Public shaming as punishment – great idea or potential reputation problem?

Public shaming as punishment – great idea or potential reputation problem?

Lately, there have been many photos circulating throughout the social sites showing fed up parents using bold public punishments for their children.   If a child makes a bad decision these days, they not only have to worry about their legal record following them around now, but also their social media history.  From more mild classified ads…Very mad mother selling son's pickup truck after busting him for drinking and driving.

…to public humiliation…

kid shame

…to flat out criminal accusations, complete with horrible grammar…


…parents all over are taking to the streets (or social media) to test out creative consequences on their children. I’ve seen many people commend these parents for calling out their kids and forcing them to recognize their errors, while some people say these punishments are too harsh.  My concern is less immediate and more about the future.  In several years, when these kids are trying to get jobs or applying to colleges, what happens when someone recognizes them as that kid they saw holding the sign claiming that they’re a thief?  If I were to venture a guess, I’d say not many employers are going to want to take that risk.

So what do you think?  Is this a great parenting tactic, or are they setting their kids up for failure down the line?  Is it appropriate in some instances, like the ones above that don’t show the children’s faces or mention their names, but not in the last image showing the child’s face?  Is branding someone as a thief or a troublemaker early in life going to stick with them for years to come?  Does it matter at all?

2 Comments for “Public shaming as punishment – great idea or potential reputation problem?”
  1. The first concern of parents should be correcting dangerous or destructive behavior on the part of their child. Reputation issues years hence will be of no concern if the kid doesn’t live that long or is incarcerated.

    Having said that, I’d resort to some kind of public shaming (if at all) only after trying more supportive approaches to behavior modification, and I’d avoid putting the child’s name in public documents, social media, etc. One danger is that even if the parent is careful to avoid leaving footprints that will show up in Google later, friends, classmates, etc. may create that content on their own.

Comments are closed.