Parents Force Girl To Hold Sign: Is ‘Teen Shaming’ Abusive?

When parents force a girl to hold sign to publicly humiliate her for a perceived transgression, a part of society is pleased to see the issue of discipline at the fore — but as this trend seems to rise, it raises the question of whether “teen shaming” is an appropriate response to bad behavior.

The story of the parents who forced the girl to hold the sign at a busy intersection hit in March and is still being debated — something about these attention-attracting disciplinary tactics seems to heavily resonate.

(The punishment calls to mind the teen in the South whose father shot her laptop computer as a punishment for using profanity and disrespecting her parents on Facebook.)

The parents who decided to force their girl to hold the sign are Gentry and Renee Nickell of Crestview, Florida, and the phrase they decided upon to embarrass the teen 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.”

At the time, mom Renee defended the decision to use shame to teach the girl, saying:

“We got to the point where we just didn’t know what else to do… We just felt like she just kind of gave up.”

Nickell admits that she didn’t consider what the public would think of the parents’ decision to force the girl to hold a sign to invoke public shame, and added:

“I wasn’t even thinking about what the public was going to think… I was thinking about our daughter. It was for her to be in the public and recognize what she had done wrong… I asked her, ‘Were you scarred? Traumatized?’ She said, ‘No mom, I knew it was coming.’ ”

While the incident occurred back in mid-March, the parents who forced the girl to hold the sign were in the news again this week, as the image appears to have gone viral again.

Later, it was revealed the girl, 13, had begun to act out after her uncle was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

Do you believe it’s appropriate for parents to force their child to hold a sign as punishment, or is it unnecessarily embarrassing for a teenager making mistakes?