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No gain in shame!

Phil McInnes

As adults, we can get frustrated with kid's behaviour and inadvertently resort to shaming tactics.

Making a child feel like a "bad person",  experts inform, often has the effect of causing the child to feel helpless to change that behaviour and more likely to withdraw or sulk. And, if the child feels that the shame directed at them is unjust, they are more likely to feel angry or resentful and become defiant. Either way, it is unlikely that it will bring about the desired change.

As adults, when we become frustrated with children, we tend to become authoritarian. Rather set yourself the challenge of being an authoritative adult. Focus on the undesirable behaviour. Discuss sensitively why this behaviour is not acceptable. Try to understand what the child is feeling and engage with the child to help them change this behaviour. Focus on the process and praise the progress. "Well done for saying sorry and agreeing to be more careful in future".

Remember, we are trying to coach prosocial behaviour and shaming is an antisocial behaviour which has proven to add no value.

In my next blog, I will focus on an example that will resonate with most of you.


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