The Good, The Bad, and the Unclear?!

Moms, grandmoms, Great-grandmoms, just about any mom you can think of asks this question when they see a young child and or baby:Is he/she good?

I mean seriously? What kind of question is that?
When anyone asks me that I truly think about messing with them a little and telling them how awful my child is because he has a small (I mean child size)penis aiming into a LARGE porcelain bowl and he can never hit it….always the outer edges making cleaning a real bitch….how my youngest boy Pickles Magoo is the biggest whiner and Mama’s boy ever….and Little Bitty…..yeah, she is no princess….she is the second biggest whiner in the house and to top things off she beats up her twin….I mean who does that to their twin?

But all of that does not make my children good or bad. My kids are awesome. Do they have moments of bad behavior? Sure. Moments where they forget to use manners, hit, or worse…..forget to brush their teeth. (LOL)

Kids and people are never bad. Bad is a terrible word, the use gives a connotation and an association that suggests that this is a quality or trait of an individual. That by telling your child when they have done something wrong “bad boy” or “bad girl” they lose self-esteem and or self worth. They then feel that they are less because of their actions and choice resulting in actions and consequences.
(I hope I didn’t lose you)

For example, Big G had a problem with hitting when he was a toddler in daycare. I attributed this to the fact he was the largest, the largest eater, and he learned this from other children. I learned to tell him, “No, we do not hit. Hitting is bad” as the proper way to tell my child what he had done wrong at a young age. If I told him “NO! Bad boy” he probably would have been lost as to what the hell I was talking about. Here is the thing, if you are questioning whether or not your child understands…..DO NOT underestimate them. Seriously, for little people they are super smart and they can comprehend a lot more than what we give credit.

No one, in my opinion, is bad. I think even the killers and criminals of the world are not bad people, they have just made bad decisions and they behave badly because no one showed them otherwise or they were not given the right environment or love needed. But I believe they are inherently good people. Maybe because I carry a Rogerian theory of people, but I think that we learn how to behave properly or in a way that is acceptable, ethical, and at best morally sound.

Maybe my years of therapy and self help books (thank you Melody Beattie) have helped me to become a better person and a better mother in the way I discipline and teach my children. Some people are truly unclear on the thought that actions do not make a person, they do not define the very essence of their being, so by telling them they are bad or good because of the good and or bad things they have done sends mixed signals. When I discipline Big G I am always sure to tell him these sentences and they seem to be a HUGE difference in his demeanor:

“Big G, what you did is unacceptable. We do not (*insert bad action) hit our little brother. If you are mad or you want to hit something, go get the stuffed Spongebob and wail on him. Now I need you to take a time out. I love you very much, you are a very good boy, but hitting our little brother is bad, you hurt him.”

And with that, he is upset because I made him take a time out and he understands WHY he is taking a time out and why I am mad. I am mad because he hit his sibling and he knows that I love him, that he is still a good boy, and that we take out our anger on things like a punching bag like Spongebob because that always makes us feel better when we need a release of bad energy.

Some may not agree, which is Okay by me, I am not looking for approval. I just know that no matter what, my kids are GOOD kids ALL the time, not just because they picked up their rooms or helped me set the table for dinner. I tell them all the time what great kids they are for no reason and in return I have happy kids who learn actual right from wrong and good from bad.

Meet the Author

Karie Herring

Karie Herring rambles of a former life in Phoenix, AZ while raising a teen and tween twins in their new home in Orlando, FL. She has been featured in AOL Money & Finance, Betty Confidential and Career School Now. She's a full-time technical writer, functional fitness athlete, overachieving wife and mom. She loves talking about maneuvering motherhood, womanhood, and her passion for essential oils and natural living.

9 comments… add one
  • ModernMom Jun 11, 2009, 2:37 pm

    I COMPLETELY agree with you. I am one of those parents who cringe when I hear others saying bad girl or bad boy. I reserve that kind of talk for the dog! It should never be used to define a child.

  • Stephanie Stearns Dulli Jun 11, 2009, 3:25 pm

    I totally agree!! Bad behaviour doesn't mean a child is bad! They have to learn impulse control and it's our job to nurture them through that. I love how you handled that situation. I give you a Good Mommy pat on the back.

  • TuTu's Bliss Jun 11, 2009, 5:21 pm

    I love the last part the best. I always say "Two Cents is free" and people should never complain about free stuff ;)I think it's great to hear different points of view. Thanks for sharing today. Hugs, Jen

  • Melanie Jun 11, 2009, 5:41 pm

    thanks for stopping by! I definitely think it good to tell a child where he stands. No child wants to feel unloved when they do something wrong. Children mostly aim to please. It's when they grow up that they stop trying to please others as much.

  • Aubrey Jun 11, 2009, 7:53 pm

    Wow! What a wonderful post! I LOVED the last line. SO true!!

  • blueviolet Jun 11, 2009, 10:20 pm

    Hi! I'm following from the MBC followers club!

  • Another Suburban Mom Jun 12, 2009, 12:41 am

    I agree its the behavior and not the kid.

    And heck I still have adults that get cranky when they are hungry.

  • LisaLisa Jun 12, 2009, 1:37 am

    What a wonderful post!

  • Stacie Jun 12, 2009, 4:13 am

    Great Post

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