Parenting Without Shame Webinar
Shame can have an influence in all of our lives, and it can work its way into our parenting styles. In this webinar, we will examine what parenting based upon shame can look like, the impact it can have on your children, and helpful ways to adjust our style to a healthier approach.
And, with that, we’ll go ahead and begin, Brian, Parenting Without Shame. That is our topic. I’d like to step through just a little bit, and see the forest for the trees on what we want to cover, our objectives. We’ve got three objectives for this next 45 minutes or so. The first is to understand what shame is and how it affects people.
So this is just simply a definition piece. What is it that we mean when we use the word shame. Shame can go by many different definitions. And, I think that definition piece is important so we know what it is we’re talking about. So we’re gonna define it. Then number two, see how easily it is to shame in our parenting, to shame our kids.
Now I want to just set this level set here, Brian. And, just be clear. This is my topic. I suggested to Brian and to others that we do this topic. And that is because I have come to see how I have shamed in my parenting. All right? So I’m gonna go ahead and throw myself under the bus first and say I have learned a few things and I have tweaked a few things. And so, the last thing we want to do here, Brian, is shame parents. Okay? That would be moving directly away from our goals. This is not about shaming parents. And I know Brian, that’s a little bit on a person’s thought because one person, when they registered, they mentioned feeling like a bad parent, right? Another one said feeling like they should have done better when the kids were younger. So you can see that things are a little bit already amped up that, oh my goodness, what am I gonna find out in this webinar? And so why don’t you give us, put us at ease a little bit.
You know what, I think that’s such a great point, Matt. And that’s even where I feel like maybe our title is even a bit deceptive in the sense that our goal might be to parent without shame, and yet we know inevitably, we’re not gonna do that perfectly. We’re gonna make mistakes along the way. And I think one of the things that is encouraging to me in that is just to know how resilient the Lord has made kids and how they can thrive and bounce back even in the midst of the things that we really mess up.
And so hopefully, as we step into this space, and we focus on identifying things that we don’t want to do, you’re gonna find yourself there. Matt and I certainly would say the same. And the goal is not to use that to push us into shame, but rather to learn and really to be in this together. That this is not something that any of us has mastered, but hopefully we can learn and encourage each other on this journey.
And you know what, really, Brian, what’s been so helpful for me is just understanding the nature of shame, understanding what it looks like and those types of things, which just really goes a long ways in helping me parent in a very healthy way. So I wanted to lay that level set to say, Hey, listen, I appreciate Brian’s comments, right? We’ve all been shamed. We will all do some shaming, but let’s understand what it is and that will be helpful. The third objective then is to learn practical tips on reversing the shame script. And actually, I find this to be very, very exciting, Brian, because even though I get it wrong many times. What we’re gonna try to elevate is ways that I can get it right when the pressure is off. And there’s a lot to be said in these in between moments of crisis moments. Does that make sense? Oh yeah, definitely.
So let’s look at just exactly how we’re gonna, the content again. What is shame? Number two, we’ll look at the effects of shame. Again, all of this trying to understand what shame is. Then number three, you’re gonna go to some examples of parenting with shame, things that happen that can be shaming. So to help us say what is it that we’re talking about here? And then number four, disciplining without shame. Because often discipline is at the crossroads of a shaming moment. Fifth, things to remember about shame. This is really getting to the nature of shame, understanding this beast and that will be helpful. Number six, high stakes moments. All right. This is particularly helpful for me. And in fact, a high stakes moment just happened last night when my daughter made a cake for the family to eat. She was pretty excited about it. But I’ll stop there and Brian will tell us just exactly why that was a high stakes moment for shame when we get to that number six. Number seven, then going to those practical behaviors to reverse the shame script. So let’s get right into it and let’s not stall any longer. What is shame? It goes by many definitions. I’ll read the one that’s on the screen here and then Brian, I’d like you to help get us a taste for it. The idea that a person is at their core, bad, unwanted, and beyond repair.
Yeah. And I think that is a very helpful definition. It’s a definition basically, as we talk about shame today, that’s what we’re gonna be thinking on. That’s what the radar or the bullseye is. And you can see that shame, whether it lies within us or in our children, or our moments and interactions that perpetuate this kind of, whether it’s an emotion or a belief. And you can see that shame is more than just an emotion. It’s more than a belief. It’s actually a very fundamental thing that has very negative, harmful, messages, beliefs, and ideas attached to it about the personhood and them being undesirable, unlovable and really outside of hope and how devastating that can be when that’s present.
And just to make this, even this observation, I think all of us on this call can sigh a sigh of relief and say, I’ve never wanted to do that, right? And so none of us ever want to do that. And so some of it is in the messaging, some is in what our children hear, but really what you’re positing here is that shame is an idea in their head, right? Right, it’s an internal script. What do we mean by an internal script, Brian?
