Shaming Children Is Not Discipline

Shaming Children Is Not Discipline

Why shaming children is not discipline and what you can do instead of shaming to help your child learn lessons.

Online shaming has become a very popular thing among parents, and I’m not a huge fan. Shaming can happen offline too, and it’s very damaging to your child’s self esteem.

Shaming your child can also damage the parent child relationship. We work so hard to build strong relationships with our children, so why break that with shaming?

If you want to change your child’s behaviour, shaming is just not the way.


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What Does Shaming Mean?

What exactly is shaming? If we can identify what shaming is, we can most certainly make the necessary changes to avoid shaming our children.

Shaming can be done by sharing embarrasing stories in order to change the bahaviour of your child.

Shaming is also present when you take a private conversation you had with your child and then presented it to friends, other family members or posted it on social media.

Shaming can also be presented by making your child feel bad about themselves instead of focusing on the behaviour which needs to be addressed.

We have all seen the online shaming tactics that parents try to use by making the child carry a sign which explains their bad behaviour.

For example there is one instance where a mother made her child carry a sign all the way to school along the highway that said “I was rude to my bus driver so Mom is making me walk”.

This “shame game” is public humiliation and can have long last effects on a child’s self esteem.

In the case of the child walking to school instead of taking the bus, that disciplinary action would have been fine if not for the sign and the posting of the event on social media.

If the mother had simply made her child walk to school, along side her, that would have been a valuable lesson. The walk is long and chilly, and that child would have learned that taking the bus is actually something that helps him in his life and he should be respectful of the adult driving the bus.

Because the mother ended up posting the incident on her social media, and making the child walk to school with a sign, she actually displayed bullying actions towards the child instead of disciplinary action.

This kind of thing really shreds the relationship between parent and child.

Examples Of Shaming

You may not realize it, but it is very easy to shame your child without even thinking much about it.

Here are some common phrases which indicate shaming, and should be avoided:

“Can you be more like your brother”
“You let your class down when you did that”
“Why can’t you dress nicely like your friend Sara”
“Get out of the house, why are you always at home instead of hanging with your friends?”
“Don’t cry, it’s not the end of the world”
“You’re such a bad boy”
“I should ship you off to live with your grandma”
“I am so tired of dealing with you”
“I don’t know why I even bother with you”

Have you said some of these things to your children? Yes i know some of them are really bad, and you should never say them to your children, but I had to add them to the list because parents do say things like that sometimes.

These common phrases might sound like constructive criticism to you but they are actually shaming words because they don’t help your child identify a problem and guide them to change that problem, we are essentially telling the child they are wrong and they need to change.

Critisim And Shaming

There is a fine line between shaming and criticism.

Critisism can be done in a positive way, amd cam actually motivate the child to do better.

Shaming is a bad idea.

Children cannot change the things they are being shamed for such as not being a star athlete or not being social enough. We cant change the way we look, and how good we are at certain things. Sure practice makes perfect, but if a child is not coordinated and doesn’t enjoy throwing a ball, then maybe baseball isn’t the sport for that child and they shouldn’t get shamed for not wanting to play anymore.

Sometimes the thing that the child is being shamed for is part of their identity such as clothing choices, hair styles and make up trends.

Shaming your child can make them feel like they can’t change rather then motivating them to make better choices. Using consequences, communication and positive parenting is a way you can help your child feel safe, secure and valued.

Shaming children makes them feel bad about themselves. Getting shamed by family members is the worst because the words from family members weigh more than the words of strangers. Words can be hurtful and damaging to confidence.

Words To Use Insteaf Of Shaming

I am all about positive parenting. Positive parenting or positive discipline is a parenting style that helps create strong bonds between children and avoiding the use of spanking and negative punishment when teaching lessons.

When your children choose to not listen here are some positive ways you can create conversation and teach lessons:

  • “Please tell me what happened” Ask your child what happened and really listen to them,
  • “What does that feel like?” Assist your child in feeling the feelings that are related to the event that happened. Do they feel shame, anger, fear, happiness, surprise? Identify these feelings.
  • “What could you have done differently?” Ask your child if they know of different ways they could have handled a certain situation. You might be surprised to hear that they knew a better way to handle something, they just didn’t think about it at that moment.
  • “How can I help?” Offer your help if the child would like to receive it.

What To Do If You Have Shamed Your Child Publicly

No one is perfect and you might be reading this article and thinking to yourself that you have already shamed your child on social media.

That’s ok! We all live and learn. If you are experiencing regret then you should simply apologise to your child and let them know that it won’t happen again.

An apology can help strengthen your relationship with your child and the communication bonds you have will be your saving grace for the next time you need to correct behaviour.

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Elizabeth is a mom of 3 and has a passion for helping children reach their human potential. She enjoys helping parents raise confident and healthy kids by explaining how to handle situations using positive and peaceful parenting.