Is Shame Based Punishment Effective?

Taken from my segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook


Is publicly shaming our children an effective way to bring a positive change when they’ve made serious mistakes?

Experts and this real mom say no.

Kids need to be able to trust that their parents will watch out not only for their physical well- being but also care for their emotional health. Our job is to provide loving guidance not humiliation that demeans our children.

It’s ok that our kids feel guilt over their bad decisions, guilt drives us to change. Guilt says: you did something wrong, but shame says: you ARE something wrong.

Shame based punishment teaches kids to devalue themselves and their worth.

Publicly humiliating a child is so destructive because most of the time, the world doesn’t let us have the mercy and grace we need to move on from our mistakes.

Shaming our kids destroys their self-esteem and studies have proven that children with a healthy self-esteem will:

  • Have a larger network of friends
  • Have courage to face difficult situations and
  • Have the self-confidence needed to step up to the challenges of stepping out as a leader.

Shame-based punishments may work in the short term, but in the long term, it can be a vicious cycle.

My heart goes out to the parent whose child is constantly making really bad decisions, it can feel quite helpless and I’m sure the signs only come out after buckets of tears and helpless feelings.

But I still believe that there is a better way than public humiliation.

How often has humiliation provoked you to positive change?
Does throwing your dirty laundry in the face of all your friends at work or church compel you to want to do better or make you feel like shrinking back and isolating yourself?

What does a bully do? He/she humiliates. By using humiliation as punishment, parents resemble a school yard bully. Though I know this would never be their intention.

Sometimes I think that publicly shaming our child is less about them and more about us. It could be that a parent wants to deal with their own embarrassment of their child’s behavior and they think that this kind of public display will show the world that they are a good parent.

Street corners are not the only place for this kind of shame, Facebook is the new street corner so we also need to be careful that our Facebook posts are not embarrassing our kids.

But what does a parent do when faced with a child that refuses to listen?
Each situation is different but I encourage you to get to the root of the WHY they are doing it. See if you can find a way to address the heart of the issue.

And consider how you can discipline instead of punish them. Discipline comes from the word disciple and is done with the intent of moving forward in a positive way it encourages growth in someone. Punishment is always based on the past and not on a positive future.

As a Christian I look to Christ, He never humiliates or shames us, in fact He took our shame and punishment. However, He does discipline us.
Jesus showed us over and over that grace was more effective than scorn and punishment.

And in the Old Testament:

For further information on the dangers of shame I encourage you to check out Brene’ Brown’s website, videos and books.

If you missed this segment, listen here: Real Moms: Shame based punishment

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

New Year’s Resolutions for Mom

Taken from the Star 105.7 Real Moms of West Michigan segment:

Photo by

Photo by

It’s a new year and I know that many moms have made the traditional New Year’s resolutions to eat better, lose weight, quit the bad habits and all that, but NOW it’s time for the Mom resolutions.

I have 3 mom resolutions that I think we all should commit to:

  1. Say yes more. Say ‘yes’ more to playing with your kids. I know what a challenge this can be with a busy life, but next time the word “no” rolls of your tongue, consider if you can say yes. Especially if it is to an activity that gives you time with your kids.
  2. The 2nd mom resolution is: be kind to yourself. Moms can be hard on themselves, let’s resolve to give ourselves a break  this year.
    No more unrealistic expectations allowed. You can’t be at both your kids games at the same time so be all in at the one you can make it to.
  3. Third and most important. Let’s resolve to remember that our kids are a gift. In light of the tragedies like Sandy Hook where so many parents no longer have the privilege of being frustrated when their kids argue with each other, they’ll never again have the honor of embarrassment as their child throwing a tantrum in the store and won’t get to feel the irritation of a teenager slamming a door.


Mom stuff is hard, raising kids is a challenge to say the least but let’s remember that they are a gift and thank God that they are still there to tuck in every night.

And most importantly, have a stash of chocolate hidden somewhere in the house that you can dip into when you need it! When all else fails, real moms know to administer chocolate.

