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SHAME is a Killer.

The root of low self-esteem and low self-confidence in teens is often shame.

Here are 6 key tools to get rid of shame and set your teen free:

1. Teach them the difference between guilt and shame.

Guilt is a feeling of remorse about doing something wrong ie stealing money. It can be positive in that it can lead to making amends for a bad decision.

Shame is a crippling feeling about how we appear to ourselves and to others. The cause can be critical comments, pornography, feeling unworthy etc.

2. Choose words carefully that differentiate between your teen and their behaviour. Always LOVE the individual and honour who they are but isolate their words or actions when discussing behaviour. Never use phrases such as "you should be ashamed of yourself". No one should carry shame.

3. Allow your child to develop in an environment of honest communication where feelings are discussed. Shame is reduced through role modelling healthy psychological development where teens can develop a positive sense of self.

4. Discuss the fact that negative comments from others are often rooted in jealousy or bitterness, and allow them to separate their words from the truth of who they actually are.

5. Positive affirmation from parents and siblings reinforces positive identity and is powerful in eliminating a root of shame.

6. Be open and honest in discussing that no one need carry shame. If it is caused by something they are doing that they perceive to be wrong (stealing, porn, lying etc) then re empower them by discussing the choices they have. If it is caused by the words of others teach them how to change their thought patterns around those words, which in turn will change their feelings.

Sue O'Callaghan

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