When traditional punishment wasn’t enough, one Fort Wayne, Ind. mother took a more creative route to get her son to change his ways: She made him wear a placard publicly proclaiming his crimes.
Dynesha Lax made her 14-year-old son stand on a street corner for two hours, wearing a sign that said, “I lie, I steal, I sell drugs, I don’t follow the law,” after saying that few hours of community service he received for his law-breaking behavior wasn’t enough.
“Since he’s looking for attention, we’re going to get you attention,” Lax said.
The sign has garnered controversy, with people split on the issue.
“Boy, that seems awfully harsh,” parent Dean Vidal said to CBS station WCBS in New York.
However, mother of three and parenting expert Tammy Gold thinks Lax might be on to something – as long as it doesn’t cause harm to the child. “At first glance it seems cruel and hurtful and not something that a parent would do. As a clinician, I think about it like maybe that’s the only thing that will work with her son,” Gold said.
Lax isn’t not the only one who has used unconventional disciplinary methods. WATE-TV reportedin 2007 that a Knoxville, Tenn. father made his son wear a sign that said “I abuse and sold drugs” in front of his middle school. The son said he learned his lesson.
Also in 2007, an Alabama judge ordered two Wal-Mart shoplifters to wear a sign that said “I am a thief, I stole from Wal-Mart,” according to an article in USA Today. Lisa King Fithian, one of the convicted shoplifters, called the punishment “cruel.”
Parents have come up with other creative punishments, but not all have been legal. Two New York parents brought their 6-year-old daughter to their local police precinct for misbehaving. Though they claimed it was to scare her into shaping up, they were charged with child endangerment and attempting to abandon their child.