Bestselling Christian chick lit author ReShonda Tate Billingsley‘s Facebook recently posted a Facebook photo of her daughter and it’s going viral. The photo is part of her daughter’s punishment for abusing social media. The note she’s written and is holding up for the camera says it all:

The photo’s been shared 3,600 times and counting, with most of the comments regarding it being favorable. One poster’s commends Billingsley’s no-nonsense approach: “This is YOUR CHILD, not everybody else’s! You are her parent! I approve because if you don’t do it now, the jails or worse are waiting for her! Thank you for being courageous in training your female child to be a productive citizen of our world.” Another commenter opined, “I am so through with these uber-permissive parents telling us we’re invading our children’s privacy and embarrassing them unfairly by taking control and stepping up to the plate as moms and dads. Go, ReShonda, you have my full support!” Only a very small minority of poster dissented.

The online public rebuke seems to be on the rise as a disciplinary method for today’s tech-dependent teens, with the case of Tommy Jordan, who took to YouTube to record himself shooting his daughter’s laptop in retaliation to a Facebook rant she posted, being the most popular. Jordan faced a firestorm of controversy for his actions and, in the end, Child Protective Services made a visit to his home, just to make sure his 15-year-old, Hannah, was safe.

Jordan’s case and Billingsley’s are barely comparable, save for the fact that both parents decided to use their child’s chosen social media against them, as a way of driving home the point that disrespect–whether of self of family–wouldn’t be tolerated.

Fortunately for my generation, the internet didn’t rise to prominence until I was graduating high school. I escaped the risk of venting or posturing online, having my mind find out, and then put me on blast as chastisement. But before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, parents still had ways of publicly embarrassing their kids. I can vividly remember irate parents marching into a classroom and planting themselves in an empty chair beside their kid, upon receiving word that the child was cuttin’ up and slackin’ off. I remember tall tales about public spankings, stories that were embellished with each telling but had a leather belt in common. And I’ve heard of parents hanging their kid’s pee-stained sheets in the front lawn as a punishment for bed-wetting. And the list goes on.

In short: public chastisement is nothing new. And, I suppose, each case should be measured differently. In the case of photos like the one above, it would seem that the punishment fits the crime. The liquor-holding picture was just as publicly as the sign-holding one; the former embarrassed the mother–and, the mother likely contends, should also have embarrassed the girl–and the latter has the girl on the verge of tears, while, as Billingsley attests in her comments section, “begging for a beating [as a punishment] instead.”

What do you think? Is it ever cool to publicly punish your child? Were you ever publicly punish in full view of friends and/or strangers? Would you try this method with your own kid?

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  • bonster

    First, as for the Jordan situation, CPS only came out after hundreds of calls poured in claiming a slew of abuses (lies) completely unrelated to the video. People were making up accusations to ensure CPS responded and the Jordan family were cleared not only by CPS, but as well as the local Sheriff’s department. The daughter in question was more upset that people thought she would turn into a drug addict or a stripper because her father shot a “stupid computer.” I applaud the young lady for not taking the role of the victim and acting much more mature (y’know like an adult) than most commentary on that case or in this one.

    Second, if you are condemning this type of reactionary behavior by the parents, why are you posting the picture? Are you not furthering the goal by continuing (and also making the picture available for the entire internet as well) the so-called shaming by using the picture in your commentary or are you afraid no one is going to read your article if you don’t have proof of it? If you were truly concerned with the well being of this particular child, you could have linked to the original picture and made a spoof picture of your own. Pot meet kettle….

    • bub

      at what point during the reading of this article did you manage to hallucinate that the author is condemning such parental behaviour? read the article again. there is no such message. silly rabbit.

  • Thomas

    I absolutely condemn this mother for such actions. This new supposed “discipline by humiliation” is absolutely unacceptable and demeaning to children. SHAME ON YOU! SHAME ON YOU!. I cant say it enough.

    • MMM

      much worse than a spanking or even a beating. The problem here is that momma writes christian books lots of them, so when her little girl holds a bottle of vodka and says I wish I could drink this it kinda tells on Momma doesn’t it. That is why momma became a cruel bitch and humiliated the little girl in front of not her community or even her friends but insead the whole world. The child needs to be put in the care of her father or foster care but this christian book writing mother can not parent her child in a loving way and therefore should not be allowed to humilate the child. Some things are never forgotten. And this little girl will never truely forgive she can try she can tell herself that she did and does but she won’t there is no way she ever can. so yes this christian writing women is an unfit mother.