Why is my child not being good?
Did you know that one of the most damaging things you can say to your child is asking them, “Were you good today?”
The terminology you use when talking to your children is extremely important. Did you know that between the age of 4-5 years old, children have an average vocabulary of 1500-2500 words? That might seem like a lot at first, but now think of a time when your child said something funny such as, “I not goofy daddy, I just a toddler.” We’ve all heard something like that right? Then, think of a time when your child might have said something that broke your heart, like, “You’re mean, you’re not my best fend anymore.” In both of those examples, the child is communicating their feelings in the best way that they know how.
I can’t tell you how many times I have caught myself hearing my child saying those exact phrases. I have a 3-year-old son, Noah, and at his age, everything is literal. One of my favorite times that I have with Noah is when we were walking through the grocery store and he had already said something that made me laugh, so I asked him, “Noah, are you being goofy?” I started cracking’ up and then I got him to say it about a hundred more times as any parent does because he took what I was saying, to be literally, are you the Disney character “goofy?”
I realized then, and I continue to realize that, at a young age, children are very literal when trying to understand what you are talking about.
Now, do you say things like, “were you a good boy at school today?” Do you hear in the back of your mind that time you told your child, “you are being so bad right now, why can’t you behave?” It is this terminology that really makes an impact with your child and how they perceive themselves and the world around them. As a parent, you have the ability to set your child up for success, or failure, to teach your child that they are “good” or “bad.” Change the way you talk to your children, the terminology that you use with them, and then watch as you and your child form a stronger “Relationship.”
John Lawson, MSW, LCSW is a Registered Play Therapist and the owner of Atlas Child Counseling. They have openings for children with Anxiety, Anger and Depression. For more information about counseling for you and your child, contact them online at AtlasChildCounseling.com