I think we all know how awful shame feels. As addicts and alcoholics shame was deeply ingrained us, we were ashamed of who we were, how we behaved. A mild feeling of shame is actually helpful to us, it helps us understand what is acceptable and unacceptable in our communities. Toxic shame however can be extremely damaging to children and to the adults they become.
Dr Laura Markham writes about toxic shame and how to prevent it in our children. You can read her article here.
She then goes on to outline how we can avoid shaming our children. There are helpful little scripts you can use with your little one’s – I found these really effective. For instance trying to say ‘Yes’ more than you say ‘no,’ can have an impact.
There is also another great piece here on how to avoid shaming our children when we discipline them.
There is also an interesting piece here that touches on the origins of shaming children (you can blame religion).
None of us are perfect parents and I think the important ‘take-away,’ is that when we make mistakes and ‘shame’ our child, because we are frustrated, we also get a chance to repair the relationship and do it differently next time. This is fantastic role modeling for our kids.