If you missed this segment, listen here: New Years Resolutions for Moms

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Christmas Gift Ideas

Taken from my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7

I know that you are so organized and probably have all your shopping done, right? OH wait this is the REAL moms segment…and if they are anything like me…they are still a few minutes away from having it all wrapped and under the tree!

My tip to get ready for Christmas is: personalized gifts!

It’s the perfect time to order those personalized gifts for Christmas.

  • Picture frames, mouse pads, mugs, water bottles.
  • Calendars…make a personalized calendar for the Grandparents filled with last years pics of the kids.
  • Personalized gifts for teachers…now is a great time to order them!
  • Personalized throw blankets for Grandmas.
  • For the kids you could get: personalized sleeping bags, duffle bags, toys, water bottles, an apron for Mommy’s little helper in the kitchen.

You can pick some great personalized gifts (including the ones shown) here at Lillian Vernon:

Free Shipping on $40+ at with promo code 58ECO211 until 11/30/12. Shop for personalized Holiday Gifts & Décor, kids toys, kitchen, office organization and more - personalization is always FREE. - 125 x 125

Affliliate link

And to help you organize all of your gift giving this year I found you a great app!

It’s called Santa’s Bag…

It helps you track everyone on your Christmas List, allow you to budget individually, set gift ideas, and then track when gifts are purchased, if they’ve been wrapped, and how close you are to meeting budget. It’s really an amazing app.

And one other thing you can do right now is start your homemade vanilla with Tommy and Brook’s recipe. I made this a couple years ago and it it amazing! The longer the shelf life the better it is, grab the vanilla beans and vodka and get gifting!

Homemade Vanilla

What is your favorite ‘prepare ahead of time’ kind of gift?


You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

Best Apps for Moms And A Trip To the Studios

I couldn’t wait to get up to Grand Rapids for Artprize, it’s the largest art competition in the world and it’s only a half hour from my house. I live in the country now but I’m from Grand Rapids so I love getting back to the city! Denise and I took it as a great opportunity to have coffee at Schuler’s book store and then enjoy lunch at Cinco de Mayo on the Monroe Mall.

We stopped in to the studio to do my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook @TommyAndBrook. These guys are the best and I always have a good time when I get to hang out with them!


And while we were up there we popped into Wood TV8 to see some Twitter friends Matt Kirkwood @MatthewKirkwood, Emily Linnert @EmilyLinnert, Terri DeBoer @TerriDeBoer and Brett Thomas @daybrett (but he was chatting and missed the picture).
I love their temporary Artprize studio in the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum), it feels like you’re at the Today Show with people standing outside the window waving during the broadcasts.

Ok, and now you need to see what Terri really wears for shoes around the studio:

If you live in the Midwest and you’ve never been to Artprize, I highly encourage you to visit next fall!

OK, so on to the Real Moms segment…

I shared some must have apps for cool moms. Oh yes, the REAL moms ARE the cool moms!

Grocery Gadget Shopping List
Cost: free to $3.99

It creates multiple shopping lists for different stores, matches coupons to shopping items and lets you compare item prices across stores. You can even sync it with other family members in case one of them makes it to the store before you do.

Cost: free to $1.99

It scans the barcode of an item and lists the prices of the product online and at local vendors. This is awesome when searching for anything from peanut butter to appliances. Compare prices in your area!

Our Everyday Lunch

An entire week’s worth of menu options, with each day showing a new recipe, so you’ll never be out of ideas for what to pack yourself for lunch. Plus, the shopping list generator helps you plan ahead.

Cost: $2.99

Mom Maps helps you find family fun places, kid friendly locations on the go! Restarants, museums, playgrounds this app will let you know where the kids are welcome.


And I especially love this one:

Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association
Cost: $1.99

– Includes the latest up-to-date emergency information from the American Heart Association.

– Review first aid procedures anytime, anywhere. From your home, to your car, to the wilderness.

– Easy to learn, easy to use, right there when you need it.

– Manage your first aid kit checklist, to be sure you have what you need in an emergency.

– Save your medical information for quick retrieval. Look up your doctor or emergency contacts with a single click.

– Store your insurance information for easy access.


