and last but not least:

-any violation of the rules will mean the account will be terminated.

I am a big advocate of knowing what is going on in my children’s lives. I know too many parents that have no idea who their teenager’s friends are or what they do everyday after school. Then, by the time these parents realize that there is a disconnect and try to get involved, it’s too late and things are just awkward. I always try to show a genuine interest in what my children are doing or talking about. I am no expert and the teen years are just beginning for me, but my girls and I seem to have a solid foundation built where they are not scared to come to me about anything.

So, guess who’s Instagram account is on my personal cell phone? Yes, that would be my daughter’s. Is this a huge invasion of her privacy? Maybe, but she knows it is on my phone and that I have complete access. It’s social media, not her personal diary. These are the rules and if she wants the account that bad, she will follow them. I would rather know what is going on in my daughter’s life and who she is talking to than to find out one day that she didn’t come home, is missing and had been communicating with some strange guy over social media. One day, when I feel she is old enough to fully understand the dangers involved with using the internet and social media, I will loosen the apron strings. Until then, mom is big brother.

Although, I must confess, I am getting pretty tired of seeing pictures of furry kittens and puppies, and posts about everything middle school. I might die from the cuteness!