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Episode 42, When a Child is Shamed

In This Episode:  

It’s important to understand what shame is and what isn’t

Shaming is when someone induces humiliation, embarrassment, and a feeling of guilt, regret, or deep sadness on another person.

Shaming is not motivating, although that is a common misconception.  Sometimes people think “if they feel really bad about what they did, then they won’t do it again.” But it doesn’t work like that.  It is, in essence, a trauma that can cause long-term maladaptive behaviors.  Many people that struggle with addiction, relationship issues, and other tough life struggles often have shame in their past.

My friend and podcasting colleague, Robert Cox has a really good podcast episode on this his podcast, Mindful Recovery.   GUILT AND SHAME RIDDING THE SOUL OF TOXICITY  The link http://mindfulrecoverypodcast.libsyn.com/guit-and-shame-ridding-the-soul-of-toxicity

Making mistakes is actually a healthy part of child development.  Allowing your child to make and learn from mistakes while the price tags are small is a huge gift to your child.  Life experience is the best teacher.  It’s so much more effective than lectures, put downs, shaming, or “I told you so’s”.

Empathy, clear expectations and logical choices are much more effective in helping your child grow into a self-confident, responsible, ambitious individual that enjoys life.

Ongoing culture of shame decreases the quality of life for the entire family.

The trauma of shaming can be substantial, but if it’s an ongoing form of discipline, it can be devastating and often unbearable.

Shame undoubtedly damages the parent-child relationship.  It simply can’t be unfelt.  I just recently watched THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.  I love that movie! My daughter is a  huge John Green fan.  She’s read all of his books.  In that movie, one of the actors says “PAIN DEMANDS TO BE FELT”.  This is so very true.

It can establish a dysfunctional cycle that can lead to generations of pain and dysfunction.  If you tempted to shame your child, check in with what may be going on for you.  Was this something that you experienced as a child?  Is part of your heart hurting or could you use some healing?  I’ve seen great healing occur through therapy as well as work with one’s inner child.  It’s important to realize that blame, whether on self or others, isn’t on the healthy road to healing.  But, rather a focus on “I need to put on my own oxygen mask…” is much healthier for everyone.

Shame can cut deep.  Each person is so unique, so everyone has a different experience.  What is common though is that it hurts in a way that words can’t accurately describe.

I really feel like part of the soul withers with shaming.  For people of all ages, it erodes feeling of self-worth and self-esteem.

Ultimately, shame establishes a dysfunctional perception of a healthy relationship.  When children grow up they often, but not always, use their formative childhood years as a blueprint of how life “should”be.  If that “should” is maladaptive, it can be a long, hard road for them filled with heartache and pain.

I’ve noticed that causes people to put up emotional walls to keep themselves safe.  It is ultimately a type of emotional abuse, especially if it is ongoing.   It limits our children’s vulnerability, which limits their options in life with relationships, careers, dreams and so much more.

Shame manifests itself in the body.   Shame fragments itself in the body in messy, infiltrating way that can take years of work to heal from.

Engrains negative cognitions in the brain such as I am not worthy, I can’t do anything right, I’m a jerk, I’m defective,  I’m a bad person and such.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Really does have some merit.  Fixing the effects of shaming is much more difficult than preventing it.

The quote “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE” is a quote worth considering in this discussion of shaming.  When someone is deeply hurt, they often hurt others from their pain.  Looking at it from a child’s perspective, shaming, whether they are the target or someone that they love and identify with is, they may be tempted to transfer that pain.  Sometimes that can look like depression, anxiety, bully type behavior, aggression and much more.

For parents that default to shaming, give yourself permission to learn a new approach.  Maya Angelou says when people know better, they do better.  This is so true.

If you are prone to shaming, it’s important to reflect on what messages you were sent as a child.  Ask yourself, “is this helping or hurting my child?”.

A more effective way is to use empathy to connect with your child. I love the ACT Limit Setting model  (Acknowledge the Feeling, Communicate the Alternative, and  Target the Alternative) that is described in Child Parent Relationship Therapy.  If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check out episode 22  https://www.jackieflynnconsulting.com/22-all-about-child-parent-relationship-therapy-with-dalena-dillman-taylor/

There’s so many better ways to discipline than shaming.  I love LOVE and Logic, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, a 10 Session Model, and 123 Magic are some much better options.  I have all of these linked in the show notes.

If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to join us on Facebook in our group Parenting in the Rain Community and like our page Parenting in the Rain Podcast, Hosted by Jackie Flynn

If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at jackie@jackieflynnconsulting.com or at my private practice at jackie@counselinginbrevard.com

Below Are Some Sites, Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love

My Parent Coaching Program – https://jackieflynnconsulting.simplero.com/products/52176-Parent-Coaching-Program

Labyrinths 20% off for calming, focus and connectedness.  http://www.relax4life.com/JF.html

Parenting With Love And Logic

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting From Birth to Six Years

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting

Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Treatment Manual: A 10-Session Filial Therapy Model for Training Parents

CPRT Package

Healing the Shame that Binds You


Wonderful Blog by a Therapist Trained in Gottman Method Couple Therapy Level 3