Mom Bans Boy From Playgroup Over Shirt, Has No Idea How Far Mom Will Go

Just A Shirt

 “He can't wear that shirt to group again! Or we won’t be setting up anymore play dates.” 

The mom looked at the text and felt the anger turn to heated shaking. It went right to her fingertips, which were ready for a full-on counter-attack. All of this over a simple shirt? Was the woman crazy?!

Self Appointed 

Between lockdown and life, playdates had become very important to Chelsea and her son. 

Not only did they foster important friendships between their children, but it was also a chance for all the moms to socialize. Everyone got along fairly well … with the exception of two other women – one of which decided to promote herself to the queen of the playgroup. 

Quick Decent 

Chelsea sat with her coffee, sorting out her schedule for the day. 

The phone beeped. It was the “queen” (henceforth known as Karen). Chelsea sighed and rolled her eyes. The start of the chat was light, but it quickly descended into the real reason for Karen’s reach out.


“Well, the other day at playgroup, I was a bit... Unimpressed with what [your son] was wearing.”

Chelsea closed her eyes and shook her head, trying to remember what her son had worn. The image finally popped up. There was now confusion along with her annoyance. “What’s wrong with it?”

Gloves Off

Karen proceeded to go on about how it was demeaning to boys and men and super rude. 

“But you have a daughter,” Chelsea commented, already finding the conversation rediculous. The little girl was as young as her son and couldn’t even read. The mitts came off and the next barrage of attacks came.

Bad Message

“It insinuates that boys can just use girls as playtoys and do whatever they want to them. Not the best message to send out to your boy or my girl!” she said.

Chelsea thumped her forehead down on the counter and shook her head. “It’s a joke for adults,” she typed. Karen wasn’t having it.

Just Karen

Next was the unthinkable move of banning her and her son from all future playdates. 

The conversation was ridiculous but now Chelsea’s mom-claws came out. One response was to reminder her that the other moms didn’t have a problem with it. One of them even wanted to know where to get one for her own child.

No Problem, Just No Drama

She reached out to the other moms. All of them, save one (another Karen), were on her side. 

Not only were they tired of the woman acting as if she was the boss of the group, but they were also sick of her attitude. Chelsea’s son was more than welcome to playgroup … but they didn’t want the drama following.

On The Attack

That was fair. She wouldn’t want drama during the meetups either. 

So, she rolled up her sleeves, donned her figurative, protective mommy armor, and got ready to end the inane discussion then and there. She got ready to type her own complaints. But what was the “super offensive” shirt that had started it all?

Players Playing

Her boy loved building blocks and gaming. So, the little shirt read “players gonna play” – complete with an Xbox controller. 

The message was clearly about wholesome fun and a poke at the adult version of the saying. Chelsea’s fingers moved in a flurry of texts back at the delicate, over-reacting Karen.

Stingy Mother

“Honestly I couldn't care less. You're very inhospitable hosts anyway.” 

The hostess was always stingy with snacks and drink towards her son (not to mention Chelsea as well). Then there was the constant drama of never wanting to pay for anything when they went out … and expecting everyone else to cover expenses. 

Bad Daughter

“And you've let [your daughter] pinch him before too because he wouldn't share, but you never cared if she didn't.”

 It had been a serious matter of bad parenting, letting her girl do whatever she wanted, and her son being uncomfortable during the encounters. But Chelsea wasn’t done yet.

Not Healthy

"I don't think this is s healthy relationship for him or for me. And just for the record, my son will wear whatever I want him to. Don't come to group if you're sooooo offended." 

Chelsea felt a wave of release. She had finally been able to say all the things she had been holding back. The return fire?


Obviously, when people are called out on their own bad, hypocritical behavior, they are more likely to lash out and protect their pride rather than apologies. 

There was one final attempt at “banning” her son and calling Chelsea the b-word. Next was getting the rest of the moms on “Karen’s side”.

Peace Restored

But she just leaned back, turned off her phone, and shrugged off the fire in her chest. 

The moms already had had enough and the woman quickly wore out her welcome and stopped coming to the group and left the chat. The balance was restored and kids could go back to just “playin”.

Second Time

This was the second time that Kirsten, a 10-year-old Ohio girl, had been sent off the bus for bullying a classmate. And her father, Matt Cox, was not having any of it.

“Let me make this extremely clear, bullying is unacceptable, especially in my household,” Matt says, and he had a plan to make sure Kirsten knew he meant it.


Matt says he believes that children have too much entitlement and that things are given to them whether they have earned it or not.

Being kicked off the bus for bad behavior does not make you entitled to a private car drive down to school every day. No, he had something much better in store for her.

Punishment Enough

Now some might say that a three-day suspension from school rides was punishment enough, but really there is no difference between a car drive or a bus ride, except that the car is probably more comfortable and relaxed.

The irony wasn’t lost on Matt, so the angry dad decided to do something a little more… unorthodox. But he wasn’t expecting to become famous overnight.


The interesting part is that, for some reason, Matt recorded his daughter while she received her punishment, all the while giving commentary on everything.

From why she was getting punished, what he expected her to learn from the punishment, and even saying: “I know a lot of you parents are not going to agree with this and that’s all right.”


