14 yr old boy needs punishment

Jennifer - posted on 11/02/2015 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My 14 yr old boy decided to post a pic of "himself" and send it to his GF. he hasn't even kissed a girl yet!! That was the first I heard from the girls parents. I have taken his phone, computer, games, TV and he has been removed of all social media. I went through all of these things and snapchat and Kik are a parents worst nightmare!!! The msgs I have read between these kids is appalling. That was two weeks ago. This week he decided to joke with friends about "putting it in their butt" Now, I had already read the msgs these boys and girls send each other. They think it's "cool" to talk about sex acts disgusting or not!! Another student recorded this conversation and sent it to the principal. Which I in turn got a phone call. He is suspended IN school for 2 days. I told him since he seems to not understand how to be a gentleman he will dress like one!! Bc he is a child he will dress like one. Meaning, I bought him a minion T shirt to wear to school and plain button up shirts to wear and with a tie and lophers. This is mortifying for an 8 th grader. I have NOTHING left in my bag full of punishments left. His friend was caught with marijuana so we now do random drug tests (all have been -) What else can I do???

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Jodi - posted on 11/03/2015

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These apps are atrocious. But in addition to removing his access, you actually need to have a discussion with him about the fact that what he did is actually a criminal offence, and the girls parents could technically take it to the police and he could be charged with distribution of child pornography. Find a story somewhere where this has happened to someone. Or make an appointment to speak to a police liaison to explain to him the criminal implications of this kind of behaviour.

It is also time to have a discussion with him about sexual harassment - this is a legal issue too. Cracking lewd jokes and talking about sex acts needs to be addressed. Does the school have a sexual harassment officer? A suspension is a consequence but it certainly doesn't prevent or stop the behaviour - there needs to be another layer focused on education. In addition to the suspension, is the school doing anything about this behaviour?

Your idea to make him wear a minion t-shirt is not a particularly logical consequence. Humiliating him is not going to help him learn what sexual harassment looks like, or the consequences of child pornography. Humiliation is not an appropriate consequence. You say you have nothing left in your bag of punishments, but what have you done to be proactive in educating him about these things? Punishment shouldn't always be the priority - sure, it can play a part, but there are things you can do that will have greater impact than a punishment will ever have.

Ev - posted on 11/04/2015

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""My choice to dress him myself was made as not so much as a punishment as it was for a lesson! When I was in college we conducted a social experiment with a group of 4th graders. 10 students wore Tshirts saying "On my worst behavior" the remaining students wore shirts that said "I am a model student". 7/10 wearing the bad behavior shirt got into trouble in one way or another. The kids wearing the model shirts were well behaved and kept themselves focused on the lesson and teacher. Now I know that some find this ridiculous. But I however found it quite affective. The term "Dress for Success" didn't come from seeing a kid with his pants dropped to half his fanny and wearing offensive clothing. "" ----- I have to disagree with this whole assessment and this experiment and findings. To me what you tell a person can make a great impact on them even wearing a shirt with the saying on it. The more you say to someone they are such and such, they will more than likely act on that. Kids are sponges. They soak up everything people tell them. I do not see how it works here with the form of punishments.------

