I was in a restaurant and heard a child fussing. This was nothing new or out of the ordinary. But, when I hear a child fussing, I always perk up to hear how the parent(s) handle it. The picked one of my least favorite routes to take. She went the route of calling the child, “Bad Boy!”
I always cringe when I hear a child called “Bad Boy.” My question is this: Is the child a bad child or is the behavior bad? Is the child a nice boy who made a bad decision? I am in no way suggesting that we condone the actions and tell the child that they are behaving well when the opposite is true. However, I am also not a fan of speaking that reality onto a child. The more I tell my child that they are bad, the more they are going to begin believing it. Then, from that foundation of “I am a bad child,” my child will begin to live. This will lead to and justify a world of bad decisions.
Is it possible to discipline and go after the behavior rather than the individual? I try to say things like…
“We don’t act like that.” ”You’re a good boy but that was not a nice thing to do.” “Why would you do that? That’s not like you?”
I want my child to think, “I am a good boy, I should act good.” Also, I had a friend say it in this way: “Too many times parents are speaking curses on to their child with the labels they give them.” That’s scary.
What do you think? What kind of things do you say to your child?