I recently attended a social gathering with friends, family, strangers and a bunch of cute kids. As the day ended and goodbyes were shared, I over heard a six-year-old quietly ask her mother for something. Suddenly, in front of the crowd, the mother exploded and yelled hysterically at the child. The little girl was silenced with tears streaming down her cheeks. It looked like a familiar scene for mother and daughter. The crowd silenced too, but quickly acted like nothing happened. This example of shaming and humiliating a child can have long-term devastating effects. Will this little girl grow up to respect her mother? “ Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one’s parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child.” Children respect those who respect them. The above quote comes from my colleague, Alice Miller, who passed in 2010. Her deeply thoughtful and profound work continues to inspire. She’s considered the most articulate child advocate in the world. Adult children raised by narcissistic parents frequently tell similar childhood stories of shame and humiliation. Often these shaming acts take place in front of other people. Treating children badly and without respect is not the golden rule for parenting, but why do we see this so often? Just today, a friend shared a similar story. Her brother frequently shames his children. When the family gets together, he loudly announces the wrong doings of his children, with no insight to the damage it does. The children stand listening with eyes cast downward. Is it any wonder that young people in these situations grow into adults with self-doubt, depression and anxiety? Karyl McBride, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201209/shaming-children-is-emotionally-abusive
Children must be taught
how to think, not what to think.