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Health Physical and Mental Health Psychology

How humiliation and shame can affect kids’ mental health?

Two days back my son aged 6 years, was playing lego blocks game with his friends at his home. I scolded him and asked to stop playing as he hasn’t finished his school work. Although he stopped playing but his behavior became very rude in complaining attitude. I couldn’t ignore this attitude as it was, somehow, my mistake as well to reprimand in front of his friends. Mostly kids have wisdom to sense humiliation. Humiliation and shame is an intense feeling of self failing which can be either internally or externally. Kids are mostly vulnerable to external humiliation, mostly by critical behavior or discouraging comments. It’s an emotion having very strong contact which can affect kids’ mental health by storing in their memory for life.

Beware before behaving with kids

It’s a problem which pushes us to think before we behave with children. In our society people like aged, children, and disabled are usually not belong to normal social lifestyle. In kids’ case, while considering them toddlers, we often treat them insensitively by devaluing their thinking, hurting them unintentionally. Shaming and humiliation can erect a wall between kids and society, and develop the thoughts of “me against him”.

Humiliation causes shame

Humiliation and shame hazardously affect your kids’ mental health

“In study your brother is brilliant than you” OR “you are not as intelligent as your younger brother is”. While raising kid with his other sibling, it’s very common comment from parent or even from close relatives. Such kinds of comment causes bad impacts on kids’ mental health. Mostly such degradation can cause shame and can diminish his confidence, but in some cases can resulted into serious consequences. Encourage every learning step of your kid and reward him sometime avoiding remarks like “Ooo! You haven’t done good”.

Causes of humiliation:


  1. Due to your busy job or tiresome routine you ignore to interact your kid.
  2. While talking with elders, or when kid is trying to say something, you didn’t bother to listen.
  3. You avoid to include him in home based activities.
  4. You snub him by mentioning that he has no level to give opinion.
  5. You’ve passed some devaluing comments about him.
  6. Sarcastic comments in front of everyone.
  7. Physically threaten either by parents or elder sibling.
  8. Force to do something he don’t want to do against him values or wish.
  9. Physical or emotional punishment to teach him a lesson.

Dangerous affects of humiliation


  • Confusion and Powerlessness:

Every kid has its own special and distinct persona. Don’t try to evaluate the qualification and intellect of one kid with other, at least don’t comment them. Albert Einstein once said

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

  • Lack of independence

Raise your kid while preparing him to face such comments in society overall and build their confidence. So that they avoid influence of such comments and live their own lives in their own way. Because such comments and resulting humiliation cane make him dependent and he may eager to become what admired in society.

  • Violent attitude

Sometimes situation of humiliation can be harmful as your child can go into psychologically compromised situations ensuing violent attitude. Because emotion of humiliation is without any warning and it would be difficult for kids to think through.

  • Fear of public exposure

Many times you may have heard about news about girls feeling hesitation in social get together. What’s the reason? Most of the time such kid had to face comments due to his stammering or the way he laughs. Such comments make them fearful of public exposure.

  • Exclusion

Kids may felt exclusion while thinking that they are not good enough. Although they feel this about any task which they really cannot do, but this can affect their ability in their other assignments. This feeling can damage their confidence.

  • Affecting Self-esteem

Humiliation has a close link with self-esteem and it can affect kid’s level of self-esteem. When humiliation results into shame it diminishes self-esteem of child, because shame dominates personality. Such undeserved shame can damage his ability to handle the affairs and face challenges in his life.

  • Lack of trust

Sometime kids share their ideas with their parents or teachers. Instead of encouraging him or indulging with him, don’t ignore them. At least don’t make a laugh on them, because there is very slight difference between laughter and offence. Result, you’ve lost their trust now they would avoid to share their ideas with you. Instead they wouldn’t listen even your advice.




Avoidance and Healing humiliation effects


  • Avoid punishing and start listening

 Punishment creates humiliation and shame. Avoid punishing kids and try to get in touch with them in more effective way, not painful way. They are kids and you are not. You try to understand them and don’t expect them to understand you.

  •  Respond with empathy:

Whenever you feel that due to some unwanted incident your kid felt humiliated, you should use your empathic resources. Avoid sympathizing, as it will lead him to more shame. Understanding one’s feeling is the key of empathy. If your kid comes to you complaining that he couldn’t find his school book or stationary. Don’t say that “you never place your things attentively” or “you are a forgetful child”. Rather say that “It’s ok dear! I’ll help you to find out, you may forgot”

  • Defuse the situation:

Try to defuse the situation. If kid hurt due to your statement or remarks, try to apology as it can play in case of devaluation.

  • Maintain dignity and power balance.

Maintain kid’s dignity by involving him and sharing ideas with him. And make sure that there must be power balance among siblings and respect for each other with no hierarchy.

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