How does shame affect the way we parent? We place such high expectations on ourselves, yet sometimes we find that even with the best education and support, our children’s brokenness is more than we can heal. We mothers should be able to heal our children, right? Well, I couldn’t, and I know that many of you can’t either. And while I can extend grace to others with relative ease, I struggle to extend it to myself.
Brene Brown’s research on shame is fascinating. Her TED talk on vulnerability has been viewed over nine million times. Her talk on shame, which she gave a year later, was instrumental in helping me to look at shame in my own life. I struggle with it – and I find there are things I don’t write about because of the shame.
I read this quote a few weeks ago and tucked it away to share with you. It’s from an interview given by Brene Brown.
How has understanding shame and vulnerability changed you as a parent?
Oh, it’s changed everything. My husband’s a pediatrician, so he and I talk about parenting all the time. You can’t raise children who have more shame resilience than you do. Because even if you don’t shame them, and even if you are actively trying to raise them feeling good about who they are, they’re never going to treat themselves better than you treat yourself. So that’s the bad news and the good news, but mostly the sucky news.
If you want to raise a daughter with a really healthy body image, you better love your body as a mother, because that counts way more than looking at your daughter and saying “You’re beautiful and your body is beautiful.” All that matters to her is how she sees you acting with your own body. Which sucks. We can’t give children what we don’t have. We just have to be the adults we hope they grow up to be.
Overcoming shame is inextricably tied to our belief about who Jesus is and what the gospel means. We belong to a loving Father who has washed away our sin and made us “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). We are new creatures made in His image. We are so loved that He gave his life for us.
So, why do we let the enemy whisper in our ear that we are not enough, that we are failures, that we will never overcome our pasts? We assume guilt for our children’s behavior that does not belong to us. We question the path we’ve taken in seeking help for them – and we doubt the choices we’ve made. We worry far too much about what people think.
I’m working this through in my own life, and I hope some of you are with me on this journey. I just bought the book, Shame Interrupted, and plan to read it (along with the other books in my ridiculously huge stack) this summer. Anybody care to join me?
Thank you for sharing my life, friends.
Encourage one another,