The video can be uncomfortable to watch.
A mom stands on the sidewalk, berating her 13-year-old daughter for pretending to be an older teenager and making suggestive posts on Facebook. The girl fidgets and sniffles.
“You’ve got a Facebook page, and you’re on there with your bra on, right? Is that what you do?” Valerie Starks asks as the girl begins to cry.
“Don’t cry now. You wasn’t crying when you was posting pictures on Facebook, was you? In a bra?” the mother continues. “Some little girl in some lace panties that you know you don’t own. You still wear panties that say Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”
The video, posted Sunday, has drawn more than 11 million views and thousands of comments, many praising Starks as a tough-love parent.
“We need more Moms like you. Good job taking care of your kid,” Facebook user Rhonda Snow wrote on Starks’ Facebook page.
But other commenters, and some parenting experts, are aghast at what they said was little more than cyberbullying.
“It is heartbreaking,” parenting expert Amy McCready said Thursday.
While Starks clearly has the best of intentions and obviously loves her daughter, McCready said, the tactic isn’t an effective way to get kids to open up and tell the truth about what’s happening in their lives.
“If kids fear that they are going to be publicly humiliated, guess what, they are going to get really good at hiding the truth,” said McCready, of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Starks told CNN affiliate KMGH that she explained the reasons for the video to her daughter.
“I said, ‘I did this because I love you, not because I really wanted to embarrass you,’ ” she said. “I wanted to make a statement and a stand for all parents that this is not going to be tolerated.”
In another video posted Monday, Starks said she has been overwhelmed with support. She’s reached Facebook’s limit of 5,000 friends because of the video, she said.
She also said she’s made mistakes in her life that she doesn’t want her daughter to repeat. Starks says she’s a convicted felon “for being around the wrong people who had marijuana” and doesn’t have a job but is renting a room from her brother and going to night school to try to improve her situation.
She said critics need to understand that she’s trying to do the best she can for her daughter.
“I’m not her friend. I am my own village, and I am trying my best with this little girl. And she’s going to understand and respect me for it later,” she said.
“The streets won’t raise her; the schools won’t raise her; the system won’t raise her. I will raise her if it kills me,” she said.
But McCready said that publicly shaming her daughter may have frayed bonds of trust that could be difficult to repair.
McCready’s advice for parents in similar situations: Don’t back down from being tough with your kids, because they need that discipline when they make big mistakes.
But, she says, do it in a way that ensures that the child knows you’ll “have their back no matter what.”
That means reining in privileges and reinforcing obligations while using the child’s mistake as an opportunity to explore why it happened and what parent and child can do together to prevent a repeat — not embarrassing them publicly, she said.
“No one feels inspired when they are humiliated,” she said.
Starks said she posted the video to emphasize to other parents “how important it is to be aware of what your child is doing at all times. Don’t trust nothing they say. They lie. They’re going to be sneaky. Don’t ever say … what your child won’t do. Because you never know until it happens to you.”