When Is Too Far?

5

April 16, 2015 by positivelypeachie

There was an article on Fac.ebook this morning about a youth who, when receiving his allowance in a lower amount than he expected, ripped the money to shreds and threw a tantrum. The article asks readers to comment on how they would handle the situation – and got varying responses from “I would beat his @$$” to “He’d be banned from allowance for life” to “I’d make him tape it back together, and let him try and spend it and then he’d see what shredded money does for you”.

In amongst those comments were some saying they’d make him earn it back, they’d have him volunteer to help the homeless to learn how much $10 is to someone who has nothing, and they’d make him earn it and then donate it.

And, of course, there were some that expressed their disappointment in this child’s parents, accusing them of raising a monster. Many claimed that the child needed a lesson in gratitude since he was clearly spoiled. One commenter said it was a child doing a childish thing, and the parents were just as childish posting it online for everyone to see.

Reading through all of these comments, and the article itself, I am really inclined to wonder – where’s the line?

To be honest, when I first read it I thought – well, the kid certainly sounds spoiled and like he needs a lesson in being grateful. But then I remember one time, when I was young, my sister got a doll for her birthday that I had been asking for all year. I was hurt that she got it and I didn’t, so I cut its hair. Immediately, I felt horrible. Even more so when I realized that the doll had been expensive and my parents had saved up for it. I was full of shame for this stupid, angry thing I did. My parents were very disappointed in me, because it was not the kind of thing I normally did. Yet, in a moment of anger and jealousy, I acted on impulse and ruined something that hurt not just my sister, but my parents too. Had my parents shared this story on Fac.ebook, I am sure I would have received a lot of the same reactions from readers. I wasn’t a spoiled brat in need of a lesson in gratitude; I was a child who made a bad decision in a moment of weakness and didn’t have the maturity to fully comprehend the situation. My parents explained to me why what I did was wrong. I apologized to my sister, and together we made a wig for the doll out of yarn. That was it – lesson learned and relationship mended. What I learned from that experience is that sometimes we make really stupid mistakes even though we’re better than that, and all you can do is apologize, do your best to fix it, and move on…and to forgive, both yourself and your loved ones.

My parents could have done something more dramatic, more impressionable to teach me about my mistake. But they didn’t because, to them, it was not that big of a deal. It was important for me to learn from it, but I didn’t need something life changing to do that. They taught me what they thought was important for me to learn from it, in a clear way that I could understand.

But I feel like, at no point, is public ridicule a good method to teach a child something (or anyone, for that matter). I may be out in the left field here, because I’m not a mother, but I have nephews who I am very actively involved with and I can’t imagine sharing a moment like that, when they made a mistake, with how many thousands of people who commented on this on fac.ebook. It doesn’t teach this boy anything except how cruel fac.ebook and the world can be. He made a mistake, and now his parents are publicly rubbing his nose in it. How shameful.

The people who comment on things like this baffle me: standing high and mighty on their throne, they cast stones at regular people for making regular decisions that may not agree with their lofty ideals. They claim innocence, and take the high road exclaiming how they would handle such a horrid act by a child clearly in need of discipline…perhaps forgetting that their own children may make mistakes along the road too.

The internet is a wonderful thing for a lot of reasons, but I am sending out some fierce prayers that those people making ugly comments can be blessed with just a little bit more humility.

When you were a kid, did you ever do anything you regret in a moment of weakness? How would you feel if your parents/spouse/friends/etc had posted it public for thousands of people to comment?

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5 thoughts on “When Is Too Far?

  1. torthúil says:

    I think it is utterly horrid to publicly shame a child like that, on social media or anywhere. I was a very sensitive child and such an experience would have destroyed me. Even now it would hurt a lot! Children need to learn respect, yes, but you do not teach respect by treating them disrespectfully! That makes no sense. Shaming is not disciplining. I agree with everything you said here.

    Like

  2. Amber says:

    Wow. What an awesome post with so much food for thought! Thank you for sharing your story and putting a little perspective on the world of Facebook. I never understand all the negative commenters and how people can be so mean, but it’s also important to be mindful of what we post.

    Like

  3. Mali says:

    This made me laugh first, because my little sister cut my Barbie’s hair!

    You’re absolutely right. We all have done things we’re not proud of, and when we have time top think about it, those feelings of internal shameand guilt are so strong that we don’t need to be publicly shamed as well.

    Like

  4. deathstar44 says:

    Foregiveness. Such a powerful tool and one that is rarely given in the comment section, don’t you think?

    Like

  5. earthandink says:

    The internet. Ah me. I agree with all you’ve said.

    This was a wonderful post. Glad to have read it.

    Like

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