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What is an appropriate punishment for Carolina teens?

When kids get into trouble, is it an issue for the courts or for parents? A recent trend has emerged that is putting the power of punishment into the hands of parents instead of dragging a case through a North Carolina court. This may be a positive movement because when it comes to an underage violation, it is not always necessary to impose jail time and a criminal record for a teen's mistake.

Increasingly, there have been news stories about parents taking the reins when it comes to punishing their child for infractions such as shoplifting, drug use, underage drinking and other violations. These parents are engaging in a controversial practice of public humiliation to teach their kids a lesson. It raises the question of whether this punishment is more effective than a formal charge or conviction.

Some parents argue that their kids need to own up to their mistakes and accept the consequences. Instead of spending time behind bars, though, parents are making them spend time in front of everyone confessing to their transgressions.

One South Carolina parent recently found out that her 13-year-old son had smoked pot. Rather than take a more traditional approach to punishing him, the mother made him wear a sandwich board sign that read, "Smoked pot, got caught. Don't I look cool? Not." He then had to wear the sign at a busy intersection so that all the people around could see.

This form of public shaming is proving to be effective in some cases. However, others argue that this type of humiliation is doing more harm than good. What do you think? Is it more effective for parents to take a less-traditional approach to punishing kids for breaking the law or should teens continue to be aggressively punished with jail time and a permanent criminal record?

Source: The Huffington Post, "April Mathison, Mom, Orders Teen To Wear Sign As Punishment For Smoking Pot," Katherine Bindley, Aug. 27, 2012

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