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19 Mar 2018 8:29
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  •   Home > News > Education

    'Old-school parenting': Dad films bully son running 1.6km to school as punishment

    A dad has filmed his 10-year-old son running 1.6km to school as punishment for bullying on the school bus, saying it's a "healthy way" to discipline him.

    A dad has made his 10-year-old son run 1.6 kilometres to school after the boy was banned from the school bus for three days for bullying.

    Bryan Thornhill, from the US state of Virginia, filmed his son making the run in drizzling rain while he drove behind him.

    In the video, streamed live to Facebook last week, he said his son was "being a little bully" on the school bus, "which I do not tolerate [and] cannot stand".

    "This right here is just old-school, simple parenting," he said.

    "This ain't killing nobody, this is a healthy way for a child to be punished, because it's exercise.

    "Teach your child a lesson. You don't have to kill 'em, you don't always have to beat 'em.

    "Sometimes it sucks for them, and that's what teaches them."

    Mr Thornhill said his son had been better behaved since the punishment began and his teachers had noticed an improvement in class.

    He also believed some parents were too lenient on kids and urged them to get "creative" with their approaches to parenting.

    "If you've got your panties in a wad over watching a kid jog, well I feel sorry for you," he said.

    "I'm sure someone will get all bent out of shape, 'Oh my God, child abuse! A child running'.

    "Don't be a friend, be a parent. That's what children need these days.

    "Just wanted to show everybody, give you a good little laugh."

    Mr Thornhill later uploaded another video of him running with his son and daughter, saying both kids wanted to run to school now.

    The right approach to discipline?

    Bullying experts have questioned the style of discipline used in the video, and said there can be other ways to handle the situation.

    Dr Hannah Thomas is a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Queensland, and has focused on the effects of bullying and evidence-based interventions.

    She said punitive strategies like making the boy run were an attempt to teach the child to be accountable for their actions, but they didn't always work.

    "They use shame, humiliation and guilt to try to motivate change in future behaviour," she said.

    "This generally never changes behaviour in the long-term.

    "It gives the child very limited opportunity to learn and acquire new skills — i.e. ways to interact in more positive and social ways with their peers."

    Dr Thomas said these kinds of strategies can also have flow-on effects.

    "Children who are humiliated or shamed can internalise negative feelings about themselves that hinder their healthy development," she said.

    "Children misbehave as they learn and develop.

    "They need parents to be supportive when they make mistakes and to take a practical role in teaching their children how to behave more respectfully."


    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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