It happens in the middle of the grocery store or maybe your first time to a new “mommy and me” group. Your child drops to the ground and begins to wail as you urgently attempt to quell the building storm. You know all eyes are on you, eager to watch your next move. In that moment you aren’t parenting for the child who is having a hard time, you are parenting for every other adult in the room. You’re so focused on how you will be perceived that you completely lose sight of what will actually effectively help your child calm down. Your face burns with shame.
We’ve all been there. There isn’t a parent in the world who hasn’t fallen into the trap of parenting from shame, and most of the time we aren’t even aware it’s happening.
Enter Mercedes Samudio, LCSW. ​
What I’m Reading
I became connected with Mercedes via Twitter sometime last year, and since then I’ve enjoyed following her social media campaign to #endparentshaming. Mercedes is a social worker and parent coach with a message to share, and it’s rooted in her own experience with her family of origin. She’s an accomplished professional with a lot of heart, and her book Shame-Proof Parenting combines her low-key, approachable voice with her wealth of knowledge and experience.
Shame-Proof Parenting won’t give you any gimmicks or quick fixes to the complex problems you might face. However, it will provide you with the hope, tools, and awareness to listen to the small voice within that already knows what to do. Mercedes explores the many avenues shame can come from and strategies to overcome it. Most importantly, she empowers parents to feel confident in their unique parenting style. ​
“…in our haste to save children and keep them safe, we forget to empower and uplift the humans who have been tasked with a child’s well-being” (Page 11).
“I truly believe that it’s the understanding that everyone has human moments when our emotions overwhelm us, and our logical set of coping skills cannot stop these emotions all the time. In those human moments of our child’s behavior, it can [feel] like an affront to who you are and what you stand for as a parent. It’s easy to forget that your child is having a reaction to the situation at hand, just as all humans do. It’s not a calculated plan to undermine your parenting, but rather a human reaction to attempting to get your needs met” (Page 151).
“The heart of effective shame-proof parenting revolves around your relationship with your child and the legwork that you do before the behavior is displayed – legwork that will give you the insight you need to help you and your child work through any issue that arises” (Page 170).
“The whole point of shame-proofing your parenting is not only to protect and give space to your parenting identity, but also to embrace the fact that you are not solely one role. Your parenting is important. Your role in raising another human is important. But so are all the other pieces of your identity that coalesce to help develop and create your parenting identity” (Page 175). ​
- More than our hearts or intuition, for many of us shame drives our parenting decisions.
- No parent is perfect, but imperfect parents can learn to make decisions based on what is best for their families without the burden of shame.
- We are the best parents for our children. ​