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2 Bumps

Mom gives bullying daughter a unique punishment

Putting a stop to bullying in schools can be a difficult task for teachers, but a mom from Murray, who found out her daughter was relentlessly teasing another student, decided to teach her a lesson by giving her a taste of her own medicine.

“She really needs to know that this had such an effect on someone else’s life,” said the mother, Ally, whose last name we have omitted to protect her daughter Kaylee’s privacy.

Wednesday, Ally received an email from Kaylee’s teacher explaining that she had been bullying another student because of how she dressed. The harassment had been taking place for the last three weeks, and according to the teacher, the student no longer wanted to come to school.

“She would take her out on the playground and call her names, and tell her she was a slob and tell her she dressed like a sleaze,” Ally said. “Someone not wanting to go to school anymore based off of something that one other little person said to them. I mean, that’s huge, that’s damaging.”

But when Ally addressed the issue with her daughter after school that day, she said Kaylee did not show any remorse for what she had done. The reaction prompted Ally to instead show her daughter why her behavior was unacceptable.

“I thought this is a perfect moment for us to really teach her, this is right, this is wrong, which path are you going to take? And then it’s her choice,” said Ally.

The fourth grader’s mother went to a local thrift shop and bought about $50 worth of clothing that she knew her daughter would never want to wear. Thursday morning, Kaylee awoke to find an unflattering outfit on the bathroom door with a pair of old sneakers below it. Ally explained to Kaylee that she would be wearing the ensemble to school that day.

“I died. I did,” said Kaylee, who admitted she cried when she first looked at the clothes.

In the two days Kaylee had to dress in the outfits her mother selected, she admitted she became the target of unkind words.

“They talk behind my back,” she said of her classmates.

The experience, while effective, strays from the norm, according to Dr. Douglas Goldsmith of the Children’s Center.

“What happens with that is the person walks away at the end saying, ‘Now I’m really angry, that was humiliating and now I’m angry,’” Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith recommends a different approach when dealing with cases of bullying.

“What may be better for most parents is if we teach children empathy by having them volunteer at a place where there’s poor people,” he said.

But after school Friday, she was not angry. Embarrassed, maybe, by what her friends thought of her clothes, but also understanding of the lesson her mother was hoping she would learn.

When asked by her sister why she should not bully people, Kaylee replied, “Because it’s stupid and it’s mean. It hurts them.”

Ally concedes it was hard to watch her daughter struggle through those two days at school, but she thinks the experience was an important one for Kaylee to have.

“If she chooses to be a bully after this, then at some point in her life, she’s going to be on the other side and she’ll know what it really feels like. And I think now that she knows what it feels like, and she doesn’t want to be that person anymore because she knows how hurtful it is.”

Did the mom do the right thing or should the punishment been different?


Asked by LostSoul88 at 12:35 PM on May. 18, 2013 in Parenting Debate

Level 40 (119,496 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (22)
  • Give it 6 weeks, she'll be at it again, for a different reason - someone's hair, or teeth, or acne. 2 days is nothing - about as meaningful as those guys who "simulate" pregnancy for a few hours and think it makes them understand.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:39 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I think the mom did an excellent job. However, my question is $50 at a thrift store for only two days of clothes? That seems a bit odd. If she bought clothes for a whole week, I wonder why she changed her mind after the second day.

    Answer by JeremysMom at 12:43 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • Se did fine by me, sometimes a dose of ones own medicine can be a real eye opener,

    Answer by funlovinlady at 12:41 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I think it was a good idea. As a kid, I was always bullied because of the way I dressed. And just like the bullied girl in this story, I didn't want to go to school anymore because of it. I skipped school all the time just to avoid bullying. All because my parents thought their money was better spent on cigarettes and alcohol. I had to babysit just to be able to buy my own clothes from a thrift store because my parents wouldn't buy me any.

    Answer by Lobelia at 1:53 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I think the mom did a good thing, although I might have made it last longer than 2 days to make sure she fully understood the gravity of the situation.

    We tell our kids that they nice things we supply them with are a privilege that they earn based on their behavior. They have to earn those privileges, it isn't their right as our children to have nice stuff. We would cut it all out in a heartbeat if they were abusing others.

    I grew up poorer than poor. I say that because we most certainly qualified for aid, but my dad was too proud and refused it. We never had anything new. My daughter once asked me how many Barbies I had as a kid (she has many), I told her ONE and it had been a gift. I know how it feels to be made fun of and I would never allow my kids to act like that. While we aren't rich, we are comfortable and can do things for our kids that some can't do. We would cut them off in a heartbeat for being cruel.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:23 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • If you click on the article link, it shows about 5 outfits. As I stated before, I think the mom did an excellent job, however, I do wonder why she chose to stop after day 2. Was it because the girl learned her lesson (or showed remorse). Or if she thought she decided to back down from her decision. I was just honestly curious.

    Answer by JeremysMom at 12:54 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I think that this mothers method of punishment could be helpful as a part of a lesson as long as it is not just a lone method of punishment.

    As with all things an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The environment that your children are in on a regular basis shapes their view, their focus and their actions. What you focus on as their parent and the things you say about yourself and others makes a big impact on your children. Make sure that the things you say (and do) are not so heavily focused on appearances and materialistic things. If your children see you empathising with people and reaching out to those who are mistreated and troubled then they learn to do those things as well.

    It is also important to monitor the friendships your children have. Talk with them about how their friends treat one another and if they are picking up some bad behaviors help them to sort out (cont)

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 1:00 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • what they are picking up on. Encourage them to make friends with those who need a friend. Talking with them and teaching them helps them to feel empowered enough to stand up and do what is right when these things happen.

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 1:05 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • The Mom did the right thing and I hope she encourages her daughter to get to know the other girl. She may end up finding her best friend in this other girl.

    Answer by virginiamama71 at 2:22 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I could see it working with some kids, if they ordinarily had empathy fortheir peers. But others would just get angry and feel sorry for themselves. I'm glad it seemed to work for this girl so far.

    Honestly, in a way, I like it better than the idea of volunteering someplace where there are poor people. I'm all for vollunteering, but in a way that doesn't lead to "I'm not one of those people, I'm helping those people." The last thing we need is taking kids to see poor people like animals at the zoo.

    Answer by Ballad at 3:16 PM on May. 18, 2013