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Preserving Our Childs Innocence, Restoring Our Own Innocence
by Genevieve Simperingham



Editor's Note: Genevieve reminds us to be aware of our words and most importantly guard against shaming our children. Through dealing with our own pasts and recognizing where we might have experienced shame we can heal those aspects within ourselves and prevent the recurrence in our own children's lives.


Every child deserves to not feel shamed by their parents. If your child feels free to show you their true feelings, if shaming inadvertently happens, they will show you their pain and you can restore their dignity by owning and repairing what has happened.

Alice Miller wrote: “As a therapist I know that we can free ourselves from inherited patterns if we can find someone to believe us and stand by us, someone who instead of moralizing wants to help us live with the truth.” To be this person for our child, we need to find at least one such person in our lives.

Did you as a child experience shaming? What form did it tend to take? Were you sometimes on the receiving end of ridicule, sarcasm, mocking, comparing with a sibling or other children, moralized “you should know better”?

Were you betrayed when you shared something personal, did your parent(s) talk about you to others in a way that made you squirm or talk down to you in front of others in a way that felt humiliating, were you openly belittled, were there adult jokes at your expense?

Did you experience sexualized looks, comments, insinuations or touch that made you feel confused and shamed, that caused you to carry secrets that no child should ever have to carry?

Did an adult touch you roughly, maybe grab your arm gruffly, pull your hair, pinch you, tickle you, hit you or even hit you on the buttocks or the back of the thighs – why oh why oh why do parents do this and how oh how can they not see what a complete and utter invasion of the child’s bodily boundaries and integrity it is, as tragic it is that children ever get hit, to be physically violated in such a private part of their body so close to the genitals has a devestating effect that will take an adult a lot of work to undo.

How has shaming affected you as a child and as an adult? How did it affect your sense of yourself, your relationship with yourself, your freedom and innocence as a child and teen?

A lot of shaming of children happens all around us all the time that I can see is so unconscious on the part of the adults. Much of it happens in the name of humour, often humour between adults either at a child’s expense or that exposes children to confusing adult themes that can erode their right to innocence.

Adults shaming their child or shaming another in front of their child of course gives ample permission to children to treat each other disrespectfully. Exploring how you felt as a child can help to resolve and cleanse shame from your system while shining light on how shaming negatively impacts children in general. ~ Genevieve



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About the Author
Among other things, Genevieve is a Certified Aware Parenting instructor, having trained with Dr. Aletha Solter PhD, psychologist and author of four ground breaking parenting books. Dr.Solter is the founder of the Aware Parenting Institute, who have over 65 instructors in over 15 countries, Genevieve being the only one in New Zealand. Genevieve is also a Heart to Heart Parenting Facilitator, trained by Robin Grille to teach his Heart to Heart parenting program. Robin Grille  is a psychologist and psychotherapist based in Sydney, Australia and is the author of "Parenting for a Peaceful World" and "Heart to Heart Parenting" Genevieve is also a Beyond Consequences Instructor, sharing the work of Heather Forbes, psychologist, author and founder of Beyond Consequences Institute, whose books are particularly supportive to parents whose children exhibit extreme behavioural difficulties relating to a trauma history.
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