Mom's 'extreme' punishment for daughter's bullying sparks furious debate
Punishing or disciplining a child is a dangerous minefield that all parents have to navigate at some point during their lives. It's difficult to know whether you're being too strict or too lenient and what you may think is the right method of punishment, other parents may not agree with.
This is exactly the case for one Canadian mother, who undertook a unique method of punishment in order to discipline her daughter for bullying a classmate.
Amanda Mitchell, from Newfoundland and Labrador, has sparked a debate on Facebook after posting three pictures of her daughter's room on the social media platform. As punishment for her behaviour, Mitchell removed everything from the room aside from her bed and a change of clothes.
Mitchell explained that her daughter would wear the same outfit - including an anti-bullying t-shirt - every single day of the week. Not only this, but Mitchell also said that she was planning on making her daughter copy phrases such as "I will not lie," "I will be kind to everyone," and "I am responsible for my own actions" 50 times apiece.
"Welcome to Mommy’s Juvenile Detention little girl," the post reads. "Harsh? Not in my opinion. If she grows up to break the law then the result is jail and that’s not what I want for my children. I think the problem with this generation is inadequate punishment. Punishment is bad we should only use positive reinforcement and ignore all bad behaviour – NOT in this house."
Speaking to Global News, Mitchell said that her daughter tends to be well-behaved and that her antics at school were out of character. The mother says she spoke to her in order to make sure there were no underlying issues and then dished out the punishment.
"When she came home to find it, she was a little bit shocked at first but once she got over her shock, we sat down and we talked about why this behaviour was happening," she said. "She’s been very apologetic, very remorseful. She wrote a letter to her friend she was mean to. She wrote a letter to her teacher."
Mitchell said she shared the post with her mom friends as they would be able to relate. However, she didn't expect the response she has received. The now-deleted post had 59,000 shares and nearly 100,000 reactions. There were also hundreds of comments from parents who were left divided by her actions.
"Excellent…this is how to teach children there are consequences to their actions. This is how they learn," read one.
"Wow! Awesome parenting!" read another.
"Good for you, you are a strong mom," wrote another.
However, some people did question her decision for such a harsh punishment, with one observer writing:
"Wow. I really feel that this is extreme and [borderline] abuse. How old is your child? I feel that taking away toys, electronics etc. But making your child wear the same outfit to school for a week and stripping her entire room…overboard," wrote one person.
The mother-of-two says the feedback made her re-think the punishment a bit and her daughter will no longer be wearing the same outfit every day. Instead, she will have four different t-shirts.
"Ninety-nine per cent of [the comments] are pretty good. Maybe there were 15, 20 messages that were sent to me that were nasty and telling me I’m a terrible parent but I’m just not really going to entertain that," she said. "I know that I’m not doing harm to her. I’m doing everything I can to help her. I told her I’m doing this because I love her and want her to grow up to be a well-rounded individual."
"I just want people to know that I’m not a terrible parent. I try really hard to be a great mom. I’ve been a single mom for most of their lives and I’ve worked really hard to provide a good life for them."
While Mitchell's punishment may not be to everyone's taste, she is a single mother who is trying to help shape her daughter into a well-rounded individual - something that is incredibly difficult.