Thursday, November 17, 2005

Scared Straight: Kid Cleans Up Act

Tough love or psychological scarring? You make the call. (Another story on this case can be found here.)

An Oklahoma City mom put her 14-year old daughter on a streetcorner with a cardboard sign to help snap her out of poor grades and bad behavior.

She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."


While Henderson stood next to her daughter at the intersection, a passing motorist called police with a report of psychological abuse, and an Oklahoma City police officer took a report. Mother and daughter were asked to leave after about an hour, and no citation was issued. But the report was forwarded to the state Department of Human Services.

Here's a photo of the mother, the daughter, and the sign.

The Usual Suspects came out against it.

Donald Wertlieb, a professor of child development at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, warned that such punishment could do extreme emotional damage. He said rewarding positive behavior is more effective.

"The trick is to catch them being good," he said. "It sounds like this mother has not had a chance to catch her child being good or is so upset over seeing her be bad, that's where the focus is."

The trick is to discipline the kid how you see fit. Considering some parents don't seem to do much it's refreshing to see someone using the stick as opposed to a bunch of carrots.

What's the old saying? When your toolbelt only has a hammer everything begins to look like a nail. Something like that.

Hail to you, mother of Coretha. You probably saved your girl's future... and maybe a couple of others, too.


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