Saturday, 7 February 2015

Humiliating Children as a Teaching Tool


'Other people are mean, children need to learn to handle it.'

Okay, that might be true –in fact, it probably is. But how is that related to the people closest to them, who are supposed to cherish and nurture them, being mean? Intentionally being mean!

Who are supposed to protect children from unnecessary injury and harm?

It is ironic that today it is just as popular to think kids need to be kept indoors, stopped from sledding or skating on the local pond, and kept rear-facing in car seats until they're 7 or 9 'for safety reasons' as it is for parents to publicly humiliate and shame children.

Why is the only perceived protection or safety children need physical? Do they have no need at all for emotional or psychological safety?

And, seriously people! Is there no way to teach a child how to handle the viciousness of strangers other than through the viciousness of loved ones?

There is a police initiative to combat bullying is called WITS. Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out, Seek help. When the parents are the ones being mean, children are supposed to Walk away? Ignore it? Talk it out (seriously, in conflict with their parents!?) or Seek help? From whom, precisely?

When their protectors and closest family are causing the hurt, who are kids supposed to go to? When it is parents hurting children's feelings, intentionally, how will a child learn to assess 'who to trust' in seeking help?

So much of this comes to the point of 'teaching' through punishment, hurt and humiliation, when one of the basic realities of learning is that in order to develop and thrive, humans must first feel safe and secure, then they can expand and try and risk. When they're hurting, protecting themselves from further harm and pulling away from the world, they are only learning that the people of the world—even the ones who 'love' them-- seek to injure them. The only thing they wonder and want to learn is 'why me?'

Too often, the conclusion kids come to is 'because I'm worthless.'

Please don't teach your children that they are worthless.