Yeah, it’s those tapes or the thoughts that can run that basically are the fundamental ways that we view ourself or view relationships and those kind of lay in the background and are a lens through which everything is viewed. And so if the internal script behind is that I am bad or I am undesirable, and you go out and you try to interact in relationships, you can see how much that’s gonna impact and taint everything that you see in a way that is gonna make everything look like it’s hurtful and against you. And that may not even be the intention. And I think that’s part of what can be so frustrating about shame is it’s so slippery, it’s hard to wrap our minds around. And in the moments where shame attacks we’re like, wow, how did that even happen? Or, I didn’t even see that coming. And it can be pretty frustrating from that standpoint.
I think another definition could be, and you’ve said this in a different number of words, but rejection. If people knew me, I would be rejected and in fact should be rejected. And so it really attacks a person’s worth. Is that a good lens?
Yes, exactly. And, I think, even it reminds me of an author that I was listening to recently on the topic of shame. And they were talking about shame more in a marriage context, but I think it’s still fitting that he was doing a Google search and he started off with something unrelated to shame or unrelated even to the marriage relationship. But it started off with, how to and then the rest of it filled in, keep my partner interested. And that’s not even what he would, but that was like the top search. And I think that’s one of the underlying messages of shame is that I have to do or be something to be desirable or interesting. And when that becomes the script that’s playing in the background of our kids’ minds, it can be very, very destructive.
So let’s now go just to that very, very destructive. Let’s go to the effects of shame now. And what we’re gonna see on this next slide is a little bit of a progression. Let’s hit the first, the purple boxes first before we go into the finer points. But what shame does is it leads to a lie and then that lie has an effect. So shame is very much built on a lie. It’s that idea that we just came from here. This idea that we’ve all agreed is not true. This is a lie, right? But yet if that gets inside a person’s mind, then that has an effect. Right. Brian, what more can we say about this progression?
Well, I think what’s interesting too, and one of the things we want to keep in mind is that we are in a spiritual battle. And I think that’s one of the things that’s so easy for us to forget that’s called out over and over in the Scriptures. My mind’s thinking right now, Ephesians, that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. And so even before the belittling event, Satan or the evil one is attacking our hearts, trying to convince us, just like he did with Adam and Eve, that God’s holding out on us, that other people are holding out on us, and that you’re not okay. And, that sets the stage then for when events happen that brings shame, then that can help reinforce or build out this lie and move us in to the negative effects that eventually is what we see. But we wanna make sure that we can see all these things that are going on underneath, and that’s maybe where the battle is actually won or lost.
See, and I think that’s so insightful to see this lie being whispered by Satan himself. And I think that’s very insightful when you bring up Adam and Eve there, that’s exactly what happens in that whole narrative where Satan whispers a completely different message and God actually calls out to them and says, who told you this? Who told you that you were naked? Right? He saw the shame as being a message from somebody. And, so we have a message coming from some event that is seated in a person’s soul that I am reject, should be rejected. I’m unwanted, I’m altogether bad, I’m beyond repair. Right. And then that brings this effect. Speak to those three points, isolating, hopelessness, bitterness, and we could put more in the box, I would imagine.
Right? Exactly. And, again, if we think about shame, what it is, it makes sense that it’s gonna move us into pulling away from relationships instead of engaging and participating in relationship, participating in life, it’s gonna move us into hiding and withdrawing. And in that isolation, The thing that actually, that we see as the problem, which would be relational interaction, is actually the solution. But shame flips that on its side. And then when we’re alone, then it just is able to work over our minds and hearts with those lies and reinforce those and those become just who we are.
And we even think of that as a parent, when we start to, we can see our mistakes and the things that we mess up on that’s going on. And then Satan’s really good at concluding, you’re a terrible dad, Brian, and in that, am I gonna go talk to my friend or am I gonna connect with my spouse about that line? No, I’m probably gonna hide and pull back where Satan’s able to then reinforce those lies and keep me stuck in it.
So you’ve just really shared a cycle. Shame plays on a cycle. And it’s a self-defeating cycle that makes itself worse. So if I pull into isolation, that’s exactly the opposite of the repair I need. Am I hearing that right?
Exactly. And the exact opposite of what our children would need in the parenting context too. But they don’t know that. A lot of times we don’t always know are they isolating or, do they just need some space here? But it’s one of those things, if we can see the effects, then we can say in our back of our minds, is that what’s going on? Is this maybe shame or are there lies that are going on in their own hearts? Or is this Oh, no, I just prefer being in my room for a little bit. Oh, okay. You know, and we can check in on those things.
And, maybe to broaden this out, I’m thinking of a teenager, who doesn’t want to go to social events? Okay, I’ve got a range of this in my own house. Some just would rather not go to a social event. Doesn’t mean necessarily there’s a problem, but I just wanted to expand this. What this could look very different and on lots of different stages, right?
Right, exactly. So, and that’s where I think part of this journey in helping not shame our kids, is being able to know who they are, their temperaments, their preferences, where they’re at as far as their developmental progression and being aware of some of those pieces that are like, oh, you know what, maybe this fits or maybe it doesn’t, or maybe I should check in on this. Cuz you’re exactly right, it looks very, very different in lots of different settings.
