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.