"Dying of embarrassment" is no longer just a saying. For one girl, it was her life.
It's safe to say that in this new day and age, kids are no longer trying to keep up with the grown folks, they are grown, and parents are now trying to keep up with them, especially in the discipline department. More than ever before, young kids and teens are gaining access to certain things that may result in alternative forms of parental discipline, placing pressure on adults to creatively- yet still dangerously- go about disciplining their children.
Enter in: The controversial act of punishment by way of "Public Shaming."
Just this week, a young teenage girl by the name of Izabel Laxamana took her own life after being publicly shamed by her father when he resorted to cutting her hair off... on camera. According to the dialogue in the video, the 13 year old got "messed up"one too many times, and Izabel's father decided to take to Youtube to share footage of what was the aftermath of him chopping off the teen's long tresses. After videotaping the hair, which could be seen scattered across the floor, the camera pans to a visibly distraught Izabel, sporting a much shorter hair do, engaging in a tough conversation:
Dad: "The consequences of getting messed up…Man, you lost all that beautiful hair. Was it worth it?”
Dad: "How many times did I warn you?"
Izabel: “A lot.”
Unfortunately, soon after the hair chopping video went live, the middle schooler later found herself hopping out of the vehicle she'd been traveling in, only to jump off a bridge and onto Interstate 5. Izavel was taken to the Seattle hospital where she was pronounced dead the following day. And because of the time frame in which the suicide took place, friends and family members of the teen are now considering whether Izabel's incurred humiliation, by way of her dad, contributed to her untimely passing. Students at her middle school have even since set up a memorial in Izabel's aka "Izzy's" honor:
So is "public shaming" to blame for Izabel's suicide? According to a few of the 13 year old's past social media statuses, Izabel, like many others her age, appeared to have been going through an awkward phase, and admitted in her more recent Google+ posts to having had difficulty fitting in with other students:
“I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged a lot... In a school with so many people its weird to say “i feel alone” but the truth is that you really do feel alone...“
It may be more than likely that Izabel suffered from a form of undiagnosed or untreated depression. Unfortunately however, although Izabel's father didn't actually push her off the ledge, it is very possible that her dad's actions may have been the catalyst that helped Izebel reach her fatal breaking point.
Although it may seem on the outside looking in that "public shaming" is down right awful, this is a tough and controversial topic to tackle. Advances in technology and social media are both very new, even to the "hippest" or youngest of parent. Most parents born in the late 70's-early 80's era, are just making this discipline stuff up as they go along. Spanking kids no longer hits them where it hurts anymore because where it hurts is an untouchable place called their "ego," and results may vary.
For example, one positive story and outcome of of public shaming gone right, is of the mother who took her young son to get an "old man" haircut. Yolanda Franklin said her son Kaiden was acting grown, so she gave him a "grown" cut to match, and Kaiden got his act all the way together right afterward:
"A couple months ago the picture on the right went viral. Everyone had their opinion I was simple I was going to scar him for life...I was a good mother and a bad mother for my decision. But my efforts worked. My baby learned his lesson and now is receiving an award for his improvement. No this is not for every child but it was for my child. I stand before him as a proud mother. He worked hard he said he was going to get an award by the end of the year and he did it!" -Yolanda
However, one Florida father by the name of Raymond Gresham actually uploaded an anti-shaming video by playfully staging a similar "grown man" haircut on his own son, only to reveal that he'd actually never do such a thing, while also encouraging parents to take preventative measures to lessen the chance of their kids rebelling.
"I'm pretty sure you've seen many videos with parents cutting their kids' hair. And today, I'm gonna follow suit…
(Raymond places the clippers to his son's hair, stops, hugs his son and then looks at the camera to say)
"There is no way in the world I would ever embarrass my son like that. It doesn't take all of that! Good parenting starts before he even gets to the point of being out of control. Good parenting is letting your child know you love them regardless of what they are and who they are and showing them a good example."
[fbvideo link="https://www.facebook.com/wayman.gresham/videos/vb.100001344741145/845152372206246/" width="500" height="400" onlyvideo="1"]
The thing is, children and teens these days are no longer as impacted by how you discipline them in the privacy of their home because quite frankly, their obsession now is with the public and how peers on social media "perceive" them through these public platforms. This is probably why some parents think that shaming is key but in reality- it's safe to say that if possible, taking preventative measures to try and avoid kids from acting up altogether is way better than having to take taking drastic measures later and only after the fact.
Clearly, this is a matter that includes knowing what is best for your child and your role as a parent.
What are your thoughts on public shaming as a form of discipline?
Check out Izabel's video of her father cutting off her hair, her memorial and video of the dad who refused to public shame his child on Page 2