I’d like to get back to that belittling event. Sure. We’re gonna show some examples here on the next slide, so we don’t need to plow that necessarily, but this belittling event is much more expansive than just parenting. This can, talk a little bit about.
Oh yeah. So I think that can look, whether that’s a school setting, something happens in a public, situation or, with peers and friends or even at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. So it, yeah, it can look in lots of different places and may not even necessarily have to do with parenting, but certainly is gonna tend to have like a social aspect to it or an achievement or a mistake or a failure aspect to it. But it may not necessarily be that you are as the parent involved in that event, certainly at times. But, that’s not a must.
I could give an example that just happened in the last month where we had an event. Now this was at school with one of my children, some undesired behavior and had a conference with the teacher about that undesired behavior. And, she was connecting dots to the behavior, right. And said, we need to stop this. And I helped that teacher see a shame script that was being communicated to my child by their interaction. They didn’t know my child like I did. They didn’t know how my child was processing the inputs he was getting.
And, it’s actually in the last month, a great deal of change has happened because now those who are working with him understand this what’s happening here and how the event leads to a lie and that effect and how to handle that interaction so that lie is not being positive is really key. So that we don’t have these negative effects. Does any of that make sense? That makes a lot of sense. Absolutely.
So let’s move ’em now to what this might look like, okay? Okay. So we said parenting without shame. I’m on the next slide here. I’m gonna have quotes. The reason why I knew some of these were shaming because they’ve come outta my own mouth, okay, Brian, right? This is not me watching a bunch of parenting over lunch hour at church and just a notepad coming up with ideas, this is me and my own experience. Comments like this. You will never amount to anything now since I’m gonna throw myself under the bus enough, I will say, I’ve never said that, that’s never come out of my mouth, but it has crossed my thoughts.
And I think it’s even to your point, that you were just making there is that it’s really easy in our interactions to not verbally communicate this, but for it to come out in how we’re interacting, even though that may not be exactly what we mean and wouldn’t even be what we would agree with. And so again, it’s just about being aware of this and even if we can be aware of it, like you’re describing there, Matt, at a thought level and making sure that we’re trying to address that in our mind so that it doesn’t come out in our behavior with them.
And, I’ll give one example. In fact, one of my children have helped me see is facial expression. You know, we hate it when teenagers roll their eyes at us. Right. Well, what does that mean? That means they’re so disinterested and we’re so stupid. And yet we have our own facial responses to our children that they interpret as well. And here’s the catchy thing, Brian, they make whatever meaning they wanna make out of that facial expression. Exactly, exactly. It might be this first point up here, so you’re right. It never came outta my mouth. Right. So you’ll never get it right. Every other 15 year old can do this. I have said this, every eight year old can do this. Every freshman in high school can do this. And in my mind I’m thinking, oh, this will certainly motivate ’em. Right. I’m not trying to demean them as much as I’m trying to motivate them because I’m exasperated.
Right. And I think that’s a really tricky spot. Like we wanna express belief in our children and confidence in them, but also in a way that is building up rather than in a comparison kind of way, which is where I think shame uses comparison a lot and even when it’s not meant in a harmful way by us as parents, it often can be interpreted that way by our children. For sure.
And maybe point out the elements of some of these, Brian, that go to shame. So what is it about some of these comments that feed into this process? Yeah. Does that make sense?
I think so. I mean, I think a lot of it is like that we’re maybe at the core communicating get away or you are just messing everything up and that this should be different than it is. And not in an encouraging or a teaching, but in just a very globalizing against them and their personhood rather than thinking about being really specific and direct, it becomes very attacking and very, oh, I just can’t believe you.
And that last fourth point there, I don’t care. It’s just something that I’ve been convicted about lately to realize how often that comes out of my mouth. I don’t care. It’s, yeah, I’ll give you this example. My daughter was painting or making some artwork at the table. And, set the table. It was dinnertime. Set the table please. Working on her artwork. Set the table please. Working on the artwork. And after 10 minutes, 15 minutes pass, she comes up beaming to me, dad, look at this. Just as excited as could be. And all I saw was an unset table. Right. And so what came out of my mouth was, I don’t care.
And in that moment, I could see her drain. Because it was a high stakes moment. We’ll get to those later. Right? It was a high stakes moment for her, for celebration and all I could dwell on set table and outta my mouth came. I don’t care. Now, there’s a lot to clean up in that mess, right? But it needs to, it needed to be done better than I did. Right.
And, that would be a really good example of like, where we’re just saying to them, I’m not interested in you. And again, those things are gonna come out of our mouths when we’re frustrated and we’re thinking one thing’s gonna happen and another thing happens instead that’s gonna raise up our frustration and our emotions. And if we’re not really purposeful and careful, we’re gonna say things that communicate that message of, I don’t care about you. I think another thing that comes up in my mind pretty frequently in this space is when a child is brave enough to approach us. So instead of moving into isolation, they approach us with a mistake or something that’s hard.
