Mother Makes Son Wear "I Am a Bully" T-Shirt to School: Appropriate or Over the Top? by Jessica Acree

Headlines Parenting
4 years ago

What would you do if you found out your son or daughter had been bullying people at school? A Texas mother, who readily admits she doesn't coddle her children, chose to teach her son a lesson in a rather unique way. He wore a T-shirt to school with the words "I AM A BULLY" hand-written on both sides, made complete with a sad face.

Star, who didn't want her last name released, reveals, "He was calling other boys 'stupid,' calling them 'idiots,'" as explained in a story shared by Houston's ABC13.

The fifth grader admitted the punishment made him think twice about how his actions made him feel; he realized he didn't want to make others feel badly either. He also reportedly apologized to the people he bullied.

"I wanted to do something that would teach him why he can't do those things. Why he needs to take other people into consideration," Star explains.

The child's counselor, teachers and school officials reportedly all supported his mother's decision on how to handle the situation prior to her doing it, but it's certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution.

As you might imagine, the story has created a sea of negative feedback as well.

What do you think?

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Elisa Schmitz
Oh my! It sounds like it worked in her situation. But I’m not a big believer in shaming children, especially publicly. Wondering what our experts think about this?! Jessica Acree Mercedes Samudio Roma Khetarpal Sheryl Gould Dr. Christina Hibbert Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD Ayana Rose Doctor Harmony Eirene Heidelberger
Jessica Acree
Curious too! Each kid is so different... I really hope he did gain something that wasn't at the risk of harming HIM. Such a tough balance... this was definitely a bold move by his mom who obviously at least means well...
Julie Rose
Not sure about this
Rick St. Peter
Gee I wonder who the kid gets his bullying ideas from? Can we define what it means when she says she doesn't "coddle" her kids?
Rick St. Peter
Also, "I don't want my last name used but please put me on the news and show the school my son goes to??" Piss off, mom...
Elisa Schmitz
Excellent point, Rick St. Peter ! You're right, it's like she's bullying him right back, which makes you wonder why he's a bully in the first place! Parents are their kids' role models, after all. GEEZ!
Joe Campbell
I wonder if the mom would be comfortable wearing a shirt that reads,"My son is a bully."?
Rick St. Peter
Or one that says "He learned it from me."
Jessica Acree
Rick St. Peter Joe Campbell She's definitely reinforcing bullying behavior while trying to show him how wrong it is. I bet that family is a tangled web. I hope the boy manages to learn the intended lesson while avoiding new trauma.
Keith Sereduck
I'm gonna go in another direction and say that, learned from her or not (giving her the benefit of the doubt), good on her. Followed by: maybe the child shouldn't have been bullying other kids. Its a slippery slope sometimes but if it worked, kudos to her and hopefully he learned his lesson. With bullying as out of control as it is, sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures.
Jessica Acree
I feel like it's one of those cases of... no one knows their own child better than their parents, so perhaps this was one way they knew they could get to him to see that his behavior was not productive? I know it's not a punishment fit for every kid (not mine!), but maybe for him... it did the trick. I sure hope so.

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