By Sandra Birungi
Parents of a 13-year-old girl decided to punish their daughter by making her hold up a sign saying she is disrespectful.
Gentry and Renee Nickell of Crestview, Florida, made their daughter stand for 90 minutes at a busy intersection with a hand-written sign reading, “I’m a self-entitled teenager w/no respect for authority. I’m also super smart, yet I have 3 ‘D’s’ because I DON’T CARE.”
Passing motorists snapped pictures of her with their cell phones and loaded them on Facebook. Someone called the police talk to the teen and left after deciding that she was “aware of her punishment and she was not in any harm,” Crestview police records statement.
“I wasn’t even thinking about what the public was going to think,” her mom, Renee Nickell said. “I was thinking about our daughter. It was for her to be in the public and recognize what she had done wrong.”
“We spend so much focus on not wanting to hurt a child’s self-esteem that we don’t do anything,” the Nickells said in a statement defending the punishment. “Walk a mile in someone’s shoes. We must undo at home what the world tries to tell her is better.”
Renee Nickell said since her brother was killed in Afghanistan in December 2011, they have been having problems. Her kids were close to him and his family and since the death, their 13-year-old became more defiant at home and at school, and her grades dropped. “We just felt like she just kind of gave up,” Renee said.
They first tried grounding her but it didn’t help. “We just got to the point where we just didn’t know what else to do,” Renee said. The punishment seemed logical enough and the girl’s dad stood next to her the whole time. “At the end, she gave me a hug in front of the police officer and she told me she was sorry,” Gentry said.
They were surprised to find that the punishment had gone viral.
“It makes me sad to think that this young girl had experienced such a painful loss recently and because she was acting out (as many, if not most young people do for a time) in response to that trauma, she was put on public display for her sins rather than receiving professional help/intervention,” commented Katherine Rebecca Newlin. “How would her parents (or any ONE of us!?) feel if they were made to stand on a public corner with any number of THEIR sins plastered all over a sign for the world to see?”
“Worst parents ever,” commented Asa Semaj of San Diego. “No one likes to be humiliated, especially a 13-year-old girl, by her own parents! 13-year-old girls have been know to kill themselves over less than this. The only thing she will learn from this is to hate her family.”
“I asked her, ‘Were you scarred? Traumatized?’” Renee told the newspaper. “She said, ‘No mom, I knew it was coming’.”