When You Shame Your Kid, You Embarrass Yourself

Stocks. Pillories. Ducking stools. Foot roasting. Hacking off a hand.Kid shame in article

All efforts by small minded people to correct another’s behavior.

All consigned to the dim mists of history.

Unless you are a parent with a very limited set of parenting skills, in which case, public shaming and humiliation seem to be all the rage.

You say “I don’t what else to do with this kid!”

Here’s the deal, Sparky. Listen up.

1) Kids learn from our behavior. Your kid swears too much, steals too much, dresses like a little whore or thug? Where do you think the kid learned that behavior? Or why did you decide to put your foot down now, instead of years ago?

2) You think that humiliating your child is ‘involved parenting?’ I’ll take a guess that, until recently, you were more involved with your phone than you were with the behavior of your child. You don’t start being a parent until the kid is 11, don’t blame your kid. Whenever I see a kid-shaming incident, and there stands the parent, I imagine a sign hanging around the parent’s neck: “I couldn’t be bothered to educate myself about parenting.”

3) You think that sticking your kid out in front of school with a sign that says “I was sent to school to learn. But I’m the class clown” tells everyone that you care about your kid? No, it tells everyone that you believe that to disrespect someone is okay. It tells everyone that you believe that to humiliate another human solves problems.

4) Kid-shaming tells your kid that you are not a trusted ally. Kid-shaming tells your child that power solves problems. Kid-shaming tells your kid that it’s not that doing wrong is wrong.  Kid-shaming teaches that the consequences are more important than the morality of the act itself.

5) Kid-shaming tells everyone that you, as a parent, are desperate. For that, I have compassion. It tells everyone that you, too, were probably punished in a similar way; humiliated, spanked, or otherwise abused. It should tell you that it is time to educate yourself.

I was a teacher for many years. I was invited to a meeting for ‘Mike,” a student who was struggling academically, socially, and emotionally. He was angry. He was foul-mouthed. He was a bully. He was not a big kid; perhaps 5’10”, and heavy set. I was invited to the meeting because, on occasion, I could talk some sense to this kid. I walked into the meeting.

His mother cowered at one corner of the table. The kid sprawled at the other corner. His father was a small, wiry man, seated alone in the middle of the table. Dad was wearing a hat that said, “DON’T ASK ME SHIT.” Dad was raging at our assistant principal; a large and gentle guy who played nose tackle on his college football team.

“I don’t know why the fuck you people don’t do something with this kid. Jesus Christ, too bad you can’t fucking paddle kids anymore.  Why don’t you just stick him outside with a goddamn sign that says, “I’m a fuck-up.” That’d fuckin’ teach him. Shit, you guys are all a bunch of goddam pussies.”

Our counselor said, “We’d like to discuss this problem and how we can work together for Mike’s …”

Dad looked at Mom.

“Shit. I told you this would be a fucking waste of time.”

He grabbed her by the arm.

“We’re getting the Hell outta here. We got better things to do.”

Next time you’re think, “hmm, maybe kid-shaming’s okay,” I’d like you to think about Mike’s dad.

Don’t be that guy.

If you want to talk about kid-shaming, the DadsRT Facebook page is the place to do it. {CLICK HERE.}

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The Beginning
About David Stanley

Teacher & science guy, writer, musician, coach, skier and bike racer, I am interested… in everything; your story, food & spirits and music and everything in the natural world, spirit & sport. My son is 22 and still needs his Dad. I am 56 and so do I.
I blog on life and death, cancer and sports, kids and education at http://dstan58.blogspot.com/

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