I'm Not Raising A "Good" Kid
I cringe every time I hear a parent say, “Be a good boy (girl)” to their child. I want to ask them, “define good”.
When we tell our children to “be a good boy or be a good girl” we’re sending a message of compliance. We expect them to behave appropriately, say all the right things, do all the right things, be a nice person, get good grades, make good decisions, be polite, care for others, etc. Basically, we’re saying, “Be the perfect version of a perfect human being and you will always be loved and accepted by everyone”.
That’s a tall order. I don’t know about you but I am by-no-means perfect and I’d like you to show me a person who is. Why would we put that pressure on our children?
This blanket statement sends a signal to the child that they must ALWAYS be “good” in order to be favored member of society. But what does “good” mean to a small child?
Simply put, it’s a great way to instill fear and anxiety at a very early age that has a tendency to last a lifetime.
The concept of being “good” is a concept handed down by generations to impress family, friends, and neighbors when it came time to compare the “good-ness” level of everyone’s children, i.e bragging rights.
The concept may have made our parents and grandparents happy, but it’s destructive far beyond pleasing our elders. We live in a different world so we have to raise our children differently.
Instead, inspire your children to love themselves for who they truly are, regardless of the “good” things they do. I’m not saying they should be narcissists and only care about themselves. I’m saying that the difference between true happiness and a false sense of happiness is how they view themselves independent of the “good” they do or don’t do.
If they are so distracted by trying to be “good” (again; define good), they often lose sight of their true purpose because they end up living their lives to please versus living their lives to find what makes them happy. A happy person is more likely to do “good” things than an unhappy person.
I encourage my daughter to be respectful and kind to people, as long as they are respectful and kind to her. I’ve often said to her, “I don’t care if it’s the president of the United States, if a person is not treating you with respect and kindness, walk away”.
Her father's wife (we'll call her Sally) has made it abundantly clear that she doesn't accept Claire for who she is. Sally has been disrespectful to Claire time and time again so Claire has decided to disassociate herself with Sally. She told her father that she will no longer be in the presence of Sally so the time she shares with her father is now on her terms.
I believe the world is filled with wonderful people, but the world is also filled with people who are flawed. I want her to recognize the difference and realize that she doesn't have to associate with people who don't treat her the way she deserves to be treated...even if that person is her father's wife.
Although deep down I have faith in the goodness of humanity, I also know there are some humans who are only out for themselves and will annihilate anyone who gets in their way. The sooner she realizes this, the better.
I have raised my daughter to recognize certain behaviors, in herself and others, that are productive and those behaviors that are destructive.
She is a good person with a good heart but I don’t want her to put her own wants, needs and desires aside to please someone else. Like everything, there needs to be balance which includes compromise from all parties.
I am raising my daughter to question everything, including authority and her elders.
I’m raising her to be a leader not a follower.
I’m raising her to be astute not gullible.
I’m raising her to be socially aware and informed.
I’m raising her to be kind but not so kind that she’s easily duped.
I’m raising my child to be her own person. A person who is intelligent (inside and outside the classroom), well-adjusted, well-informed, trust-worthy, successful, safe, and content. A person who will care for others but also care for herself with the same commitment.
As a parent, I want to make sure she feels loved every day of her life. In addition to that, I want her to be true to herself first. Not in a narcissistic way but a way that helps her understand her importance on this earth as well as the importance of others.
Here’s a good article on “What It Means To Be The Good Girl”
I welcome your comments below thanks!