Fed Up Mom Deals Peculiar Punishment To Troubled 14-Year-Old Son

Forces Her Boy To Wear A Sign On A Street Corner Naming His Many Wrongs

NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Fort Wayne, Indiana mother’s unconventional form of discipline is sparking a debate. How far is too far when it comes to punishing your child, particularly, in public?

Dynesha Lax says that what she did was a last resort.

“Since you’re looking for attention, we’re going to get you attention,” Lax said.

She was referring to forcing her 14-year-old son to wear a sign around his neck listing his law-breaking behavior — and stand on a street corner for two hours. The sign read: “I lie, I steal, I sell drugs, I don’t follow the law.”

“He broke the law again today and they only gave him a few hours community service. So I decided that we’re going to wear a sign,” Lax said.

Creative? Perhaps.

The very public punishment was infuriating to some and enlightening to others.

“Boy, that seems awfully harsh,” parent Dean Vidal said.

“I think that’s a little extreme,” Courtney Fishman added.

“Sometimes you have to do something drastic so that he gets the point,” Mary Lou Trattner said.

Mother of three and parenting expert Tammy Gold said there are pros and cons to such extreme forms of discipline.

“At first glance it seems cruel and hurtful and not something that a parent would do. As a clinician I think about it like maybe that’s the only thing that will work with her son,” Gold said.

But sometimes creative punishment crosses the line to criminal.

Last year, a Staten Island mother landed in legal trouble when she dropped her 6-year-old daughter off at a police station as a scare tactic. She was later charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

“Anything that causes harm is crossing the line,” Gold said.

And, Gold said, for that there is no excuse or no wiggle room.

Do you think this “punishment” was fair? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. …

  • Cassandra

    The mother is absolutely right. I applaud her for sharing the humiliation by standing next to her wayward offspring.

    • John

      I agree with Cassandra and the boy’s momma. What kind of mother does this sort of thing to her child? A strong very loving mother who is heart broken over her child’s behavior, but who refuses to lose her son to the street life of guns, drugs, and gangs.

  • Antonio Marino - Canada

    this is child abuse for sure. the young men’s being re-victimized over again. there is a reason why he is stealing and selling drugs. Therefore, the underlying problem must be identified and dealt with. parading him in the streets with a placard does not help especially not in the short term. so here is what I propose, I believe that you should get some professional psychological counseling. Stealing is a way to reduce some tension , which may stem from the need to get attention for love. really the problem for this young man is that he needs a sense of self validation and positive regard from those who is entrusted to provide it. let us just hope this does not turn out worse than it looks.

    • pam

      Ridiculous statement from you – “Re-Victimized” ??…HE IS THE ONE MAKING PEOPLE VICTIMS he is not the victim but HE IS THE PERPETRATOR………worse then it looks he is 14 selling drugs , stealing, and not following the law, HOW WORSE CAN I GET FOR A 14 year old…. the only thing you may have said that made any sense was get counseling, really a mother with a 14 year old thug would need some counseling…its a wonder she hasn’t taken a beating to him like they did in the old days……she is showing him love by teaching him there are consequences to his actions and therefore this was his consequence…..just ridiculous you are.

    • JJ

      Antonio, stay in Canada we have enough bleeding heart libs we don’t need anymore.

    • Antonio Marino - Canada

      a mentor or big brother or someone who can provide a sense for a positive role model that can work with him one-on-one would be of great benefit

    • Kevin Joseph


      Complete nonsense. First off to be “re-victimized” you have to be victimized in the first place, and the boy is not a victim he is a perpetrator. Stealing is not a way to “reduce tension” it is a criminal behavior that needs to be addressed harshly. Which this courageous mother is doing. Coddling thugs like this will only allow them to continue a life of crime into adulthood. Chances are this boy will not go that route, not with a Mom like his.

  • Matt

    I think its a bit mild of punishment for a child who has been stealing and selling drugs. Its todays youth that think they have “NO FEAR” tattooed on their foreheads and get into huge trouble at a young age and holler for liberal justice to save them. Its not always the parenting its the child ,they know they have choices and the problem is the system for not deligating harsher punishment for such crimes. Ask yourself this how would you feel if this young man gave your child drugs and it killed them ,would you put a sign around his neck? The liberal society are the ones that think a person can be rehabilitaed but you cant do anything with these criminals unless they want to change themselves.