We are very aware of how we present ourselves through our clothing, mannerisms and how we use our speech. ----I do agree with this statement to a point. We do present ourselves in dress and manners and so on but a parent should also be teaching a child that what is on the inside counts as well. We should dress the right way for the situation at hand. It is only right that for a job you use the uniform or the type of clothing needed.---
""This suggestion was taken as matter of fact, from a close friend that her daughter wanted to dress in very revealing attire. She chunked her clothes and replaced them with attire fit for a young lady. Her grades went up. Her behavior changed. She was treated with respect.""---While I agree girls should not be wearing revealing clothes at all, its not just the clothing that makes a person. Its how she acts around others, speaks and presents herself as well. And maybe all she did was want to wear the clothes because her friends were or she had seen it on tv or a magazine. As I said kids are sponges and they look up to the so called role models in celeberties and others where some of the ideas come from.---
--- That is all I did with picking out his attire for a month. Nothing is wrong with dressing for success. If he can see himself as a gentleman he will act as one! I also had his long hair cut. Not to humiliate him but so he can see himself as a clean cut kid! He loves his hair short now as he has gotten compliments from his teachers and fellow students. The way you perceive yourself is the behavior you exude to others. Nothing I did was meant to be condescending. "---It is up to the parent to decide the acceptable behaviors and things their kids do or wear. We got that. At the same time you have to understand to us making a kid wear something like that is not part of the punishment. Its a good lesson to teach any kid at any time. They need to know that others do take how we look into consideration as well as how we act and speak. But the best of a person is on the inside and we should be teaching that as well.

Raye - posted on 11/04/2015

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Jennifer, this is an international site, and you will get many different opinions on here. Some you may agree with, and some you won't. All we have to formulate our advice comes from just the small amount of information that you write. And sometimes it's hard to know the intent of the OP when it's lost in other details. And sometimes it's those other details (while being helpful to know) can redirect the responses in a different direction than you intended.

The moms that have been responding are regulars to this site. Dove is usually pretty on the mark for what many of us are thinking. I don't think she "bashes" people, but she does make people accountable for their words and how those words "sound" to the readers. It did sound like you were intentionally trying to humiliate your son, and that is not how many of us would respond in that situation (and humiliation can be mental abuse). I understand your explanation (very thought out) regarding dressing for success, I still fail to realize where the minion shirt fits into that (it actually seems to be a step back). Yes, he's still a child. But he needs to learn to act more responsibly, so "reminding him he's a child" seems weird. For me, that's neither here nor there. So, I don't have anything left to say about it.

The fact is, you need to be more active in monitoring his online image and making sure he is acting respectably and responsibly with internet, phone, computers, etc. It's a new world of dangers that we didn't have as kids, and can easily have longer lasting effects than what these kids understand. Stay involved with your kids. Know what they're up to so you can guide them properly. I think that's the main point to take away from this. Removing privileges, taking his phone, etc. are all reasonable and can be effective methods of punishment. As he gets those privileges back, you need to keep an eye on what he's doing to keep him in line. And praise him for good behavior.

Sarah - posted on 11/03/2015

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I hope you and your son aware that his action could STILL have legal and long term consequences. Posting porn on the internet is not a "well you were a kids so we'll overlook it" sort of thing. His future college enrollment, employment and desired profession could all be affected. The first thing I do when I have a potential new hire is google the name, DOB and see what comes up. These pics could turn up in ten years and keep him from getting his teaching license, or doctor, or nurse or whatever. It isn't about teaching them what will happen next time.....it is teaching them to not do it at all. EVER If this were one of my kids, they'd not get more than a cheap flip phone until they can pay for it themselves at this point. I am not going to comment on the clothing.

Jodi - posted on 11/03/2015

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So Jennifer, why did you come here for advice if you are simply going to ignore it and put the minions t-shirt on anyway?

I can tell you now, children will also make changes based on the respect of the person who they have the conversation with. Placing a minions t-shirt on him and humiliating him is really not going to help and may, in fact hinder. He won't respect you for it.

You've stated that you've already had the conversation, and that he understood that and took notice of it. You've already removed his devices and access. Why do you even need to add another layer to all of that? The sending pictures and saying "putting it in their butt" are two totally different things. Just have a conversation about sexual harassment. He had a suspension. Done, over with. If it happens again, THEN be concerned about it.

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Dove - posted on 11/04/2015

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If you have only read me attacking people... you haven't seen much. lol

I am blunt and yes, I come off as rude sometimes. Some of the things I see people post completely baffle me beyond belief. My INTENTION is never to harm though... just as, apparently, your intention was never to humiliate your son... See, it's very easy to misread people online because all you have is the way they write to go on... not THEM as people. ;)

Yeah... Dove has nothing to do w/ peace. That's not why I chose that screen name.

