Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Sunday, September 30, 2012

PARENTING TOPIC: Shame - The Core of Low Self-Esteem in Children

Shame lies at the foot of many adult problems: over-eating, substance use, angry tempers, and so forth. Somewhere along the way, many adults were shamed at one point in their lives by their parents. But with tons of online parenting resources, books, and groups for parents who want to learn how to improve their parenting, parents today don't have a very good excuse for not working on their parenting style. After all, we plant the seeds for many traits in our children that last a lifetime. Chief among them? Self-esteem.

One thing you should never say to your children in a frustrated moment is, "What's wrong with you?" This is even more destructive for children than being told to "shut up" or being labeled something negative, such as "lazy" or "selfish." The question "What's wrong with you?" makes the child - regardless of age - feel like you, as the authority figure, can see through them and know that something is inherently wrong or deficient with them.

It's often the little flip comments or questions about children that their parents issue in frustrated moments which stay with kids the longest, causing feelings of self-doubt and inferiority for years to come. If you add this to the list of things you aslready know you should never say to your child, you will have done something today that makes you a better parent than you were yesterday!

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