The following is an excerpt from the book on parenting by Jef Gazley, LMFT which is entitled “Parenting: Become A Better Parent.”
“One of the parents’ most important jobs is to teach the child that poor behavior should elicit guilt and not shame. In this view behavior is seen as something that is changeable. Behavior is flexible. For example, if a person is a good golfer, most days he or she will play a decent game. But for any particular game he or she would be totally capable of playing a horrible game, or playing much better than usual.
Adults, for the most part, know that the only way to really assess a particular level of expertise is over a 20-year span and 80 per cent of the time. That will give a rough idea of how skilled that person is in golf or any other activity, and one might, at that point, be able to talk about a general characteristic. But the day-to-day fluctuations are simply about behavior.
In our society, unfortunately, we mix up the words guilt and shame. Guilt is used in place of shame. Guilt is actually a good thing. Guilt is felt when a mistake is viewed as behavior. Mistakes are viewed as normal in this schema and do not define the individual. The mistake should be taken seriously, apologized for and changed, but shame is something that never goes away.
If a person feels defective in some way, they will never be able to overcome it, but the tendency will be to try. The way people try is to become shameless, god-like, and perfect.
That leads to heartache and failure.” By Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT Copyright © 2008 Is that the Reason our Children Don't Mind? is available on printed format, e-book (downloadable book), and audio book on MP3.