Shaming kids in public has become a parenting trend. You’ve seen the stories. Kids forced by their parents to stand in public holding some kind of sign indicating a wrongdoing. It could be that they stole. It could be that they were disrespectful. But the bottom line is that some parents believe that these kind of humiliating moments – or instances of tough love – may have enough impact to change their kid’s behavior for the better.
So … is this a good or bad idea? While I contend that it’s a bad idea, let’s walk through some of the more subtle points.
We typically hear of stories in which parents are extremely frustrated with their kids. Some are afraid that their kids will get into deep trouble. They feel like they have run out of options and don’t know what else to do. So I understand that they are ready to do something. I’ve seen them in many of my own research studies and have also seen them in juvenile court and understand that they want a solution.
But I suggest that a public shaming is not the corrective measure they are looking for. Will it shock a kid in the short term? Maybe. Will it fundamentally change all of the factors that led to the persistent troubling behavior in the first place? Probably not. And that’s the point.
In practice, and in research, you will find kids with all kinds of problems. Acting out, stealing, lying, cheating. Using drugs and drinking. Being disrespectful. It really begins to hit when they hit the early teens. In order to take on these kinds of behaviors, it’s necessary to work with parents and their kids – using methods that have been proven to work across decades of research – to improve three core parenting skills:
Monitoring: Really knowing who your kid hangs out with and what they do – so you can prohibit or change their patterns of behavior when you see warning signs of trouble. This leads us to ….
Limit Setting: Making sure your kid understands the boundaries you set and learning effective methods for applying them with consistency. This only happens by improving ….
Communication: How many arguments would you imagine a parent has had with a child before resorting to shaming kids in public? Would you anticipate that their dynamics revolve around yelling and screaming at each other? Many times it will. Parents and kids need to learn techniques for improving their level of communication with each other. And parents need to develop communication skills that help them shape their kid’s behavior by being authoritative and not authoritarian.
None of these skills come easily or quickly. They take dedicated effort on the part of parents, kids, and their practitioner. But putting in this kind of effort over time can change behavior – over the long term and not just temporarily.
Frustrated parents and kids who are acting out are realities. It’s agreed that parents in these situations need some type of recourse to right the ship. It can be suggested that public shaming teaches kids about power structures and coercive behavior and teaches much less about learning rules and morality and empathy. What’s really required is that parents and kids have an opportunity to work together to improve their relationship so that parents can be more effective on a daily basis and not feel the need to resort to drastic measures that may not have long-term benefits.
Add a Comment
Tags: acting-out, Delinquency, Health, Kids Health, parenting styles, Parents, Public Shaming, Tough Love | Categories: Behavior, Health, Intervention, Must Read, Parenting, Questions, Red-Hot Parenting, Relationships, Stories
The big theme this month was DSM-5. It’s here, we’re reacting – and parents will be dealing with the implications of this diagnostic system for quite some time.
So …. here’s a recap of what was covered this month:
General Issues: Changes Made, Controversies Raised, And What To Expect
Specific Disorders: What You Need To Know
Add a Comment
The Life is good Kids Foundation provides an extraordinary amount of unique support for kids in need. To that end, I am sharing their announcement of their 2013 Life is good Festival, which presents two days of wonderful entertainment for kids and parents as a platform for raising over $1 million to support the many efforts of the foundation.
YO GABBA GABBA! to Headline Kids’ Lineup at the Life is good Festival to Raise Money for Kids in Need
Limited free kids’ tickets now available for the Sept. 21‐22 fundraising music festival at Prowse Farm, Canton, Mass.
May 16, 2013 (Boston) – Life is good®, the Boston-based lifestyle brand committed to spreading the power of optimism and helping kids in need, today announced YO GABBA GABBA! will headline the kids’ lineup at the 2013 Life is good Festival on Sept. 21-22 at Prowse Farm, Canton, Mass. Characters from the award winning live action television series and live stage show will perform on the main stage both days. There will also be performances from the stars of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus®, Recess Monkey, and Josh and the Jamtones at the Festival. To make it easier for families to enjoy these top acts in kids’ entertainment, GoGo squeeZ, the leading 100 percent fruit, all-natural applesauce on the go, is providing a limited quantity of free kids’ tickets with the purchase of an adult ticket.
The Life is good Festival is a two-day celebration of music and optimism featuring activities for all ages and three stages of nationally known musical talent. The full artist lineup will be announced on June 17. One hundred percent of funds raised and all of Life is good’s net profits from the Festival, including Festival merchandise, will be donated to The Life is good Kids Foundation.
“As a company with a positive purpose, we’re making it easy for families to do what they love while supporting a great cause,” said Bert Jacobs, chief executive optimist for Life is good. “What makes this Festival unique is the community of fundraisers who come together to help kids in need.”