I, as a dad, am really good at saying, I told you so. You should have studied, and if you would’ve studied, then we wouldn’t even be talking about this right now. Or Yeah, I told you not to do that to your sister or whatever. And we move right into, I told you so, or correcting, that’s gonna accidentally move them back into isolation. Whereas we want to engage them again. Not that we can’t provide correction or discipline but we wanna be careful to not move up, move into that in a way that pushes them into behaviors that are gonna facilitate shame.
You know what? And I think that’s a great lead in, Brian, to our next slide when we’re gonna talk about discipline. Because even the examples you said there, right? They hit all of us. And there’s good messaging there. You did tell them, they didn’t listen to you. Right? And so at what point, we don’t throw all discipline to the wind here, and so we want to go to that right now.
So disciplining without shame, so there’s a lot on this screen. I’d like to just step down the left hand side of here. First a child misbehaves. There is a parental disciplinary tactic that we use. Then the child has an emotional response to that disciplinary tactic. And then there’s a parental message that they capture. That’s what they leave with. The emotion will leave, the emotion will subside in a couple of minutes or a couple of hours, but there’s a message that remains. Does that make sense? Yes. Okay. So there’s a misbehavior. Now let’s go through the finer points. There’s a misbehavior, then there is a parental disciplinary tactic. Am I going to shame? Am I going to guilt or am I going to be dismissive? Now we’re gonna suggest that this middle path is really what we want to do. And so I want you now to take off where I’ve left off here. And what’s the difference between shame and guilt? Why is this important to avoid dismissive and so on?
Yeah. No, that makes sense. And so I think in this, one of the things that, that we as parents, I think want to just affirm and with each other is that our hearts are to love and direct our kids towards truth. That’s really what we want. And sometimes to keep the goal in mind can help us think about how to engage the specific moment. Well with shame, one of the things that’s really attractive about shame and parenting is that it generally does work. Like if a child is doing something that we want them to stop and we shame, generally speaking, that behavior will stop. But I think it’s a little bit like you win the battle, but you lose the war. In the short term, that particular behavior stops, but it’s gonna lead to long term lies taking root in their heart. And, then you lose the long-term battle. And basically what it does is again, makes the child feel bad, which is gonna shut them down both activity-wise and verbally. So, a lot of things are gonna stop. But then, what they’re gonna hear from us is you can do nothing right. Just stay out of my way and unless you are doing exactly what I’m saying, or if I had need for you, I will come find you. Stay outta my way. And no parent means to communicate, but that’s where it takes them.
I think that’s an important point to make too, that shame works. Yeah. And that’s why we use it. And I’d like to just even give you an example. That has not come out of my mouth. I feel like a need to be clear about what I’ve actually done and haven’t done. Sure. But again, for it to be an example means it’s crossed my path. Right. So let’s look at, again, this one here, this bitterness. If I say, you are so stupid that you can’t remember to water the dog every day. That kid’s gonna start watering the dog. But what’s that kid going to? Perhaps we might get the obedience mileage, but I would say a great deal of resentment and bitterness is going to build in their heart, right? So I wanted to accent what you’re saying there. Shame, we’ve fall into this because it’s pretty effective in the short run, but has detrimental effects in the long run. Set that next to guilt.
So guilt, next to shame is gonna be more where we’re able to validate misbehavior that we’re gonna identify it for what it is, but also distinguish it from them as a person. So, you know what, you should have put your shoes away, like I asked you, is very different than you never do anything that I ask you to do ever. Whereas one is gonna be more shame because it’s so global and attacking them as a person where guilt is, this thing that you’ve done here is not acceptable and we’re gonna figure out together how to remedy this because we can’t continue to do that.
So let me draw some, I think highlight something important here, Brian. For a person to understand shame and guilt, specificity might be part of that answer. Yes. We are too general. If we’re way too general, we might be shaming. Yep. If we’re being specific about a behavior, we’re probably on the right track.
Exactly. And, in that, that’s an easy one for me. I know that’s one that I have to work on a lot is, it’s really easy for me to turn to my child and say, stop it. And, that’s way too general for my seven-year-old or my nine-year-old to even know what I’m talking about. Because they’re probably doing any number of things at once and they’re not sure if I’m talking about this exact moment or the minute before. And so for me to be able to be more specific is gonna help try to navigate that towards guilt rather than the shame piece.
And I think what we want them to do is to have a sense that they feel bad about the things that they’re misbehaving in. And, I think long term, part of what we’re trying to do, is give the Spirit access and a root that helps them be open to the Spirit and recognizing when they’re living contrary to the Spirit. And, hopefully that’ll help facilitate long-term relationship with the Lord in the long run. And this message here I think is so important. You are loved and need to grow, that we’re simultaneously saying, I love you. And yes, there are things that you need to grow on that both of those are true, and both of those will always be true. That my love for you is not based on your goodness or badness. I love you, period. And there’s things we want to help you keep moving forward. And, if we could all hold onto that reality, how beautiful would that be?
