A 10-year-old boy was forced by his parents to walk around in view of downtown Crescent City traffic Wednesday while he wore large signs, one of which read, “I lied to my parents.”
The boy, whose front and back were completely covered by the large cardboard signs hanging from his neck, was made to walk back and forth for about 40 minutes along the 600 block of L Street by his parents, who watched from lawn chairs 20 yards away.
Several passersby honked and stopped to voice support for what Nick and Brittany Henderson were doing, sometimes even asking to take pictures with the boy.
“Can I get a picture to show everyone back at the office? That’s awesome,” said one man, whose request Nick granted.
The unusual punishment, which might amount to emotional abuse, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office of California, was the most recent step in a series of disciplinary actions to stop the child from lying, the parents said.
“We have been trying everything possible we can think of to get him to stop lying and misbehaving,” Nick said. “We’ve talked to counselors, talked to the school. It’s just continuous. And it seems like every method we try doesn’t work. And we don’t want to embarrass him but we also want him to understand.”
The Legislative Analyst’s Office defines emotional abuse as nonphysical mistreatment, resulting in disturbed behavior by the child, such as severe withdrawal or hyperactivity. Emotional abuse includes willfully causing any child to suffer, inflicting mental suffering, or endangering a child’s emotional well-being.
Local Child Protection Services said they could not comment, but asked for more information about the incident.
“There’s a lot of behavioral problems, and the other ones we can control and work with him with,” Nick said. “But lying — he knows he can keep doing it because what’s going to happen? We find out he’s lying and he’s thinking, ‘What’s the worst my parents can do?’ We don’t want to be abusive parents because violence just leads to more violence. We’re trying to show him in the most positive way to stop lying.”