Jodi - posted on 11/04/2015

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"My initial question on my post was asking for moms to give me some advice on future punishments."

Jennifer, I just want to point out that this actually was not really clear on your initial question. It really wasn't. This is why I was asking what advice you were actually after. Until your very latest posts (after I asked that question) I honestly couldn't tell exactly what it was you were after. Nowhere was it clear you were asking about future behaviour.

My advice on future behaviour is that the punishment should fit the crime. Some of what you have done in the past meets this (eg. removing devices, etc for inappropriate use) and some doesn't (eg. minions t-shirt for him saying "taking it up the butt"). In the future, think about a punishment/consequence that is linked to the behaviour. And be consistent. Children may make the same mistake more than once sometimes - it takes consistency of consequence before they learn. Don't assume that just because a child repeats a behaviour once or twice they are not learning the lesson. Consistency is always key.

Just so you know, I am coming from the perspective of not only a parent who has raised teens, but also a teacher of 12-16 year olds and a psychology graduate.

Jennifer - posted on 11/04/2015

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"Dove" obviously not meant for the representation of peace; It is amazing to me that every single post I have read of yours to other moms have been nothing but an opportunity for you to bash others. It is so easy to hide behind a profile!! You seem to prey on people for an opportunity to go trolling to insult others. I do not wish to hear your criticisms as they are not constructive and frankly quite rude!! I am new to this site and don't know who can see or not see what is written. And yes I accidentally posted twice. I am new here. You obviously don't take the time to consider the responses with any heart. You just use them to further your bashing. We ALL make parenting mistakes and I don't claim to be perfect. I would like to see your Motherhood Award!! Lol. Kids weren't born with an instruction manual. That is why I asked for advice. No of course you don't know what "my son will do next". It's absurd for you to be so patronizing to someone you don't even know. Keep your insults to yourself where my posts are concerned please. The only bully I see on here is you.

Jennifer - posted on 11/04/2015

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Thank you first for not being condescending or judgmental. I have definitely discussed the consequences of what he did. He KNOWS that he got off easy as far as her parents were concerned. I don't know who can or can not read responses to this post bc I am new here. But I had stated earlier that these things were dealt with immediately after I was notified. I am friends with all of the kids parents and know them quite well. We are in a very very small community. His school has about 300 students max that are from pre-k to 12th. Same campus. We are very small here in the Bible Belt.
My choice to dress him myself was made as not so much as a punishment as it was for a lesson! When I was in college we conducted a social experiment with a group of 4th graders. 10 students wore Tshirts saying "On my worst behavior" the remaining students wore shirts that said "I am a model student". 7/10 wearing the bad behavior shirt got into trouble in one way or another. The kids wearing the model shirts were well behaved and kept themselves focused on the lesson and teacher. Now I know that some find this ridiculous. But I however found it quite affective. The term "Dress for Success" didn't come from seeing a kid with his pants dropped to half his fanny and wearing offensive clothing.
We are very aware of how we present ourselves through our clothing, mannerisms and how we use our speech. With my son visualization is what he relates to. As do I.
My intention was to remind him he is indeed still a kid. (He has a friend with the same shirt). This suggestion was taken as matter of fact, from a close friend that her daughter wanted to dress in very revealing attire. She chunked her clothes and replaced them with attire fit for a young lady. Her grades went up. Her behavior changed. She was treated with respect. That is all I did with picking out his attire for a month. Nothing is wrong with dressing for success. If he can see himself as a gentleman he will act as one! I also had his long hair cut. Not to humiliate him but so he can see himself as a clean cut kid! He loves his hair short now as he has gotten compliments from his teachers and fellow students. The way you perceive yourself is the behavior you exude to others. Nothing I did was meant to be condescending.
My initial question on my post was asking for moms to give me some advice on future punishments. Instead, I got attacked (not by you) and criticized for punishments already rendered.

