My child is not naughty…


… and neither is yours.

Naughty is not a word we use at home. Not intentionally; it’s just turned out that way. To me, the word ‘naughty’ is a meaningless word. It doesn’t accurately describe a child’s behaviour when they’re doing something that you think they shouldn’t be doing.

So when one of our children is being ‘naughty’, depending on their age, depending on the behaviour, I’ll usually redirect them, or describe what they’re doing, why I don’t want them to do what they’re doing, and what will happen if they do it again.

I don’t think the phrase “stop being naughty” is useful at all. They may or may not realise what the ‘naughty’ behaviour is, and if they do know what it is, they may not immediately see an alternative or see why they need to stop.

What could a boy do instead of hitting his sister with a stick? He could hit a tree. A tree (unless it’s a sapling) won’t get hurt and cry like his sister will. Or, if both siblings agree, they could hit each other with pillows or soft toys instead. What could a boy (and his parents) do if he deliberately wants to hurt his sister and make her cry… I’m not sure, as we’ve not been in that situation, yet.

Another reason why I’m not a fan of the naughty word: ‘naughty’ means nothing. The word ‘naughty’ originates from the word ‘naught’, zero, nothing, worthless.

And children are anything but zero, nothing, worthless.

Kate from has a well written piece also about the word naughty and why her four year old doesn’t know what it means.

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