Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thoughts on Shaming

What is shame?
Merriam Webstter defines it:
shame   /ʃeɪm/ Show Spelled [sheym] Show IPA noun, verb,shamed, sham·ing.
1.the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
2.susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.
3.disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.
4.a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn't come with us.
–verb (used with object)
5.to cause to feel shame; make ashamed: His cowardice shamed him.
6.to drive, force, etc., through shame: He shamed her into going.
7.to cover with ignominy or reproach; disgrace.

Okay so I don't know if that explains it very well. We've all been shamed at one time or another. Maybe some of us grew up in homes that it was a big time tool to stop annoying behavior.

For me I heard "Stop being a cry baby", "grow up...act your age", "what is wrong with you? STOP that." those are examples of shaming.

This article entitled "Good" children- At What Price? defines shame in parenting:

Shame is designed to cause children to curtail behavior through negative thoughts and feelings about themselves. It involves a comment - direct or indirect - about what the child is. Shaming operates by giving children a negative image about their selves - rather than about the impact of their behavior.

Now I've got to say, in my humble opinion, the articles on the Natural Child Project site tend a leeetle on the alarmist/extreme side some how. I know they are trying to make a point. But it feels like some times they come across too strong. That said, I can't say I disagree with them. I can see very strongly in my life how shaming has impacted me as an adult and a mother.

I won't go into a sob story. But you can ask my husband how emotionally constipated I used to be (still am some times but I'm getting better at pin pointing what's wrong and SAYING it instead of letting it simmer)- I used to not be able to cry well, all the "dry it up" growing up really got in my head and I really had a big problem with crying.

This is some thing I'm still pondering... I wish I had more time to share but kids are getting rammy.

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