Jenn Brown, who is a mother in Harrow, Ontario, was forced to defend her actions when people around the world took notice of her parenting after she posted her sons’ punishment on social media. After she was informed by the elementary school that her kids were having “bad bus behavior,” Jenn thought she had the appropriate solution. While some praised her creativity, others laid into the mom as she received immense backlash.
If her seven- and ten-year-old boys couldn’t act right on the bus, Jenn decided they wouldn’t be riding it. Instead, they would walk, regardless of the weather. So, in order to teach them a lesson, she made the youngsters walk to school one morning. No one would have really been none the wiser had the mom not taken a photo and posted it to Facebook. But, that’s exactly what she did, and it immediately started going viral.
The photo featured her boys walking to school with a sign that read, “Being bad and rude to our bus driver. Mom’s making us walk,” as their punishment for acting out. Her sons had been told they wouldn’t be allowed back on the bus if their behavior didn’t improve, so Jenn had decided to do something harsh about it to drive the message home that they needed to appreciate the privilege. Unfortunately, not everyone approved of her methods.
“This was my reaction as a parent, what I felt I was going to do to help them understand the bus is a privilege, it’s not a given right,” Brown explained, according to CTV News Windsor. “Is it far to make them walk 7.2 km? Yes. But to teach them a lesson, I didn’t have a choice,” she added, further defending her display of tough love. The walk to school, which was just under 4.5 miles, took the boys two hours to complete. But, that’s not what drew the ire of the parenting police on Facebook.
Jenn Brown walks the stretch of road she made her boys walk to school. (Photo Credit: Screen Capture/CTV News Windsor)
According to Brown, it was her friend’s idea to use the sign, which seems to be what drew the harshest criticism from those who did not approve. She decided it was a good idea because it would prevent people from stopping to offer the boys a ride. However, it’s the sign and her decision to post the photo to social media that fueled the controversy as many called it “shaming” and scolded the mother for it.
The backlash had the mother regretting her decision to post the image, which she never expected to go viral. “Did I think that many people would be interested in me walking my kids to school? Absolutely not. Would I have put it on Facebook if this was going to be the outcome? Absolutely not,” Brown said, according to iHeart Radio. “Have I learned a lesson? Yes, the power of social media is very powerful and when someone sees a story, they pick what they want and they make their own story.”
But, not everyone disapproved. Brown received her fair share of praise too. “I started getting friend requests, I can’t tell you how many inbox messages I got from all over, telling me good job and good for you,” she recalled. When it was all said and done, she said the two-hour walk gave her boys some quality time together and she actually got a card from the bus driver, thanking her for teaching her boys a lesson.
Jenn Brown shows the “Thank You” card she received from the bus driver. (Photo Credit: Screen Capture/CTV News Windsor)
“It made me feel like I was actively taking a stance on what my kids are doing,” Brown said. “He felt appreciative that I’m trying to straighten them out,” she continued, speaking of the bus driver. “Would I do it again? Yes. With the sign, no,” Brown added, saying that for most of the walk, she was the one who held the sign anyway.
As for the accusations that she “shamed” her children, Brown said that’s absolutely not something she would ever intentionally do. But, even if she did make her kids feel “shame,” is that necessarily a bad thing? Should bad behavior result in a feeling of remorse?
Perhaps a little shame actually helps humans, both adults and children, learn important lessons. After all, when outraged social media users decided to berate the mother, they shamed her, and it caused the desired effect they had hoped for. She felt regret and decided to do things differently next time. And, it seems the same can be said about her boys after the punishment they received.