So then I’ll move over into the dismissive. Yeah, and I think one of the things that happens often, and this is something that I’ll see a lot with parents in a culture right now where we’re very aware of shame and there’s a lot of talk around things like, self-esteem and to some degree I think there’s value. But accidentally what it does is it can scare us as parents away from calling out misbehavior and instead being very dismissive. And then, we might blow up eventually as well on this track. But event, what the child’s gonna learn or their emotional response is gonna be an indifference towards the things that they don’t do correctly or even the weaknesses that they find within themselves.
I think the long-term outcome of that tends to be too, is that weaknesses or mistakes are either not a big deal or I have to hide them because mom and dad never saw any of these things. So now that other people are starting to see them, what’s it gonna, they don’t know how to conceptualize that because they’ve never been loved and need to grow. They’ve just been loved. Now that there’s these things that I can see that I need to grow and what do I do with that, maybe those can’t coincide. And so it long term leads to this message of, I am good. And I have to be protected from anything that I don’t do well. I’ve gotta make sure that stays hidden because if people see that or identify that, then they won’t be able to love me with that being present.
And I think this squares then with our, shame tends to isolate. We go into hiding. So the opposite of that is vulnerability, openness, and we see that down the middle stream here. Right. So, that’s really what we’re purporting here is that as we in interact with our children on a disciplinary level we’re thinking about guilt. Guilt is good for whom the Lord loves he chasteneth. And we want them to feel bad about their behavior. Walk in openness with owning the misbehavior. And realizing that they can grow, but there is hope here. We can see there lacks hope in the shame stream. There’s a lack of hope. No hope at all. And even in the dismissive, we’re not walking in complete openness. We are ignoring that.
And I think too that this would maybe be one of the things I would really encourage people to think about as far as a takeaway. If you were to identify the parental message that you want to communicate over and over to your child’s heart over the next week, month, years, what would that be? Maybe it’s not you’re loved and need to grow, but some kind of variation of that that’s really gonna say, oh yeah that fits. And that’s something that I want to have on the forefront of my mind. I think would be a really helpful lens and takeaway in this area to help shift away from shame.
I like that. I think that’s very practical. I’m just gonna take a little aside here, a little housekeeping item. If you have a question that you want to chat in, you’ve got a chat feature and you can feel free to chat in. And I’ve got three more slides and then we’re gonna go to q and a. If you’ve got a question, you’ll be able to voice that then. But I wanted to give you a little bit of heads up. Arlan Miller is in the background and he’ll be seeing chats that come in or questions that come in. So, wanted you to know of that option as well. Cuz there’s a lot on this slide. Perhaps there are questions. We can certainly come back to it if folks have that.
But let’s move on now to the next thing. This is things to remember about shame. We’re gonna talk a little bit about the nature of shame. And again, there’s far more than four bullet points, but I think these are helpful in helping us understand this space. The first one says shame shames. And, just to tie back into some of our previous examples, it’s when we are exasperated that we don’t go to specificity, we go to generalities, right? And very often, Brian, it’s our own inadequacies. It’s our own failure as a parent that we’re speaking out of. And I’m gonna be the only parent that produces this. Who am I? What’s wrong with me? And that exasperation then gets dumped in a shaming way on our kids. Shame shames.
So much so, and I think one of the things that, in my mind speaks to this, that I think about in my own circle of fellow parents that I get to walk this journey with is, what does that look like? Or how could we create a culture among ourselves, whether we don’t hide from each other so that we don’t accidentally keep shaming each other and the things that we, our own fears and insecurities that lie within, but what does that look like to move towards openness with them and facilitate a place where it’s not a shaming that shames each other, but rather an openness that helps bring learning and even correction where necessary. But you’re exactly right. My own shame is gonna lead me to shame others and shame my kids if I’m not aware of that and trying to be working on that.
I think those are great suggestions, and I think it’s an important wherewithal to, that we understand that my own personal care needs to be attended to. When it comes to shame, we will shame and will be shamed. You’ve already mentioned this a little bit, Brian. That, hey, we live in a broken world. We’re gonna do it and we’re gonna receive it. But the message here today is not necessarily to put the stops on all shame, because we cannot do that. We want to understand it and be able to navigate through it, respond according to it, but we’re not positing the idea that we’re gonna scrub shame from our lives.
No, exactly. And that’s where Yeah, if we can just be aware of it. And I think it speaks into the next bullet point, is if we can be aware of where shame maybe is attacking our own hearts or our children’s hearts even where it’s not necessarily intentional at which the next bullet goes into that non-shaming, intent can actually still their shame can be incited in those situations. And in that, if we can be aware of that, I can think of a situation not too long ago with one of my kids that they were doing something and they had done something incorrectly and I was right there. And I yelled, but in that moment, and this certainly wouldn’t always be the case, it wasn’t that I was mad, I was actually concerned for them, but I could tell by the look on their face and just their emotional and body response that it felt very shaming to them. It was a public situation where there was lots of people standing around. They were on a four-wheeler and they hit the gas too hard and it almost flipped it all the way over, you know? And so in that I had a fair amount of repair to do, even though it really wasn’t my heart to attack, but to see that otherwise shame can grow.
