The Harm of Shaming Children


Shame is a toxic emotion that damages children’s feelings of self-worth. Kids who experience shame often feel powerless to address the original need, challenge, problem or fear that prompted their misbehaviour. They are more likely to seek relief through other destructive means, such as drugs and alcohol or unhealthy relationships that exacerbate their shame-related symptoms.

Many parents use The Harm of Shaming Children as a way to control their kids or to vent their frustrations, and it can also reflect a lack of effective communication skills or an authoritarian parenting style. But shaming children is never an appropriate discipline strategy and erodes the foundation of trust in the parent-child relationship.

When kids are shamed by their parents — the people whose opinion and love they value most in life – their confidence and motivation dry up, research shows. They become more hesitant to take on new challenges and will focus more on what other people think of them than on what they actually should be doing.

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Parents who shame their kids risk creating an internalized belief that they are bad or naughty, which can have lasting repercussions well into adulthood. This can prevent them from reaching their full potential, and even cause mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.

We see the damage caused by shaming when kids are humiliated or hurt, such as when someone makes fun of their clothes, cuts their hair or posts embarrassing photos online. Sadly, we also hear about kids who commit suicide because they are overwhelmed by shame-related feelings, such as those brought on by their parents or other adults.

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