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Dad in trouble for creating ‘jail’ to punish his unruly toddler

Any parent of a toddler knows how hard it is to talk sense into a 3-year-old. The belligerent nature of a “threenager” may explain why one Texas dad took his punishment strategy to the next level — by creating a mock jail cell to contain his misbehaving 3-year-old daughter.

In a Facebook post that’s gone viral, Juliano Parker of Corpus Christi, Texas, explains his unruly toddler was acting up so much that she needed to learn a lesson that involved serving “hard time.” As Parker explained in his original Facebook post, his little girl was not responding to spankings and needed a more effective form of punishment. Parker set his young daughter up in a mock jail environment with a thin mattress on the floor. The child was forced to eat meat and potatoes with water, while watching her siblings eat pizza and juice. The toddler, dressed in a jail jumpsuit with a mug shot to prove it, was also forced to clean a room and do the dishes.

Parker explained in his original Facebook post:

“My daughter Aubrey’Ella has been fighting with my wife and I, disrespecting us in public, not listening and talking back a lot. Spankings don’t work no more. My daughter is used to spankings, and nowadays, you can’t spank kids how they did back in the day [because] they call that abuse.”

More: 5 Reasons why you shouldn’t spank your kid

After a jarring visit from CPS, Parker has since taken the photos down and issued an apology on his official Facebook page, saying, “I really regret posting that pic of my daughter on social media like that. I admit it was wrong didn’t think it was gonna go viral. Smh, God knows my heart. My daughter is a good girl, just been acting out lately, and I was just trying to show her with bad behavior comes consequence. Now my daughter all over the Internet for being bad kid, but in reality, she just acting out for attention. (sic)”

Parker’s social media shaming of his daughter isn’t unique — we’ve seen it dozens of times before. But this Texas dad’s story does stand out because it has already come full circle. Like many parents of often-frustrating toddlers, Parker was just trying to figure out a type of punishment that his daughter would respond to. Unfortunately for this dad, he didn’t make the best choice in his “unconventional” form of discipline, and he made an even bigger mistake by posting it to social media.

More: 10-Year-old shamed by school for past due account, lunch thrown away

For better or for worse, social media shaming among parents in our digital generation has become a growing trend. It makes sense, when you think about it. As parents, we’re encouraged to use social media for everything — posting pregnancy announcements, baby pictures and Pinterest-perfect updates on every milestone following the birth of our child.

When it comes to parenting under the influence of social media, our natural reaction is to jump the shark and hit “share” instead of keeping routine discipline behind closed doors. We see dozens of examples of social media shaming used to tame out-of-control kids each year, like the dad who made his daughter wear a sign branding her a “thief” or the mom who blasted her teen daughter on Facebook for lying about her age. In one of the most tragic cases we’ve seen so far, a 13-year-old girl in Tacoma committed suicide by jumping off a bridge after her father publicly shamed her on YouTube.

More: What are your thoughts on shaming kids on social media?

In Parker’s case, it doesn’t help that his daughter is only 3. Parker is one of many parents who has played into the social media shaming trend, and after the overwhelming Internet backlash and an unexpected CPS visit, he quickly saw how damaging posting a child’s punishment to social media can be. While no one is accusing this father of being malicious or cruel, his young daughter now has a humiliating digital footprint that will follow her for the rest of her life.

As a modern parent, it’s tempting to want to make every parenting move public because, well, everyone else is doing it. But we can learn a valuable lesson from Parker’s social media snafu: Keeping your child’s punishment private is respectful to your child and all the parents around you. Save social media for the fun stuff, like those adorable baby pics, and let your child learn from their mistakes offline.

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