Forcing a Child to Feel Shame
I was changing my son’s diapers and enjoying the process
of connecting with him with affection and care.
I had already finished cleaning him when my mother in law,
who was visiting, noticed he was touching his genitals.
She yelled at him: “Shame, shame!” and quickly dragged his
little hands away from this “shameful place”.
Immediately she covered the area, safeguarding it
from more “shameful” touching.
I asked her why she did that. With a look of disbelief
on her face, she provided me with an explanation that
she thought should be obvious:
“I didn’t want him to get used to touching himself
‘down there’. It’s not right. It’s sinful.”
For her, sex was dirty, and rather than experiencing it as
pleasurable, it had to be “done” to pleasure her husband.
She was big on fulfilling her marital “duty”.
She, like many other adults, has never asked herself why
we were born with genitals. Why would there be parts of
the body that we should avoid touching?
I believe that if the genitals are dirty then they
should be cleaned like any part of the body.
It’s clear that sex is innocent. Innocence is simply
a state of being in which you haven’t been changed
by an outside influence. You are born “innocent”.
Babies aren’t ashamed of any part of their body until
grown-ups project their own shame onto them.
Babies absorb the beliefs and judgments of their caretakers
and take them on as part of their survival mechanism.
A baby instinctively copies her parents, absorbing
their beliefs like a sponge.
A baby doesn’t have the discrimination to choose what is
right or wrong. She then grows up with these limiting
and shameful beliefs programmed. She makes her decisions
about sex based on these unconscious, limiting, and
shame-filled beliefs without even realizing it.
It’s very common to see babies start playing with their genitals
around the five-to-seven-month mark. It means something very
different to them than it does to you.
Babies are driven to touch themselves out of simple curiosity.
They’re such eager learners and explorers at that age. Anything
they can get their hands on is fair game. Including themselves.
Your baby may spend more time on his equipment than on other
places because it feels good. If it makes you squeamish,
provide a distraction.
Hand your child a toy when his clothes are off so he has
something different to focus on. Or else just go with the flow.
Accept that touching themselves is something kids do.
It’s just another way of learning about their bodies.