As a psychology major, with a focus on child psychology, I learned quickly how detrimental the word "bad" can be to children. Many caregivers/parents/teachers use the word "bad" and it has been found to be extremely hurtful and influential in the lives of children. Studies, none of which I can specifically site here, have shown that children can not distinguish between "That was a bad decision" and "You are bad." To the child both phrases mean: YOU are bad. Which, quite obviously is hurtful. Thus, in our parenting we have tried to phrase corrections and disclipines differently.
Parent: "Annabeth, please pick up your toys now."
Time out minute passes
Parent: "That was the wrong decision. When a parent asks you to do something you do it on the first command* Let's make the correct choice together."
And then together we pick up her toys with one "Good Girl" as a reward for her behavior.
*We stress each time out that obedience is an IMMEDIATE response to authority. That IMMEDIATE action or reaction shows respect to the person(s) in charge and also to God the Father as he asks for our obedience to him*
I share this not because I think we are perfect parents but because I am now going to share a HUGE shortcoming on my part as a Mama.
CONFESSION TIME: I must point my finger. Alot. How do I know? This week at my parents' house Annabeth has been finger pointing and barking commands to their dog.
"No." Points Finger. "Sit Down." Points Finger. "NoNoNo." Points Finger.
I had no idea that I did that! And yet, I must. I point my finger at my little one! Today I made a point to not point. Working everyday to be the Mama God would have me be...With his help, and only with his help, I might succeed.