    • MA

      I like what you say Matt, I came from Africa if it’s from my country this boy will be bitting until his behind crying for help and he will get himulate infront of his school mates. I support the mom.100%, the sociate need more mother like this that does not covered up for bad behavior. The goverment needs to get out of family affair and let parents do their job as a parent,which is instilling displine to their children so that we can have a better community tomorrow.

  • Emily Jane

    Way to go!! That’s a good parent right there, & that’s not being sarcastic.. I think was she did was good, there was no harm in that.

  • lieutenantdan

    Because the court system allows mothers to alienate their children from their fathers. I believe that if father’s rights where more protected by the gender bias
    courts the father’s would see their children more than just every other weekend.
    A child needs their fathers in their life for more time than the courts are giving to Dads.
    Some Mothers use children as a pawn for alimony and child support so they can sit all day in hair and nail salons and not work.
    I understand that allot of this type of behavior is going on these days and the courts allow to happen.

  • lieutenantdan

    I think that government, courts, and police are putting their noses where they do not belong. I do not think that what this parent did is illegal and I do not think that what the other parent did by dropping her teenage son off at a police station to put the fear of god into him is child endangerment either.
    A parent that does nothing to punish their teenager is a parent that is endangering the child. If a parent does nothing with a troubled teen than that teen never learns and the teen’s behavior gets worse, The teen then commits a serious crime and winds up in the court system and in jail and the parents may find themselves in a lawsuit. No matter what the court system that includes, law guardians, lawyers, judges, court personal, the police, the the DA’s office, court appointed therapists etc… all make money.
    The courts look out not so much as in the best interest of the child but what is in the best interest for themselves.
    Shame on them all.

    • Sothe

      I agree on the thug in this article, but you didn’t read correctly on the other.

      She dropped her SIX year old child off at a police station. Six, NOT sixteen. THAT is the epitome of demanding that the state raise your child for you, because you have no parenting, or coping skills. That’s the result of the state raising your children in the “school” system.

      • Bill DeBERG

        If you read the 2nd article as i did at the time it occurred you would have read that the mother took the kid to be scared straight by the police not dropped to raised as a ward of the state.


        • Sothe

          How, exactly does that change anything I said?

          She took her kid to the police station as a PARENTING tool? What part is someone not comprehending? She lacked the parenting skills to discipline her own child, so she wants Mother Government to do it for her.

          So, what part of your condescending finish apply here?

          • rmsbl4

            It would be nice if you went back and reread the story about the six year old is NOT THE SAME MOTHER involved in both cases. I
            It looks like BILL deBERG DIDN’T pick up that it is TWO (2) DIFFERENT MOTHERS either.

  • j

    this is not bad as if in hand cuff later did you hear she said he get few hours of servive for his punishment may he want real punishment shame him now than his whole family shame later and others lose they job because they knew this boy had problems and no one try to help


    This is exactly why Black Boys need their FATHERS. I know first hand that PUBLIC SHAMING by a woman is the most detrimental thing to a young boy’s self esteem. This tactic was used on male slaves by their masters to break a man’s spirit. This STUPID WOMAN is doing the best she can, but she is still a STUPID WOMAN. The lasting effects of this kind of treatment can create resentment and hatred of women and turn this kid into a Monster.

    • pam

      Fathers that aren’t fathers are STUPID, stop bringing slavery into it, .the kid is already a MONSTER …stop condemning woman and maybe black boys won’t grow up to resent and hate woman…..

    • Sothe

      As long as “stupid women” are breeding, you will have abhorent parenting. It has nothing to do with the Evil Slavery Monster of Timelessness and DOOM!

      She is the product of being raised by the state in the “school” system, combined with a cultural of pure criminality. She’s trying to do the right thing as best she can with her limited capacity and damaged cultural mindset.

