Its Time to Stop Shaming and Humiliating Children

by ParentCo. September 28, 2015

No matter what you believe, or what style of parenting you are using to raise your kids — Attachment, Tiger, Free Range, Feminist, or anything else — now is the time for each of us, as parents, grandparents and educated adults – to come together against one big parenting trend that has no philosophical relevance or psychological benefit. It’s time to stop shaming and humiliating children. For those of us who are appalled at these incidents, it’s time to do more than merely complain or judge. It’s time to take a stand. Here are 5 things you can do today to bring awareness to this issue and to take an active role in changing it – and perhaps save one child from experiencing the effects of humiliation at the hands of a parent.

1. Don't Bully the Parents

If you’re going to blog about it or chat it out publicly, focus on what can be done to change the trend, not a running list of why these parents are "doing it wrong" or are "bad parents."
Remember, parents are doing the best they can with the information they have.
Also, attacking people makes them defensive - closed to new approaches to parenting. Let’s stay away from play-by-play editorializing and instead, bring awareness to the unintended realities and effects of their actions. Remember, there is no good in making the parents feel guilty by shaming them for their choices and subsequent actions. We want to encourage new thinking, not “punish” or “humiliate” them for their old thinking. Otherwise, we’d perpetuate the same cycle!

2. Use Facts in Comment Threads

If you have the time, jump in with a comment that refers to objective, identifiable facts – that public shaming can rally up a mob mentality (one video mentions people were swearing at a child forced to wear a sign), affect the child’s dignity, leave an undesired effect on a child’s legacy, fracture the parent/child relationship, teach submission to a bully, degrade human spirit, and so on.

3. Use Social Media Proactively

Nearly every parent on the street will say they don’t support bullying, but they haven’t made the connection that humiliating and shaming kids is a form of bullying. Make the point that if teachers or employers decided to publicly shame students or employees, it would be a series of explosive, high-profile HR complaints and obvious lawsuits. If we, as a society, accept one form of public shaming, we’re teaching that it is okay to bully one another. Simply put it out there that shaming our kids isn't "creative discipline," it's bullying.

4. Offer Alternative Options and Ideas

Instead of trying to get the kids to comply with our every demand, focus on developing mutually respectful relationships. Over time, this ensures that we'll raise a generation of thoughtful, respectful, rational adults. The shaming trend is just an impulsive new twist on every other "quick fix" strategy meant to force kids into complying with parents expectations (sometimes reasonable, often not).

5. Share Good Information

Give people positive, thoughtful, realistic examples or insights that will shift their thinking. Share simple ideas and good information on the subject, as well as the basic human value we all carry in this world. We’ve all been overwhelmed, we’ve all be embarrassed by something our kids did or said, and we’ve all had moments of bewilderment when raising kids. That does not give us the right to shame and humiliate them and then to brag about it in cyberspace. There is a bigger picture here that get’s lost in the sensationalism of this topic. If you value mistakes as vehicles for growth, then you cannot value the public humiliation of those who make mistakes. If you want to teach children not to bully, then you cannot play the role of bully. Take it seriously as it’s critical to society that we see the connection and educate those who do not. Good luck and we’ve got your back!



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