Deciding how to punish your children can be a tough call. Determining a fair punishment that gets the lesson across effectively without being cruel is difficult. On top of that, you have to deal with other people’s opinions and judgments. This mom in Ontario, Canada had a creative way of punishing her two sons after they misbehaved on the bus. Social media, however, had mixed reviews.
In 2018, a mom in a small town in Western Ontario in Canada received notice from her boy’s school one day about their behavior. It was not in regards to their behavior in their respective classrooms, but rather their behavior on the school bus. The school informed her that her boys had been misbehaving on the bus. What’s worse, they’d both been rude to their bus driver.
The mom was appalled that her boys would act in such a way. She wanted to not only stop their bad behavior but also drive home the lesson that being rude is never acceptable. She wanted to make sure that they recognized the consequences of their actions.
The family lived just over seven kilometers (about four and a half miles) away from the school. Mom knew that if her boys continued to act the way they were, eventually they would be permanently removed from the bus. She decided that before that happened, she would show them what their lives would be like if they couldn’t take the bus to and from school each day.
With that, she informed both of her young sons that they would be walking to school the next day. The entire 7.2 kilometers. The next morning, she woke them up early, bundled both the boys and herself up, and they walked.
Before taking off on their trek, she snapped a picture of the boys holding a sign. The sign read:
“Being bad and rude to our bus driver. Mom’s making us walk.”
She posted that picture to her Facebook page explaining why she chose the punishment she did. Comments began flooding in and the post quickly went viral.
There were many parents and others who commented praising the mom. They thought the punishment was a great idea and that the boys would have certainly learned their lesson from it. The mom confirmed that her oldest son only required one walk to learn it, however, her younger son had to walk again the next day before it really hit home for him.
Others, however, criticized the mother. The majority, however, did not criticize her for the actual punishment. Rather, they criticized her for posting it online. They said that it was a form of shaming and that it was not effective or healthy for the young boys.
“I don’t want to judge or pretend to know all of the nuances of this situation with this parent, but [it’s] something to consider when we think about putting signs on kids that says what the bad behaviour is and putting them in a position where you take their picture and put it on social media,” said Tina Gatt, manager of community outreach for the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society. “We would be concerned, and not just Children’s Aid, we should be concerned as adults, about shaming children.”