Parents and elders are role models for children. Thus, when they shame children even without meaning it, children believe it to be true. Even as adults, the scornful remarks on our appearance and attitude that we got from our children by family and friends are difficult to forget. No parent wants to hurt their kid intentionally. However, sometimes we are conditioned to think that the more hurtful the statement, the more will the child learn. This makes parents behave, speak or act in a way that can affect the child negatively and result in various unfortunate conditions. Some of them can be affected by emotional health, loss of trust, and insecurities in children.
CitySpidey reached out to child psychologist and counsellor Anupa Gupta about the impacts of child shaming on children, and things parents must avoid doing or saying.
Many parents from the 20th century believe that shaming can motivate the child to perform better. Shaming does not come by birth, whether it is inherited or a result of an emotional wound. Anupa explains “Many parents do not see shaming as a hurtful act because of similar experiences they’ve gone through during their childhood.”
Child psychologists talk about an invisible trauma which often stems from the language and words used by guardians. For example, if you have scolded the kid for poor academic results with words like ‘loser’, ‘failure’, ‘dumb’ etc. this will cause him fear, low self-confidence and bad self-image.
Experts give an example to help the readers by mentioning, “Many children have gained weight due to pandemic and sedentary lifestyles. In such situations parents say things like you have become so fat, you look like a ball now, stop eating and many more. Choosing such words hurts the child deeply and forms body insecurities." Instead of using such words, parents can tell their kids the benefits of physical activities and positively motivate kids.
Crying, anger, shouting, frustration, and low self-confidence are the signs of hidden problems a child must be suffering from. On the other hand, parents have to identify if the child is crying for attention. Many children acquire attention by crying and shouting, “This could happen because parents are not able to give time to their kids and nuclear families. Remember a time a parent spends with their kids is always a quality time.” says Anupa.
What can parents do to improve their children without shaming them?
Communication and a loving touch go a long way to let your children know that even if they falter, you are there for them. Mindful parenting and positive affirmation can lead to breaking generational trauma and removing soul scars.