You’ve seen them on social media, typically with the comments section full of applause and “parent of the year” sentiments: child shaming videos. We’ve seen parents humiliate their children, berate them, and even force them to wear the message to school on a t-shirt. In the information age, there is an alarming trend to publicly shame children as a form of punishment.
For one child that public shaming likely contributed to her death.
Izabel Laxamana killed herself on May 29 by jumping off an overpass. She was just 13 years old.
Jezebel reports that several days before the apparent suicide, Laxamana’s dad had cut off her hair and then shared the video of the shaming on YouTube, which has since been removed. It is not apparent what the child did to deserve the shaming, although some are reporting that she may have taken her own life because she felt she had disgraced her family.
While the original video was removed, one of the teen’s friends saved the video and has shared a recording of it playing on his phone.
On the video you can clearly see the butchered job on the 13-year-old’s hair and you can hear a male voice saying,
“The consequences of getting messed up, man, you lost all your beautiful hair. Was it worth it?”
She responds, “No.”
He continues, “How many times did I warn you?”
Quietly she says, “A lot.”
While there isn’t anything that concretely points to her father’s actions being the catalyst to suicide, it does appear that Laxamana was also a victim of bullying at school. She posted on her Google Plus account,
I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged alot…. But what keeps me going is people like kian who have gone through the same thing as me… In a school with so many people its weird to say “i feel alone” but the truth is that you really do feel alone. So thanks for everything kian….
The fact is, public shaming is not an act of love – it is far more bully like than the actions of a loving parent seeking a way to protect their child through correction of poor choices or bad behavior.
I won’t go as far as saying this father wanted something like this to happen to his daughter. I’m quite sure he loved her and was desperate to find something that would help him guide her through the extremely challenging teen years. However, I will say that parenting through shaming and degradation, even when out of desperation, is a grave mistake.
Just as our children’s actions have consequences – so do our actions as parents. Humiliation and shaming can leave invisible marks that run deeper than a physical wound.
We need to just stop it. Now. Stop this public shaming of our children – treat them with love and respect. Cutting off a 13-year-old girls hair and sending her to school to receive even more humiliation is an act of cruelty.
Don’t be cruel.
If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Please call 1-800-273-8255 if you are in crisis or are having suicidal thoughts.
Featured image via YouTube screen capture