Nor was it the wrong course of action, Brian. Right? No. Yep. And I think that’s important for us to understand, that the right course of action in that moment was a shout. And there was gonna be some repair that needed to be done, but you are up to the task for the repair to follow it up with. That’s what I’m hearing.
Exactly. And just to be aware of that. So it’s not a failure in and of itself when our kids experience shame, that is going to happen. It’s really about how do we come alongside and speak into that, whether we have blown it or not, we still want to try to speak into it and say, Nope, I love you. Yeah. There’s work to be done in your heart and mine, but I love you. And that doesn’t change in the midst of this.
We had somebody who registered to talk and ask, how do I parent without yelling? Or something to that fact, this admission that I’m yelling. And that strikes really close to my reality. I totally get it. And I would like to perhaps place my finger on the cross section of yelling and shame, and I’d like your response to this, Brian, but I might respond to yelling first. You just gave a great example where yelling was appropriate. Okay. But, typically yelling is passionate. And typically yelling does not invite a response except for mum obedience. And what we want to do is we want to draw our children out into relationship and into communication. And so that’s the crossroads of yelling. That’s where we would want to be careful that our passion doesn’t close down interaction. Right. Is that fair statement?
No, I think so. Absolutely. And, I would say probably every parent can connect with that idea that’s a challenge. I think it is one of those things and sometimes it’s appropriate to do so. One of the challenge I think we gotta be aware of is that, again, yelling can be useful, but if it becomes our go-to tool, which really can be quite easy once, if it’s useful, it shuts down the behavior. Okay, well I’ll just keep doing that. But then if that’s our only tool in the toolbox, then yeah, there’s no dialogue. We’re not actually hearing what’s going on in their hearts, therefore we can’t speak into that. But, if we can bring our level of intensity down to a smaller place where the passion isn’t as intense, like you’re talking about, Matt, then that’s gonna create relational space which is exactly what we want to do. That’s the thing that we want them to learn. That relationships are a safe place where healing can occur and we can model that by working on not just defaulting to the yelling.
I like that. And I’m gonna add another example, and I taught a number of years in the public setting. And, I feel like I’m a better parent to other people’s kids than my own. That’s another topic, another webinar. Maybe we’ll do why that’s the case. For sure. One thing I did learn to this topic of passion and yelling, is when I was upset about something that I needed to address with a classroom of students, I told them that, and I told them, I’m gonna go stand over there on that square there. And I’m going to lay into this, all right? And I’m gonna raise my voice and I’m gonna get passionate about it because this is serious, but then I’m gonna step off of that square and I’m cool, guys, all right? And I wanted them to see the separation that I’m not carrying a grudge, that I can separate them from their behavior. And so I went over and I stepped on the square and I let ’em have it because they needed to hear a few things. And step off the square and continue, with the most important thing. And that’s the relationship, and that’s enjoying one another and appreciating one. I don’t know if that’s clinically sound or not, but it was, I think when it comes to the yelling question, can we separate what it is we’re yelling about from their person.
Yep. Exactly. I think that’s a really great point, and I think it’s a great practical piece too, to be able to say, okay, I can get frustrated and even let them know about their misbehavior, but then I need to be really careful too to let it go and so that it’s not something that I hold onto. I think one of my tendencies as a dad is to be frustrated about this that happened at supper, and now the rest of the night, I’m gonna let you know that I’m frustrated with you. And that’s a really easy way to shame because I’m indirectly communicating, until you get your act together, I’m not interested in you, and that’s something that I have to be very aware of.
Yeah. That’s excellent. All right. The fourth point, I think we’ve talked about the concept of lies. Shame plays on lies. Let’s move now to the next one. These are high stakes moments. I really like this. This is really, really helpful to know when moments are, so when our kids are being creative. I mentioned last night my daughter made a cake. I could tell that this was a big deal to her. She wanted to know how we liked it. She wanted to, and it was, if I would’ve blown that moment off and kept reading the paper and whatever, or just didn’t even acknowledge it. It coulda had detrimental effects. It was a moment to celebrate.
RIght? Definitely. And let her know, Hey, what matters to you, matters to me If you’re excited about this, I’m gonna get excited about this and that she’s giving you a gift of sharing something with you and really receiving that gift well., you know, when our kids are being vulnerable. Oh, go ahead. Yeah, no, I think that’s another really just high stakes moment. And, again, I think part of this comes into knowing our kids. One of the things that makes me think of is my four year old loves to dress up and be beautiful. That’s one of the things that is just like core to who she is. And, so when I come home and she says, Hey, can I put some lipstick on her? Can I go put a dress on? For me, what I wanted to say? No. What are you doing? Why would you do that? Or she comes out and she’s got lipstick all over on her cheek, what did you do? That’s not, and instead for me to be okay, I need, this is a vulnerable moment. And if I correct her or tell her all the things about what she’s doing, that’s wrong, that’s not gonna be helpful. But if I say, you are so beautiful. I love you. And then if I wanna say, and I love you, even when you don’t have lipstick on or in the morning to say, Hey, I really love you now to communicate that, but it’s not a time to correct when they’re sharing something that’s vulnerable.
