I have NEVER praised my son using the phrase, “Good Boy!” Nor have I punished him by saying, “Bad Boy!” Ask him… this is something I take very seriously…
Many parents have asked me why and my reason is simple. My son *IS* a “Good Boy”… whether he cleans his room or not. I don’t want him to start believing that doing something *I* (or anyone else for that matter) expect him to do will make him a better person than he already is…
And he continued being a “Good Boy” even when he went Picasso all over the walls with his permanent markers when he was 2… I did, however, explain to him that he made an unwise decision… but it certainly doesn’t make him a bad person. Just as when he finishes his veggies, I don’t clap my hands in delight and sing, “Good Boy, JRoc!!”… nope… I say, “Great Job!!” and give him a hug and a high-five.
My child is still learning and his choices do NOT define who he is… he *is* a good boy… with a big heart… and a gigantic brain… whether he sneaks an extra game on his PSP or does extra credit in his math class won’t change that FACT.
I believe this is important in our children’s personal development and self confidence. It’s important that J believes in himself… that he is “good” at his core… and whether he meets another person’s standard of “good” and “bad” will be irrelevant, because he will be confident in his individuality.
I grew up having to please my parents… and it still screws me up today. I find myself constantly needing their approval… and when I don’t get it from them, I look for it elsewhere… which is NEVER a good thing. I don’t want this for my child, so I’ve raised him in a very different fashion since he was born… he is now 11 and the good boy/bad boy nonsense doesn’t phase him one bit. At 11, he understands that people’s opinions of him, is just that… their own.
And I think that’s pretty awesome.