“Child-shaming” is a new parenting trend which involves parents publicly shaming their child for bad behavior. These stunts have been going viral across social media sites, where commentators laud the parents for their chosen disciplinary tactics. Many see it as a humorous and effective way to teach a child a lesson, as a form of no-nonsense, tough-love parenting that the spoiled kids of today need.
But the truth is that child-shaming does more harm than good, and is best avoided because:
– It is essentially bullying
Most parents would consider it to be bullying if child at school forced their child to wear a sign around their neck that said, for example, “I don’t know how to clean my desk.” For some reason, however, many people have decided that it’s acceptable for a parent to force their child wear a sign that says “I don’t know how to clean my room,” make them walk around outside, and post the pictures or videos to social media. If this is unacceptable behavior for children, then it shouldn’t be acceptable for parents.
– It destroys trust
Humiliating a child with a public shaming destroys the trust between parent and child. Child-shaming essentially targets the child instead of their behavior, making them feel attacked and belittled. Children are supposed to feel safe with their parents, even if they are in trouble. Child-shaming takes this sense of security away from them. It encourages children to hide their actions from their parents instead of coming to them when they need help.
– It’s lazy parenting
Proper discipline should aim to teach a lesson, not merely to punish for the sake of punishment. All child-shaming does is teach a child that bad behavior deserves petty retribution. It doesn’t do anything to help a child learn the importance of making amends and taking responsibility for their actions. Proper discipline should be able to show a child that what they did was wrong and what they can do to fix it. It may take more effort and creativity, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
What Christian Parenting Looks Like
Child-shaming may not be specifically addressed in the Bible, but, as with many questions and issues in life, the Bible can be a source of spiritual encouragement if you just know where to look. In Ephesians 6:4 we find an apt quote on Christian parenting that speaks surprisingly well to the current child-shaming trend:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
This verse is telling us that parents should strive to provide their children with the proper motivation and inspiration to do better, not practice a form of discipline that only serves to frustrate, anger, and make their children bitter. It is amazing how well inspirational Bible verses can apply to the problems of today. Parenting can be a challenging journey, but keeping Paul’s words in mind can help you navigate some of the bumps along the way.