Or like I mentioned earlier, and this could be more of with a teenager, they’ve come, they’ve just had a terrible test, and they come and they say, I failed my test that I had on Wednesday. If I go into, I told you so and all of those things, rather than, oh man, I’m sorry to hear that. And, connecting with them, certainly there can be correction in it, but if I don’t connect first in that vulnerable moment, they’re not gonna keep coming to me. Instead, they’re gonna move into that isolation.
And they’re not gonna keep coming to me. Brian, I think that is key. So a son comes to a father and confesses or opens up or something. Let’s take pornography. The first thing that needs to go through my head is do I want my child talking to me about pornography or do I want him going somewhere else? If it’s me, then I need to take care of that reaction. Exactly. If our daughter comes to us and has been, I don’t know what, sexually molested or something, or involved in something. How I care for that moment, because I want this to come to me. Does that makes sense?
They tell us they lied to us yesterday or what. Yeah. Those sorts of things. And that’s where that parental message that we talked about a few slides ago, I think is so key. If we can take a moment and say, okay, wait, do I want them to keep coming to me? Or how can I communicate that I love them and they need to grow? That can be a grounding thing, so that we don’t just react out of our emotion, we can respond out of wisdom, which is really tricky to do.
The third point there talks about when our kids are unable to meet our expectations. High stake moment for shame. Oh my. Yeah. It’s so easy with our kids to expect things that they can’t accomplish and we don’t do that on purpose, but sometimes that’s because we forget that they’re eight years old or sometimes that we forget, you know what, they are 16, but their ability to do math is not the same as somebody else’s ability to do math. Or, maybe they have a difficult time focusing on things or remembering things. If we can’t keep our expectations in line with what they’re actually able to accomplish, it’s just gonna perpetuate those lies that I screw everything up. I’m always a failure. And that’s where shame is gonna take hold.
I think, going back, you’ve already mentioned this, knowing your child is really, really important. And because I think that goes along with this piece, knowing what our children are capable of and what’s within their grasp is important. I think we’ve already talked about the fourth one, discipline. Certainly. The stakes are high for shame. The last one then, when we are critical of them about things that cannot be changed. Can you give us an example?
Yeah. So for example, like even I mentioned with my daughter, if she has a temperament or is geared towards an interest in a certain thing, like wearing pretty dresses or something along those lines, that may not be something that I want to try to change. I maybe would want to help guide that but it may not be a fundamental thing that can change their interest. If my son loves music and instead I want them to be an engineer, that if God’s created them to be musically inclined and have a passion for that, for me to try to tell them why that’s silly and a waste of time is really gonna be harmful would be a couple examples that come to mind.
I can think of another example too, which would be body image. Oh, sure. A daughter for example, who, you know, there are some things about our genetics now we should be eating well and exercise and those types of things. Sure. But there are some unchangeable things here. And to place an expectation of something outside of their grasp, simply classically says, I cannot be in good standing ever. Right. I’m rejected. Let’s get now to the last, cuz we did promise some some practical ways to reverse this. The shame script. I’ve got three on the screen. There’s more than that. But enjoying your kids, celebrating your kids, showing your kids approval. Just really speak to this concept, Brian, on what we can be doing when the stakes are not high.
Exactly. And I think this is the place that I think we really want to spend a lot of time thinking about and enjoying, because we can do these really simply, and it’s not that we can always stay away from shaming. And it’s not that we can always do these either, but when we have enough of these things going on, it helps bring some, what I would say, cushion to be able to tolerate the things that we really don’t do well. And so if we can give our kids this sense that I see you, I love you. I’m trying to understand who you are and I want to celebrate that. I’m really interested to just be with you and spend time with you. I want to figure out how to try to enjoy the things that you enjoy and just giving this sense to them that, hey, I am on your side. I am on your team. I am for you. And that’s never on the chopping block. That’s never something that is at risk. I am your dad. I love you and I am for you always and ever. If I can give them that kind of a picture.
And you know what, Brian, sometimes we have to be intentional and deliberate about this. Yeah. Sometimes in phases of life and with kids, it seems like one crisis at another. Oh man. Yep. And, I have already, put a reminder in my phone to do some of these things. Do this today. Track down kid X, Y, or Z. And laugh with them. And figure out something to laugh about. Exactly.
Yeah, I think if we can play with our kids, it is. And I think you’re right. Just even setting that reminder, because I know for me, and this is one of the things I try to do every day on my way home from work, is to pray about how I’m gonna enter my home. Now again, if you’re a mom and you’re at home already, you don’t get that opportunity to shift gears and roles. So that makes it harder. But to have a reminder on my phone, because I know my natural tendency is to come home and to just move into task. You know what the first thing is how do I get everybody sat down? Then how do I get everybody to get done eating? And then how do we make sure homework gets done? And then how do we get, and it is just like, instead, Wait, I need to slow down and laugh and celebrate and enjoy this silly thing that happened. And even when we’re doing family devotion and they’re being goofy, my tendency is to want to just cut it out and no, this is part of some of those things that can help them make sure they know that I want them to have fun. I want this to be a safe, peaceful place rather than just making sure that nobody’s doing anything that I don’t like.
