How do you handle a bully? The problem of children bullying other children is rampant, and the range of their abuses is wide. Some parents of bullies have turned to tough love to teach their kids lessons. Critics of the harsh punishments, though, are accusing the parents of bullying their little bullies. So who holds the moral high-ground in this argument?
Consider this example of a Florida father who had reached his limit. The story of how he taught his 13-year-old a lesson is now going viral.
“Michael Yager made teenager Jacob stand on the side of a busy intersection in New Smyra Beach, Florida, holding a sign that read: ‘I’m a bully. Honk if you hate bullies’,” The Daily Mail writes.
“I figured I would teach him a lesson that would embarrass him and make him feel the way that the kids feel,” Yager told reporters.
The punishment came after Yager got news of his son’s actions. The honks began almost immediately. One car even pulled over. The driver got out to talk the father and son. Some of the most supportive comments came from law enforcement.
The critics? They showed up, too.
“I had one woman come up and call me every name in the book,” Yager said. “In my mind, I thought I was doing the right thing , but I guess you just can’t please everyone.”
As for Yager’s son, Jacob, the punishment had an impact, at least. He seemed to come away with a new outlook on his actions.
“You never know what someone can be going through. If you want to be the bully, like if you have something inside you need to tell someone go to a guidance counselor or someone,” Jacob said.
There’s nothing especially new about the aggressive tacit Yager took with Jacob. Turning the tables on bullies has been a staple of pop-culture mythology since David took down Goliath, and likely before.
And signs have grown increasingly popular. Do they work? That answer is still unanswered.