A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Shaming and Blaming

Posted on: March 9, 2015

My teen years are long behind me, but I clearly remember the challenges of dealing with body changes and emotions, maintaining good grades, keeping up friendships, choosing a career, and generally trying to make good choices.

Although I was blessed with supportive parents, some close friends, and great teachers, being a teenager was hard. As the parent of a 14-year-old, I know it still is.

Why would we choose to make it harder on our youth by shaming them?

Over the past few years, I’ve seen many stories about parents who forced their teens to wear sandwich boards stating what they did wrong, or who posted messages on Facebook detailing their teens’ transgressions. When did shaming become one of the tools in a “good parenting” toolkit?

Yes, our teens may make some bad decisions, and we have to deal with the results. But that shouldn’t mean shining a spotlight on those choices so those in our community and beyond can applaud us for our “tough love” stance or be entertained at our children’s expense.

These verses from the epistles of Paul caution us against taking such an approach to raising our youth:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4*)

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)

We need to throw shaming and guilt trips out of our toolkits. We’d do better to educate our children about forgiveness, unconditional love, patience, and compassion through our words and actions. To raise them in the faith. To teach them to make good decisions when we’re not around. To catch them in the act of doing good by helping around the home, working hard on schoolwork, showing a commitment to their extracurricular activities, and putting into action the values we’ve instilled in them.

If we’re looking for parenting advice, I pray that we would turn away from the shame-and-blame stories and look instead to fellow parents (and grandparents) raising their children in the faith, to the scriptures and the Catechism, and most of all to God in prayer.

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Response to "Shaming and Blaming"

I agree wholeheartedly! Great post!

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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