When we talk about children, these labels are the order of the day, and one of the most common ones is “good” and “bad,” but what exactly is a good or a bad child? Generally speaking, we assume a bad child is one who disobeys, who complains, who is hard to manage. One who doesn’t do as his parents say, who insists on getting what he wants. The one who always pipes up. Who has tantrums. Sometimes we go even further and we include in this group the child who doesn’t eat enough, who doesn’t sleep enough, who insists on sleeping with his parents no matter how much or how little he sleeps. It seems we’re in a situation in which the children who act like children get labeled as bad, and those that act like miniature adults or at least draw less attention to themselves and are more malleable seem “good” to us. So we call “bad” the children who demand more of us, and “good” the ones who are easier to handle. In the end, the good child is the one who doesn’t get on our
nerves. But if we think about it a bit, does it make sense to say children are good or bad?
When we label children, the expectations we have about their conduct influence them. We are offering a deal: understanding and appreciation if our expectations are met, thereby enhancing the child’s self-esteem and conduct, but doing the complete opposite if our expectations aren’t met.