“The children who need love the most will always ask for it in the most unloving ways” so stop shaming them!

“The children who need love the most will always ask for it in the most unloving ways” so stop shaming them! 150 150 Jane Evans


For parenting it will take time but….

It is not reasonable to expect parents to be up to date and using the vast body of neuroscience, interpersonal neurobiology, neurophysiology, or even attachment theory to raise children. Even though this information has been around for well over 20 years now and is robustly proven, it is still not mainstream in terms of parenting, despite my best efforts, and those of so many others. It will be, but not yet!

What I find, shocking, unacceptable and morally wrong is the number of professionals who have real influence in the daily lives of our children and young people, who are paid to know and do better for, and with them, yet are still NOT well-versed in this easily accessible neuroscience. They should and could be so they can disseminate it to their staff for their benefit, and more importantly, the children’s. Instead, far too many of the leaders in education who can change things in an informed and effective way, just cling on to old science and out-dated ways of educating and caring for children.

Take Richard Tutt who operates a well-established reward and consequence based system at the Academy he runs.

“The principal of a Dorset academy which is planning to require poorly behaved pupils to apologise to classmates in assembly has defended the policy.

Richard Tutt, head of Magna Academy in Poole, told the BBC the technique would only be used in cases where pupils are on the verge of permanent exclusion.”

When did shaming our most vulnerable children become the way forward?

Of course shaming started many, many years ago and was rife with children being hit, verbally berated and made to stand in the corner with the dunce cap on. However, what Richard Tutt has in place for the youngsters who struggle the most at his academy, is as bad and will leave a painful legacy.

If they are ‘repeat offenders’ they will have to stand in front of their peers, and the adults they rely on to support them and experience deep shame. Then to compound this, and to increase stress and conflict at home, their young people’s parents, or carers, (ignoring the fact that a child who has a foster carer, or a kinship carer will almost always be one for whom life has been one of loss and abuse), will have to sit with them in class and be with them at break time. I could rant so long and hard about the sheer idiocy of this but I will spare you that.

“It is to deal with repeat offenders who have received fixed term exclusions. The type of behaviour being punished might include being in complete defiance of a teacher or physical violence.”

Basic needs for EVERY child

Every child and young person deserves a few simple things from all of the adults in their lives, especially those who earn their living because of them!


  • Safety emotional & physical
  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Respect
  • Patience
  • Time
  • Forgiveness
  • Opportunities to make mistakes
  • Opportunities to learn safely
  • Unconditional acceptance of all of them

Within these BASICS there is NO room for shaming, humiliation, stupid reward systems or exclusions.

Become educated if you are educating our children

As the Head of any Academy, Tutt should feel an obligation to be fully educated in the up to date research and STOP using antiquated, ineffective, ‘behaviourist’, behaviour management policies and strategies.

If you are a leader and an influential figure in the daily lives of children, then for goodness sake, step up and read books such as,

  • The social neuroscience of education by Louis Cozolino
  • Inside I’m hurting by Louise Bomber
  • Attachment and common sense in doodles by Miriam Silver

Then, connect to your deepest empathy and compassion and stop miss using your power and behaving in such irresponsible and reprehensible ways, and that’s the polite, non-ranty version!


If that’s too much, then maybe he could simply watch this clip of the very real, and ridiculously inspirational Godwin Higa a Principal from a school in San Diego full of children with the most complex needs. Our children and our World need more Godwin Higa’s or nothing will change.



Jane Evans

Jane is a ‘learn the hard way’ person. She has learnt from her personal experiences and her direct work with people who have often been in really bad places emotionally, relationally, practically and sometimes professionally.

All stories by: Jane Evans
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