This is one example of shaming but it is the one that I observe around me a lot. Adults who are raised by authoritarian parents generally tend to (unknowingly) dish out this kind of behavior towards their children. I feel that this affects the child’s self esteem and has negative consequences on their emotional development in the long run. It’s important for all parents to remember that the way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.
Children make mistakes just like the rest of us. As a parent, I have come to accept that they will make mistakes even as adults because that’s normal. I also operate under the assumption that children will behave well if they are capable of doing so. When they make the same mistake repeatedly I do get frustrated because I have a lot on my plate. This is also normal. However, instead of shaming them for their mistakes I tell them honestly that I am frustrated at the moment. When I am calmer, I think about how to help them with this. I put my focus on creatively solving the underlying problem. This is not permissive parenting. I would call this Conscious parenting.
I believe that parenting is a spiritual journey for both the parent and the child. There will be challenges along the way but I strongly believe that how those challenges are overcome makes a lot of difference for our children in the long run. So the next time your child spills milk at the table, instead of saying “you always do this. How can you be so careless?”, it’s worth taking a few deep breaths first (I understand that we are all tired as parents and this is one more thing to add to our plates) and then tell your child: “you spilled milk. Can you get a napkin and clean it up?”. After a few times of doing this, the child will on his own become more aware of his fidgety behavior that caused the spill in the first place. He will also eventually clean up the spill on his own without any prompting from the parent. I have seen this happen with my own children. Isn’t this the end result that we all hope for as parents in this particular situation? If it works in this situation then may be we can try to apply the same tactic to other situations similar to this?