When Bryan Thornhill found out his 10-year-old son was kicked off the school bus for bullying, he decided to teach him a lesson.
So he made him run the two kilometres to school, filming him as he drove along behind. His son would be running to school for a week, the dad said. Even in the rain.
Watch the Sunrise team debate whether this dad’s form of punishment is acceptable below. Post continues after video.
Samantha Armytage discussed the video with radio commentator Alan Jones on Sunrise on Wednesday morning. The journalist said Thornhill’s decision to publicly humiliate his son online constitutes bullying.
“I feel like if the kids a bully, he learnt it from his father, this father is bullying his child,” Armytage said.
“Once you start videoing and Facebooking your child’s punishment, that’s where you lose me, that’s when it becomes bullying.”
Jones disagreed, arguing this kind of old-school punishment is the only way to teach the boy a lesson.
“Oh stop being a softy. That’s exactly what my old man would’ve done to me,” he said.
“Toughen up. If you’re bullying on the bus, you’re not entitled to go on the bus so you run to school.”
Some parents agreed with Armytage, saying the decision to share the video online pushed the discipline over into the territory of bullying.
Our podcast for imperfect parents, This Glorious Mess, spoke to expert Katrina Kavanagh about the key to stopping bullying in our schools. Post continues after audio.
“Punishment for the purpose of correcting bad behaviour is discipline. Punishment for no purpose other than the enjoyment of the punisher is bullying. Big difference,” one wrote.
Another said, “Like father like son. Dad had a great opportunity to model something other than bullying to his son as a consequence for his behaviour – but instead chose a “punishment” that will do well to reinforce the notion of bullying others.”
“I think it is bordering on bullying. If you want to hand out a punishment for something, in this case bullying then do so without filming it. Humiliating the child will not make him a better child,” another added.
But most praised the father for taking a tough stance – however not all agreed with the decision to post the footage online, asking if it was really necessary to reinforce the anti-bullying message.
“I think making him walk is fantastic. I don’t understand the need to film it and post it online,” a parent commented, while another said, “Yes this child should be punished but why does everything have to be recorded and put online all the time.”
“Go Dad!!! There is absolutely nothing wrong with making the child walk/run to school. It is only a mile and in some school districts schools will not even provide bus service for those within two miles of the school,” another wrote.
“He is supervising his child doing this so no harm can come to the child. This is an excellent example of teaching the child the consequences of his actions.”
Another said, “When you bully someone you are humiliating them…a taste of their own medicine won’t hurt. Good on this dad.”
Do you think this dad’s form of punishment is effective or detrimental? What would you do if you found out your child was a bully?
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