Matt Cox of Swanton, Ohio is currently the talk of the parenting town all over Facebook. He administered a no-nonsense punishment to his daughter, Kirsten, when she was caught bullying a classmate while riding on the school bus.
The 10-year-old elementary student was forced off the bus twice in the past for her behavior. When she was, Matt had to pick her up and drive her to school. As a parent myself, I have to tell you having to leave work in the middle of the morning to pick up my kid for being a jerk is something that would absolutely infuriate me.
I would want to give my kid a punishment they wouldn't soon forget.
What Matt Cox did may seem extreme to some, but I personally understand exactly where he was coming from. If his daughter got used to him bailing her out with a ride to school all the time, there'd be no reason for her to change her behavior. As Matt saw it, it would require drastic measures to nip this kind of behavior in the bud.
So he implemented a punishment that let her know there would be dire consequences for her actions, and that if she was kicked off the bus again, she'd be on her own.
At least that's what I think forcing your daughter to walk five miles in 36-degree weather would accomplish.
That's right, Matt, who clearly isn't about bullying or his children terrorizing their fellow classmates, wanted to send a strong message to his daughter with the punishment.
He shared video footage of Kirsten walking on the side of the road as he followed behind her.
During her five-mile trek, Matt whipped out his camera and recorded his daughter walking. He could be heard speaking in the background of the Facebook video he uploaded.
In it, he stressed that bullying would not be tolerated in his household, and that the punishment was meant to teach several lessons.
First, that the bus ride to school is a privilege and that his daughter should treat it as such. That means she shouldn't be rude to her fellow passengers.
Second, there are consequences to being a big jerkface, and it isn't inconveniencing others because you choose to behave disrespectfully.
Cox could be heard in the video saying: "Let me make this extremely clear, bullying is unacceptable, especially in my household. 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."
He went on to say, "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."
Reactions to Matt's brand of discipline were a mixed bag online. After seeing the footage of his daughter walking along a country road, with him following in his car close behind here, some people applauded his parenting.
Of course, there were several people, also, who believed that Matt went a bit too far in disciplining his daughter. Going so far as to call the act cruel and more an act of "public shaming" than actually teaching the young girl a lesson.
To clarify, the five miles Kirsten walked to school was over the course of three days and not done all in one go.
And even though Matt received his fair share of criticism, he stands by his punishment.
In an interview with local news station WTVG, Matt doubled down on his parental decisions, stating that now, more than ever, parents need to hold their children accountable for their actions.
He even posted an updated video and caption, which in part appears to be a response to those who criticized his punishment as too harsh: "Parents need to hold their kids accountable. That was me showing how I hold my kid accountable."
He went on to tell the station, "I’m not going to be another parent that’s just going to brush things under the rug and say kids will be kids."
As a parent myself, I agree with a lot of what Matt is saying here.
I remember being younger and only truly responding to clear boundaries set by my parents and teachers. Once I knew those boundaries, I learned to respect them and control my behavior.
To date, Matt's video has received over 16 million views, over 350k shares, 170k reactions, and some 67,000 comments. It certainly has a lot of people talking, but more importantly, it seems like the punishment had the desired effect on Kirsten.
The 10-year-old says that she has learned her lesson, especially because she, herself, has been a victim of bullying by other "kids bigger than [her]".
Her father finally updated the now-viral post's caption to include, "Life lessons!!!!"
Matt hopes the video will help send a message to other parents to hold their children accountable and help end bullying once and for all. I have to say, if I was a 10-year-old and my father forced me to walk in the cold for miles after I bullied someone, I don't think I'd ever bully again.