Monday, September 14, 2009


I'm reading in Parenting for a Peaceful World about Shame at the moment, and how crippling it can be. I'm not sure how I feel about all that is implied. I don't know that I carry a big burden of shame, and I guess in a funny sort of a way- I always assumed it was probably a good thing to feel embarrassed and remorseful when you've stuffed up.

It won;t come as a big surprise though to learn I don't much care for my children to be weighed down by such an emotion.

Robin Grille talks about how the predominant parenting mode of today )and the last 50 years or so) is "Socialising Mode", where parents no longer beat their children or treat them with physical cruelty...but they still attempt to control their behaviours, primarily through manipulation- one tool of which is shaming. It makes for very interesting reading, and I can see that the next mode, the "Helping" mode, is vastly different than it's predecessor.

It happened right after reading a few paragraphs of this particular chapter, that I had a little scene with Tombliboo (nearly 3). He asked for a drink in the lounge. I said no because we don;t have sugary drinks in the lounge, only water, and only water in bottles actually. This is because we are renting a fully-furnished place, and I want to care for the landlady's things as well as possible. I know how easy it is to spill a drink, with no intention whatsoever of doing so.

However, Tombliboo persisted, and eventually I agreed. The inevitable occurred, and what did my little boy do? He ran to get a cloth. He said, "I spilled the drink Mama. I just clean it up, I sorry to spill it- it all clean now." He was smiling, I snuggled him and finished the job. It was no big disaster (it had tipped on the lino, thank goodness), but I saw in that moment that he was not ashamed. He was sorry he had made a mess, he probably (or possibly?) gleaned that I had been right in what I had said...but mostly, he knew it needed cleaning, and he did it as well as he could. There was no shame. He didn't feel any, because I didn't make him feel it. There was no shame necessary, in fact.

Later in the day, he was cross that we were all playing a game he can't play (he attempts it, but it is beyond him atm). He picked up some cards, and yelled. "I gonna put these cards in da freezer! I gonna put dem in da rubbish! I gonna throw these cards everywhere!" I was a bit distracted with the game ,and didn't respond as quickly as I might have, but at that point, said, "I can see you are feeling very cross."

It was too late to stop him throwing the cards, but he *immediately* said, "Sorry Mama", and came for a cuddle. I cuddled him, and said, "I would feel much happier if you picked those cards up for Mama", and he did. No fuss whatsoever. I thanked him for his help, and we had a nice long snuggle.

Tombliboo is not as reasonable as J-Man and Princess were at his age. He has always struck me as being quite different, in that he wants what he wants (who doesn't?) but he won't be diverted from it. I think I am finally seeing that while he is not always obliging, he is getting there. But he is not doing so out of fear or duty, but out of respect and love for me- at least that's what I reckon :0)


Colleen said...

Your family is so lucky to have you Lishelle. What a kind mama. :)

Kiwi_Mama said...

I think that in some ways shame is a good thing for us. It helps us to know when we have done wrong. But it is also something that we should not hang on to and should be released from through repentance. Shame is not something other people should make us feel or impose upon us, it should only come from the conviction of the Holy Spirit as should our repentence. A simple sorry releases us from all shame.

Kiwi_Mama said...

Actually I need to correct myself. A sense of remourse is a more appropriate word to use than shame with regards to what I was trying to say.