What Does a Child Experience When You Shame Them?
An intimate look into the silent killer of your child’s dreams
By Karen Braveheart
In our blog, Shame: The hidden culprit behind every unhappy adult, I wrote about an adorable little boy who picked up a piece of candy in Rite Aid, and then his dad hit him and called him bad in front of everyone in the store. I felt sad for this young boy because I knew exactly how this made him feel. I also know when this repeatedly occurs, the negative, lifelong pain and suffering his dad is inflicting on him.
How do I know? Because I was that kid. My dad was abusive, and my mom was neglectful. I was hit by my dad, shamed while he did it, and remember the gleam in his eye when he used to spank me. Every day of my childhood, he was mean to me, calling me names like "you're stupid, you're an idiot, you're a moron," and put me down constantly.
In my child's brain, it made me think I was bad. That who I am as a person was bad- deep inside and didn't deserve to be loved. This is shame, and these thoughts of low self worth were formed during my childhood and stored in my subconscious brain.
As a child, I didn't understand why my dad hit me and was mean to me. It made me feel sad inside. I asked myself why was this person who's my dad hitting me and being mean to me. I wished he was nice. I loved him. Why couldn't he love me back? It taught me not to trust men, and that masculine energy hurts the feminine. Now I realize that's not true because evolved masculine energy protects, heals, and cares for others, but it wasn't until my 40s that I realized this.
Spanking and being called names and put down doesn't teach a child anything except to hate themselves and that they aren't worthy of receiving love. Nothing good comes from it. Only shame and feeling that you're bad at your core. The way I was punished put me in full survival mode- shutting down my emotions to protect myself. I became desperate for love and searched for it outside myself. I spent years repeating the same past patterns in relationships with men and chose a career that wasn't fully fulfilling. Shame is silent- it goes into your subconscious brain during the early years of your childhood and comes out as an adult in these kinds of ways. Personally, I think it's a silent killer.
When I was in my 20s, I learned that my dad was treated this way by his mom, and he subconsciously continued the cycle of abuse when he became a father. I vowed to myself that I would never treat my own kids like this when I became a mom. I also said to myself- I don't want the life my parents chose. I wanted the best life for myself. So, I made a choice to live my best life. This decision marked the beginning of my personal self worth journey.
As a parent, I knew intuitively that every interaction with my children during their early years would have a lifelong impact on their self worth. Growing up, I learned what it felt like to have your worth taken away from you in daily interactions. Through observing what not to do, I discovered a better way to parent. The blessing that came from that experience is that I intuitively knew exactly how to build self worth in my own kids and give them what I didn't receive from my parents.
I consciously made a new choice to live my best life, and it was the best decision I ever made. I had to learn how to give myself the love I so desperately wanted from my parents that they were not capable of giving. No one ever taught them how to love. I let go of relationships where I didn't feel cherished. I gave away personal items that I didn't love. I left a job that wasn't 100% fulfilling. Today, my entire life is different, and I feel happy inside. I love what I do every day, have fulfilling relationships in my life, and receive abundance in many forms.
- It starts with your choice- If this blog resonates with you, and you'd like to make a change in the way you parent your child, that's huge! Once you make a choice, you need to commit to it 100%. Take the time to really ask yourself, what are your parenting values?
- To learn more about the Prodigi Kids Self Worth Parenting Paradigm, read our free ebook. It's divided into three sections: Align, Develop, and Interact. You'll gain a deeper understanding of how to raise your child with core beliefs of self worth and the neuroscience behind it.
- Read our blog "Discipline vs. Punishment," which does a deeper dive into exactly how our model built on love and discipline builds positive self worth. In it, I discuss how "teachable moments" and "love boundaries"- 2 terms I coined, when used daily with your child, lead to happier, healthier, and more connected relationships.
- Bring our products into your home that encourage more loving engagement with your children and support our mission to make our Self Worth Parenting Paradigm the norm!