Maryland dad makes son carry ‘Homeless’ sign as punishment
A 12-year-old boy in Waldorf, Maryland was recently forced to carry around a sign indicating he was “homeless” in order to shame him into obeying his parents.
Over the weekend, Kenny Burks was supposed to check in with his parents by 8:30 p.m., but the boy’s father, Kevin, told NBC Washington that it was a friend who called around 9 p.m. to say the 12-year-old wanted to have a sleepover. The father told his son to come home immediately.
As a punishment for missing the scheduled call, Kenny was forced on Monday to parade up and down the street carrying a sign that read: “Homeless, Won’t Listen to Parents.” The boy was on the street from about 9:15 a.m. until about 5 p.m., with breaks every two hours that included breakfast and lunch.
“I pay for his clothes, his shoes, the roof over his head, his safety and everything he has,” the father explained. “My thing is if you want to be your own adult, you’ll sit outside and be your own adult.”
Kevin Burks insisted that traditional punishments like taking away video games would not have worked.
“By the time I finish taking all that stuff out of his room and put him on punishment for a week, it won’t do any good,” he said.
Neighbors reportedly complained to police that the measure amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, but officers who arrived on the scene actually complimented the father’s parenting skills.
“Young people don’t flip a switch and suddenly become entitled,” parenting expert Amy McCready wrote on Tuesday. “We can’t expect teenagers to contribute around the house, be grateful, to demonstrate hard work and fiscal responsibility unless we emphasize those as core family values from the time they are in preschool.”
“We can’t expect kids to treat us with respect unless we treat them with respect,” she added. “Wait, I take that back. We can DEMAND that they respect us – but unless we reciprocate and MODEL RESPECT – we MAY get respect in the short term, but we aren’t going to foster the loving, communicative, respectful relationships we want to have with our kids long term.”
Watch this video from NBC Washington, broadcast June 19, 2012.
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