If there is one thing we parents of toddler know, it's that they don't respond to shame techniques. The fact is a 3-year-old who poops in his pants might feel SOME shame when mommy and daddy express disappointment (though mine didn't), but it won't be felt in the same way as a 10-year-old or an adult who did the same thing.
This is why the hoopla over a dad who posted a photo of his daughter on Reddit, shaming her for pooping in the shower, is the ultimate backfire punishment. The sign was a joke, a permission slip for him to use it in her future yearbook. Haha, Dad. Depending on the kid's personality, it could either get a giggle or an eye-roll in 13 years. No harm, right?
Wrong. People were FURIOUS. I know, as a parent, I wouldn't do it. But the joke is really on dummy dad. After all, does a 3-year-old REALLY understand the repercussions of Reddit or of being "publicly shamed"? Let's hope not.
Ask any child therapist and they will tell you the same thing: A 3-year-old doesn't have the cognitive ability to understand public humiliation (after all, look how they dress). She doesn't get the Internet or Reddit or who is seeing it or even what the dad did and how bad and awful it is. She doesn't even know what a high school yearbook photo is. Sure, she may have "signed" it, but the reality is, he will probably just show it to her and have a good laugh. The end.
It's like when my kid told me the other day (she's 5) that she wants to share a room with her brother forever. I explained she probably won't. She didn't believe me. But you and I both know when she is 16, there is NO way she is sharing a room with her baby brother. That's because we are grown-ups. She isn't. She'll get there.
In the end, this whole thing really does nothing to shame the girl. It just shames dear old dad. Clearly he lacks parenting skills and doesn't understand his child or her cognitive ability.
All he has done is make himself look really dumb and created a funny story for when she is 17. Well-played doofus, er, I mean dad.
Do you think this is "abuse"?
Image via PinkMoose/Flickr