Public Shaming is never an Effective Way to Discipline a Kid

By on February 2, 2020
An African American woman standing outdoors with her 12 year old mixed race son. She is looking at him with a disapproving expression. He is looking at the camera with has arms folded, caught doing something he wasn't supposed to do.

Sometime during the last decade, a troubling parenting trend began to gain traction: public humiliation on social media. Public shaming has always been a tool in the discipline repertoire of some parents; however, with the increasing popularity of social media came a surge of parents making the discipline of their children available for public consumption. We have all witnessed images and videos of parents scolding their children for some kind of offense or forcing them to hold signs that bear messages such as “I’m a liar” or “I stole.” While some praise these efforts and consider them to be “creative parenting,” child psychologists often urge parents to find another way. Aside from its potential to wreak havoc on a child’s self-esteem and destroy the trust that naturally exists within a healthy parent-child relationship, here are 8 more reasons why public shaming is an effective form of discipline.

It calls your motives into question
Any time I see a parent take to social media with images, footage, or posts in which they use public shame as a means of disciplining their kids, I often question their motives. Is the ultimate goal to discipline the child or to impress and gain the respect of other adults? Are you trying to teach your child a lesson or satisfy your insatiable need to publicize your life? The lines are easily blurred.

It’s damaging to their self-esteem
Mistakes are a natural part of life. Children make them just as adults do. However, to put a child on blast in public or on social media platforms for an error in judgment is a sure way to damage their self-esteem. As parents, we should always seek to uplift our kids, not tear them down.

It’s a violation of trust
Trust is an essential building block of healthy parent-child relationships; however, when a parent goes out of their way to embarrass their child in front of an audience, it eats away at the foundation of the relationship and causes damage that is sometimes irreparable. It sends the message that mom or dad will not protect me if they’re upset with me.

There’s a difference between guilt and shame
Though guilt should not be the intended goal when disciplining children, feelings of guilt may very well lead to changed behavior because guilt says, “I did something wrong.” Shame, however, says “There’s something wrong with me.” The former will not lead to changed behavior. In fact, it can often have adverse effects and result in feelings of defeat and produce similar or even worse behavior.

There’s a difference between guilt and shame
Though guilt should not be the intended goal when disciplining children, feelings of guilt may very well lead to changed behavior because guilt says, “I did something wrong.” Shame, however, says “There’s something wrong with me.” The former will not lead to changed behavior. In fact, it can often have adverse effects and result in feelings of defeat and produce similar or even worse behavior.

via MadameNoire.com

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