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Shaming children article - Pyschology today magazine

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Shaming children article - Pyschology today magazine

Postby OnceHarmony on Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:29 pm

I witnessed a shaming incident the other day and it made my stomach tight and uncomfortable. I wonder how it made the little boy feel?

"Shaming Children Is Emotionally Abusive

Children respect those who respect them.

Published on September 10, 2012 by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. in The Legacy of Distorted Love

I recently attended a social gathering with friends, family, strangers and a bunch of cute kids. As the day ended and goodbyes were shared, I over heard a six-year-old quietly ask her mother for something. Suddenly, in front of the crowd, the mother exploded and yelled hysterically at the child. The little girl was silenced with tears streaming down her cheeks. It looked like a familiar scene for mother and daughter. The crowd silenced too, but quickly acted like nothing happened. This example of shaming and humiliating a child can have long term devastating effects. Will this little girl grow up to respect her mother?

“ Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one’s parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child.” Children respect those who respect them. The above quote comes from my colleague, Alice Miller, who passed in 2010. Her deeply thoughtful and profound work continues to inspire. She’s considered the most articulate child advocate in the world.

Adult children raised by narcissistic parents frequently tell similar childhood stories of shame and humiliation. Often these shaming acts take place in front of other people. Treating children badly and without respect is not the golden rule for parenting, but why do we see this so often?

Just today, a friend shared a similar story. Her brother frequently shames his children. When the family gets together, he loudly announces the wrong doings of his children, with no insight to the damage it does. The children stand listening with eyes cast downward. Is it any wonder that young people in these situations grow into adults with self-doubt, depression and anxiety?

Shaming and humiliating children is emotionally abusive. It is not ok to smack children physically or with words. Young people deserve and are entitled to reach out, attach and bond with their caretakers. It is an expectation that the parent will provide safety, protection, acceptance, understanding and empathy. When this does happen, children grow up knowing their worth and demanding respect from others and themselves. When children are emotionally or psychologically abused, they grow up feeling unloved, unwanted, and fearful. Normal development is interrupted and it sends the wounded child into exile. This is when negative internal messages are developed and why we have so many adults today feeling “not good enough.”

As children become adults, they parent themselves in the same manner they were parented. Messages internalized from childhood are now ingrained in the adult. Those messages play like repeating endless tapes. “How could you be so stupid?” “ You can’t do anything right.” “ This is why no-one likes you.”

Shaming and humiliation causes fear in children. This fear does not go away when they grow up. It becomes a barrier for a healthy emotional life and is difficult to eradicate. If these same children become parents, the possibility also exists that the fear and negativity can be unwittingly passed through the generations.

Our goal in recovery is to stop the legacy of distorted love. As Seneca (Roman philosopher, author, politician, 4 B.C.E. to C.E. 65) says, “ Fear and love cannot live together…Blows are used to correct brute beasts.”

When we talk about disrespectful children, we must look at parenting. Solid parenting shows children respect and empathy. When a parent truly gives respect to a child, they receive it back. When this becomes the norm for the household, we see young people grow up with a loving value system that makes a difference in the world. However, when children are shamed, humiliated and then silenced, it represses the harm that may re-surface later in life. If this happens, it can be in the form of self-destruction or cruelty to others.

Make the commitment to never shame a child. Treat children like you want to be treated. If you were raised by narcissistic parents, your own recovery work truly makes the difference. I salute you for the earnest efforts to stop the legacy of distorted love. The children of the world need YOU!"
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Re: Shaming children article - Pyschology today magazine

Postby TazDevil on Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:55 pm

In our family we actually make a point to do the opposite. Right from birth I would tell DS the wonderful things I loved about DD (within her hearing) and what a lucky boy he was to have such a loving sister. I also did the same thing about him to her. They now do positive talk to each other and have an amazing relationship.

In my bio-dad's family there was some horrendous behavior of his mother actually intentionally pitting her children against each other and negative talking and comparing the kids to their siblings. I saw the devastating long term effects that it had and swore I would do everything in my power to live every day never doing anything like she did.

Also good idea to rave about your DH to someone on the phone. Works well to keep that positive too and never put anyone down, especially not in public.

We have a rule that negative "down talk" is not allowed in our family. Bad behavior can be addressed but it is specific to the behavior, not the person.

Of course everyone is human and we all slip once in awhile under stress or tiredness (or hunger is a big one) but I find the key is to talk about it and apologize when calm so grievances are not held inside.

I also would not judge that mom unless you knew it was a regular thing. Everyone has bad days and slips and parenting is exhausting sometimes so even our "baby selves" come out to rear the ugly heads of pure reaction with no thought.
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Re: Shaming children article - Pyschology today magazine

Postby Vaccin8tor on Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:28 am

Shaming your dog, on the other hand...
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Re: Shaming children article - Pyschology today magazine

Postby monikah on Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:05 pm

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