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Facebook discipline: Creative parenting, or just mean?

April 25, 2012 at 9:06 AM ET

How do you react when your teenager mouths off? More and more parents are fighting fire with fire, exacting their discipline via Facebook.

The latest example of Facebook parenting is Denise Abbott, an Ohio mom who was fed up with her 13-year-old daughter being disrespectful to her and stirring up drama with friends on the social network. So she replaced her daughter's profile picture with a photo of the girl with a red X superimposed over her mouth, and the text, "I do not know how to keep my... I am not longer allowed on Facebook or my phone. Please ask why, my mom says I have to answer everyone that asks."

Abbott says she wanted to do something that she knew would impact her daughter. Well, getting her daughter's name and photo plastered all over the national media will certainly do that -- though perhaps that's not what she had in mind.

"When you put everything on Facebook, you have to realize there's a consequence for all of your actions," Abbott said. "You have to adapt your parenting skills with the times."

The bar for Facebook discipline was set pretty high earlier this year by Tommy Jordan, the North Carolina dad who shot up his daughter's laptop after she posted disrespectful comments about him on Facebook, then posted video of the laptop execution on YouTube.

Jordan's gun-slinging justice won him praise from many parents who are at their wits' end with disrespectful teens. But experts pretty much agree this isn't the best parenting tactic. It's not so much the medium they object to as the message -- whether on Facebook, YouTube or in the produce aisle of the local grocery store, public humiliation won't win you parenting points with the experts.

"We know parenting is tough and kids push our buttons, but at no time is it a reason to humiliate your child," said Dr. Janet Taylor, a psychiatrist.

What do you think? Tell us on Facebook -- we promise we won't punish you. Does Facebook punishment fit the crime, or does it go too far?

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