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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate this word. And I just realized today how much it bothers me. I was looking through one of those Scholastic book order things, and there was a book that looked kind of cute, except the title was something like Naughty Little Monkeys.

I think telling a child they're naughty is very similar to telling them they're bad. I guess my view of children doesn't include the possibility that they can be deliberately bad (or naughty). What I mean is that if a child is "misbehaving", there's probably a reason.. looking for attention, trying to meet a need, acting out normal curiosity. Labeling their behavior as naughty just denies whatever need they're trying to meet and tells them that they should be ashamed.

I suppose it's part of my greater pet peeve about people considering children as inherently evil, in need of 'fixing' and punishing, rather than inherently good, in need of guidance and love.
 

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I would never, ever call my kids naughty or bad, but I do think that kids have the ability to misbehave. Both of my kids do things they know they are not supposed to do, and I don't really think that being curious or trying to meet a need or being annoyed with a sibling or being impatient, etc., is a good enough excuse. When one of my kids knocks the other kid off a chair just so the knocker can get on to it (we have two child-sized chairs that the kids love to stand on), they are misbehaving (being "bad," if you will). Both of my children know alternatives to knocking each other off chairs to get what they want, for example.

But just because I believe that children are capable of deliberately doing things they know are not allowed doesn't mean I think of them as "bad" or call them "bad." Being "naughty" is normal child behavior, imho.

I'd actually be worried about my kids if they were never "naughty"! Especially my son, who spent the first 21 months of his life in orphanages. I think that saying that kids can't be deliberately bad or naughty is a denial of the fact that kids have the same range of emotions and reactions that adults do. I'm naughty sometimes, too! Sometimes I knock my husband off the chair.
And I have less of an excuse for it, because I have a more sophisticated understanding of cause and effect!
 

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Ok- shoot me but I love naughty. I love the naughty look my 10 month old gives me when I catch him splashing in the potty. I love my naughty 2 year old taking Daddy's pillow or chasing the dogs. I love my naughty husband whispering dirty jokes in my ear at the Christmas party and I just love being naughty. See- somehow that word isn't dangerous to me. Naught is fun. Naughty is mischieve and wild and free. I believe we are naughty by nature but never bad. Please, Mommas- it is a word. It has different meaning to people based on how it was used on them.
 

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When used in a positive connotation, I too like the word 'naughty'. But a couple of weeks ago, my daughter had fallen with her head on the livingroom table. We went to the doctor, who started saying: "so you've been naughty yesterday". I was ready to leave ;-(

Fiikske
 

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This is an issue I have with my dad, sometimes my dh, and a good friend of mine. Not the word naughty - it doesn't bother me unless it's being used about children. The people listed above have either called one of my children, or their own children, bad or naughty. That's something I can't stand. Actions can be naughty or bad, but I don't say that my kids are. I've tried explaining the difference to my dh and dad - I'll say Halle isn't bad, but what she did might be, or something like that. My dh gets it, but will say it again on occasion. My dad rolls his eyes and says something like, "What's the difference?" And he really doesn't know.

I don't believe in labelling children, and I absolutely go nuts when I hear my dh say, "Good girl!" I always say, "Good job!" or "Nice sharing" or praise the action or thought behind the action. I don't believe calling her a good girl when she shares is a good lesson. Is she bad the rest of the time? Isn't that what she'll think - that it's her that's good or bad? My dad will say, "That's something that bad little girls do." Well, she just did it (whatever it is) so now she's going to think she's a bad person. He thinks I'm ridiculous.

Take care!
 

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Naughty to me means mischief and that's how I use it in my household.
 

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Yeah- I think mischief is it for me too. I suppose just about any word can be destructive if used against our kids. It has actually helped to think about how I talk about them and their behaviors to make sure I am intentional in my usage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay, I see what you're all saying. It's just a word, it doesn't have to mean anything bad, yeah, yeah, yeah. I certainly don't have a problem with the word naughty used in a playful context or, ahem, sexually.

But I'm not talking about THAT usage. I'm sure you've all heard someone say it to a child as a form of rebuke, and that's what I hate.

I stand by my opinion that babies and children up to a certain age (because, yeah, older kids CAN do things just for the reason that they're not supposed to) are not capable of intentionally misbehaving. If it seems that they are, it's in the perception of the parent or caregiver, not in the intent of the child. They're curious creatures. They want to know what happens when they pour their cup of water on the floor, or knock over your favorite houseplant. They're not being "naughty", they're being kids!

Okay, rant over. For now.
(See? A naughty little smiley!)
 

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Labeling behavior is ok, labeling children is not. So "bad boy" is destructive.... "stop hitting your sister" is constructive. In the same way... "oh you are such a good boy" is destructive because it suggests that we somehow only love them if they act in a way we approve of where as "I appreciate it when you pick up your toys" is a comment on their behavior, not them as people. So I can use naughty about my kids and their behavior if I use it to describe that look they give me when they are pushing my buttons, for splashing in the toilet, for pulling everything out of the sock drawer... as long as it is seeing them as full humans capable of many kinds of behavior none of which causes me to reject them. Words are tough. Words come packed with so much history. So if I say naughty, because my mom always said it with a smile, and you say naughty when your dad always said it with venom in his voice... it don't mean the same thing, does it? Sometimes I think that is why the internet can be such a tough medium. All you get is the words without any of the nonverbals that place the meaning. And we can't know that we have used a hot button word for someone until they flame us in response.
 
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