Do I Parent Using Shame?


Our video this month discusses the question: Do I Parent Using Shame? In the video, you are asked to consider whether you grew up in a “Toxic Shame” environment and to consider how you react when you are hurt. We encourage you that though shame-based parenting is often learned, and may be the way you were parented, it can be unlearned as well.

Shame, if you recall, is that terrible feeling of not fitting in, or being horribly wrong. It can happen among your teen’s friend groups, and it can happen in their place of employment. Unfortunately, though, the place it often happens the most is within the home.

Brené Brown wrote a book titled Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. In that book Brown states, “When it comes to our feelings of love, belonging, and worthiness, we are most shaped by our families of origin—what we hear, what we’re told, and perhaps most importantly, how we observe our parents engaging in the world.”

Though the way we might be shaming our tween or teen might be subtle, don’t for a minute doubt they don’t feel shame when it hits them. You are the key person in your tween or teen’s life that is supposed to be a safe place for them—a place where there is no shame, but acceptance. Even teenagers will interpret doing something bad, like a bad choice they’ve been punished for making, to “You are bad.”

Be careful about the verbal and silent messages you are sending your teen. Paul wrote, “Everyone who believes in [Jesus] will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:11). If we, as parents, are not “put to shame” in Christ, our teenagers shouldn’t be “put to shame” by us. We have daily opportunities to reflect Christ to them.

Partnering with you,

Parenting Class Video


Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, suggestions or problems with these resources!

p.s. Watch for more help in part 2!