Individuals who purchase tickets are directed to a personal fundraising page, where they are encouraged to raise funds to support The Life is good Kids Foundation. Festival-goers who raise $500 or more will be rewarded with exclusive backstage hospitality, preferred concert viewing, artist meet and greets and other perks.
More than 30,000 fundraisers are expected to come together over the weekend with the goal of raising over $1 million for The Life is good Kids Foundation. The Life is good Kids Foundation directly funds the Life is good Playmakers program, which provides training and support to childcare professionals who use these tools to ensure that children grow up feeling safe, loved and joyful.
Tickets for the 2013 Life is good Festival are on sale now at Lifeisgood.com/Festival. Free kids’ tickets presented by GoGo squeeZ for ages 2-12 years are limited. Full priced kids’ tickets will be $20 for one day or $35 for a two-day pass. Life is good offers free admission for kids under 2 years. Adult tickets are $65 for one day or $120 for a two-day pass.
For more information about the Life is good Festival or to purchase tickets, please visit Lifeisgood.com/Festival.Add a Comment
While DSM-5 should be reflecting consensus, it has certainly spurred many reactions – from inside the ranks.
Consider that the National Institute of Mental Health – the primary funding agency for mental health research in the US – will essentially ignore the DSM-5 in favor of its own research-based criteria. In other words – the DSM-5 is not especially informative for those who do research on mental health.
Consider the serious critique of the process offered by Allen Frances, M.D., in his book Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt Against Out-Of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life. Dr. Frances was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, and as such has an insider’s viewpoint on the whole process. The bottom line for him is that the DSM-5 not only does not improve on what we had before, it makes matters worse, primarily by introducing new disorders and making decisions about diagnostic criteria without sufficient evidence or grounding. The bigger point is that the diagnostic approach is losing the ability to discriminate behaviors that are part of the normal spectrum (and reflective of normative variation) and those that are truly problematic for individuals and deserving of diagnosis as a way of guiding treatment.
So what do we make of all this? I have two reactions.
I’m not all that concerned about the NIMH part of this. The reality is that researchers frequently look at “psychiatric disorders” in a number of ways – and not by following whatever clinical system is in place. That’s the point of research – to come up with something better. The problem, though, is that while there has been a lot of research that impacts our understanding of the various disorders, it has not yielded a radically different way of defining them clinically. It’s the goal, but it’s far from the reality.
That’s where “Saving Normal” comes into play. It’s hard to see that substantial progress was made at the research end to justify a whole new system. The choices made in DSM-5 are bringing more uncertainty to an already uncertain process. Let’s look at kids briefly. What’s especially troubling is that some kids who need treatment may no longer meet criteria for a disorder (like the estimated 10% reduction rate in diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder) – whereas others who exhibit potentially age-appropriate typical behaviors (like tantrum tantrums) may be diagnosed with the rather shaky Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder.
So where are we at? Diagnoses need to be made. Kids (and adults of course) need treatment. A diagnostic system for psychiatric disorders is going to be very fuzzy at best. Wouldn’t the best approach be to introduce changes for a given disorder when the evidence suggests it is the time to do so – rather than arbitrarily replace one system with another at a designated time in the future? In this day and age, wouldn’t that be feasible?Add a Comment
Tags: Allen Frances, autism spectrum disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, DSM 5, Health, Kids Heath, NIMH, Saving Normal | Categories: Behavior, Health, Must Read, Parenting, Red-Hot Parenting, Stories
The biggest controversies that arise in diagnostic systems – like DSM-5 – come about when a previous diagnosis category is eliminated (as is the case with Asperger’s Disorder) or a new one is introduced. Such is the case with the new disorder Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). Part of the rationale for including it was to prevent inappropriate use of a diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder. But that’s not a strong enough rationale to introduce a whole new diagnosis. So … should it be in the DSM-5?
The answer is no. Here’s why.
The idea of the DSM is to represent not just current clinical thinking but sufficient evidence to support a diagnostic category. This process is already murky because DSM-5 operates by defining a disorder as a collection of symptoms. While this is necessary when known causes – and gold standard methods for identifying a disorder – are not available, we typically rely on a number of carefully designed studies that support diagnostic criteria. Simply put, that is what is lacking right now with respect to DMDD.
We are just starting see research studies that evaluate the utility of the diagnosis of DMDD. At best, they highlight the complexities involved in sorting through whether or not DMDD offers unique insight into the developmental profile of a specific subset of children who could profit from intervention.
And that’s the point. This research is important and will continue. But until it yields more clear guidelines – which will take some time – it’s just not time to include it in DSM-5. There is concern that kids with extreme temperamental traits – like those who are prone to tantrums – will get inappropriately labeled. It may be that many kids who will get the DMDD diagnosis can be better captured by other disorders with similar symptom profiles (like oppositional defiant disorder). Until we have better trials to evaluate these issues DMDD should not be in the manual. That’s how clinical science is supposed to work.Add a Comment