Parents Force Girl to Hold Sign: Punishing Teens

May 2, 2013 Updated: May 2, 2013

Parents force girl to hold sign: A few cases of parents forcing teens to hold up signs in public announcing their wrongdoings have gained attention as a unique method of discipline.

On March 16, Gentry and Renee Nickell of Crestview, Fla., had their 13-year-old daughter hold a sign at a busy intersection that read: “I’m a self-entitled teenager with no respect for authority. I’m also super smart, yet I have 3 ‘D’s’ because I don’t care.”

In November 2012, CNN reported that parents Mike and Melinda, who did not give their last name, had their teenage daughter, Jasmine, stand at a busy intersection in Flager County, Fla., holding a sign that read, “I sneak boys in at 3 a.m. and disrespect my parents and grandparents.”

In April 2007, a father made his 14-year-old son stand outside Cedar Bluff Middle School in Knoxville, Tenn., holding a sign that read, “I abused and sold drugs.”

The boy’s father, who did not give his name, told 6 News at the time “I am not out here doing this to humiliate my son, I’m doing it because I love him.” He had found out the boy was involved with marijuana and oxycodone. The father said his son saw the punishment as fair, and recognized he had done wrong.

“Drugs are for losers, that’s all I can say,” the boy told 6 News, saying he would no longer sell or use drugs.

Jasmine in Florida was not so resigned to her punishment.

“I hope it does embarrass them [her parents] as it does me,” she said moodily in an interview on CNN. Her mother, Melinda, said Jasmine had been acting up since she started high school in the fall of 2012.

“I don’t know what else to do. I’ve tried everything,” the mother said. “What do you do for the kids?”

Defending the form of punishment, Renee Nickell wrote in a statement: “We spend so much focus on not wanting to hurt a child’s self-esteem that we don’t do anything! A child will feel secure when they see a parent that cares enough to take drastic measures.”