Matt uploaded the video to his personal Facebook account, expecting only those on his friends list to see it.

One of those friends asked him to make it shareable so that he could share it and the rest is history. 350,000 shares later and Matt had to make his profile completely private to stop the sheer amount of messages.

Social Media Backlash

Matt wasn’t expecting the backlash on social media as his video and story went viral, chalking up over 15 million views and over 100,000 comments.

He states in an interview that he only expected his friends on Facebook to see it but, the next morning he woke up to hundreds of messages in his inbox. And the messages are mixed.


While some parents are supportive, others are outraged by what they’re calling “too much.” Matt posted the video of his daughter on Facebook with the caption “Life Lessons.”

In the video, Cox said a lot of children today feel that the things their parents do for them are a right and not a privilege. In his mind, he was holding his daughter accountable.

Holding Her Accountable

Despite the backlash, however, Cox stood by the punishment, “I am doing what I think is right to teach my daughter a lesson to stop her from bullying. Parents need to hold their kids accountable.

I’m not going to be another parent that’s just going to brush things under the rug,” he explained. “I just want the kids to know that words truly do hurt. They cut very deep and have lasting effects.” So, what was all the fuss about?

A Right, Not A Privilege

“A lot of children today feel that the things their parents do for them is a right and not a privilege, such as parents taking their children to school in the morning. Or even bus rides to school in the morning,” Matt says to the camera.

“All of that is a privilege and should be treated as such. So today my beautiful daughter is going to walk five miles to school in 36-degree weather.”

When I Was Your Age

I’m pretty sure everyone has a parent or grandparent who has started a story with the phrase, “When I was your age… We walked 10 miles in the snow with no shoes.” or, “When I was your age if we talked back to our parents we got our mouth washed out with soap.”

They are used typically by older adults to convey how conditions have changed over an extended period of time to younger people. But the truth is that virtually no one used to drive to school.

Cool Off In The Cold

So in the 36 degrees cold weather, Kirsten trudged to school, all 5 miles… Albeit, Matt split the walk up over the three days of the suspension, so Kirsten actually only walked 1.5 miles for three consecutive mornings, giving her more than enough time to think about the consequences of her actions.

Bullying, after all, hurts others.

My Beautiful Daughter

Matt wasn’t about to let his ‘beautiful girl’ get hurt or compromise her safety either, he drove steadily behind her all the way. A free ride to school every day was something she took for granted.

Matt relates his views on parenting: “Parents need to hold their kids accountable, so that was me showing how I am holding my kid accountable.”

The Reason Why She Walked

Matt said his daughter was upset when she first started walking on Monday. During the walk, he talked to his daughter about how her actions were the reason she was walking.

He said by the end of the walk she calmed down and realized that if she hadn’t bullied others, she would still be on the bus. This was the second time daughter Kirsten had gotten in trouble for teasing other kids.

Not The Only One

And Matt isn’t the only dad to have dished out this kind of punishment. Another child, a 10-year-old boy from Virginia, was also made to jog to school for a week by his dad, Bryan Thornhill. The school was a mile away and his son was also been banned from the school bus for bullying.

He named the video “You better listen to your dad, 2018,” and this video has even more views, shares, and comments than Matt’s has.

Stuck To His Guns

He too is sticking to his guns about his method of punishment and you can watch the video of the boy keeping a steady 6 miles an hour with his dad driving behind him. The video happens to be in the drizzle, but they were intending on driving him that day until he was rude to his mother in the morning.

It was then decided that he would run to school, even in that morning’s rain. The matter was even discussed on a talk show.

Two Sides To A Coin

While most of the comments are in support of children learning that bullying is not an option, there are more than a few that condemn the punishment altogether. Lee J Wilkens says “Love it!! I plan on showing this to my oldest child to show her that I am not a mean parent but that misbehaving won’t be tolerated.

I’m not doing my job if I just let it slide.” While Ariana Jade commented: “makes sense why his kid is a bully… who knows maybe it will work for this kid but it wouldn’t for many that I have worked with. In fact, it could make him act out more.”

The Punishment Worked

But despite supporters of both sides, it seems that the punishment has seemed to work, even if just for the moment.

In fact, here is what both parents have said about their kids. From Lee: “This right here is just simple. Ironically, since he’s been running to school this week his behavior has been better, his teachers have approved of his behavior this week, he hasn’t gotten in trouble, whereas last week he was just absolutely out of his mind.” And, what about Matt?

Life Lessons

Matt updated the Facebook post, writing, “Life lessons!!!!” “UPDATE: lesson learned! Still has all her extremities intact is happy and healthy and seems to have a new outlook on bullying as well as a new appreciation for some of the simple things in life she used to take for granted.”

Despite the hate he received on social media, Matt doesn’t regret punishing his daughter for bullying.

A New Outlook

Matt even used the comments, both positive and negative, to educate his kids on the effects bullying has. “She, along with my other two children, seem to show a great deal of empathy towards some of the sad stories that I read with them,” he wrote.

“I also hope that parents see the video and start holding their kids accountable for their actions and stop sweeping their child’s actions under the rug with the ideology that kids will be kids. We as parents need to stop the bullying on the home front because bullying only breeds bullying,” he concluded.