by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World
A mom was entirely fed up with her son's behavior. Feeling that she'd run out of options, she then made the decision to humiliate her son in the most passionate way she could imagine. She forced her 14-year old child to stand on the side of a busy street wearing a sign that said, "I lie, I steal, I sell drugs, I don't follow the law."
Dynesha Lax, of Fort Wayne, Indiana said that she had to use drastic measures to get her son under control.
"I decided he broke the law and they only gave him a few hours community service so I decided that we were going to wear a sign that says you looking for attention, we're going to get you attention," Lax said.
Lax felt that the court punishment wasn't enough. So, she then took matters into her own hands.
"What else more can I do?" said Lax. "They put him on probation and when they did probation they were quick to talk about the 300 some dollars you have to pay in fees, but nobody's trying to help me fix my son."
While passers by were shocked by the sign around her son's neck, police officers said there was nothing illegal about what Lax had done to her son.
"I'm hoping that having him out here is going to make it sink in," said Lax. "It wasn't for it to be a joke or anything funny. He just had to stand out here two hours and suddenly it blew up. Then again they've got their way of parenting and I've got mine. My object is to save my son."
Dr. Christina Edmondson says that the adults in the young man’s life may need to adjust the manners through which they give him love and attention.
“The adults responsible for loving, guiding and disciplining this young man need to get real about whose attention he is most earnestly seeking. Ironically, this mother is modeling attention-seeking behaviors through this desperate cry to get the system to work for her son,” says Dr. Edmondson. “The reality however is that parenting requires more than one or even several dramatic acts, but rather continuous modeling, reinforcement, and correction.”
Parental advocate, teacher and social commentator Miranda Kincaid also expresses concern about the mother’s behavior.
“At first, I was cheering ‘Go Mom’;however, the multiple felonies this young man already accumulated in his whopping 14 years, caught my eye. How does this happen?” Kincaid asks. “Mom thinks the courts aren't doing enough, but where is her role in this "wayward teen's" life? If she has time to monitor him holding a sign for two hours, she had time to guide him somewhere in his life.”
This desperate mother's efforts to manage her son's behavior appear, on their surface, to be hurtful and destructive. But while she might take criticism for her efforts to discipline her son, this is nothing to the criticism she might receive later if her son ends up a convicted felon. The criminal justice system isn't very nice to young black men, so there's no point in sugar-coating the amount of humiliation this child will receive if he continues on his current path.
Perhaps what this family needs is counseling. It takes a village to raise a child, and it usually takes a village to destroy one. It’s hard, from the outside, to look at this family and put all of the responsibility for this unfortunate situation on the mother, the child or anyone else. What is definitely clear is that there is a problem and serious intervention is necessary to keep from ruining this young man’s life.