Measure of worth

So my psychologist brain has been at work lately. I'm getting tired of people telling my child he's a "good boy".

First let's discuss the fact that he cannot be good or bad at this age. He's a baby. He does not have cognitive reasoning to do things because they are good or bad. He does things because he's a baby and he needs things. He does things because he's exploring and discovering his world and stimulating his brain for learning and further development. So, if he drops a spoon on the floor it's not because he's bad, or because he's trying to do bad things; it's because he wants to see what happens when he exercises those hand muscles and the noise the spoon makes on the floor.

Second, stating a child is 'good' or 'bad' does is not specific enough. The whole child cannot be entirely good nor entirely bad. A good person sometimes does 'bad' things, and likewise a bad person can be known to do 'good' things. And there's the fact that good and bad are entirely objective upon the person projecting those words. What one thinks of as good, may be bad or distasteful to another. One should specify which actions, or behaviors, they are deeming 'good' or 'bad'.

Third, the psychologist in me says like/dislike the actions, which are independent from the child. His self worth should not be whether he's deemed 'good' or 'bad' but in his achievements and accomplishments. Stating a child is bad or good gives them a false sense of who they are. If you tell one child he is bad, even if you mean one action is bad (this goes for saying "you're naughty" all the time too) the child will look at himself as bad and probably not try to be good since he is already been dubbed bad, therefore thinking all his actions are bad also.

Children obey and disobey at times, they explore and sometimes in that are found to do 'bad' things, mostly because they don't know they're not to do those things. It's a learning continuum, but children are not inherently evil. Nor is a 'good' child a perfect angel for life. I prefer to state that I do not like x behavior, or society does not accept x behavior, therefore we are not to do it, rather than tell my child he is bad. Same goes for good behaviors. State which behavior you like "you're sharing well" or whatever it is, so the child is not full of himself and afraid to fail or thinks it is wrong to fail at times.

Anyways that's my two cents worth of the psychology of child-rearing, of which I have only just begun...


Oy Vay said...

OK, time to get a job. Way too much time analyzing nonsense.

The New Mrs. Rue said...

I agree! It's so important that we seperate the actions whether they be "good" or "bad" from who they are as an individual! Way to go! =)

Rachel said...

My MIL always tells Noah he's a good boy. And I always have th same thought you do. I always address Noah's actions when it comes to discipline. Overall, I'm constantly telling him how I see him as a whole to build his whole self up, not just "good" (like you're very smart, very sweet, very funny, etc) He lights up when I start doing this. I can already tell how much affirmation affects him!