Every parent has their own way of getting things done. Parents do what they think is best for their children, regardless of what others think. And unfortunately, other people certainly do have an opinion about what kind of parent you are.
The young girl had been kicked off of the bus before, but this was the first time she got suspended from riding the school bus again. Considering her family had a car, the little girl wasn't worried about the suspension. “Daddy, You’re gonna have to take me to school next week," she told her father, but she wasn't expecting the reaction he gave her.
10-year-old Kirsten from Ohio had been kicked off the bus for bullying another child for the second time. But her father Matt Cox wasn't having it this time. "Let me make this extremely clear, bullying is unacceptable, especially in my household,” he explained, and he had a plan up his sleeve to show his daughter that he meant what he said.
Bullying others can cause an incredible amount of damage to the psyche of young children. Their days become consumed with tears, embarrassment, and depression. Sadly, many parents of bullies don't do anything to teach their children that it's not okay to make other people's lives miserable. Matt wasn't about to let this slide.
Matt believes that children these days are just given things, instead of earning them, which causes them to become extremely entitled. In Matt's eyes, getting kicked off of the bus for bullying does not earn you a chauffeured car drive to school each morning. His daughter was more than capable of walking and that's exactly what she was going to do.
There are some people who would say that the bus suspension was enough punishment, but there really isn't a difference between a bus ride or a car ride. The car is definitely a bit more comfortable, though. But Matt wanted to make sure his daughter was punished, so he thought that he should teach his daughter about the ways kids used to get to school.
We've all had grandparents or parents that have started out a story with the words, “When I was your age... We walked 10 miles in the snow with no shoes." Or another popular one is: “When I was your age if we talked back to our parents we got our mouth washed out with soap.” Typically, people use these phrases when they're trying to compare how things have changed for the younger people of the world. Kirsten was about to find out that in reality, no one used to drive to school at all.
The temperature was 36 degrees and Kristen was about to walk the five miles it took to get to school. Although, Matt did split up the five miles over three days, so Kirsten only walked 1.5 miles each morning. This would give the little girl plenty of time to think about what she had done. After all, bullying hurts other people.
Matt definitely wasn't going to let his "beautiful girl" get hurt in any way, so he drove along behind her to ensure that nothing happened. Kirsten took free rides to school for granted, but that was about to come to an end. “Parents need to hold their kids accountable, so that was me showing how I am holding my kid accountable," Matt explained.
“A lot of children today feel that the things their parents do for them is a right and not a privilege, such as parents taking their children to school in the morning. Or even bus rides to school in the morning. All of that is a privilege and should be treated as such. So today my beautiful daughter is going to walk five miles to school in 36-degree weather.”
What makes the story even more interesting is that Matt recorded the whole thing. He gave commentary throughout Kirsten's long walk, speaking about why she was being punished, what he wanted to learn from the experience, and he even said, “I know a lot of you parents are not going to agree with this and that’s all right." And that was when he did something no one expected.
Matt decided to upload the video to his Facebook account, assuming that only his friends would be able to see it. But one of those friends asked if Matt would make it shareable, and it only blew up from there. 350,000 shares later and Matt had to make his page private to avoid the overwhelming number of messages he was receiving.
As his video went viral, receiving over 15 million views and over 100,000 comments, Matt began to get all kinds of backlash. Matt said in an interview that he assumed only his friends on Facebook would be able to see the video, but when he woke up the next morning, he had hundreds of messages to read. And they weren't all nice.
There were many parents who were supportive of Matt's actions, but a lot of people believe it was "too much". On that Monday, Matt made his daughter walk to school for being a bully. In the video he uploaded, he said that he was teaching her "life lessons". He explained that children take for granted the things their parents do for them.
Matt stated that his daughter was a bit upset when she first started walking on Monday. During the walk, he explained to his daughter why she was walking to school. He continued by saying that by the end of the walk Kirsten had calmed down and understood that her bullying was what caused her to walk to school. But this wasn't the first time Kirsten had been in trouble for bullying other children.
Even though he received backlash, Matt stood by his beliefs. “I am doing what I think is right to teach my daughter a lesson to stop her from bullying. Parents need to hold their kids accountable. I’m not going to be another parent that’s just going to brush things under the rug. I just want the kids to know that words truly do hurt. They cut very deep and have lasting effects," Matt explained.
Matt knew that it was his job to raise a respectable young woman, so he had to do what he could to put an end to her bullying. Other parents may have had rather strong opinions about his parenting techniques, but at the end of the day, he was responsible for how his daughter turned out.
But Matt isn't the only parent who has delivered this kind of punishment. Bryan Thornhill also made his 10-year-old son jog to school for a week. The school was only a mile away and his son had been kicked off of the bus for bullying. Bryan named his video “You better listen to your Dad, 2018,” and it has received even more attention that Matt's video.
Bryan is also sticking to what he believes in terms of punishing his children and you can see his son keeping pace as his dad followed behind. In the video, you can see that it's drizzling a bit, which is why Bryan was going to drive him that morning, but the boy decided to be rude to his mother before he left, so he earned himself a one-way jog to school. Even talk shows were talking about it.
Most of the comments were in support of teaching children not to bully, but there were quite a few of the comments that condemned Matt's actions. “Love it!! I plan on showing this to my oldest child to show her that I am not a mean parent but that misbehaving won’t be tolerated. I’m not doing my job if I just let it slide," said Lee J Wilkens. But Ariana Jade said, “makes sense why his kid is a bully... who knows maybe it will work for this kid but it wouldn't for many that I have worked with. In fact, it could make him act out more.”
Even though plenty of people have their opinions, it seems that the punishment seems to be working, at least for now. Bryan explained, “This right here is just simple. Ironically, since he’s been running to school this week his behavior has been better, his teachers have approved of his behavior this week, he hasn’t gotten in trouble, whereas last week he was just absolutely out of his mind."
Matt updated his Facebook with a post that said, “UPDATE: lesson learned! Still has all her extremities intact is happy and healthy and seems to have a new outlook on bullying as well as a new appreciation for some of the simple things in life she used to take for granted."
Matt was able to use the negative and positive comments to teach his kids what bullying truly does to others. "She, along with my other two children, seem to show a great deal of empathy towards some of the sad stories that I read with them. I also hope that parents see the video and start holding their kids accountable for their actions and stop sweeping their child's actions under the rug with the ideology that kids will be kids. We as parents need to stop the bullying on the home front because bullying only breeds bullying," explained Matt.
Every single human has their own struggles, so there's really no reason to add to other people's hardships. It's important to teach children to be nice others, to say nice things, and to show respect. Do you think Matt made the right decision? What would you have done differently?