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Better, Not Bitter: Stop Shaming Children (But Only on Social Media) (Video)

GEM Sept 2015

Better, Not Bitter:
Stop Shaming Children (But Only on Social Media) (Video)

 

There’s a campaign to request that Facebook update its policies to prohibit the posting of pictures of videos where adults publicly shame children. If you search the hashtag #StopShamingKids you’ll see lots of activity on social media. Over 32,000 people have signed the petition.

I agree that people shouldn’t publicly shame children on social media. I think it’s a cruel thing to do. But I am not totally against shaming children. In a conversation about this subject recently, I realized I’m a bit old-school on this subject.

When I was growing up my mom sometimes used shame to embarrass me within a small subset of her close friends. There were two ‘aunts’ in particular who knew when I’d messed up and they made me feel bad about it. They knew because my mom shared my deeds with them in one-on-one conversations. She didn’t make me wear a sign and stand on a street corner. Or have some information about my indiscretion plastered on a t-shirt for me to wear and the world to view.

Related: The GEM Debate: Public Shaming: Did This Mother Do The Right Thing? (POLL)

As a parent, I will admit I used shame on occasion with my children. I remember having a conversation with my then-teenage son about making him feel bad when I revealed something he did to my sister, his aunt. He complained about telling his “business.” I explained to him that I understood his feelings about what I’d done. I also told him that just like I shared news about his achievements and awards with my sisters, who were my first friends, I also sometimes shared the things that disappointed me about him.

Nothing was ever done maliciously or publicly. But I am beginning to see that maybe my son had a point, and maybe I should have kept some of those details a bit closer to the vest. But I remember a few times growing up when I made a choice not to do something because if my mom found out and told my aunts, it would change what they thought of me. In those cases the fear of being shamed led me to make a more cautious choice. So I guess I’m torn.

I understand that shaming children publicly is humiliating. In the following video, they ask the question about how an adult would feel being shamed at work when they made a mistake. Take a look . . .


I absolutely agree that people shouldn’t shame their kids by posting on social media. But I wonder if keeping kid’s indiscretions totally quiet goes too far on the other side. I know kids need understanding, but shouldn’t they feel ashamed when they’ve done something wrong?

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