This Month’s Parenting Class: Combating Shame
On one especially tough day, I was putting my son who has been diagnosed with ADHD to bed. I can not count the number of times I had to tell him “No.” “Stop That.” “Please Don’t Do That.” We were all exhausted. When I went to put him back in bed for the second time that night, he was in tears and I was angry. I was so done with this day. So done. But my son needed me. I needed the couch and some hot coco and a show to veg on. But he needed me. I stood in the doorway of his room and I knew I had two choices. I could kiss him goodnight and go to my couch or I could sit with him, and ask him some questions about what he was thinking. The latter was the more difficult. It required parenting I did not want to give after a long day. But it was also, the choice that would open my eyes to the shame he was feeling and the power I had as his mom to speak truth to it.
Many of us have seen this scenario play out in our children. They have failed and they are remorseful and they turn their remorse into themselves. They hear a critical voice in their head that tells them they are a “Screw Up.” “They can’t do anything right.” “They will never succeed.” “They are not loveable.” These voices are not foreign ones. Many of us as parents hear them as well. How do we fight these inner voices in our children that lie about their value and steal their joy? How do we help our children who are steeped in shame, come out of self-pity and into spiritual and emotional growth?
First and foremost I do not say this lightly but I am asking you to Pray. Pray and ask the spirit to guide you as you seek to uncover what is going on in your child’s heart and mind. This is something that can not be forced or pushed but when we are given a window and we are willing to risk ourselves and our pride, the Lord can do powerful things in combating lies in our children’s hearts about their worth and value.
Second, when you feel the desire to pull away. To not deal. To hide or to sweep things under the rug, instead, lean in. Breath. If you must, take a minute to collect your thoughts but lean in. Do not ignore it. Don’t shove your feelings down. Don’t excuse yourself or them. Lean In. Ask questions. Make space for communication. Give them space and time as well but make yourself present. Available. All Ears. All In. Ask questions. Ask Jesus to give you good questions to ask. You can not fight lies in your child’s head if you don’t know they are there, and nine times out of 10 they will not tell you unless you ask. They sometimes don’t even know at first and it isn’t until the conversation begins to unravel that they figure it out.
Third. Give your children words for how they think and feel. My kids are younger so they may need this more than older children but we have described “The Inner Voice” as the Voice of the enemy who wants them to believe lies about themselves. That God wants them to know and believe Truth about themselves and that when they believe Truth they have the Power over the pain inside of them. If they are older, you might want to see how much they know and understand about the word “Shame” and how that plays out in their own life and relationship with God and other people.
These are hard things. They require us to be intimate with our children. What I mean by that is, it requires us to sacrifice our desire to run from pain and instead embrace it with our children. This is Empathy and it is a tool, a weapon God has given us to combat Shame. It also requires us to share with our Children our own pain, fear and tendency to hear our own “Inner Voice” that tells us lies about who we are. I have told my children that although I know it isn’t true, I often hear the voice that I am not a good mom, and I have to tell someone I trust about the voice I hear, and that someone reminds me of the truth about myself and what God says about me.
In this way we model for our children, Transparency, Vulnerability and Empathy. We model that its ok to admit we fear, and it takes courage to voice that fear, and we have the power to choose truth over fear.
You are not alone in these things.The spirit is with you. It is also important to find people around us who are also walking this path. People we can trust not to judge us, but to listen and pray for us, as we seek to be instruments of healing for our children. May the Spirit reward you greatly as you do this work Parent Warriors.
- Parenting Class 1: The Shema
- Parenting Class 2: Physical Changes in Teenagers
- Parenting Class 3: Rewind and Fast Forward
- Parenting Class 4: Rebel and Repeat
- Parenting Class 5: The Power of a Symbol
- Parenting Class 6: The Power of a Shared Experience
- Parenting Class 7: The Power of an Aplology
- Parenting Class 8: Sibling Rivalry
- Parenting Class 9: Harnessing Your Spiritual Influence
- Parenting Class 10: Planning “On Purpose” Time with Your Teenager
- Parenting Class 11: Taking Pride in Who God Made Them to Be
- Parenting Class 12: Responding vs. Reacting
- Parenting Class 13: Choosing Wisely
- Parenting Class 14: Failure and Success
- Parenting Class 15: Shepherding Their Heart
- Parenting Class 16: Friends
- Parenting Class 17: Broken Trust
- Parenting Class 18: Listening
- Parenting Class 19: Lines of Communication
- Parenting Class 20: Shared Hobby
- Parenting Class 21: Teens in Crisis
- Parenting Class 22: Training Your Teen to Be a Leader
- Parenting Class 23: Supporting Your Teenager’s Small Group
- Parenting Class 24: Investing in a Strong Relationship
- Parenting Class 25: Back to School
- Parenting Class 26: Guiding without Controlling
- Parenting Class 27: Thoughts on Praying for Your Teenager
- Parenting Class 28: Establishing a Trust Economy with Your Teenager
- Parenting Class 29: Helping Your Teenager Learn to Manage Money
- Parenting Class 30: Why Does Parenting Seem So Lonely?
- Parenting Class 31: How Do I Help My Teen Through the Death of a Friend?
- Parenting Class 32: How Do I Know When My Teen Needs Counseling?
- Parenting Class 33: Learning How to Apologize to My Teen
- Parenting Class 34: How to Stay Out of My Teen’s Drama
- Parenting Class 35: Knowing When to Stand Strong
- Parenting Class 36: Connecting with Your Gamer
- Parenting Class 37: What If Your Teenager Has a Bad Friend
- Parenting Class 38: Friendship Drama
- Parenting Class 39: How to Have a Tough Conversation with Your Teenager
- Parenting Class 40: Teens and Cell Phones
- Parenting Class 41: Looking for an Identity
- Parenting Class 42: Help Your Teen with Social Media
- Parenting Class 43: Is My Teenager Self-Obsessed?
- Parenting Class 44: The Pressure to Be Perfect
- Parenting Class 45: Cyberbullying
- Parenting Class 46: Goal Setting with Your Teenager
- Parenting Class 47: 3 Types of Spiritual Conversations You Can Have with Your Teenager
- Parenting Class 48: 3 Questions to Get Your Teenager to Start Talking
- Parenting Class 49: The 3 Seasons of Being a Teenager
- Parenting Class 50: Rage vs. Anger
- Parenting Class 51: Connecting Through the Written Word
- Parenting Class 52: Their Safe Place
- Parenting Class 53: Developing Gratefulness in Your Teen
- Parenting Class 54: Helping Your Teen Deal with Stress
- Parenting Class 55: Teaching Your Teen Responsibility
- Parenting Class 56: Helping Your Teen to Develop a Personal Devotional Life
- Parenting Class 57: A Godly Relationship vs. a Good Friendship with Your Teen
- Parenting Class 58: Teaching Your Teen to Be a Better Example to Younger Siblings
- Parenting Class 59: Shame vs. Guilt
- Parenting Class 60: Punishment vs. Discipline
- Parenting Class 61: Do I Parent Using Shame?
- Parenting Class 62: Parenting Yourself