If you can’t call a child ‘Naughty,” then how “how will they ever learn to do better?
Remember the good Ole days? When could we smack our kids when they were naughty? Then we decided that smacking was wrong, so we isolated our kids in the so-called naughty corner. They would be crying until we thought that an appropriate amount of time had passed for them to have learned their lesson? Ahhh, the Good Ole days, right?
Thank goodness we have come around and learned that humiliating and calling our kids “naughty” achieves nothing but trauma and humiliation. Our kids can sometimes do naughty things, but that does not make them inherently naughty kids. Kids with ADHD, autism or any learning difficulty may act in what we perceive as “naughty” simply because they are overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or afraid. Acting out is a coping mechanism and can be a cry for help. It is not being naughty. It is often just a case of them being overwhelmed.
The consequence of calling a child naughty.
Have you ever overheard another parent or teacher call a child naughty? There are often little ears listening, your kids, your kid’s friends, and other parents. The kids then form an opinion of their classmate or friend, and it can often influence the way the so-called naughty child is treated. They may be excluded, bullied, or made to feel worthless. All because someone thinks they are naughty. It may influence other teachers or minders. Words are impactful and how we use them do matter.
You are “bad.”
There is a vast difference between telling a child that “That was bad” and “You are bad” the difference is immense. It is the difference between damaging a child’s self-worth and creating years of trauma or assisting a child in learning and devising strategies for self-calming and understanding.
Kids are always learning, and they are testing their boundaries. They are learning appropriate ways to deal with anxiety and stress. They are learning what is appropriate and what is not. It is up to us to guide them and teach them other ways to respond and react, rather than demeaning them with labels.
Next time you feel the urge to label a child “naughty,” think about why a child has indeed done this naughty act. Was it sensory overwhelm, mimicking behaviour, or even masking to fit in with peers? Maybe a young child is just learning about what is wrong and right. Be mindful that no child is born evil or naughty; however, they may believe it to be true if they are told enough times.
For more supports and information visit our free autism and spectrum directory here