I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

I Prefer Nice People

I like nice people. They’re easy to get along with; they don’t stomp on your feelings by calling you a bad mom. They don’t eat your sandwich at the office or talk to your coworkers behind your back. They don’t tell you that you look nice on Sunday morning and then inform everyone in your Bible study that you dress like their Grandma.

Nice people are nice.

But then there are those others in life, there’s one in every office, family and small group. They are not nice. They hurt out feelings on a regular basis and make life miserable every five minutes they are around us. They get under our skin with condescending remarks about everything from the project we’re working on to the style of our hair. We don’t like them; we want them to go away. We wish they would move to Bangladesh or on really bad days we’d like them to be stuck in the woods with a pack of angry wolves like in the movie “Grey.” THAT would be awful for them, almost as awful as having to watch the movie, which was 2 hours past terrible. I’m a huge Liam Neeson fan and I still hated the movie.

Sadly, I have to inform you that we won’t have a life filled with nice people. The mean ones are out there and scouting new ways to make us want to curl up with a blanket and a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream while watching reruns of The New Adventures of Old Christine. Which never should have been cancelled but that’s another post.

The moral of this is that mean people are not going away so we may have to put on our big girl pants (unless you are a man, and in which case, please do not do this) and deal with it. You can’t wait for them to be nice to you; it’s not going to happen. Stop blaming them for your bad moods and hang nails. If you need to address a situation, do it. Be all Sally Field in Norma Rae and start a fire, but if your in laws or the lady in the choir are keeping you awake at night, it might be time to stop giving them that much power in your life. Let go of what you can’t control and don’t let their smallness make you small too. You’re better than that! You drive a (insert brand of car, and it really doesn’t matter what it is because cars don’t make us better people, but this is a rant so go with it)!

I can get 100 sweet comments on Facebook, but it’s the one negative one that spins in my mind like a gerbil on a wheel. Over and over until the squeaking makes you scream at your kids because they forgot to empty the dishwasher.

If we’re going to be happy and successful in this life we have to stop letting mean people take away our joy. They do not define us…unless we let them. The choice is ours. When we find our worth and value as a person, from the God who created us, we will not be so quick to forfeit our peace.

Dare to make today different. Dare to believe that you are loved and cherished by God and that He is right there with you. Don’t let feelings dictate your day.

C’mon girls (and guys), we got this!

Wrapping Up the Five Love Languages

Today we wrap up the series of Real Moms segements on the Five Love Languages of Children.

The five basic love languages that the book talks about are:

  1. Physical touch
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Quality time
  4. Gifts
  5. Acts of service

This might help you figure out which love language speaks love to your child the loudest:

  1. First, pay attention to how your kids show you love because our kids are likely to express love the way they want to receive it.
    Are your little ones giving you lots of compliments or saying “I love you” often, this could indicate that they want words of affirmation from you.
  2. And then pay attention to how they are showing others that they care about them.
    Does your child love giving gifts to their teacher or do they like to give toys away to their friends? This might be a clue that they thrive on “receiving gifts.”

The bottom line is that our kids need all 5 of these love languages, but will most likely respond best to one over the others, so that means that as parents we need to be bi-lingual when it comes to the love languages of children.

Real moms really love their kids and we just want to do the best we can at raising them to be healthy adults and this is a great tool to have in our mom belt to do that!

To hear this and the other segments, click on the Star 105.7 tab.
I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Back to School, Simple Tips for Stress Free Mornings!

Do you hear it, the hallelujah chorus ringing out this morning??

Back to school means that moms can once again go to the grocery store without say “No” 38 times and when we clean up the house at 9 AM it will stay that way for at least 5 hours. Straight. Seriously, for 5 hours in a row, you won’t have to pick up anything that mysteriously appeared on the floor or find any dishes that you didn’t use piled in the sink.

Back to school also means back to crazy busy mornings, can you relate?

The biggest key to a stress free morning is found in one word: planning.

