Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ghosts in our Closets

As we enter the time of year when the days get shorter and nights get longer one of the traditions that many of us share in the United States is Halloween. Ghosts, goblins, witches (and now zombies) are part of the ambience and excitement of the tradition. This is the night when goblins roam the streets, we go out to look for scary things and explore “haunted” places as part of the ritual. We dress up, look fearful things in the eye and make it fun. (Yes, candy is part of the routine too.)

The following day we figure out how to deal with children who’ve over indulged on sweet things and put the costumes, the pumpkins, witches and ghosts back in the closet. At least the ones we can see. Many of us however have closets that are pretty full with different kinds of ghosts. We are haunted – not just on Halloween by challenging experiences from our own childhood. Continue reading

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Posted in Feelings and emotions, Mistakes yours and theirs, Self-care, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Bullying and Our Culture

Adults sometimes use power to change someone’s behavior by humiliating them or scaring them. There is an implicit assumption that the person is not already doing the best they can at the moment, that somehow they don’t care and that fear and shame will be helpful motivators. This is craziness. We know from brain science that when we are threatened our ability to learn new things shuts down. Athletes and talented technology workers are there because they want to be there. They dream of being on the “A” team, and are working hard to improve performance. Is the bullying really helping?

And, as a culture we buy into this. There is little public outrage at the very public bullying we (and our children) see on television. What are our children learning? Continue reading

Posted in Growing Responsibility, Mutual Respect, Self regulation | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Creating Protection from Shame

It turns out that how you interpret the mistakes you make is a very big deal. When we make a mistake and see it as that, just a mistake, we may feel guilt – but mostly we can talk about it and fix that mistake. On the other hand, if we have an inner voice that implies that we are the mistake, that somehow we are defective or bad (I’m so stupid, I’m a bad kid/parent, I can never get it right, etc.) we feel a sense of shame: that almost unspeakable icky sticky feeling. Continue reading

Posted in Connection and love, Feelings and emotions, Mistakes yours and theirs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment