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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  • Eric Jang

    “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel”

    I don’t know if publicly humiliating a kid like that is a good idea. Reminds me of the good’ol days with gallows and tomato-throwing.

  • B

    Pictures are forever. When that young girl becomes an adult and goes to find a job, that picture of her as a teen holding a bottle of liquor may appear. If she wants show the world wide web a picture of her acting crazy, why shouldnt she be disciplined for the world wide web as well?

    Parents should be parents. Not friends

  • Totally legit — the punishment fits the crime. This mom is using natural consequences to parent. If she puts up pictures of herself boozing at age 20, it might result in much more than mere embarrassment. She could lose out on a job, get expelled from college, etc. The mother is teaching her the perfect lesson.

  • James

    All of you people classing this woman’s form of punishment for her daughter as ‘bullying’ and ‘abuse’ CLEARLY have no idea what bullying or abuse actually are. Get yourselves a dictionary and look up the meanings. It’s a punishment, pure and simple. Employing all this hyperbole and talking like she slapped her daughter around is simply ridiculous. Someone even questioned what this might do to her daughter later in life! Seriously, get a grip. YOU might be a precious little weeping flower but most people are made of sterner stuff and can handle it. If you can’t then it’s about time you learned. Again, those whining about bullying and abuse are most likely the sort of people who fall apart and play the victim if a person so much as looks at them the wrong way. Grow up.

  • Tami

    I see nothing wrong with what the mother did…Sometimes you just got to play hard ball with these kids. That’s what they understand. I believe in tough love. Bet you her daughter won’t be doing that again.