      • pam

        you are just as ridiculous as truth be told “stupid women” breeding…..you are disgusting….at least she is trying to do something, mothers that do nothing are stupid………

  • Rachel Judith Zell Weinman

    Brilliant! This woman is a genius!!GO MOM!

  • DentalQueen

    As a parent who is having problems with my teenage daughter, I think it is a brilliant idea. I’m even considering doing it. I’m sure this mom is like me and has tried it all and is tired of the shame and disappointment of her child repeatedly getting into trouble. She is trying to save him from the system. To those who disagree, think about this. How will he be treated in prison? Way worse than wearing a sign. Kudos mom!!!

  • MaryAnn

    Seeing that a mom ares about what her child is doing is a refreshing change, especially in the neighborhpoods that this drug activity happens. I am a counselor for alchohol and drug abuse and ive seen the ages of clients become younger and younger. If her child is contributing to this behavior, it is time for her to intervene and turn her son around. I think this was a good way for her to make her point because if this embarrased him then he knows he is doing wrong. Good job Mom!

  • jerseyjoey

    Someone posted : That woman is brilliant. Well its one of the oldest forms of public punishment, public humiliation via the sign and block in the town square. Now that this fact has been said, dyfus will decend on her take the kid away and put her in jail. After all, its New Jersey and the liberal lemmimngs must justify the paychecks they recieve on tax payer money so she will be the poster case. Wait n see.

  • Larry

    FWIW, the headline & byline are incorrect. This incident did NOT take place in NJ; it took place in Fort Wayne, NJ — just google the mother’s name to prove this.

  • Dee

    Yay for the mom!!

  • Dawn Bruner Holford

    Good Job mom!!!! If he got in worse trouble she would be ridiculed for not doing enough to keep him out of trouble. At least she is showing him that she truly cares about what happens to him in life. I can’t say that I would not have done the same kind of thing or more if that were my son. So let this woman do what she needs to do with her son. GOD bless you mom!!!!

  • TheEye

    Good work mom!
    In these times you can’t spank you kid, or take him out back for an old-fashioned ass-whooping, so this is a way to get through to a kid that’s turning out to be a total piece of crap.

    • Mother of Seven

      I like your comment “TheEye” This way the child can see how it feels to be embarrassed by their actions and the mother is not arrested for giving some old fashion butt whippin! When your child does something wrong, some people blame the parent for not doing their job correctly. Hitting your child is called “abuse” she had to do what she had to do! I bet she tried everything to get her child on the right track, but sometimes you have to do things to let your child know “I’m tired, and it’s going to stop right now!”

  • Sandy Lafrance

    Way to Go Mom!
    You should be proud of your self, Your child runs the risk of ending up in jail or worse, dead.. I applaud you. For having the ability to create diverse methods of teaching. Hopefully your child will see pride in honesty. If you are lucky your child has the capacity to feel guilt, which hopefully, will lead him away from the path he is heading down. Best wishes and continued clever parenting.
    My kids agree, and state “Way to go Mom!”

  • Tonia Mcintosh

    I love what she did. See no matter what we do someone is gonna have something to say. I f she wasnt trying to find a way to disipline him, everyone would be saying ” WHAT WAS THE MOTHER DOING”? So sister I take off my hat to you. Keep up the good work.!!!

  • Good job!

    She is obviously at her wits end with her son. I hope this worls. If he was a complete waste of time he would never have strapped on that sign and walked around with it, hopefully he will find the right path.

  • Vero

    That woman is brilliant.

  • Voice of truth!

    What a crock! I am amazed at some of these comments. I noticed at asked a bunch of white folks was this harsh. they were like ooooooooo that to harsh , he needs a time out. people please!. Kids need to have a level of fear of there parents! parents need to step up and do what is necessary to control their kids. GET THEIR ATTENTION! PARENTS RAISE YOUR KIDS, DISCLIPNE YOUR KIDS. The parent is doing it because she cares. if he gets in the juvenile court he will be a number and systematically railroaded and branded another black criminal! who parents didn’t care.

    • JG

      I approve this post!

