Positive Parenting: Don’t Let Bad Moments Define Your Child as a Bad Kid

Positive Parenting: Don’t Let Bad Moments Define Your Child as a Bad Kid

“Tell a child often enough how bad he is and he will most certainly become bad”

If you catch yourself saying “he’s such a biter!”; “she is so whiny”; “what a bad kid!”; “he only makes trouble, never listens”; “oh sorry..she never shares.” about your child when they are around it could be sending a message you really don’t want to send. The thing is, children will often become what their parents believe them to be.

Children are most often tuned in to what we are saying, even if it seems like they are totally absorbed in their play or off doing something else, it will matter if you describe your child to the pediatrician as a “biter”, to your best mom pal as a “bad, bad, trouble maker” or to the cashier “such a whiny kid!”.

It can be tough and tiring to deal with biting, whines, hitting and those curious little hands that touch everything. Many children do go through behaviors that will baffle us, bewilder us and make some days seem ever so long! Challenges with behavior are bound to happen. If you find yourself in a phase that is truly challenging, try to remember, these moments are a great chance to show kindness, compassion and understanding.

Venting out frustrations to someone that is trusting, non-judgmental and willing to listen can be truly helpful in getting past such stages.  On the other hand, it really does matter what we say about our children, to them directly and also what we say about them to other people. When you need to talk about bad moments it can be helpful to:




Vent out your frustrations with bad behavior only out of ear shot, and with the intent to let it go. Don’t let a bad moment define your child as a bad kid.

Avoid re-telling the “awful” things your child did over and over again. This creates a negative yet powerful story for your child to follow.

Look for the good moments, and try to talk about those with your friends. You know,  the moments that make you laugh, like when a little face full of  tomato sauce gives you a huge smile.  The moments that fill your heart with warmth like siblings holding hands, seeing your child tell stories to the dog or when you get offered a big squeezy hug.

Tune in to all the wonder that being a parent can be all about. Believe that your child is good.  The more positive things you think and say about your child, the more connected you will feel and more connection leads to more cooperation.

Peace & Be Well,


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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a Masters in Psychology and is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, and one cuddly dog.

7 Responses to Positive Parenting: Don’t Let Bad Moments Define Your Child as a Bad Kid

  1. This is so important. I still remember things I have heard my family say about me to this day. It does have an impact on our sense of self. I make an effort to be conscious about the messages I give my son about himself.

  2. Thank you Kae for stopping by and sharing that. What a gift to your son that you are being so conscious about your messages to him & about him.

  3. Great post. I have always noticed this as a teacher. I don’t worry about this at all with my first daughter but my second has been much more difficult. I really have to be self conscious of how I handle all her negative behavior. Found you from Just One Mommy’s facebook share.
    Angela @ Time with A & N

  4. Such a good reminder. My husband and I are both commited to improving our parenting. We’re not spanking, but yet I have an almost 4 yr old that is very physical. Lots of hitting & kicking. She was biting her older sister to take her toys away nearly from the time she could crawl. I’ve read so many peaceful and gentle parenting blogs & articles but no direct advice on how to handle a child that hits her parents & siblings. We’re also trying to get a handle on food allergies, but what do I do in the meanwhile? Is there an article you might recommend? Thanks!

  5. Hi Jess,
    It sounds like you are very committed to parenting in a positive way, it can be tough to deal with moments of physical aggression – children tend to react in this way when they are frustrated, angry, tired, in other words, when they have a need that is not being met. It’s important for us parents to model how to stay calm and how to deal with our anger well (not always easy!) because this is one powerful way for our children to learn. This post about hitting, although primarily written about toddlers has many ideas that still apply to a four year old and also resources linked in the post for more reading on hitting and setting limits. thank you for sharing your story.

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