The trend that says it’s okay for parents to publicly shame and humiliate a child in order to get the desired results HAS GOT TO STOP. Together, let’s end the trend of public humiliation, shame and humiliation parenting.
This is beyond just bad parenting. This is cruel. And I assure you, that not one of those parents out there supporting this new trend as reasonable would EVER let anyone else get away with treating them in such contemptible ways. But hey, that’s why we had kids right? …So we could take out our own personal issues on them by making them feel like nothing more than a second class citizen.
I’m finally fired up. I don’t usually do this, and anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I steer clear of this kind of crap, but I am taking a stand.
The 10 Really Good Reasons Why Pubic Shaming (children holding signs, parents posting details on facebook walls, teachers displaying in classrooms, adults forcing kids to stand on street corners, etc). Is NEVER Ok:
1. Psychological Damage to the Child.
It is a child’s birthright to trust her parent, feel safe and to be treated with dignity and respect. For more on this topic visit www.alfredadler.org
2. Long Term Effects on HER Legacy
Your child might be on honor roll or play a varsity sport- she might be a quiet artist or a big thinker, but none of that will matter when you are done shaming and humiliating her. Thanks to you and your efforts, she may forever be remembered as the girl whose mommy punished her publicly. And this is especially damaging in the middle of the socially formative years, which will no doubt affect her and her memories of childhood, adolescence or young adulthood.
Not to mention it will leave a very long lasting label that will make your child the topic of conversation and jokes LONG after you’ve taken the photo down or the sign has been tossed in the trash. (Basically, you’ll put your shadow on ALL the work she had done on her own to make her own identity). Remember, What you DO is not who you ARE. This applies to anyone age 1 – 99.
3. It’s a THUMBS UP to Bullying
If you’re about to do something that, when boiled down to it’s core, any child would be suspended for at school (ie, hijacking a facebook feed and posting in a humiliating way or forcing someone to wear a kick me I’m a stupid liar sign) then you’re about to bully. If 77% of parents think this is a good idea, you’ve just been enlightened as to why bullying is so rampant.
4. It says, “Sure, a Double Standard is reasonable.”
You’re basically endorsing the reality: I can do this to you, but nobody can do it to me. Basic golden rule here, folks- if your boss did this to you based on his personality and preference, he’d be sued in 30 seconds, fired and sent packing. You’d be devastated if you had to sit in your office lobby with a “I’m a liar” sign or “ask me about my HR case I’m working through right now.” Or what if a teacher re-introduced the dunce cap? Can we say LAW SUIT! Seriously?
5. It Models a HUGE LACK OF EMPATHY, RESPECT, TACT and MATURITY
Here’s the big picture: when a teenager rebels (shocker) and a parent acts far more juvenile and without any regard to how it might feel to be shamed in public, it sends a message far louder than the one intended. Most parents would say they’d like their child to have a sense of empathy, respect, and maturity as they grow- this is sure to get more of what you’re fighting against. Unless of course the child has been so defeated she yields or he checks out from the relationship entirely.
6. It’s Boot Camp Training for Submission.
Sure, your kid made YOU MAD. Now what happens when your child leaves the house and makes her boyfriend mad? Her husband mad? Would you want someone ELSE to publicly shame your child? By doing it yourself, you’re training the child to be submissive and accepting of humiliation. This can go nowhere but to a bad place. Look ahead to us as a society of second generation shamers!
7. Being a Parent does NOT mean automatic free pass to always being “Right!”
My first analytical thought when I read a headline like this, is well, what makes the parent RIGHT? There is little or no context for these headlines. Could these parents possibly have overreacted? Could they be manipulative? Fame junkies? Desperate for help and it’s about them? Willing to hurt their child over a bruised ego? Seeking childish revenge? Embarrassed that they look like a bad mother? They don’t trust their kids so the kids tried something rebellious anyway? Who KNOWS but it seems likely the motivators are parent focused (I WILL WIN, I WILL LOOK GOOD) vs. teaching the child, hey, “stealing is not acceptable.” Maybe the kid was acting out for the parent’s attention and instead, got thrown to the wolves, getting the parent off the hook from facing the bigger picture entirely. Not to mention (and trust me I see it in every workshop) parents may THINK they have the right to demand something they have not trained the child to do. This is completely unfair to the child.
8. Respect will NEVER come From Disrespect.
Most parents say their child did not “respect” them. You can’t humiliate a child to gain respect. You must RESPECT a child to gain respect. In fact, the only way to gain respect, is to give it. Otherwise, you’re gaining other forms of response like fear, submission, avoidance, compliance…but not true human respect. That’s parenting 101: you can’t yell / threaten / coerce a kid into respecting you or his siblings / teacher, etc. You have to respect the child and train children to respect each other. VERY DIFFERENT.
9. It Breeds MORE Unhealthy Five Minute Sessions of Fame
Let’s be honest, some people just want to shock and awe. And they go for it – and we feed into it. If we can stop shining a spotlight on the biggest, baddest most shocking and humiliating tactics, then we’re NOT looking out for the well being of the kids. Let’s focus back on what’s good for the kids, not fame producing for mom or dad.
10. It massively jeopardizes two BIG things: the future of the relationship and your child’s confidence to navigate the world.
If you choose to shame a child in front of peers or public, you run a very real risk of derailing the relationship you have with your child. He will replace you with others who say my way or nothing. It also hacks at the confidence your child takes into the world. If you screw up and mom takes you aside, that’s one thing. If you screw up (and kids DO screw up) and suddenly, you’re exposed to humiliation, it will shut down the drive to take a risk and make mistakes. Kids’ lives are already filled with natural consequences to teach valuable lessons via friends, teachers, coaches, etc.
If you, the key person they trust to help them navigate and learn from REAL mistakes, parades them around, it will not take long for them to take a backseat and let life steer. Shame stays with you and affects decisions down the road.
So, in all of this, I URGE you to pay attention and stand up against this socially acceptable bullying. Teens today have far too much responsibility ahead of them to be degraded to nothing and pushed down before they even leave the nest! While the logic behind it may seem reasonable, it’s NEVER okay to publicly shame a child. If we can bring this to light, we can change a major current of society, but it’s going to take a lot of conversation and common sense.
There is a new, troubling trend emerging in our digital world; it blends social media and parental discipline. And it’s more disturbing than one might believe at first glance. It’s even been given a name: “cyber-discipline”. Read more.
Next up: Five Things we Can Do Together to Bring Awareness to the Public Shaming of Children – and End the Trend.[hr]Pins!