Three tips for a stress free morning:

  1. Bedtime…be consistent as possible. Plan ahead all the little things that need to happen to get them in that bed at a reasonable time.
  2. Set out clothes, backpack and shoes the night before. Shoes have this magical way about them, they disappear when the lights go out, so make sure you know where they are before you go to bed.
  3. Plan ahead for breakfasts and keep it simple.  Give them something that gives them a good start to their day, a whole grain or protein…the teachers would greatly appreciate it if we cut back on sugar in the morning.

A few simple things that can make the world of difference if we do them.

Of course this does nothing for the mornings when the dog gets sick or you spill your coffee all over yourself and the kitchen. Not that any of that has ever happened in my fairy tale life. Oh wait, this is the REAL Moms of West Michigan…yes, that has totally happened to me.

I hope you and your child have a spectacular school year this year!

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Tips for Teaching Our Kids Honesty

I’m not talking about those times when our little ones asked someone in their 60’s if they have a baby in their tummy. Not good. This is not the honesty we’re going for, that’s a whole separate issue.

I’m talking about teaching our kids not to lie.

Lying in our home has always been one of the most serious offenses our kids could commit because it’s something that- when a child becomes accustomed to lying about things, they become known as a liar and if people don’t trust you…it affects all your relationships.

So, we really want our kids to learn to be honest at a young age.

A couple tips to help our kids do that are:

1. Reward honesty-I think this is huge! Reward those times when they tell the truth- when a lie seems much easier and without negative consequences.  Praise them, applaud that behavior!

2. Grab those teachable moments…seeing someone lie on TV or if a friend lies to them…use these moments to talk about how lying hurts others and causes people not to trust us.  Talk about how they could have responded differently. If they have a friend that lies often, you might want to limit their exposure to them if possible. Sadly, we tend to become like those who we surround ourselves with.

3. Little eyes are watching us. Lead by example. If they see you fudging the truth, so will they. When we go back in the store and pay because the cashier missed that water under our cart, our kids are learning to be honest- even when it would be easy to get away with it.

Moms, let’s help our kiddos learn honesty!
Click the “Star 105.7” tab above to hear today’s segment.

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Thank You to Lauren’s Birthmom

I don’t know your name or what you look like. I imagine that you saw the tiny disformed face of your new child and it brought you to tears. You opened her pink lips and saw that the cleft was also inside the roof of her mouth. You may have feared this with every tiny flutter those months you anticipated seeing your precious baby. You knew the immense cost and care that would be needed, and understood that the only hope for a good life would be in the hands of someone else. Perhaps an American would lovingly care for this daughter that your country would punish you for birthing.

I imagine that held her tight as you carried her quietly in the night and gently laid her on the steps of the very busy Buddhist Temple knowing someone would soon open the doors and find her. You kissed her one last time and your heart broke as you slipped away from that tiny piece of yourself.

She was found “red and crying” by the monks. Still very much in need of a mother.

I thank you sweet woman for giving life to the little girl of my dreams. I kiss her everyday for you.

I tell her that you left her where you believed god would help her and God made sure that she found her forever home in our family, learning that she was created by Him, on purpose.

I will probably never see you in this lifetime but please know that you did the right thing, that she is safe and loved and that all her needs are met. She turned 8 years old today.

I can’t hug you, so I hug her.


Thank you.

Preventing the Summer Slide

I talked to a friend who’s a teacher and asked her what she would say to moms this summer and without a second’s hesitation she said: “READ! Keep those kids reading through the summer!”
Ugh! Why couldn’t she say: “The beach! Get those kids to the beach this summer!”
Or, “the ice cream shop or the mall! Those kids need more dessert!”
I had grand intentions to be in the library every week this summer picking out new books for my daughter but my big confession is that I’ve only been there once this summer.
So, I am talking to myself and maybe a couple other moms out there and committing to take some time to get her reading this summer and avoid what teachers call the “summer slide.”
• Get caught reading! Let them see you reading.
• Have lots of books or kids magazines available for easy to pick up reading.
• Get series of books to keep them interested.

Here is a link to some great age appropriate book suggestions too!

And then, call me and we’ll go to the beach and eat ice cream!

Click the “Star 105.7” tab above to hear today’s segment.

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

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