  • JG

    This kid might do something worst, but he might not. The real question here is how far are you willing to go as a parent to protect you child from doing the wrong things, or making the wrong choices? If his mother knew what the magic thing to do and/or say to get him to do the right things you do not think she would do it?! No parent wants to get a call from the cops about their child. If the sign does not work you try something else. You do what you must to save your children from themselves.

  • DportResident

    I would have done something similar but if you stop and think about it he’s going to just get even more resentful for that and probably go out and do something worse.

  • JG

    She is doing what she thinks is the right thing. It is not the only way to make a point, but in this day and age you have to do what you must to get these kids to understand there are laws that they need to follow. It is better for his mother to make him feel shame than a cop killing him in the streets because the laws he is breaking will only put him in harms way.

  • Carol Orozco

    If it helps her son change his ways, good for her for loving him enough to do something! He endangers himself, his family and others with what he is doing, so I say support her in her effort to make a difference to better her child.

  • Ellen

    Yes she did go to far with this punishment. If a parent wants to teach their child a lesson then how about getting them into helping others like visiting children in a hospital suffering from cancer, or working at a homeless shelter. That would be a lot more productive in teaching responsibility, compassion, and caring for others. Humiliation doesn’t teach anything but low self esteem. Something I think these kids are already suffering from.

    • Jean

      What makes you think the mother didn’t already try that? Or that the kid would do it if she tried? She knows her son a lot better than you do and she did what she thought was right. I say good for her. Too many people excuse their kid’s behavior, cover for them or throw up their hands. She refuses to give up on her son but she’s not letting him skate on anything. More power to her

    • Laurie A Wurtz VanOrder

      That kind of thinking is why we have a generation of soft, weak, spoiled children. The punishment should fit the crime, and if the criminal justice system isn’t going to take care of it, then by all means, the parent should step in. Humiliation teaches HUMILITY.

      • pam

        EXACTLY Laurie …..

    • JG

      Those things might help this kid, but this kid is not lacking responsibility because he understands that he needs to get up to go sell drugs in school and/or in the street and report back to his supplier. He has compassion and caring but he might only care to apply it to his social circle and family. He think he understands suffering, but only in the sense where it is most felt; to his family, friends, and to himself. Maybe if he saw what the drugs he sold to people was doing to their life he would care, or if he saw the people he cares for effected by the things he is doing it might make him open his eyes. What his mother is doing might serve as cold water on his face.

  • Kadie C

    What’s with all the gang comments? Because he’s black he must be in a gang? I mean really people, if he was a white teenager and selling drugs (as an FYI there are more white than black drug dealers) no one would be mentioning gangs.
    If the court had given him more than a slap on the wrist maybe mom wouldn’t have had to take it into her own hands. he’s 14, he knew better, now he’s suffering the consequences. All you pansies whining about him being treated badly are EXACTLY why parents can’t discipline their kids these days and why society is seeing a steadily increasing rate of juvenile crime.

    • Very conservative

      Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    • Courageous!

      I strongly agree, I raised 3 children, on my own and had to do something similar. My son took something from the grocery store one day because he thought he could. Whe I found out, I told him that I couldn’t protect him from the police and that I was turning him in to the grocery manager. I told him that if if the manager wanted to turn him into police, then I would support him because I wasn’t going to have a thief living in my home. I told him that no matter what happened, he needed to always do the right thing. He said I should be protecing him, but I said, If u steal then u must pay the consequences for your actions. I took him back to the store and quietly told the manager what he did and I asked him to scare the living daylights out of him. He did so and pretended to call the police that day he realized that If he stole, then he would have to pay the consequences. He realized that I would not protect him even when he did wrong. I am proud to say that he has gone on to do great things with his life. He chose to join the US Navy and finished college. Now he is a great role model to other young men in his unit or where ever he goes. If I had not been extreme with him, perhaps he would have gone on to be a thug or who know what. Rock on Momma, You’ve got my vote.

