Bestselling Christian chick lit author ReShonda Tate Billingsley‘s Facebook recently posted a Facebook photo of her daughter and it’s going viral. The photo is part of her daughter’s punishment for abusing social media. The note she’s written and is holding up for the camera says it all:

The photo’s been shared 3,600 times and counting, with most of the comments regarding it being favorable. One poster’s commends Billingsley’s no-nonsense approach: “This is YOUR CHILD, not everybody else’s! You are her parent! I approve because if you don’t do it now, the jails or worse are waiting for her! Thank you for being courageous in training your female child to be a productive citizen of our world.” Another commenter opined, “I am so through with these uber-permissive parents telling us we’re invading our children’s privacy and embarrassing them unfairly by taking control and stepping up to the plate as moms and dads. Go, ReShonda, you have my full support!” Only a very small minority of poster dissented.

The online public rebuke seems to be on the rise as a disciplinary method for today’s tech-dependent teens, with the case of Tommy Jordan, who took to YouTube to record himself shooting his daughter’s laptop in retaliation to a Facebook rant she posted, being the most popular. Jordan faced a firestorm of controversy for his actions and, in the end, Child Protective Services made a visit to his home, just to make sure his 15-year-old, Hannah, was safe.

Jordan’s case and Billingsley’s are barely comparable, save for the fact that both parents decided to use their child’s chosen social media against them, as a way of driving home the point that disrespect–whether of self of family–wouldn’t be tolerated.

Fortunately for my generation, the internet didn’t rise to prominence until I was graduating high school. I escaped the risk of venting or posturing online, having my mind find out, and then put me on blast as chastisement. But before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, parents still had ways of publicly embarrassing their kids. I can vividly remember irate parents marching into a classroom and planting themselves in an empty chair beside their kid, upon receiving word that the child was cuttin’ up and slackin’ off. I remember tall tales about public spankings, stories that were embellished with each telling but had a leather belt in common. And I’ve heard of parents hanging their kid’s pee-stained sheets in the front lawn as a punishment for bed-wetting. And the list goes on.

In short: public chastisement is nothing new. And, I suppose, each case should be measured differently. In the case of photos like the one above, it would seem that the punishment fits the crime. The liquor-holding picture was just as publicly as the sign-holding one; the former embarrassed the mother–and, the mother likely contends, should also have embarrassed the girl–and the latter has the girl on the verge of tears, while, as Billingsley attests in her comments section, “begging for a beating [as a punishment] instead.”

What do you think? Is it ever cool to publicly punish your child? Were you ever publicly punish in full view of friends and/or strangers? Would you try this method with your own kid?

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  • Natsuka (Summer Child)

    I do not believe it is cool for a parent to punish their child publicly.

    My mother did not hesitate to get loud or smack us (My sister and I) in public and it did not feel good at all.

    I would NEVER publicly punish my kid if I had one.

    • JessicaMercedes

      Punishment isn’t supposed to feel good. I would think that if a child knew they would be punished, especially if it would be in public, they would try harder to stay out of trouble.

    • JessicaMercedes

      I should also say that I do respect your decision not to publicly humiliate your future children. I’m not saying what your mom did was right or wrong, my dad did the same thing to me, and if come up with a better alternative then kudos. :)

    • Natsuka (Summer Child)

      We weren’t doing anything to get in trouble. My mother has anger issues and gets ticked off by the smallest of things.

    • Alyssa

      We would not have known that about your mother. It’s common for parents to punish their children publicly in various ways so I think she(Jessica Mercedes) was saying is that in general a punishment especially a public one would be more likely to hinder rude behavior. One would hope punishments have a purpose(i.e. a child was misbehaving)

  • MeMe

    I was embarrased in front of my friends one evening when I was a child because I always liked to stay after school with my friends to play. One evening my mom came down and I got licks in front of everyone so you know that was the end of that!!! I’m not sure if I can be that type of parent, although I agree with the method. When I become a parent may be I’ll see things differently!!!

  • Trinasobad

    I remember watching my mom whoop my sis right outside of her class. Lol! I support this woman’s parenting methods.

  • I got sense!

    Love it. Ont beat them take their precious technology from them. The o,der generations can do without social media, tv, play stations, and wii games for an extended period of time but the kids will go crazy because they have never known a time without them.

    Back when I was a kid punishment meant I couldn’t go outside to play. Stuck in the house looking out the window at all my friends playing was torture. My dog had also recently had puppies so all the kids in the neighborhood were at my house playing with my puppies. Omg it hurts now, thinking about it, lol.

    Spanked (1-3 licks) on the hand with a hand until age 5 is the most the little ones in my family get now. Past age 5 and they are far too intelligent for physical punishment. Teaching lessons by withholding things (can’t play in sports, no outside play, no electronic play, no tv, no toys, no extracurricular activity, no cell phone, no car, etc) is much more effective at teaching long term lessons like obeying authoritative figures and being respectful. Kids must be taught right from wrong and that lesson must be reinforced constantly not only through words but through actions. And if they disobey they must be appropriately punished. I think this woman did a great job and more parents should do the same. Put the belt down and really start thinking about what would be a fitting punishment for misbehaving.

  • iQgraphics

    I believe public humiliation at the hands of a parent will land your kid on a couch in their adult life. I don’t agree with it.

    My kid does not have social media.