Dove - posted on 11/03/2015

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lol You posted your OP as if you were looking for advice on THAT situation. Kind of hard to give advice on future situations as we can not predict what your kid is going to pull next....

I offered advice... several pieces of it actually. My apologies for 'harping' on the clothing issue. I just found it so completely absurd that I couldn't imagine it having any positive impact whatsoever.

I actually have teenagers... two of them.. and nothing you are posting about has come anywhere close to my experiences w/ them. They are not so easily embarrassed... by anything.

You are right... this is on the verge of ridiculous. Actually I think it passed ridiculous several hours ago. lol

Jennifer - posted on 11/03/2015

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OMG!! Seriously? This is on the verge of ridiculous! As I said before, I did NOT come here for advice on things that were dealt with. I don't know how giving a small history of PREVIOUS behavior is asking for advice on FUTURE actions. I don't feel that a Tshirt is going to cause him emotional harm or trauma. That would indeed be bullying. Maybe you are taking the word "mortified" as too literal. Everything is embarrassing when you are 13. Did I take his phone to punish him? Absolutely and to keep him safe and in line. Did I replace it to embarass him? Absolutely not!!! Again, that was NOT what I asked for advice on!! That was dealt with! He wore his Tshirt to his classroom of 4 people. Did it cause him emotional stress or harm NO!! I was told that he needs to be reminded that he is indeed still a child. So he wore a Tee. He used to be in uniforms at a private academy. Dressing appropriately with polos and loafers brings out a different side in people (for us anyway) Heard the term "dress for success?" You look like a success, you feel like a success, you will think you are success and in turn BE a success. That is basic psych 101!!!
It seems to me Dove, that you are only offering criticism and have offered no advice at all.

Dove - posted on 11/03/2015

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YOU SAID HE WOULD BE MORTIFIED AND THAT IS WHY YOU SAID YOU DID IT!!!! THAT is bullying.

Is that any clearer for you?

No, imposing logical consequences is not bullying... stop being obtuse on purpose. Did you take the iPhone for the purpose of humiliating him... or did you take the iPhone because he misused it? Taking the iPhone is a logical consequence for his actions. Changing his clothes is just stupid and completely unrelated to anything.

Sure, a teenager can turn anything into them being humiliated, but if you do something to your child JUST for the sake of humiliation that has no connection to the 'crime' they committed... that makes you wrong. Justify it anyway you want, but you are wrong.

Honestly... if he fully understands the consequences of his actions and his behavior isn't changing... seek professional help for both of you. Counseling can be a GREAT resource and they can give you suggestions that might actually reach him before it's too late.

Also... if you weren't coming here for the situation that you posted about (since you said it was dealt with)... what type of advice were you actually looking for?

Jennifer - posted on 11/03/2015

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Yes as I stated above, he has been fully made aware of the consequences of his actions. He knows the laws and made a bad decision regardless. That has been addressed and dealt with. I took all of his gadgets away. I didn't dress him up in Hello Kitty and send him to school! It was a Tshirt for an adult that was yellow with a minion eye on it!! I am not Bullying my child nor would I ever!!!! His Rock Tshirts and skater clothing he is pressured by peers to wear are more inappropriate in my opinion. So am i bullying him bc I took his IPhone away and replaced it with a simple flip phone?? That is humiliating to him and tragic as well. Worse than a cartoon tshirt!! I am the parent. He is the child!!! I make the decisions. I can resort to corporal punishment (yes it is still allowed in Tx) but that really doesn't diminish bad behavior. I am just out of ideas. I didn't need advice on what has already been dealt with weeks ago!!! AT 13-16 YRS EVERYTHING is a tragedy and humiliating. I thought I was dying if I was seen with my parents at the mall!!! That wasn't bullying me even though I was humiliated. Just out of ideas. Wasn't joining a group for judgement.