That’s great advice. We’ve got five minutes to the top of the hour. Maybe somebody’s got a question that they would wanna voice. You’re sure welcome to unmute, your mic and just give it audibly. You can chat it in with the chat feature as well. Arlan, did anything come through from your perspective?
I didn’t see anything come through on the chat feature, but I did have just a follow up question while people are thinking about what they wanna ask, building upon this idea of where do you go if you have blown it for years, and how do you begin to repair those scripts, right? So if you are in a situation where you feel like maybe, you feel like for the last many years you have been using shame to parent and you can see it in your kids and you can see in how they even interact with you, right? And the type of relationship you have or you don’t have with them. How do you start to get back into that script rewriting? Brian, what would be the first step to take in your minds, to begin to repair some of that?
That’s a great question and it takes me into one of the points we talked about is how shame shames. And so sometimes when we recognize our own mistakes and sin, what happens there is that we feel bad about that, and then we get stuck in that and it moves us into the isolation or the hopelessness that we talked about. So instead, I would just encourage you that once we become aware of something that we have been doing that we’re like, I’m gonna step out of that, that’s gonna be the gravitational pool, that if we’re not really purposeful, we’ll move into. So instead to be able to approach our children and to be able to say, you know what? I’m sorry. And take responsibility and just that confession and repentance part that’s so well modeled for us in the Scriptures, even though that’s really scary. And we would all say, yeah, that’s what I want to do. It is really scary. So we can acknowledge that it’s scary.
And then from there, talk to our kids about how maybe that could be shifted or maybe where they have felt some of those things. And to be opened again to being influenced by them. I think that would be a really good place to start. And then maybe even to invite other parents or people that you would respect and trust to help you think through what that might look like practically.
Provide a level of accountability within that too. Good. A question just came through. So, the question is this, helping your kids or just working with your kids to get them to do just chores and little daily things around the house, any advice on how to get that cooperation while maintaining the peace around the house and while not turning it into a shame battle? Every five year old should be able to do this type thing. Any thoughts about those daily things?
It’s a great question and I think, one of those situations that I think is, we’d find all of ourselves in that. So I think one is just to be able to see, you know what, in many ways that’s probably normal. Now, again, depending on the extent of it, it may or may not be. So to recognize that where there’s this, what I would call a compliance struggle coming up, that’s one of those situations that’s prone towards shaming, but it’s also an opportunity towards growth. So I think in that, that we might help our kids see the things that what you’re not great at, being able to remember and helping them see their weaknesses and not that those disqualify them from being able to be somebody who’s loved and desired, but it is something that shows that they need to work on those sorts of things. Having that kind of dialogue with them, Hey, what do you think? What are the barriers to getting that done? Is it hard to remember it? Is it you don’t want to do it? And having discussion around maybe the purpose of those things and how you want them to be able to contribute to the family. And so I think the goal in my mind would be able to help them engage dialogue around that if they’re old enough to be able to do that. And not necessarily that they’ll agree with it, but they would maybe be willing to then consider stepping into it. And it’s probably one of those things that we’ll have to keep working at and reminding time after time, and hopefully those bricks as they keep getting laid over time lead towards change in the long run.
If I could add something too, just to separate their worth from their task. Yeah. And sometimes the way to do that, you get all, I get all huffy, right? You can get huffy and direct and exasperated. But what if you were to add this to it? You need to, I told you, you need to do this, whatever. And, when you’re done, I got a really funny joke and I wanna, you gotta hear this, but you gotta get that done first. What you’ve just done in that moment is you’ve separated their worth from what they’re, because you’ve just told them that you’re at peace with their person. You want to be with them. Even though you’re up to here with their disobedience in that particular area. It doesn’t have to be a joke or anything. It’s these points on here, right? Enjoying your kids and celebrating. And, showing approval. That concept of a grudge not being held, I think is really, really key.
Yeah. That’s good. Well, we’re at the top of the hour here. In fact, a bit past. I just was blessed, Brian, by this list here, and I want to close with this. This list is chapters one and two out of Genesis. This is the relationship God had with Adam and Eve. Enjoyment, celebration, approval. After sin, shame enters and compromises these things. So there’s no wonder that these things are part of the remedy. It was part of the original design, but we do now deal with that shame. But if we could model, like God did his calling out to Adam and Eve saying, come out of hiding, where are you at? Come on out. If we could have God’s reflection as parents, that we would consistently do the same thing, calling our kids out of hiding, what a tremendous, huge lesson that’s gonna be for them on many levels. Amen. Thanks, Brian, for being here. Thanks each one, for being on.