Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shame 5-Parenting

We continue our 12-part series on shame, based on Brene′ Brown’s book, Daring Greatly.

Our publishing schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Each week we are introducing each blog with this quote from Brene′.

“People often want to believe that shame is reserved for people who have survived an unspeakable trauma, but this is not true.  Shame is something we all experience.  And while it feels as if shame hides in our darkest corners, it actually tends to lurk in all of the familiar places. 

Today’s Topic …


Shame rears its ugly head in the parenting realm just as it does in other areas of life.  We can feel great shame over the success or failure of our kids to perform at certain standards.  The push toward excellence is a constant and we parents can obsess over the outcome.

How do we deal with shame in parenting? 

We realize where our responsibilities start and stop.  We guide, nurture, educate, and give opportunities to our children, and we hope for the best.  If we attempt to live out some unresolved fantasy of our own through our kids we are setting ourselves and our children up for some serious shame experiences. 

The big question to ponder is this:  What are we handing down to our kids?  Are we giving them feet and wings on which to stand and soar?

Let me use Brene’s words:

“What we want to do is help our kids develop shame resilience.  We do this in part by staying mindful about the prerequisites that we’re knowingly or unknowingly handing down to them.  Are we sending them overt or covert messages about what makes them more and less lovable   Are we focusing on behaviors that need to change and making it clear that their essential worthiness is not on the table? 

Are we telling our daughters that thin, nice and modest are prerequisites for worthiness? 

Do we tell our sons that emotional stoicism, put money first, and be aggressive are they way for all of life? 

Or, do we teach our sons to respect women and that they are smart people, not objects?”

The best remedy is to find a balance beam and help our children figure out their likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, interests and goals.  At all costs, avoid forecasting your own faded dreams onto your child. 

I love what Brene says:  “Lastly, normalizing is one of the most powerful shame-resilience tools that we can offer our children.  Normalizing means helping out children know they’re not alone and that we've experienced many of the same struggles.  This applies to social situation, changes in their bodies, shaming experiences, and feeling left out, and wanting to be brave but feeling afraid.  There’s something sacred that happens between a parent and a child when the parent says, “Me too!” or shares a personal story that relates to their child’s struggle.”

Very wise words from one of the most significant books I've ever read.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

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