  • A Dad

    He is willing to harm himself and others by stealing ,lying and selling drugs,what has this mom done to him that is more hurtful or harmful than that? Good job mom,

    • JG

      Some parents do not need to do anything wrong for a kid to go down the wrong path. Some kids see this lifestyle as alluring because this is what t.v., movies, friends, and media pushes to the forefront as the in thing. He is at the age where he wants to do anything, but listen because he thinks he knows what best. How many parents you know say all the time “I didn’t raise my son/daughter like that.” I know I have heard it far too many times to count.

  • pam

    For those that think this is too harsh, I guess life in prison is a much softer approach, which is where this kid and many others like him are heading if they don’t knock it off. Good for this mother to take a stand, most parents don’t..I hope it works

  • Retired in NJ

    Mother’s message to her son…”Better you should cry now than I should cry later”.

    • JG

      What you said is going on my mirror!

  • LI'er

    I applaud this mother! It is about time someone took responsibility for their child and saw that the laws way was too easy. I played with matches as a child and when my parents caught me I had to go to the firehouse and tell my uncle(a firefighter) what I was doing. I never did again. I hope this teaches the kid like my lesson taught me. And for all you sympathetic liberals, NO, I dont think my parents were too harsh. Kudos to mom!

  • Glenn Ferro

    Most parents nowadays seem to believe that any consequence to their kids misbehaviour or illegal activities is harsh, extreme, or crossing the line. They seem unable to grasp the fact that their attitude encourages the kids to act up.

  • Jennifer McGee Sheremetta

    Im all for the mom in this one!!! Hip Hip Hooray for the updated version of THE SCARLETT LETTER!

  • dianne forand

    Good for her! It is Her son, and she is doing what is needed so he doesnt end up in jail or worse, God Forbid! To the boy, heads up! she could dress you in a frilly dress and make you sit in church all day ike that.

  • sweet

    Sounds like it would be a great idea except one thing.. If he is selling drugs through a gang, and if that gang were to see this display. Wouldn’t you think that the gang would take it out on that boy later on as he’s walking to school, or the store alone? The Mother could be putting the boy in harms way!

    • Jennifer McGee Sheremetta

      true..but he’s old enough to know better. He shouldn’t have joined a gang in the first place..assuming he did.
      Im all for the mom in this one!!! Hip Hip Hooray for the updated version of THE SCARLETT LETTER! ;)

  • http://riesheridanrose.wordpress.com riesheridanrose

    Perfectly valid to me. I am more intrigued by the case of the mother who was charged with harm to a child for dropping her daughter at the POLICE STATION. Isn’t that the safest place in the world for her? Sometimes tough love is tougher on the parents, but more power to them for trying.

    • Jean

      The child in that case was only 6 years old. If the mother couldn’t control her liitle daughter, she was the one with the serious problem.. A kid that little needs discipline, not a “scare tactic” This kid is 14 and I doubt the police station would scare him. He’s already been arrested and repeatedly allowed to walk. Apparently, they were giving him a chance and it wasn’t working. Maybe this will

  • Mom of 5

    I think it was very creative and hopefully will teach him a lesson! She didn’t beat him or hurt him in anyway she just made him admit to his wrong doings! Nothing wrong with that I applaud her!

  • John

    Good fro her!!!!!!


    No mother wants to make her kids look bad or humuliate them. They love them dearly. As much as she puts her son through shameness, she suffers much more. But to hope leading her son out of trouble, she took responsibility to ensure he is aware of his action and feel guilty of it. (Many would hide or protect the shamnes). Regardless, It took a lot of courage out of a mother like that to take responsibility to correct her son behavior. Whichever method, parents choose to teach the kids, we want them be good!! God bless all great mothers, and wish you have the greatest strength to guide us!!

  • DenverMom

    I believe there was a judge in NC once who made a woman wear a sign in front of a grocery store that said, “I killed two kids drinking and driving.” If a judge thinks shame is a worthwhile sentence, what’s wrong with this mom doing it?
    Hopefully, this mom sees some good results from this.

  • DMC

    I applaud this mother, sometimes you need to get creative to get a kids attention. And it surely did not hurt him. This poor mom is trying to keep her son off the path to a life in jail.

  • Drid Williams

    I don’t think it’s too much. The mother obviously loves her son enough to attempt drastic measures that will help him change his ways. I think parents have a tough time these days, when there are very few standards for anything left — much less children’s behavior.

