There is a huge debate still raging about what is child shaming and what is discipline. Those from the old days and even that were raised in the last three to four decades tend to view this matter quite differently based upon their own experience and the beliefs they’ve carried with them to this day. There are in fact very obvious cases when shaming takes place in the attempt to discipline a child, while there are other moments when disciplinary measures are somehow seen as shaming.
The picture above is one great example of shaming for no good reason. A child should never be made to feel inadequate or somehow responsible for matters that they cannot control. Shaming a child usually involves humiliating them, making a public spectacle of their shame, and possibly even berating them in public as punishment.
There are methods that are seen as shaming however that seem to straddle the line between shaming and discipline.
Sticking a child’s nose in the corner for example is seen by some as shaming, whereas by others it is seen as a clear sign from the parent that they are not going to put up with a child’s tantrums, particularly in a public place. On a more personal note I have placed my children in a corner while in public places, well enough away from everyone else so as not to disturb them, and have received mixed responses.
Some have congratulated me on instilling a non-violent measure of discipline towards my child, claiming that while it’s not fun for the child or the parent, it is still a good lesson as to who is in control and who is not. Others however have openly challenged me by stating that it’s not right to put my child in the corner. When I reply with “Do you want to chase my child through the store and deal with their tantrums?”, most people will offer a blank, vaguely offended look and then walk away without a word.
There are ways to discipline in public and in private without shaming a child, and being there with them is one effective way as it allows the parent to talk to the child, to try to reason with them and figure out what is wrong. Another is a slightly harder route, which involves letting your child know that you are not their friend first, you are their parent, and as hard as it might seem, you will always be their parent first. Far too many parents want to be a friend to their child, and there’s little harm in this, but you must be the parent first, always. Your child will have enough friends in their life, they need a parent to guide and to instill some level of discipline in them as they grow.
There’s no need for shaming, but there is a need for discipline.
Ever notice how some people these days, well, in every generation really, seem to think that the rules don’t apply to them and they can treat people the way they want? That’s a severe lack of discipline in their younger years. It comes from entitlement and from not being put in check enough when they got out of line. Such folks were almost assuredly never made to answer for their wrongdoings or even given a lesson in what’s expected when interacting with others.
Discipline is not shaming or harming a child, it is teaching them what is expected of them when interacting with society. It is showing them and guiding them along a path that will turn them into a polite, caring, and possibly empathetic human being that will treat others with respect. Hitting, cursing, and yelling a child does not work as much as people might seem to think. Talking, learning to listen, and understanding your child are far superior to any threat of physicality or the thunderous boom of a parent’s voice in their ear.
But it is hard, there is no doubt. Kids don’t always want to listen, they don’t want to pay attention, and they want to do things their way. Discipline does not have to be harsh, but if it comes down to you vs. your kid, and it may very well, then it is necessary to remind them who is the parent and who sets the rules in the household. As much as some people might wish to disagree and state that talking is always the answer, the removal of certain items and privileges is one of the most non-violent and possibly effective methods that can be practiced. It teaches the child that while they are allowed to say and do what they want, there are always bound to be consequences for ill behavior.
Those that would argue against this are often those that believe that nurturing a child means to give them everything they need and accommodate them so as to keep them happy. Unfortunately those are, at times, the same individuals that fail to realize that not instilling a sense of right and wrong, of reward and consequences, makes a child that is ill-prepared for the world outside their doorway.
The end result is something like this.
Discipline isn’t meant to break kids down, and shaming is not the way to go about getting them to listen. In order to create well-balanced and nurturing individuals that will shape the future for others kids need to be taught, they need to be made aware of how their actions affect others, and they need some discipline in their lives that is not harmful and can teach them the wider spectrum when it comes to getting what they want out of life.