Her blood began to boil the instant she read the text. She read over them again, and it made her even angrier than the first time. He can’t wear that shirt to group again! Or we won’t be setting up anymore play dates,” she frowned at the woman’s text.
Her fingers moved swiftly as she typed out her response to the unexpected text. She wasn’t going to allow this. All of this was happening because of a simple shirt. What on earth was this woman’s problem?
Queen Of The Playground
With the harsh lockdown keeping everyone inside, Chelsea and her son felt that playdates were an essential element to happiness.
Not only did playdates mean that their children were making friends, it was also a chance for moms to come together and to socialize and relax. Everyone in the group got along, that is, everyone but two other women. One of these women promoted herself as “queen of the playground.”
Just like any other day, Chelsea was enjoying her coffee while planning out her schedule for the day.
Her phone beeped and it was the self promoted “queen”, also known as Karen. Chelsea rolled her eyes when her name popped up on her phone. The start of their conversation was nothing to report back on, but it quickly descended into the reason why Karen was reaching out to Chelsea.
Karen’s text read, “Well, the other day at playgroup, I was a bit… Unimpressed with what [your son] was wearing.”
Chelsea frowned as she started off into space, trying to remember what shirt her son was wearing that day. She finally remembered which one it was. She was now confused and annoyed with Karen’s text, ““What’s wrong with it?” She replied.
Karen explained that his shirt was demeaning to boys and men and that he was rude for wearing it.
Not understanding why this bothered or even had anything to do with Karen, Chelsea said, ““But you have a daughter.” Karen’s daughter was as young as Chelsea’s son. They couldn’t even read yet. That’s when the next barrage of attacks came.
Karen ignored what Chelsea said and continued her rant, saying “It insinuates that boys can just use girls as playtoys and do whatever they want to them. Not the best message to send out to your boy or my girl!”
Chelsea rolled her eyes and signed as she let her forehead fall against her palm. “It’s a joke for adults,” She explained to Karen. Surely Karen could take a joke, right? Karen wasn’t having any of it.
It Was Ridiculous
That was when Karen decided to ban Chelsea and her son from all future playdates.
The conversation was ridiculous to begin with but this upset Chelsea on a whole new level. Chelsea let the other moms know what Karen had said. One mom was so angry that she even asked Chelsea where she could buy one of these shirts for her own child, in support of Chelsea and her son.
Save The Drama
All of the moms were on Chelsea’s side, all except for the other Karen.
They were all sick of Chelsea acting like she owned the place, they also could not stand her attitude anymore. Chelsea’s son was more than welcome on the playground, but the moms didn’t want any drama.
Chelsea didn’t want the drama either.
She decided to roll up her sleeves and end the drama then and there. She was ready to type up her very own complaints. But what shirt was her son wearing that was so offensive?
Players Gonna Play
Her son loved video games, so she had gotten him a shirt that read, “players gonna play”. The shirt even had a little Xbox controller on it.
It was a fun shirt, one that also poked fun at the adult version of the saying. Chelsea’s fingers were moving fast as she typed her response to Karen.
“Honestly I couldn’t care less. You’re very inhospitable hosts anyway.”
The hostess was always stingy with snacks and drink towards her son (not to mention Chelsea as well). Then there was the constant drama of never wanting to pay for anything when they went out … and expecting everyone else to cover expenses.
“And you’ve let [your daughter] pinch him before too because he wouldn’t share, but you never cared if she didn’t.”
It had been a serious matter of bad parenting, letting her girl do whatever she wanted, and her son being uncomfortable during the encounters. But Chelsea wasn’t done yet.
“I don’t think this is s healthy relationship for him or for me. And just for the record, my son will wear whatever I want him to. Don’t come to group if you’re sooooo offended.”
Chelsea felt a wave of release. She had finally been able to say all the things she had been holding back. The return fire?
Obviously, when people are called out on their own bad, hypocritical behavior, they are more likely to lash out and protect their pride rather than apologies.
There was one final attempt at “banning” her son and calling Chelsea the b-word. Next was getting the rest of the moms on “Karen’s side”.
But she just leaned back, turned off her phone, and shrugged off the fire in her chest.
The moms already had had enough and the woman quickly wore out her welcome and stopped coming to the group and left the chat. The balance was restored and kids could go back to just “playin”. But that’s not the first time that a bully had learned their lesson. One kid was taught how not to be a bully, but the person to teach them is surprising.
This was the second time that Kirsten, a 10-year-old Ohio girl, had been sent off the bus for bullying a classmate. And her father, Matt Cox, was not having any of it.
“Let me make this extremely clear, bullying is unacceptable, especially in my household,” Matt says, and he had a plan to make sure Kirsten knew he meant it.
Matt says he believes that children have too much entitlement and that things are given to them whether they have earned it or not.
Being kicked off the bus for bad behavior does not make you entitled to a private car drive down to school every day. No, he had something much better in store for her.
Now some might say that a three-day suspension from school rides was punishment enough, but really there is no difference between a car drive or a bus ride, except that the car is probably more comfortable and relaxed.
The irony wasn’t lost on Matt, so the angry dad decided to do something a little more… unorthodox. But he wasn’t expecting to become famous overnight.
