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People are divided over parents who forced their son to hold an 'I am a bully sign' by the street

Many of those who commented on the video seemed to disagree with the assertion that this was a bad way to punish a child, especially when he's a bully.

Cover Image Source: TikTok/userxgwig52jip
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A video going viral on TikTok has sparked an online debate over whether public humiliation can ever be considered an appropriate form of punishment. The short clip, posted by TikTok user @userxgwig52jip, shows a boy standing by the side of a street holding a sign declaring himself a bully while his parents look on. Seemingly filmed from the inside of someone's car from across the street, the passengers are heard criticizing the child's parents for punishing their son in such a manner. "That's so mean!" says one of them while another reads the sign which reads: "I am a bully. Honk if you hate bullies."

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"Boo parents," one says while the other agrees that making the boy stand outside with the sign is "so foul." However, a majority of those who commented on the video—posted with the caption "dad's a bully"—seemed to disagree with the assertion that this was a bad way to punish a child, especially when he's a bully. "If you disagree with this as a form of punishment, you're soft lmao. Kid needs to learn his lesson," commented GrizLord. "Bad parents? Lol, dude you are soft, and that one great way to handle that," wrote Cesar Torres.

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"KIDS are literally unaliving themselves because of bullies. There is nothing wrong with this. Hope he learns his lesson," commented another TikTok user. "That's parenting. Discipline, embarrassment to make them never do it again. That def ain't mean," wrote Tifftiff while Killtheriffraff commented: "Y'all are too sensitive. You have no idea what that little boy could've done or said to another child." A TikTok user by the name of Hannah Davis wrote that the boy "got a taste of his own medicine" because "the kid that got bullied is embarrassed every day at school."

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"THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE AND HUMBLE HIM. I remember a mom did this to her son because he stole from someone in our apartments," commented Bella. "There is a difference between tough love and abuse. This kid is learning a lesson at best and feeling embarrassed at worst," wrote marlennebernal. Despite the popular opinion that humiliation is an appropriate punishment in such instances, experts in child development believe that punishment—in general—does not work to change behavior. Instead, it only fosters distrust between the kid and their caretakers, with the added danger of leaving the child traumatized. 

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"Punishment does not change the tendency to engage in the behavior that was punished. Instead, it makes the person want to avoid the source of punishment. As soon as the child thinks it's not being watched (as soon as the situation seems different in some way), the tendency to engage in the behavior will reassert itself," wrote psychology professor Dr. Michael Karson in 2014. "Punished children do what was punished behind their parents' backs, or as soon as they get to college. Sometimes, of course, punishment is necessary, like when you stop a child from running into a busy street. But if you want it to stick, you have to reinforce a behavior that competes with running into the street (like stopping and waiting for the light). You cannot count on punishment alone, or your kids will run into the street when you are not with them."

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