It’s easy to get caught describing behaviour as “good” or “bad”. As parents, teachers, leaders, coaches we can describe a child’s behaviour using these dichotomous terms.

I’m inviting you to consider not using these terms for the following reasons:

  • Kids internalize being “bad” at incredibly young ages. I’ve heard so many little people refer to themselves as bad.
  • In groups, the child who gets in trouble is labeled as the “bad” kid. Other kids refer to this kid as “bad”. I find this behaviour curious in that the one “bad” child can do no good, while all of the other children can do no wrong.

Instead of using “good” and “bad” terminology, describe the behaviour by naming what you saw, heard or observed.

  • Use language like – “I like the way you stopped bouncing the ball and looked at me when I said freeze”, “I noticed that you left the room without checking-in with me? What do you need to do next time?”

Finally, we all say and do things we wish we hadn’t. This is a part of our common human experience. By taking ownership for our behaviour versus being stuck in being “bad”, children have a chance to change their behaviour.