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TheMysticWave, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 427
Experience:  Single parent, with profession, raises model son with ease & pleasure. I offer sound advice.
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Customer Question

My husband and I have a difference of opinion on whether it’s OK to call my 2 year old son a "bad boy." It’s done both seriously and jokingly. Could this be harmful?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Ann replied 11 years ago.
At 2 years old,   it would be difficult for him to distinquish  when it is done teasing him,  or if you are serious other than the tone of voice that you use.   I do believe that a lot of parents do the same ,   in a teasing manor, and in a serious tone.  It is all in how the sentence is delivered and the tone of voice and action that is used accordingly
Expert:  Eric replied 11 years ago.
Teasing is fun, but when a child doesn't know the difference you could be sending the wrong sinal when you are scolding and when you are teasing. 
It is best to discipline by coming to the childs level and in a stern voice with direct eye contact, tell the child that they are not behaving properly (however you want to word it, bad, naughty, etc).  Always follow through with your discipline, or the child may still think you are teasing!

If you choose to joke around with your child, be sure to use different words than you would for discipline so they can tell the difference, especially at age 2.

Remeber to also praise your child when he is being good, it helps build self esteem and it reinforces the difference between good and bad behavior as well.


If you and your husband still can't agree with each other, try to come to a compromise so you will both be satisfied with how you do things. 
Expert:  TheMysticWave replied 11 years ago.


While you or your husband may not approve or mean any real harm to your child, I don't believe it's practical to tell any child that they are bad - bad can stick, it's a label, it's negative and it can grow like a weed when planted in one's brain, especially children, as they are vulnerable/innocent - they believe what they hear about their own person, especially when words are repeated. Thus, I believe it is harmful .....

Children are most definitely a product of their environment -  If one encourages a child with positive reenforcement, the child will adapt better and become more positive as they get older, and can relate better to society, will have self-esteem, will have a general overall good outlook about life, about others, mostly about self.....and that is what all of us strive for in life.

If one fills a child with negative connotations, chances are the child will start believing it, or better yet, start acting it out which becomes a habit, a habit which may prove very hard to break. It causes psychological damage - anywhere from mild to severe.

As I don't believe that any child is bad - if the child is not doing what the parent is requesting, then simply being honest would be the right thing to do and it's to the child's and parents' advantage. Parenting takes patience, parenting takes unconditional love - it is certainly the parents' responsibility to teach right from wrong, good from bad. Some children learn faster than others - but, practice makes perfect.

Telling a child that they made a mistake would be better - and that life is about learning and teaching...


My best to you and your family.


Bright Blessings.

Peace, Love & Happiness,

The Mystic Wave

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Eric's Post: what my wife has not mentioned is that when i call my son a "bad boy" it's in a cooing way. The way you would call him a chipmunk or "my big man". When I discipline him, I use a much sterner voice and I usually say that is bad! It's a completely different tone of voice. At two, he is much more understanding of the tone of voice than he is the definition of the word. To think that this is predispositioning him to be a convicted felon is a tad bit of a stretch.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to TheMysticWave's Post: To the mystic wave, I hope that my daughter doesn't decide to grow feathers and lay eggs considering I have called her a goose since she was born. Could you gaze at one of your tarot cards and let me know if I should keep her away from any lakes or aviaries, I don't want her defect to the flock. All kidding aside, it's not a big deal. I have decided to apease my wife, I will not refer to my son as "bad boy". Even though I feel it's nothing more than a pet name that will outgrow him in probably two months anyway. Kudos to the person that says if that is the worst thing that we are doing then we are good parents, because it's true. We live in an age that nobody wants to take responsibility for their own actions. It's the video games that cause shootings or the t.v. shows that are encouraging our youth to violence. NO it's the parents who let the children watch the t.v. or play the video games and don't spend the time with their children that are the problem. Society has been around quite awhile and growing up, we had violent t.v. shows and we played video games, but we had parents that had discipline (I had a belt with my name on it....), but I learned right from wrong. Now we have time out and we blame the teacher at school if our child is out of line. If our child grows up and becomes a gangster it's because we called him a "bad boy" when he was two? Do you see my point....point the blame somewhere. As long as it doesn't point to me. Maybe I can sue the person who first coined the phrase "bad boy". Perfect.
Expert:  Dana A. Vamvakias, DVM replied 11 years ago.
I deleted my answer, but because you quoted me in my comment on "if this is the worse thing you are doing..." I am going to post one more time.

I do question why you used this site, if you were truly not that interested in the responses...but again an opinion for the future.  I have 3 boys and I am a well educated woman that believes in equality. With that said, I take my "job" of raising my boys to the best of my ability. We have way too many angry young men in this country...and maybe it is sexist, but the way you as a father handle things is directly modeled by your son.  I don't really care if you call him a "bad boy" in what you feel is a soft tone, but don't fool yourself that at two, that he doesn't know the word.  There are many things you can endear your children with that is a positive word...but with the thousands of contradictions this child will process in the next 5 years...why have it complicated at home. 



Expert:  TheMysticWave replied 11 years ago.

Thank you for responding and sharing further information - Also, I note your comment about Tarot - however, please know that I'm not a gypsy fortune teller -  I do not read for entertainment purposes - I take what I do seriously and have helped many people. Tarot by the way was the first psychological tool, it has great meaning and worth.


I raised my son as a single parent, and I never had one problem with him. I treated him with respect, I treated him as I wished to be treated, I taught him right from wrong, I encouraged him - he always listened to me - never disrespected me. Most of all, I paid attention to him - I was there for him, even though I worked - I worked around his schedule, never had to send him to his room or discipline him - as I taught him instead. He was a model son and student. His teachers were in awe in how well-behaved he was - and at home, with his friends, he was like any other child, playful -and showed respect to others. My son and I had the best relationship.


Someone making chide remarks in jest to a child can be hurtful, as I believe that they are forced to take it -- for what other option do they have? - but in the long run, if enough is said to them, they will start believing it - and some children take things the wrong way - some children are sensitive and they get hurt very easily, and with some children it doesn't bother them, so one thinks, until one gets older and they act out in an unsavory manner, treating others with the same negative behavior and making remarks in the same way they received while growing up.


You commented about "Kudos to the person that says if that is the worst thing that we are doing then we are good parents" - I don't agree - but, I'm not saying you are "bad" parents - I won't make that assumption. However, certainly, there is nothing wrong with kind words, as it's been known to heal the weakest and save one from certain death and destruction. Sure, I may be taking this to extremes considering your reasoning for wanting to tell your son, he's a "bad boy" - jokingly, but perhaps I may be the wrong person to be responding to your question due to my own personal beliefs, morals and values, since I'm not agreeing with you - however, I have taken care of children professionally for many years -and I see how they are - what they have become - what their upbringing was like and still is - and for this, I also base my response.


Wise cracking may be okay for some - and yet taken in an offensive manner to others - yet, laughter is good for the heart and soul - is it truly necessary for one to use negative words for humor?


I wish you and your family the best.


Bright Blessings.

Peace, Love & Happiness,

The Mystic Wave






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