Mom Punishes Daughter For Bullying By Making Her Wear Thrift Store Clothes — And Yes, That’s A Problem

Julie Gerstein / May 22, 2013

A step-mom in Utah wanted to punish her daughter for bullying other students and teach her a lesson. So far, so good. But as her penance, 10-year-old Kaylee was forced to wear thrift store clothes to school. Say what?

Apparently Kaylee was making fun of another girl for what she was wearing, and had tormented her for several weeks over her wardrobe choices — at one point even saying she “dressed like a sleaze.” So step-mom Ally stepped in and decided to enforce a clothing-oriented punishment. Ally purchased two “cheap” (her words) outfits at the thrift store and made Kaylee — full of tears — wear them to school.

Now, I appreciate that Kaylee’s step-mom wanted her step-daughter to feel empathy for her victim by making her wear clothes she didn’t like. But by specifically making her wear thrift store clothes, Ally (perhaps unintentionally) sent her daughter a bad message. I worry that it equates shopping and wearing thrift store clothes with undesirability. It ascribes a negative value to shopping at thrift stores, and by proxy, poor and working class people who shop at them. I guess she hasn’t listened to Macklemore yet?

There are a couple other clothing-related punishments that could have had the same impact: choosing mismatching clothes for her or making Kaylee wear something unappealing out of her closet.

I have no doubt Kaylee’s step-mother had good intentions. Speaking to her local TV station KSTU, she said, “Someone not wanting to go to school anymore based off of something that one other little person said to them? I mean, that’s huge, that’s damaging.” But I’m afraid that in solving one problem it created another.

What do you think?

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[Daily Mail]