Since my son was born people have remarked on how “good” he is, and I even find myself doing the same, he was a regular sleeper, cheerful, sociable, happy to be passed from person to person, would sleep on anyone, anywhere and was happy to be put down in his own space to sleep from a young age, as he’s got older he’s quite a calm and quiet child, would much rather sit and read a book than run and scream, and he’ll happily sit at table in a cafe with a colouring book. His behaviour and personality is everything that people believe to be “good”, an echo of this victorian seen and not heard ideal for compliant, quiet, and malleable children that will fit into our societies closed spectrum of “acceptable” behaviour. Children are not born to be naturally manipulative
The truth is that the vast majority of children are not like that, and so what? Why does my son get to have the “good label” and others are “naughty” or “bad”? This leaves very little room for the natural spectrum of normal childhood behaviours. Its about time we reassessed what we label as good and bad behaviour, by placing these narrow boundaries upon what our children should or shouldn’t do, we simply create more space for children to be labelled as deviant.
Children have the right to express themselves, and before they are adults this may be in any way they see fit. We constantly told that we have to deal with your child’s behaviour, that it’s a problem, it is not a problem it is an expression of how they are feeling and that needs to be thoroughly acknowledged. Children are often less able to communicate there feelings, just Imagine having great difficulty being heard, and instead of someone listening they place you on a “naughty” step, or deprive you of your favourite toy, this is not an effective way to tackle a child’s behaviour, the most helpful and productive thing for others, parents to do is to listen, listen wholeheartedly and understand that what may appear trivial to our adult minds, to a child, it’s their whole world, growing learning and adapting to this world is tough, many adults fail miserably yet we expect the youngest members of our society to just do it, no questions asked.
“Good” behaviour should not be rewarded directly and “Bad” behaviour should not be punished. Instead, lets listen to what they are saying, and if they are unable to communicate why they are feeling the way they are then they are certainly too young to be held accountable for their actions. Placing a toddler on a naughty step before they are truly able to understand what they have done wrong. We should try and understand why they are behaving the way they are, without judgement, without labelling the behaviour, and without jumping to conclusions.
My child isn’t good, he isn’t bad, his behaviour is exactly that of an individual, he is 3, he will feel big things, get upset about situations outside of his control, needs holding to sleep, and sometimes he will not be able to cope with very ordinary situations, this is very normal, and totally okay.