Shame does not teach a tween or teen to do better, to improve their behavior, or to be a better person; rather, it crushes the person’s spirit, and may even cause them to withdraw. Brene Brown writes that “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
Instead of resorting to shame when your tween or teen does something wrong or makes a poor choice, take a breath, take a step back, and ask God to help you remember that just as you are learning to parent better, and just as you make mistakes in life, so will they. Your tween or teen is at an age where they might be often frustrated, angry, or even hostile and push against everything you do or say. They might make poor choices, or even outright bad choices. It is an age of exploring, experimenting, and learning—and ultimately crossing over from teenager to young adult.
Shaming a teen for age-appropriate behavior will likely shut them down and crush their spirit, and could potentially interrupt this crucial stage of development. Though they might do things that you would classify as dumb, illogical, or impulsive, it’s part of their growth.
Above all, guard against shaming your tween or teen for something awkward they have done. You want to encourage them to find themselves and blossom into their own person, as God created them to be. And that is different than you.
The greatest thing you can do for your tween or teen is continually ask yourself what will help them flourish and grow into their potential, and preserve their dignity.
We hope this series on helping you identify whether you may be shaming your teen or tween has been helpful. Parents aren’t perfect (I know you know that!) and grace in abundance is needed when parenting your teen—but also for yourself when you make mistakes.
Partnering with you,
p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)