Shame On Me: How to Parent Without Shame or Blame
by Ron Huxley
The default mode of parenting is to use shame in a desperate attempt to regain control of our home and our children. It is not that parents enjoy using negative tactics. In fact, parents universally describe the “necessity” of using shame or other aggressive tactics because “nothing else seems to work.” Parents feel powerless in their own homes.
Shame differs from guilt in that guilt is the feeling of “doing” a wrong behavior and shame is a sense that “I am wrong” from doing that wrong behavior. It creates an inner world of worthlessness, badness, and feeling damaged or defective. Shame comes from social messages that you are bad when you do bad things. It is backed up by social rejection and isolation from not meeting others expectations or the failure to perform in a certain way. Fear may be involved in both guilt and shame except that guilt is fear of punishment and shame results in fear of abandonment.
Parents reveal to me the road of desperation they end up on…they start off asking nicely and have their requests ignored. They give choices but the choices are dismissed. They provide structure but the child kicks down the limits. All attempts to parent in a positive way, including the use of rewards and social praise, breaks down into the one thing that their children seem to respond to: shame!
Shame can give short term results but the long term price is emotional suffering for both parent and child. The home becomes a prison of fear and breeds discouragement and anger. It kills the spirit of the child and sets up an intergenerational pattern of negative communication that erodes self esteem and destroys intimate relationships for life.
Debating with parents about long term results of shame is not productive either. Parents who feel they have no other recourse will not let go of their grip on the tool of shame because that just increases the powerlessness of the situation. Further exploration of a parents original parenting toolbox shows me that there was only had two or three parenting tools in there to start. As a child grows older and more independent, the parent quickly burns through their limited tools and they feel they have no options left but to reach to the bottom of the box and use negative forms of parenting. The tools got into the toolbox parents because that is often one used by their parents. They were controlled by shame and no they are using it despite vows to never parent the way they were parented. A simple solution to this dilemma is to add more tools to the parenting toolbox and train parents on how and when to use them the next time the noncooperation crops up and it will…
The good news about behavior problems is that if they popped up today, they will pop up again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that, etc. They are predictable! This gives parents a chance to form new strategies and add new tools to try with their children. If one tools doesn’t work, set it back in the box and try a new one until cooperation can be found that doesn’t require a one punch system of control. Trust me, the problem will come up again giving you another opportunity to find a way to manage it positively.
You can get over 100 parenting tools in Ron Huxley’s ebook by clicking here now! You can also hire Ron to coach you on how to use these tools and create new strategies for parenting with more positive results. Click here for more information on how to regain control in your home.