Naughty children, naughty corners, treats for good behavior, consequences for bad behavior, identifying one child as the naughty on and the other as the good one… It’s quite hard for our kids to grow up without some sense of themselves as either good or bad.
The thing is that every single person on this planet has both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ traits. We are all sometimes helpful and sometime unhelpful, sometimes stingy and sometimes generous, sometimes pleasant and sometimes grumpy. Labeling a child is the first step to creating lifelong problems.
When I work with parents I look at the limiting beliefs that they have picked up over their lifetime. The most predominant of these are a variation on one of the following:
I am not worthy
I am not lovable
I am not good enough
The main reason that 99% of adults are walking around with these beliefs running their lives is because they were given the message that we are supposed to always be good. Always be kind, happy, helpful, agreeable, loving, sharing. And so we end up rejecting one half of ourselves. EVERYONE is also mean, sad, uncooperative, difficult, hateful and stingy – sometimes. It depends on what is important to us how and when we display these traits, but we all have all of them.
Labelling a child as naughty makes them believe that they only have the so-called negative end of this spectrum and not the ‘good’ traits. This is just as unhealthy as striving in vain to only have the ‘good’ traits and avoid the bad. In order to love ourselves and other people we need to embrace both sides. My favourite quote is by Dr John Demartini: “No matter what I have done, or not done, I am worthy of love”. Love is about wholeness. And most of our discipline gives the message of separation. No child can be one sided and this obsession with trying to make them this way is the very source of all our problems with discipline and the reason that our kids end up with limiting beliefs about themselves.
Please do away with the naughty corner and the grow good corner. There is no such thing as a naughty child or a child that needs to get rid of one half of themselves to be ok. Every child will be cooperative sometimes and uncooperative at other times, helpful and unhelpful, respectful and rude – just like all the rest of us. Children deserve to be loved no matter what they have done or not done.