children boarding school bus

Mom Finds Out Her Boys Were Rude To Bus Driver, Devises ‘Perfect Punishment’ To Teach Them Respect

Deciding how to punish your children can be a tough call. Determining a fair punishment that gets the lesson across effectively without being cruel is difficult. On top of that, you have to deal with other people’s opinions and judgments. This mom in Ontario, Canada had a creative way of punishing her two sons after they misbehaved on the bus. Social media, however, had mixed reviews.

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Don’t Be Rude To Your Bus Driver, Kids

In 2018, a mom in a small town in Western Ontario in Canada received notice from her boy’s school one day about their behavior. It was not in regards to their behavior in their respective classrooms, but rather their behavior on the school bus.  The school informed her that her boys had been misbehaving on the bus. What’s worse, they’d both been rude to their bus driver. (1)

The mom was appalled that her boys would act in such a way. She wanted to not only stop their bad behavior but also drive home the lesson that being rude is never acceptable. She wanted to make sure that they recognized the consequences of their actions.

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Getting To School The Old Fashioned Way

The family lived just over seven kilometers (about four and a half miles) away from the school. Mom knew that if her boys continued to act the way they were, eventually they would be permanently removed from the bus. She decided that before that happened, she would show them what their lives would be like if they couldn’t take the bus to and from school each day.

With that, she informed both of her young sons that they would be walking to school the next day. The entire 7.2 kilometers. The next morning, she woke them up early, bundled both the boys and herself up, and they walked.

Before taking off on their trek, she snapped a picture of the boys holding a sign. The sign read:

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children holding a sign saying "being bad and rude to our bus driver! Moms makin us walk"
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“Being bad and rude to our bus driver. Mom’s making us walk.” 

She posted that picture to her Facebook page explaining why she chose the punishment she did. Comments began flooding in and the post quickly went viral.

Read: Dad shamed for excluding bully from child’s party after inviting rest of class

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The Controversy

There were many parents and others who commented praising the mom. They thought the punishment was a great idea and that the boys would have certainly learned their lesson from it. The mom confirmed that her oldest son only required one walk to learn it, however, her younger son had to walk again the next day before it really hit home for him.

Others, however, criticized the mother. The majority, however, did not criticize her for the actual punishment. Rather, they criticized her for posting it online. They said that it was a form of shaming and that it was not effective or healthy for the young boys. 

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“I don’t want to judge or pretend to know all of the nuances of this situation with this parent, but [it’s] something to consider when we think about putting signs on kids that says what the bad behaviour is and putting them in a position where you take their picture and put it on social media,” said Tina Gatt, manager of community outreach for the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society. “We would be concerned, and not just Children’s Aid, we should be concerned as adults, about shaming children.”

Read: Mom Says She’s Proud Son Punched ‘Class Bully’, Though Other Parents Don’t Agree

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Not Abuse

When her photo went viral and people began commenting about the child shaming, the mom actually reached out to Children’s Aid to assure them that her sons were safe, healthy, and protected. She walked with them, and she actually held the sign for the majority of the walk. Their walk to school was also along quiet country roads, not busy, heavily-trafficked ones.

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facebook post about two children being punished for being rude to their bus driver. The children are walking down a road with a sign saying "being bad and rude to our bus driver! Moms makin us walk"
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Children’s aid was not concerned that these boys were in a bad situation whatsoever. Gatt explained that what their mother did was called Logical Punishment. This is where the child must face the logical consequences of their actions. In this case, if they continue to misbehave, they will be kicked off of the bus. If they are kicked off the bus, they will have to walk to school. This is what walking to school each day would be like.

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When punishing your children, logical consequences is the best way to go. Always make sure that those consequences are related, respectful, reasonable, and helpful. Often in these instances, it is a good idea to give the child a choice. For example, a child at school is tapping their pencil and disturbing their classmates. The teacher can give them two options: Either stop tapping, or they can take away the student’s pencil, who will then have to complete the work later while everyone else is doing another activity (for example, outside for recess). The child then has the choice, however, they have to accept the consequences of that. Of course, if they chose to stop tapping but continued to tap, then the second option would have to be enforced.

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No Shaming

Gatt did say, however, that “shaming” them on social media was not constructive. Shaming very rarely has the desired effect on kids. If anything, it just causes unnecessary emotional or psychological ill-effects. While shaming can deter people (adults and children) from doing something, it is not because they learned or accepted that what they did was wrong. Rather, they are simply trying to avoid the negative emotion that comes along with shame. (3)

All of this said Gatt did mention that it didn’t seem that this mother’s intent was to shame her sons. Rather, it appears like a request for confirmation that she decided punishment was a good decision from her peers. The mother has said that she didn’t think about the post as shaming and would likely not do so in the future.

Keep Reading: Mom arrested for fighting her kid’s suspected bully on school bus

Sources

  1. “Mom makes kids walk 7 km, carrying sign saying they were rude to bus driver.” CBC. Dan Taekema. March 8, 2018.
  2. Logical Consequences.” Positive Discipline
  3. Why Shaming Doesn’t Work.” Psychology Today. Krystine I. Batcho Ph.D.. May 31, 2017.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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