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Why I never use the phrase "Shame on you!"

Using shame is an authoritative cop out. It’s a power-over attempt to be punitive. The goal is to induce guilt which can change future behavior. 

And it’s delivered with contempt. That hideous, self-righteous expression — nose squinched in, pulling the upper lip up and barring your teeth. 

But guilt and shame are different animals. Shame tends to shut people down and shut others out. Guilt may help a person feel contrite, and because of true remorse, take different future actions. 

The problem is that attempts to induce shame or guilt are both on the punitive end of the influence spectrum.

And punishment generally doesn’t teach people to think like you or care about what you care about. It puts them in survival mode.

Yes, it might have gotten the compliance from children that parents sought. (At a grave price—disrespect for the one in authority, and later,  often, oneself.) 

It can prompt people to dig in their heels. Think of...

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