Public Shaming and Our Children: Knowing More to Do Better

Public shaming and publicly humiliating our children is an alarmingly popular and growing trend.  Before employing this “technique”, please read this important information.

Knowing More to Do BetterHumiliating Children to Teach Them

“That cost, he says, is that the lessons learned by children are not the ones that the parent intended. What harshly disciplined kids absorb, he warns is “(1) my parent isn’t a caring ally whom I can trust but an enforcer I should try to avoid, (2) when you have a problem with what someone else has done, you should just use power to make the other person do what you want, and (3) the reason not to steal (or lie or hurt people) isn’t because of how it affects others but because of the consequence you, yourself, will face if you’re caught.   No wonder so many adults who do terrible things were humiliated, or spanked, or otherwise punished — often harshly — when they were young.”  Click here to read.

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

“But mainly we force them into lying because the way in which we approach discipline over myriad other issues makes them scared to be honest with us.  Scared we’ll be unreasonably angry.  Scared we’ll hate them.  Scared we’ll take our love away.  So they lie and when they get caught and we humiliate them, we’ve confirmed every feeling they had before which is what led them to lie in the first place.”  Click here to read more.

Ten Reasons Public Shaming is Not A Respectful Discipline Strategy

“My first analytical thought when I read a headline like this, is well, what makes the parent RIGHT? There is little or no context for these headlines. Could these parents possibly have overreacted? Could they be manipulative? Fame junkies? Desperate for help and it’s about them? Willing to hurt their child over a bruised ego? Seeking childish revenge? Embarrassed that they look like a bad mother? They don’t trust their kids so the kids tried something rebellious anyway? Who KNOWS but it seems likely the motivators are parent focused (I WILL WIN, I WILL LOOK GOOD) vs. teaching the child, hey, “stealing is not acceptable.” ”  Click here to read more.

Are you Guilty of Humiliation Parenting?

These parents purposely humiliated their child on the theory that they won’t do it again. In reality they opted for a short-term solution that will probably be ineffective in the long term. Psychoanalyst Alice Miller explains in her manifesto, Every Smack is a Humiliation, that humiliation be it physical or emotional leaves lasting marks. She wrote: “Few insights gained in the last 20 years are so securely established as the realization that what we do to children when they are small, good things and bad things, will later form a part of their behavioral repertoire. Battered children will batter others, punished children act punitively, children lied to become liars themselves.”  And by extension, humiliated children will humiliate. Click here to read.

If you are seeking another way, please click here and here.

11 Replies to “Public Shaming and Our Children: Knowing More to Do Better”

  1. I just briefly read through this post today,and it’s very timely for me. I have just returned from kindergarten, with my daughter, feeling like the worst mum in the world. Why? Because she had a little tantrum and I felt embarrassed in front of all the other mums (By the way I just posted on this site yesterday saying how discipline had almost become effortless for me!!Hmm!) I’m way too self-critical!There are always ups and downs. Yet I can see this is why many of us fall into the trap of shaming our kids or over-reacting to petty situations,losing a sense of perspective… We are much more likely to over-react when we feel judged,when we feel we are not good mothers. 20 minutes ago,at the kindergarten,I just wanted to run away from my weeping daughter,when she was genuinely upset about something. All because there were other people in the room! I didn’t lose my temper,but neither did I try to understand or show empathy. This is where it gets tricky for me. Parenthood is a constant learning process! Regarding shaming our children,today this caught my article caught my eye:–tough-love-or-too-much–184517447.html
    That really does seem pretty extreme.

  2. Hey! Thanks for the link back to Vicki Hoefle- we’ve updated the post (the formatting got a little goofy in a site upgrade) so it’s cleaner to look at- in fact, we cleaned the “Humiliation Parenting” category. Please, have a look!

    Thanks for sharing these resources! We’ll tweet this around. Have a great day!

    -Vicki Hoefle crew.

  3. I need to challenge these words “Battered children will batter others” as a child I was beaten often,and violently, I was shamed, humiliated, neglected. As an adult I do NOT batter, shame or neglect others. Not every child who was abused goes on to become an abuser themselves.

    BTW I don’t agree with public shaming unless its for something very serious like bullying.

    • I agree with you totally… I was smacked and humiliated as a child, and I never bullied others and I have cared for children for 15 years now, never yelling at them or hitting them. The result for me in my behaviours was submissiveness, which I am still trying to get over.

  4. Hi,
    Can I translate this post to Portuguese? I am part of a “no-spanking” group from Brazil, and this information is very good and helpful to all of us.

  5. I remember as a child (and even still) feeling very intimidated when a parent is belittling a child in public. “you have ruined our family name” I’m thinking really? You’re preschooler has the capability to do that? he/she is a child no one will care in a few days.

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