  • DWVegas

    Bravo! A little shame goes along way. In fact, we could use a little more shame today. Enough with the “discussions” and the “time outs” — Bravo to this mother – she is 1000 percent right! Let’s print those names in the paper — enough with the youthful offender status…. Shame’em high!

  • lew

    “Boy, that seems awfully harsh,” parent Dean Vidal said.

    “I think that’s a little extreme,” Courtney Fishman added.

    Are you kidding me??? Get a handle on the crime vs the punishment.

  • Lynn Martin

    I stole a balloon from Woolworth’s when I was about 6 years old. Not only did my mother make me bring it back to the store, I had to pay for the baloon, only 5 cents, but I got my backside beat so bad, I couldn’t sit for a day without pain. What effect did that have on me? I never stole anything again in my life, and I am 52 years old now. I am not a serial killer, I don’t hurt animals, don’t sell drugs…you get the point. I commend this mom for doing HER job. Parents should “rise up” and take back their rights to parent. The cops and child protective services should go after the child ABUSERS and RAPISTS and leave parenting where it belongs, with the mom and/or dad!

    • Jennifer McGee Sheremetta


    • Dawn L.

      I don’t know you, BUT I love you!!!!!!!! COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!!!!!! YEAH FOR YOU!!!

  • parenting

    Well done. This country is a joke. If you spank them is physical abuse.If you scream is verbal abuse. As a parent you can become hostage of your own kids.
    They can tell you that if you hit them they were told in school to call. Yes the police. Good job for that mom.

  • jayne

    There should be more parents like her who love their children enough to do something like this. It must have been embarrassing for her too but she was there.

    It’s better than hitting him in the head with a 2×4 to get his attention.

  • gloria

    No one knows this boy better than his mother, and she has to be held accountable for unlawful behavior. Forcing him to publicly own up to what he does and causing shame and humiliation is nothing compared to going to jail and then prison. These are serious offenses for someone so young and his mother did what she had to to make him accountable.

  • DaEmph

    I bet you won’t find white parents doing this, they are too scared of their own kids, the kids will be like “F you mom, you wh0re!” And of course the white parents will say “Just wait till we get home!”…knowing your not gonna do jack!
    Props to this mother, stupid kid doesn’t even know what life is all about! DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO!
    People let the government raise their kids these days and dictate what punishment is which is what is wrong with most of these kids today, if this straighten this kids out, then good for her.

    • Patricia

      Are you kidding me who do you think you are judging any race I am white and I would damned if my kids pulled the stuff this kid is doing you are crazy and need to take your ignorant ass comments somewhere else

    • Marilyn Banner

      Parents are in control until they become adolescents. After that, it’s all about who their friends are. Funny how people are quick to blame mothers but nary a word about the invisible fathers. I take my hat off to this lady for at least doing something.

    • Jennifer McGee Sheremetta

      no need to bring race into it…of course there is ONE MORON in every crowd.
      However, FYI…I am white and I would do the very same thing if it were my kid…after I beat his butt!

    • Tracey


      I am a white mother of two children and I find this comment rediculous… I know plenty of children white and black who’s parent’s don’t discipline their children.. My two children are always held accountable when they do something wrong.. So far so good. This is not a black or white thing, the fact is that there are parent’s out there who are not taking the time with their chidren and leave them alone with a video game system as a babysitter and I applaude this mother for trying to take control of her son’s bad behavior… and I suggest that you use some common sense the next time you leave a comment like that…..

    • so sad

      “I bet you won’t find white parents doing this” why must there always an idiot making everything a race issue.Shame on you..This is another reason there are so many problems in this world

      • DMC

        I believe this is what they call Reverse RACISM. You are right So Sad. DaEmph needs to think before writing comments like this one. It’s one of the reasons we have so many problems in our society.

  • Alê

    The kid isn’t ashamed of stealing, lying and selling drugs but he cannot bear to stand a couple of hours admitting his own doing? I’m sure it hurt more the mother than the kid himself, for she felt her own shame and felt for her son.

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