Ev - posted on 11/03/2015

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I have to agree with the others as well about the clothing issue. Was he wearing inappropriate things to school? I do not understand how changing his clothing had anything to do with the consequences he has. But dress shirts or polo style shirts and ties are not that humiliating anyway because they are worn a lot for other types of shoe to wear. What I do not understand is why the school won't educate the kids on this kind of behavior over the interent, phones and such.

Dove - posted on 11/03/2015

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*, I bought him a minion T shirt to wear to school and plain button up shirts to wear and with a tie and lophers. This is mortifying for an 8 th grader.

Your words. Seeking to mortify your child is bullying.

Jennifer - posted on 11/03/2015

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Thank you for your feedback. We have definitely discussed the consequences and seriousness of his decision to send photos!! He does know he could be prosecuted and the possibility of it ruining his chances for jobs etc. in the future. It could ruin his life. He has even passed that info along to his friends.
The school admin I have actually approached about this and the need to educate children and parents of the dangers of the Internet. They are not allowed to discuss such matters. This is a very tiny school in a very tiny town! A whole student body of about 300 kids PreK-12th. In the Bible Belt of Texas.
I don't feel he is being humiliated with his Tshirt. He is suspended and is in a room with 2 people and a teacher. He has humiliated me by his actions far more than a little embarrassment by simply wearing a tshirt. It's not near as bad as our judge putting a sign on the kid and putting them on the corner as people drive by. I know everyone in this town and they know us. I have had floods of phone calls. It's no secret around here!!

Ev - posted on 11/03/2015

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I have to agree with these ladies on this. Not only would your son be labeled a sex offender of he had those charges brought against him and then was convicted of them, it could also affect his getting into a college of his choice or even any other post secondary type school, keep him from getting the job he desires, and keep him from doing other things he would want to in the future. I do have social media but when I was about to turn it off, my ex and his wife thought it was such a brilliant idea to let my son have it without my being asked. And since that was the case, I then friended my son and from that point on I was able to look any time at his facebook and see what he as doing. Because he was living at dad's I could not look over his shoulder in passing the computer, but I could look at it this way. He not once did what your son did. These kids need to understand one way or another somehow what this type of behavior can do to them.

Dove - posted on 11/03/2015

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Humiliating him through his clothing is NOT appropriate... on any level. It's not an appropriate consequence... it simply turns you in to a bully.

Is he aware that sending naked pictures of himself is considered child pornography and he could potentially be charged and labeled for the rest of his life as a sex offender? If he does not grasp the seriousness of his actions I would be sending him to a counselor or asking a police officer or lawyer to explain to him exactly what potential consequences his actions have (not as a 'scare tactic'... although I would hope it scares the snot out of him, but as an educational one).

Removing him from all social media and removing any of his devices he uses to contact people (cell phone, laptop, etc...) was a good step. I would also be asking the school what type of lessons they teach on this topic... and if they don't... I would be pushing the school administration to do so. Perhaps THEY can bring in a police officer and have a school assembly to educate these kids on the seriousness of their actions.

Honestly... if my son got to 14 and was thinking this behavior was acceptable... he likely would not leave my sight for a LONG time.

Raye - posted on 11/03/2015

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It's not just a harmless prank. It can have real-world consequences. I agree with Jodi, he needs to be educated about the consequences of his actions. These things can get him (and ANYONE in possession of naked photos of him) sent to JAIL. And once it's out there it may always be out there. Even if deleted, it can still be retrieved off the devices. Parents should ALWAYS be monitoring what their children are doing on electronic devices. Children should not have any expectation that their conversations, texts, apps and their contents, etc. are private. Sexual harassment is a problem, too. If he grows up thinking it's ok to talk like that about girls or to girls, it could get him fired from his job, and/or sued by the girl. Totally not "cool".

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