The interesting part is that, for some reason, Matt recorded his daughter while she received her punishment, all the while giving commentary on everything.
From why she was getting punished, what he expected her to learn from the punishment, and even saying: “I know a lot of you parents are not going to agree with this and that’s all right.”
Matt uploaded the video to his personal Facebook account, expecting only those on his friends list to see it.
One of those friends asked him to make it shareable so that he could share it and the rest is history. 350,000 shares later and Matt had to make his profile completely private to stop the sheer amount of messages.
Social Media Backlash
Matt wasn’t expecting the backlash on social media as his video and story went viral, chalking up over 15 million views and over 100,000 comments.
He states in an interview that he only expected his friends on Facebook to see it but, the next morning he woke up to hundreds of messages in his inbox. And the messages are mixed.
While some parents are supportive, others are outraged by what they’re calling “too much.” Matt posted the video of his daughter on Facebook with the caption “Life Lessons.”
In the video, Cox said a lot of children today feel that the things their parents do for them are a right and not a privilege. In his mind, he was holding his daughter accountable.
Holding Her Accountable
Despite the backlash, however, Cox stood by the punishment, “I am doing what I think is right to teach my daughter a lesson to stop her from bullying. Parents need to hold their kids accountable.
I’m not going to be another parent that’s just going to brush things under the rug,” he explained. “I just want the kids to know that words truly do hurt. They cut very deep and have lasting effects.” So, what was all the fuss about?
A Right, Not A Privilege
“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. Or even bus rides to school in the morning,” Matt says to the camera.
“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.”
When I Was Your Age
I’m pretty sure everyone has a parent or grandparent who has started a story with the phrase, “When I was your age… We walked 10 miles in the snow with no shoes.” or, “When I was your age if we talked back to our parents we got our mouth washed out with soap.”
They are used typically by older adults to convey how conditions have changed over an extended period of time to younger people. But the truth is that virtually no one used to drive to school.
Cool Off In The Cold
So in the 36 degrees cold weather, Kirsten trudged to school, all 5 miles… Albeit, Matt split the walk up over the three days of the suspension, so Kirsten actually only walked 1.5 miles for three consecutive mornings, giving her more than enough time to think about the consequences of her actions.
Bullying, after all, hurts others.
My Beautiful Daughter
Matt wasn’t about to let his ‘beautiful girl’ get hurt or compromise her safety either, he drove steadily behind her all the way. A free ride to school every day was something she took for granted.
Matt relates his views on parenting: “Parents need to hold their kids accountable, so that was me showing how I am holding my kid accountable.”
The Reason Why She Walked
Matt said his daughter was upset when she first started walking on Monday. During the walk, he talked to his daughter about how her actions were the reason she was walking.
He said by the end of the walk she calmed down and realized that if she hadn’t bullied others, she would still be on the bus. This was the second time daughter Kirsten had gotten in trouble for teasing other kids.
Not The Only One
And Matt isn’t the only dad to have dished out this kind of punishment. Another child, a 10-year-old boy from Virginia, was also made to jog to school for a week by his dad, Bryan Thornhill. The school was a mile away and his son was also been banned from the school bus for bullying.
He named the video “You better listen to your dad, 2018,” and this video has even more views, shares, and comments than Matt’s has.
Stuck To His Guns
He too is sticking to his guns about his method of punishment and you can watch the video of the boy keeping a steady 6 miles an hour with his dad driving behind him. The video happens to be in the drizzle, but they were intending on driving him that day until he was rude to his mother in the morning.
It was then decided that he would run to school, even in that morning’s rain. The matter was even discussed on a talk show.
Two Sides To A Coin
While most of the comments are in support of children learning that bullying is not an option, there are more than a few that condemn the punishment altogether. Lee J Wilkens says “Love it!! I plan on showing this to my oldest child to show her that I am not a mean parent but that misbehaving won’t be tolerated.
I’m not doing my job if I just let it slide.” While Ariana Jade commented: “makes sense why his kid is a bully… who knows maybe it will work for this kid but it wouldn’t for many that I have worked with. In fact, it could make him act out more.”
The Punishment Worked
But despite supporters of both sides, it seems that the punishment has seemed to work, even if just for the moment.
In fact, here is what both parents have said about their kids. From Lee: “This right here is just simple. Ironically, since he’s been running to school this week his behavior has been better, his teachers have approved of his behavior this week, he hasn’t gotten in trouble, whereas last week he was just absolutely out of his mind.” And, what about Matt?
Matt updated the Facebook post, writing, “Life lessons!!!!” “UPDATE: lesson learned! Still has all her extremities intact is happy and healthy and seems to have a new outlook on bullying as well as a new appreciation for some of the simple things in life she used to take for granted.”
Despite the hate he received on social media, Matt doesn’t regret punishing his daughter for bullying.
A New Outlook
Matt even used the comments, both positive and negative, to educate his kids on the effects bullying has. “She, along with my other two children, seem to show a great deal of empathy towards some of the sad stories that I read with them,” he wrote.
“I also hope that parents see the video and start holding their kids accountable for their actions and stop sweeping their child’s actions under the rug with the ideology that kids will be kids. We as parents need to stop the bullying on the home front because bullying only breeds bullying,” he concluded.