Every child deserves to live free of being shamed by their parents or caregivers. If your child feels free to show their true feelings or put up a boundary when they feel shamed, this gives their parent the opportunity to restore their dignity by owning and repairing what has happened.
Alice Miller wrote: "As a therapist I know that we can free ourselves from inherited patterns if we can find someone to believe us and stand by us, someone who instead of moralizing wants to help us live with the truth." To be this person for our child, we need to find at least one such person in our lives.
Did you as a child experience shaming? What form did it tend to take? Were you sometimes on the receiving end of ridicule, sarcasm, mocking, comparing with a sibling or other children, moralized "you should know better"?
Were you betrayed when you shared something personal, did your parent(s) talk about you to others in a way that made you squirm or talk down to you in front of others in a way that felt humiliating, were you openly belittled, were there adult jokes at your expense?
Did you experience sexualized looks, comments, insinuations or touch that made you feel confused and shamed, that caused you to carry secrets that no child should ever have to carry?
Did an adult touch you roughly, maybe grab your arm gruffly, pull your hair, pinch you, tickle you against your will, hit you or even hit you on the buttocks or the back of the thighs - why oh why oh why do parents do this and how oh how can they not see what a complete and utter invasion of the child's bodily boundaries and integrity it is, as tragic as it is that children ever get hit, to be physically violated in such a private part of their body so close to the genitals has a devestating effect that will take an adult a lot of work to undo.
How did shaming affect you as a child and now as an adult? How did it affect your sense of yourself, your relationship with yourself, your freedom and innocence as a child and teen?
A lot of shaming of children happens all around us all the time that is so unconscious on the part of many adults who were themselves desensitized as children. Much of it happens in the name of humour, often humour between adults either at a child's expense or that exposes children to confusing adult themes that can erode their right to innocence.
Adults shaming their child or shaming another in front of their child, of course, gives ample permission to children to treat each other disrespectfully.
Exploring how you felt as a child can help to resolve and cleanse shame from your system while shining light on how shaming negatively impacts children in general. ~ Genevieve Simperingham
You might also like to read:
Repairing the connection after conflict with your child which is also relevant in helping our child repair from conflicts with others.
Keeping the lines of communication open with your child which includes the messages that we need to avoid giving to our child.
Everyone deserves to feel truly at peace with themselves This is a story about when my son was 9 and experienced shaming from a teacher