Learn, model, and teach family adults
and kids how to communicate and problem-solve
_ 6) Use
this knowledge to learn how to discipline
kids in a way that steadily nourishes their self esteem and minimizes
More suggestions to help family adults manage kids' shame and guilts:
Teach kids their rights
as dignified persons, and how to use them to (a)
their needs with anyone, and to (b) set and enforce
boundaries with disrespectful.
critical, and aggressive adults and kids
adults how to give "dodge-proof"
praise, and raise everyone's awareness about your family's rules
about praising each other. Lack of merited, sincere praise and appreciation promotes shame
_ 9) Model
and teach how to appreciate
significant achievements and feel non-egotistical
Model and teach how to make
productive rather than shaming.
Do you know
Model and teach how to avoid
and unrealistic expectations.
Model and teach kids to see mistakes
as learning opportunities, not shameful failures;
More suggestions to help family adults manage kids' shame and guilts:
_ 13) Using
age-appropriate language and cartoons, teach older kids about
personality subselves and their true
Self. Help them begin to learn how to identify and "talk"
with subselves - specially ones that cause stress. like their Inner Critic,
Perfectionist, Worrier, Pessimist, and
Shamed and Guilty inner children. Tailor the ideas in
lesson 1, part 3 to fit your
Model and teach kids how to avoid shaming
themselves. Help young people realize they can "talk back" to - and
retrain - their
well-intentioned Inner Critic and Perfectionist subselves. You'll be more
successful at this after you've done it yourself
All family adults accept
full responsibility for maintaining a high-nurturance
environment for all members
and visitors. Use
to help you do this.
_ 16) Model
what self-respect, self-love, and
self-confidence look like and
sound like in calm and stressful situations.
_ 17) Periodically
(e.g. on kids' birthdays) ,check each child for
symptoms of inherited psychological
wounds. If you find significant symptoms, refine your assessment: use these
criteria to test for excessive
guilt If a child has these symptoms, see the extra parenting options
+ + +.
Note the difference between "preventing and reducing shame" and
and self love." Which long-term goal feels better?
Kids' Shame into Self Respect, Pride, and Self Love
If a child in your life has too many symptoms of excessive shame and guilt,
what can you do?
Accept that the child has
been raised in a low-nurturance (dysfunctional) family. This means key
family adults have inherited and unintentionally passed on significant
[wounds + unawareness].
To help shame-based (and fear-based) children heal, family adults must
commit to intentionally raising the nurturance level of their related homes
and extended family by following suggestions 1 thru 17 above, This must
start with the primary parenting adults. It's essential that family
adults and any helpers they use (like counselors) agree - the primary
problem is not the child, it is the dysfunctional
Identify significant shaming
behaviors by family adults and older siblings, and work to stop them
or no touching
Replacing these shaming behaviors with actions that promote self-esteem
begins with raising everyone's
empathically to your child(ren)! Intentionally make it safe for them to
be aware of and describe their feelings and
with other family members Help them to learn how to
needs and limits (boundaries) respectfully. Did your adults do this for you?
Talk honestly about your own limits, failures, and shame; and how you
manage them. Balance that by talking about your talents, achievements, and
Add your own ideas about helping
kids attain stable, healthy self love, pride, and self-confidence.
We've just reviewed
choices that family adults have for reducing shame, and promoting healthy
self-respect, pride, and confidence in their young kids.
Pause, breathe, and recall why you began
reading this. What have you learned so far?
The second half of this vital long-term parenting project is...
Project goals: help kids (1) reduce excessive and chronic guilts, and (2) avoid
new unjustified guilts. "Excessive" guilt promotes shame, and invites social
scorn, exclusion, inferiority, and isolation.
The suggestions below are for new parents, and for adults parenting an
overly-guilty child. They add to the
_ 23) Review
overview of guilt Then...
_ 24) Invite all family adults and
older kids to learn...
_ what causes guilt,
_ how it differs from shame,
_ how to end and avoid unjustified
_ how to use guilt productively.
a healthy home
and family "guilt policy." A
policy is a set of values, attitudes, and beliefs about something that
guides decisions and behavior. Let's
define a "healthy personal guilt policy" as
a set of values, beliefs,
and rules like these:
OK (vs. "bad") if I feel guilty. Guilt is a normal, healthy
reaction to feeling I've done something wrong (broken someone's
I have the right to express my guilty
thoughts and feelings to others without apology or expecting them to
I have the right to get clear on what rules
I feel I've broken, and who made the rules.
If I'm not clear on what our relationship or
family rules are, I have the right to ask for clarification.
If I don't like or agree with the rules, I
have the right to negotiate rules that feel more reasonable
It's better to express my emotions and
assert my needs honestly as I feel them, rather then hint, repress, numb
out, procrastinate, and/or expect others to mind-read me,
It's good to stay aware that guilt and shame
feel the same, but are caused and reduced differently.
How do these sample rules compare
to your personal guilt policy? To the policy in your home and family?
Option - discuss this concept with other family adults, and
clarify what your personal and household guilt policies are. They have been silently
shaping the guilt policies of each minor child among you. Work toward
evolving and living by a shared "healthy guilt policy" as a fundamental way
of helping all of you manage your guilts.
is a policy...
The unspoken rules about guilt that you
adults model and teach will strongly influence your kids' success at using
their guilts constructively or not. If your family guilt policy promotes
unwarranted or excessive guilt, it's unlikely you can help your kids make
Consider that most kids - specially young ones - don't have the concepts or
language to discuss their guilts or negotiate the rules that cause them.
That implies that to minimize the risk of toxic guilts and shame, you adults
must pay patient, conscious attention to what your behaviors are teaching
your kids about shame, self-esteem, pride, and guilt. Did your caregivers do
this for you?
Note the opportunity of evolving and practicing a family policy on
personal and family pride and self-love and respect. Most people and
families already have these policies, but may not be conscious of or discuss
them. Can you articulate your personal policy about these essential
resources? Can your other family adults? Can your kids?
_ 26) Identify any
family members whose behaviors promote chronic and excessive guilts in your
young people. Invite them to become aware of _ your evolving family guilt
policy, and _ the impact of their behaviors. Usually guilt-promoters are
unaware of being ruled by false selves.
_ 27) If your child
is old enough, coach her or him to (a) befriend their
and (b) bring her/him to live in the present (c) in the loving company of
your Nurturer subself. Help the Guilty Child to feel welcomed, accepted, and
valued by all other subselves. See this
for more detail.
What did you just learn?