We’ve seen the videos and pictures on Facebook and other social media sites…parents running over video games with lawn mowers, dads wearing the same revealing outfits as their daughters, parents cutting their child’s hair, and even messy rooms. “Child shaming” has become a popular form of punishment for parents. It’s easy to snap a picture or video and post it on a social media site to embarrass a child, and making the child likely to never display the behavior that caused the post again.

There are many forms of child abuse, but can “child shaming” be one of them? It’s quickly becoming a problem for children, and may in the future be considered child abuse. For now, child shaming is entertainment for outsiders, and humiliating for children, which can cause difficulties now or in the future.

The negativity of child shaming became public last month when the news featured a story of a 13-year-old girl who jumped off a bridge. The girl became highly upset and embarrassed because her father cut her hair for sending semi-explicit photos to boys and released a video of it online.

Many doctors, including Dr. Gerald Shiener, M.D., who is the Chief of Psychiatry at Sanai-Grace, says that public shaming has been around since The Scarlett Letter. He said, however, putting children on public display for purposes of embarrassment is a dangerous situation. Dr. Shiener says, “You humiliate a kid, everyone makes fun of them and they get mad at the people who make fun of them, they get enraged with the person who embarrassed them and they learn to think of themselves as being bad.” In other words, if child shaming becomes a long-term problem for children, they can become depressed and the behavior can become engrained, making the child think that they are bad permanently. Dr. Shiener believes that child shaming is never an appropriate action for parents to take.

Child shaming not only can cause symptoms of depression, but it can also cause problems for the child at school and being bullied.

To see the full article on child shaming, click here.

Child abuse is a serious allegation against a parent. At this point, parents who participate in child shaming are being called bullies instead of abusers. However, this does not mean that in the future child shaming could be considered a form of child abuse. The child abuse laws in Michigan not only discuss physical harm inflicted on a child, but they also include language on mental harm to a child.

Smith Blythe, PC are experienced Michigan child abuse attorneys. It is important as a parent who may be facing charges of child abuse to retain an attorney who is experienced at defending these charges and is familiar with Child Protective Services (CPS). Most allegations of child abuse are also handled by CPS and they can be charged criminally as well. Our office has had success in defending parents in termination proceedings and criminal charges of child abuse. If you or a loved one is being contacted by CPS in Michigan for allegations of child abuse, or are currently facing charges of child abuse, contact our office to set up a consultation.

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