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8/28/13

Why I Won't Be Saying 'Good Boy'

The most common words out of my mouth when I'm speaking to Emmett everyday are easily, You are such a good boy!!  Of course that comes in right after, How are you so cute?!  And just before, Oh buddy, did you have to puke all over me right now?!

But seriously. . . the more that I think about the words I'm actually saying, Emmett, you are such a good boy; the more I realize how far that is from the message I truly want to get across.

I don't want our kids to behave just so they get approval from us.  As Emmett grows and we make stabs in the dark at this tricky thing called parenting, I have a quiet hope inside that he will come to realize that his acceptance has more to do with him being our son that we are crazy about; and less to do with the way he performs in that role.  Not only do I hope to show this with my actions, but also with the words I chose to say.

Instead of the blanket approval statement,
Emmett, you are such a good boy;

Why not,
Emmett, thanks for being so patience in church.
Emmett, you were so helpful in the store.
Emmett, you loved your friends really well today

Maybe this is a small way to praise and encourage strong character.  Because honestly, I'll take that any day over good behavior that's just for show.

- - -
What ways have you found to encourage your little people in strong character as they grow?!  Are there certain words or actions that seem especially effective?

Happy Middle of the Week, Friends!
xo

15 comments:

  1. This is such a great point! I don't have kids, but I've worked in a day care, and it definitely made me think about how I wanted to raise my own. I'm learning that there's a lot of things I don't want to say or do just to say or do, but to be a lot more intentional about those things. Thanks for sharing this!

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  2. Good thoughts, Nicole! Along with this, I have chosen to never tell my children that they are "bad" either. You'll never hear me say, "Micah, you are so bad!" or anything along those lines. I want my child to firmly believe that God created them good, because He himself declared His creation "good". Right now my 3 yr old asks me almost every day, "Mom, am I a bad boy?" And I tell him, "no, you are a GOOD boy! Sometimes you choose to do bad things, and mommy & daddy are teaching you to do right. But YOU are good because God said so."

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    1. That is a great way to look at it too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Louise!
      xo

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  3. Be sure to tell your kids how proud you are to get to be their parent, and how much joy it gives you to be a mom. Even when we are silent about the 'less-than-fun' parts of motherhood, our kids see when we are stressed (about money, about being overworked, about the million messes). When you catch them looking at you in such moments, reassure them by telling them what JOY it is to parent them. It will be a good reminder for both of you.

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    1. This is a great reminder for me, Andrea! We tell Emmett all the time that we are proud of him. . . even though he doesn't understand, I think it's a great habit to get into already. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! xo

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  4. It may seem kind of "duh" but we use the fruits of the spirit (or try to) in our language with our boys. And lots of "obey/disobey" "respect/disrespect" and tons of "I love you." The reasoning behind us not saying "good boy" or "bad boy" is that we've read it can show them "works" based recognition, which in turn can lead them to a "works" based faith and not have them fully understand the Gospel. We're only 3 years into this parenting thing though, so love advice and support from others!

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    1. Oh Meg! You articulated my heart so well! I should have had you write this post. ;) I totally agree with the works based recognition that translate into our faith. So true. Thanks for sharing. xo

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  5. I find myself asking Riley Girl to be "sweet". By which I mean, "please don't cause mama any extra trouble while she tries to ____". But I don't want her to grow up to just be a "good girl", one who is afraid of doing something uncomfortable or of being herself, because it might not be "sweet". So I'm working on that!

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    1. AHH! I use the 'sweet' line a lot. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
      xo

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  6. I've decided the same thing and will encourage our family to do the same, as well. It's interesting what a small little commonly-used phrase can imply to a child subconsciously. Love this!

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    1. It's amazing, right?! I want to pray over my words more, not only with Emmett but everyone I speak with.

      xo

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  7. What a great post! We as parents find ourselves into a praising trap because it is our kids you know? But like you said being specific will have better effects in the long run.

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  8. I love this Nicole! We've been trying really hard to use specific phrases like, "Thank you for being kind!" when we talk to our kids. I want them to desire righteousness, but also to understand that it only comes from the Lord! Using specific scriptures when we discipline seems to help us do that (i.e. "We don't push our brother because God tells us we need to love each other in Romans 13:8", etc.)
    Love you, Mrs. Neesby!

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  9. I couldn't agree more! We try really hard to use words that describe what it is that we are happy they are doing, and lots of, "thank you for....". But, I will admit, it is really difficult in this stage we're in with our little girl when she is defying us what seems like all the time. I just get so weary. :( Thanks for this reminder though, Nicole! :)

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