PARENTS
03/14/2013 05:45 pm ET

Jessica Rocha, Colorado Mom, Uses Embarrassing T-Shirt To Punish Child (VIDEO)

A Colorado parent used an arguably controversial method to teach a child a lesson: public humiliation.

Jessica Rocha of Fort Morgan forced her fiance's 8-year-old daughter to wear a shirt to school that labeled her a thief, KUSA 9 News reports.

The girl -- who has a habit of stealing, Rocha says -- wore the T-shirt to school and was ridiculed by classmates, but Rocha told the news outlet that the girl's behavior has since improved. She said more traditional discipline tactics haven't been effective in the past.

The mother also planned to have her 9-year-old son wear a "bully" T-shirt to class, but school officials have since said the children can't wear the shirts at school.

Using public humiliation as a means of punishment has caught on in recent years, despite warnings on the part of psychologists.

As Karyl McBride, a family therapist, explained in a recent post for Psychology Today, "Shaming and humiliation causes fear in children. This fear does not go away when they grow up. It becomes a barrier for a healthy emotional life and is difficult to eradicate."

Among the more publicized sign-shaming incidents of late was that of a father who took a picture of his young daughter wearing a sign around her neck after she'd gone to the bathroom in the shower. The photo ended up on Reddit and was later covered by multiple news outlets.

In the past year alone, children have been photographed wearing signs for a variety of offenses, including earning bad grades, getting suspended from school and smoking pot.

After a cluster of sign-shaming incidents popped up last spring, The Huffington Post's Lisa Belkin noted that most of the parents who resort to embarrassing their children as punishment feel at a loss for what else to do to get their children to behave.

However, even if these parents see their children's behavior improve after their public shaming, Belkin pointed out that experts believe that compliance will be short-lived. The damage done, on the other hand, can possibly last a lot longer.

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