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Publicly Humiliating your child...what is WITH this?!

Posted by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:39 AM
  • 96 Replies


Parents Force Girl to Hold Sign as Punishment for Being Disrespectful. Tough Love or Too Much?

Gentry and Renee Nickell tried to make their teen be more respectful by having her hold this sign in public. (Photo: …Worried about their 13 year old daughter's increasingly disrespectful behavior, Gentry and Renee Nickell of Crestview, Florida, decided to make her punishment humiliating and public. On Saturday, the teen (whose name has not been released) spent 90 minutes standing at a busy intersection with a hand-written sign describing her sins.

It read: "I’m a self-entitled teenager w/no respect for authority. I’m also super smart, yet I have 3 'D’s' because I DON’T CARE."

Passing motorists saw the teen, who was standing with her dad at the corner of Ferdon Boulevard and U.S. Highway 90 in Crestview, and snapped pictures of her with their cell phones. Some of the photos ended up on Facebook, where they were shared within the Crestview community (the Nickells said that they have not seen those photos; Yahoo! Shine was not able to find them online). Someone called the police, who showed up to talk to the teen and left after deciding that she was "aware of her punishment and she was not in any harm," Crestview police records show.

Now, however, the parents are feeling a little public humiliation of their own.

“I wasn’t even thinking about what the public was going to think,” her mom, Renee Nickell told the Northwest Florida Daily News. “I was thinking about our daughter. It was for her to be in the public and recognize what she had done wrong."

"We spend so much focus on not wanting to hurt a child's self esteem that we don't do anything," the Nickells said in a statement defending the punishment.

"Walk a mile in someone's shoes," the statement read. "We must undo at home what the world tries to tell her is better."

Renee Nickell told the Northwest Florida Daily News that the family has had a hard time since Renee's brother was killed in Afghanistan in December 2011. Her kids were close to him and his family, she explained, even taking vacations together. Since losing her uncle, Renee's 13-year-old has become more defiant at home and at school, and her grades have dropped.

"We just felt like she just kind of gave up," Renee told the newspaper. The family did not say whether they sought grief counseling for their daughter after her uncle's death, or whether they thought her lack of interest in school was a sign of depression.

Holding a sign in public wasn't their first choice for punishment. They tried grounding her before, but it didn't help, they explained. They didn't forbid her from attending activities at church, they said, because the activities were supposed to reinforce the Christian values they were struggling to instill in her. They didn't confiscate her electronics because neither she nor their two younger children, ages 2 and 6, have any, they said.

"We just got to the point where we just didn't know what else to do," Renee told the newspaper. She said that she got the sign idea from a Christian counselor "several years ago," and decided to start with a 90-minute public punishment. The girl's dad stood next to her the whole time.

"At the end, she gave me a hug in front of the police officer and she told me she was sorry," Gentry said.

But on Tuesday the Nickells were surprised to find out that their daughter's punishment had gone viral, and were shocked by the anger leveled at them for their parenting choices.

"It makes me sad to think that this young girl had experienced such a painful loss recently and because she was acting out (as many, if not most young people do for a time) in response to that trauma, she was put on public display for her sins rather than receiving professional help/intervention," commented Katherine Rebecca Newlin. "How would her parents (or any ONE of us!?) feel if they were made to stand on a public corner with any number of THEIR sins plastered all over a sign for the world to see?"

"Worst parents ever," commented Asa Semaj of San Diego. "No one likes to be humiliated, especially a 13-year-old girl, by her own parents! 13-year-old girls have been know to kill themselves over less than this. The only thing she will learn from this is to hate her family."

While people are criticizing the Nickells for the punishment, some who saw the "self-entitled" sign say they support the the family.

"I saw her Saturday morning while running errands, and I thought to myself, great job mom and dad!" Aundy Blocker of Crestview said on Facebook. "Do everything possible to keep your child on the right track! Kudos to you!"

The Nickells likely meant to call out their kid for being "selfish," "self-centered," or "entitled" ("self-entitled" isn't a word) but even so, their message obviously got through to the teenager. They told the Northwest Florida Daily News that the girl's behavior had improved since Saturday.

“I asked her, ‘Were you scarred? Traumatized?’" Renee told the newspaper. "She said, ‘No mom, I knew it was coming'."




What do you think? Personally.. I think this is horrible parenting.. wasn't public humiliation as a form of punishment out after the 1800s? You really can't think of another way to change your childs behavior, teach them a lesson, parent them.. than to have them hold a sign up?

Secondly.. how are parents so clueless to not realize that people WILL take pictures.. and their daughter will be humiliated for far longer than the hour she was made to stand at that intersection. Those pictures are online and will be there forever.

I really just don't understand in what way PARENTS think it is okay.. to take public humiliation to this level.. with their own children. I realize nut jobs and assholes and idiots are everywhere.. but come onn.

(here is where I forgoe political correctness and say that I was not shocked when I read that the mother was reccommended this punishment by a christian counselor).

by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:39 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:40 AM
1 mom liked this
Not sure how I feel about it.
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:41 AM
1 mom liked this
I would think if the child was that disrespectful they wouldn't get her to stand out there to begin with. However I know a lot of terrible teenagers and can't blame these parents for trying.
by Anonymous 3 on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:43 AM

terrible parenting, IMO - humiliating my child is something that I will never do as a parent.  lazy parenting at it's finest

by Steph on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:46 AM
14 moms liked this
I honestly don't see anything wrong with it. The teen needed a wake up call and the parents gave her one. They didn't hurt her. She had to hold a freaking sign. Lol
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by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:46 AM
4 moms liked this

This kind of stuff makes me cringe. There are other, more effective solutions. This will only breed resentment and deeper problems.

by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:46 AM

I think it's ridiculous people feel this is a good punishment. They're the crappy parents that allowed her to be spoiled and entitled.

by ♥Divalicious♥ on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Quoting rockgal81:

I honestly don't see anything wrong with it. The teen needed a wake up call and the parents gave her one. They didn't hurt her. She had to hold a freaking sign. Lol

by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM
4 moms liked this
At least they didn't pee on her
by Anonymous 4 on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:49 AM
I don't see the point. It will just cause resentment and its mean. How would you like to hold this sign up on social media and then go to work the next day?

When my son misbehaves i do the old fashioned thing and spank his ass, ground him and/or take his shit. He's been down to just a bed and dresser before. And he has all A's and is pretty well behaved at the age of 12
by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 10:49 AM
I don't think they approached it like I would have but its better than doing nothing and sitting back and watching her wreck her whole life. I was a very rebellious teen and was grounded for over a year to the point (i was living with my step mother and father) they wouldn't allow me to talk to my mom on the phone (she lived in another state) sometimes as parents we may not make the best choices but we are supposed to try and make our children respectful and productive people of society. So I might not agree with it we don't know what else they had tried or how bad she had acted at home to push them to this.
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