What Is Child Shaming? Avoid These Child-Shaming Sentences

Child shaming statements

Parents use discipline to shape how kids behave and grow. But how they discipline is influenced by instincts, culture, and advice. While a few people employ shaming to tackle misbehaviour, it is recognised as potentially harmful for children in the future. In this blog, we will discuss why using shaming isn’t an effective way to discipline children.

What is child shaming?

Shaming involves making children feel negative about themselves instead of teaching them about what behaviours are unacceptable and why. It can take different forms, like verbal put-downs, public embarrassment, or passing belittling comments.

Though it might cause a child to stop an undesirable behaviour in the short term, the extended use of shame as a discipline tactic has negative outcomes.

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Effects of Shaming on Children

  • Damages self-esteem: One of the principal harms of shaming is the damage to a child’s self-esteem. When parents resort to shaming tactics, they convey that the child is the issue rather than the behaviour. This can evoke feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that might last into adulthood.
  • Enables fear-based action: Shaming builds a fear-based relationship between children and their parents. Instead of learning from mistakes and understanding the moral reasons behind good behaviour, children might merely act out of fear of humiliation, which hinders the development of intrinsic moral reasoning.
  • Hampers their expression, learning, and confidence growth: Shaming stifles a child’s ability to freely express thoughts and emotions. They might fear judgment or ridicule, leading to a lack of openness in communication.
  • Undermines trust, leading to feelings of rejection and internalizing negativity: Shaming breaks the bond of trust between a child and their caregiver. They feel children feel unaccepted or unloved, fostering a sense of rejection that affects their emotional well-being.
  • Hinders healthy development, influencing a child’s self-perception and interactions: Children who experience shaming may struggle with healthy social interactions. They might become withdrawn, anxious, or aggressive due to their negative self-perception.

Well-known researcher Brené Brown’s, research shows that shaming can cause problems like feeling sad, being aggressive, or even developing addictions. In her book “Daring Greatly,” Brown says that shame is connected to issues like addiction, feeling down, being violent, bullying, and having eating problems. This highlights the possible dire consequences of using shame as a disciplining tool.

Also Read: Tips to Build a Growth Mindset in Kids

Child shaming statements

Intended or not, statements that shame children can hurt their self-esteem and confidence in the long run. Here are some examples of these statements and how to steer clear of them:

  1. “You’re so lazy/stupid/naughty.”
  2. Instead of labelling the child, focus on the behaviour. For instance, “Leaving your toys around isn’t helping. Let’s find a place for them together.”

  3. “I’m ashamed of you.”
  4. Express disapproval without attacking their character. Let’s say “I’m disappointed by what happened, but I believe you can make better choices. Let’s discuss.”

  5. “You never do anything right.”
  6. Encourage effort and improvement. For instance, “I see you tried your best. Let’s figure out how to make it even better next time.”

  7. “Why can’t you be more like your sibling/friend?”
  8. Celebrate their strengths. Highlight what makes them unique and valuable.

  9. “You’re embarrassing me.”
  10. Avoid blaming the child by expressing your feelings using “I” statements. For instance, say, “I feel uneasy when you act like this in public.”

  11. “You’re too sensitive/overreacting.”
  12. Show support for their feelings and guide them to understand emotions. You might say, “Feeling upset is okay. Let’s discuss why you’re feeling this.”

  13. “You’re a bad kid.”
  14. When teaching discipline, focus on actions, not the child. For example, say, “Hitting hurts your sister, and it’s not okay.”

  15. “You will never learn.”
  16. Differentiate between the behaviour and the child’s identity. For example, say, “That wasn’t okay, but I know you’re a good person who learns from mistakes.”

  17. “You always mess things up.”
  18. Highlight specific instances and focus on improvement. For instance, “This didn’t work out as planned, but let’s see how we can fix it together.”

  19. “You’re a disappointment.”
  20. Recognise the disappointment in the behaviour, not the child. You might say, “I am disappointed by what occurred, but I trust you can make wiser decisions in the future.”

  21. “You’re too much to handle.”
  22. Express the need for better behaviour management without blaming the child. For example, “I need your help in finding a better way to handle this situation.”

  23. “You’re always the problem.”
  24. Promote finding solutions without assigning blame. Try saying, “Let’s work together to discover an answer that suits everyone.”

  25. “You’re a failure.”
  26. Encourage a growth mindset and resilience. Say, “It’s okay to struggle sometimes. Let’s figure out what we can learn from this experience.”

Also Read: How to Teach Children to Celebrate Failures

Driving Positive Discipline

Psychologists and child development experts increasingly favour positive discipline as a model. This method involves setting clear expectations, using positive reinforcement for good behaviour, and teaching children about consequences in a supportive way.

Positive discipline does not rely on shame or fear but promotes self-reflection and self-correction. When guided with empathy, children tend to learn from their mistakes more effectively.

A strong, respectful bond between parent and child forms the foundation of effective discipline. Shaming can weaken this trust, causing the child to question the parent’s unconditional love and acceptance. Disciplining with a foundation of respect and clear communication can foster trust, and as a result, children are more likely to abide by the boundaries parents set because they understand them and feel respected by them.

We at EuroSchool understand that parenting is no easy task. It is a journey filled with continuous learning. Through our schooling programs, we ensure parents and caretakers are informed about the repercussions of different disciplining strategies and strive to practice techniques that nurture, rather than harm, ensuring our children grow into healthy, self-assured adults.



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