When a Utah mother learned her fourth-grade daughter was making fun of a classmate’s low-dollar wardrobe, she came up with a creative way to teach a lesson: She required her daughter to wear outdated thrift store clothes to school.
“If she chooses to be a bully after this, then at some point in her life, she’s going to be on the other side and she’ll know what it really feels like,” said the mother, Ally, during an interview with Fox 13 in Salt Lake City. “And I think now that she knows what it feels like, and she doesn’t want to be that person anymore because she knows how hurtful it is.”
Ally, who is technically the stepmother to 10-year-old Kaylee, said she learned about her daughter’s bullying through the young girls’ teacher.
“She would take her out on the playground and call her names, and tell her she was a slob and tell her she dressed like a sleaze,” said Ally, who withheld her name to prevent further embarrassing Kaylee. “Someone not wanting to go to school anymore based off of something that one other little person said to them. I mean, that’s huge, that’s damaging.”
After a simple chat with Kaylee didn’t seem to make a difference, Ally took desperately visited a local thrift store and picked up the most old-fashioned outfits she could find. The next morning, she informed her daughter that her brand name clothes were getting replaced.
“I died. I did,” said Kaylee. Although she cried after seeing the clothes, she followed Ally’s rules and wore the clothes to school.
Fox 13 spoke with Dr. Douglas Goldsmith about Ally’s unusual parenting decision. He said the punishment may have unintended consequences for Ally and Kaylee.
“What happens with that is the person walks away at the end saying, ‘Now I’m really angry, that was humiliating and now I’m angry,’” Goldsmith said. Instead, he suggested that parents teach their children lessons in empathy by encouraging them to volunteer.
However, Kaylee said she learned from the experience — even though it was embarrassing.
“It’s stupid and it’s mean,” she said of bullying. “It hurts them.”
Do you think Ally’s punishment was cruel and unusual or ingenious?