The world is ever changing, and methods of discipline are not exempt from recent social movements. There is a current trend arising of “viral discipline” that has taken the internet by storm. Parents, guardians, aunts and uncles who have caught their children indulging in web-related sins are now creating videos that are to call their kids on the carpet for the embarrassing acts they have committed.
The first video I ever saw using this method was an uncle who had caught his nephew using profane language on a social media website, claiming he was in a gang, being disrespectful and basically a bunch of inappropriate stuff. All the things he was saying was a “front”, not really reflecting him as a person, his morals, and his upbringing.
In an act of correction and discipline, the uncle videotaped his nephew, making him confess that all he was saying online were lies, then hitting him with a belt repeatedly as a “rod of correction”. That was probably a year ago I saw the video. Recently, the boy was killed—shot in front of his own home. Allegedly the boy was teased and ridiculed by what his uncle had done. What he was doing though was living a life of lies, wanting to be a “gangsta” and (I'm assuming) wanted respect.
Is what the uncle did the reason why this boy is dead today? No. What the uncle did was try to get his nephew on the right track. Did he do it in an appropriate way? This is where the argument starts for me.
Growing up, my parents had rules and taught me right from wrong. When I would mess up, or do something to someone, my mom would make me go and apologize to that person and let them know I know better than to misbehave. Luckily, this was something I really only had to do with my siblings because I was raised right and I didn't act out with others or in front of others. But in this instance, if I were to offend my viral audience, then yes, it is appropriate for the child to go and apologize to the people they offended with their comments and actions. But—my parents would never FORCE me to make a video and try to humiliate me.
Discipline should be done in private, not publically so everyone can mock and laugh at your child! I would never put my child in a position to hurt their ego or self-esteem. Two wrongs definitely don’t make a right in this situation. I have seen videos of young girls crying on camera while someone is coaching them on what to say in their apology video. Will that really change a child, or just make them more resentful and rebel even more??
It probably won’t change them. Kids act out usually because of something else that’s going on, and when they can’t talk about it or don’t feel comfortable it comes out in other things they do.
I’m not saying to never discipline a child, but when their actions are completely out of character, sitting down and talking might make a world of difference. If a parent’s first reaction is always to leap down their child’s throat, nothing will ever get resolved. My mother was the disciplinarian out of my two parents, and I must say she 99% of the time gave us a chance to come clean and express ourselves before anything else. Parents also can’t get mad about something they have never taught their child. If you never told your child lying is bad, you can’t get mad when they lie. Parents can’t rely on kids to just know better or thinking their school will teach them about life lessons.
I’m not saying that all kids are just acting out, some kids are just bad. But I’m a Christian and a strong believer that if you “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”(Proverbs 22:6 NKJV). Because my mother made sure to keep me in church, both my parents taught me right from wrong, invested in me, even put me in counseling when I had life issues, they don’t have to worry about me acting out now that I am almost 26.
One thing my mom faithfully told me is “don’t go out there embarrassing me”. It seems like a very self-centered statement, but it is accurate. When you see a teenager or child acting out in public or on social media the first thing you think is “why does her parent let her act like that? She acts like she ain’t got no good sense!!” I know that was a very country statement, but bare with me my family is from the South! The way a child acts is a reflection of how they have been raised and what the parent and parenting style is like. If a 7 year old is cussing and fighting, trust and believe this is either something the parent is doing, or something the parent is allowing the child to be exposed to. At that age, you really only know what you have been shown.
Again, my opinion is only my view point and it doesn’t apply to every situation. Children spend the majority of their day at school and with friend’s influences and TV when they are home it’s impossible to shield them from all the negative things that are being fed to them. But if you have done what is appropriate as a parent, you will never have to make a viral video of your children making a public apology because you would have already done everything to prevent it from ever happening.