‘Welcome to Mommy’s Juvenile Detention’: how a N.L. mom’s punishment for her 9-year-old went viral
A Facebook post from a mother in Newfoundland and Labrador on how she’s punishing her nine-year-old daughter for bullying and bad behaviour has gone viral.
And fellow parents have plenty to say about it.
On Saturday, Amanda Mitchell posted three pictures of her daughter Hannah’s room. As punishment for acting up in school and bullying a friend, Mitchell took everything out of the young girl’s room except her bed and a change of clothes.
Mitchell explains her daughter would wear the same outfit, which included an anti-bullying T-shirt, every single day (but she would wash it at night when the girl was asleep).
For good measure, Mitchell also planned to make her daughter copy phrases — 50 times apiece — including “I will not lie,” “I will be kind to everyone” and “I am responsible for my own actions.”
“Welcome to Mommy’s Juvenile Detention little girl,” the post reads.
“Harsh? Not in my opinion. If she grows up to break the law then the result is jail and that’s not what I want for my children. I think the problem with this generation is inadequate punishment. Punishment is bad we should only use positive reinforcement and ignore all bad behaviour – NOT in this house.”
Mitchell tells Global News her daughter is usually very well-behaved and her actions last week were out of the ordinary. The mother-of-two says she spoke to her daughter to make sure there were no underlying issues on why she was acting out, and then decided to dole out the punishment.
“When she came home to find it, she was a little bit shocked at first but once she got over her shock, we sat down and we talked about why this behaviour was happening,” she said.
“She’s been very apologetic, very remorseful. She wrote a letter to her friend she was mean to. She wrote a letter to her teacher.”
Mitchell, who declined to say where in Newfoundland she lives, says she initially made the post on Saturday to share with her local “mom friends” because she figured they could relate.
What she didn’t anticipate, was the overwhelming interest and response.
As of Monday afternoon, the post has about 59,600 shares and more than 98,000 reactions. There are also a couple hundred comments — many from fellow parents.
“Excellent…this is how to teach children there are consequences to their actions. This is how they learn,” read one.
“Wow! Awesome parenting!” read another.
“Good for you, you are a strong mom,” wrote another.
The majority of comments, it appears, are favourable. Some did question her parenting and her decision to make the public post.
“Wow. I really feel that this is extreme and [borderline] abuse. How old is your child? I feel that taking away toys, electronics etc. But making your child wear the same outfit to school for a week and stripping her entire room…overboard,” wrote one person.
Mitchell says the feedback online did cause her to re-think her punishment … a bit.
Her daughter won’t be wearing the same outfit every day. Instead, she will rotate through four anti-bullying shirts.
As well, her daughter will be copying 25 lines instead of 50.
“Ninety-nine per cent of [the comments] are pretty good. Maybe there were 15, 20 messages that were sent to me that were nasty and telling me I’m a terrible parent but I’m just not really going to entertain that,” she said.
“I know that I’m not doing harm to her. I’m doing everything I can to help her. I told her I’m doing this because I love her and want her to grow up to be a well-rounded individual.”
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Mitchell says her daughter has already “earned” a few of her belongings back, including some books, her side table and lamp.
She plans to wrap up her punishment by Friday and hopes it will be the first, and last, time she has to institute such a drastic disciplinary measure.
“I just want people to know that I’m not a terrible parent. I try really hard to be a great mom. I’ve been a single mom for most of their lives and I’ve worked really hard to provide a good life for them.”
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