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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201522 Find in a Library
Title: Shame and the Adolescent
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:65  Issue:4  Dated:July 2003  Pages:98,100
Author(s): Clare Ten Eyck
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 2
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses shame as part of communication that gives the message of devaluing an adolescent.
Abstract: Children that are not seen as valuable or that are given devaluing messages will likely have self-esteem issues. They may have difficulty measuring their worth from within and live in a world of comparisons. Control issues are common for youths with little sense of their value. Any criticism unsettles them and makes them feel powerless. Neglect, and physical or sexual abuse of a child always carry a message that they are not worth protecting. Youths without protection have boundary issues. Their boundaries seem rigid, allowing no one to get close to them; they might appear to be nonexistent or they might be a combination of the two. Many children are punished for mistakes. The accompanying message is that perfection is achievable. These youths will struggle with perfection, which is a distortion of reality. Children are often expected to give up their own needs and wants for the benefit of the adults in their lives. Wants and needs do not go away; when ignored, they surface in other ways. People that have denied their wants and needs may look very needy and dependent, or they may have a veneer of independence that displays no want or need, but only covers up their neediness. When children are emotionally abused and shamed, they have roadblocks to a healthy sense of self. Much of the acting out seen in incarcerated youths has its roots in the confusion of their identity by shame. Staff must find ways to communicate to youths that they are valuable, they deserve protection, their mistakes are part of their humanity, their wants and needs are worthy of help, and the child within them is a precious part of who they are.
Main Term(s): Child development; Child emotional abuse and neglect
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Emotional Abuse/Harm; Emotional disorders; Juvenile self concept; Psychological victimization effects; Youth development
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