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Little girl is humiliated by her stepmom's punishment; is it child-shaming or good parenting?

Posted June 28

It’s common to get calls or emails from your child’s school if they’ve been hurt, bullied or are sick; but what about a call saying your own kid is the problem?

Ally, a woman from Utah, got an email from her fourth grade step-daughter’s school and was shocked to hear that her sweet, loving girl, Kaylee, had been bullying one of her classmates.

When Ally asked her stepdaughter about the ongoing bullying, Kaylee wasn’t apologetic and didn’t feel bad about her actions. According to Huffington Post, “Kaylee reportedly insulted her classmate so often that the girl no longer wanted to go to class.”

A brilliant idea

Kaylee’s dad and Ally knew they needed to do something that would make Kaylee sorry for bullying this poor girl, and they knew exactly what would do the trick. They wanted to give her a taste of her own medicine.

According to an interview with ABC News, Ally decided to take Kaylee on a little shopping spree to the local thrift store. She proceeded to tell the little girl to pick out the ugliest clothes she could find.

The next day, Kaylee woke up to the news that she would be wearing the clothes she picked out from the thrift store to school for the next couple of days. Needless to say, she was embarrassed and became a victim of bullying herself.

A taste of her own medicine

Ally said, “We really think if you felt how this little girl feels, you might have a little empathy for her.”

Kaylee said that she couldn’t understand why people were bullying her for the way she dressed, because “I’m still a normal person; it doesn’t matter what you wear.”

Kaylee learned a huge lesson from this experience, and later apologized to the girl she teased. Now, they’re great friends.

Though it was a humiliating experience, Kaylee said she wouldn’t have wanted to learn the lesson any other way. This story quickly went viral and there are many differing opinions on it.

What experts have to say

Edward Hallowell, PhD, said, “Through humiliation the child learns that they’re less than, that they’re defective. I don’t think this is the way to teach empathy.” Other experts, however, thought the punishment was brilliant. Karyn Gordon, PhD and relationship and parenting expert said, “It was a very creative idea” and “She created an experiential lesson to teach empathy.”

She learned her lesson

In the end, Kaylee’s parents were happy with the results that came from the punishment. Kaylee learned her lesson and now realizes that bullying is never OK. They stand by their decision to give their daughter this experience, regardless of people telling them they were in the wrong.

What do you think - is this child-shaming or creative parenting?

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