Is there a difference between the phrase "You are bad!" and "That was bad!"?
Let us think about this for a second. If you tell your child "Bad Girl!" or "You were bad." you are telling them that they are a bad person. If you tell your child "That was bad!" or "What you did was bad." you are telling them that they made a bad decision, that their actions were bad"
God does not make "Bad People". What God made was perfect, but we have a sinful nature. Meaning, we make poor choices sometimes. but making bad decisions does not make us bad people. Especially when you are talking about a child. A child whose brain can not make logical decisions yet. Who is incapable of making good choices. Isn't that why it is illegal for a person under 21 to drink alcohol? they don't have a fully developed brain and are not able to distinguish a good decision from a bad one? I am not saying they should have no consequences for their actions. on the contrary. I think every decision a child makes should have the proper consequences. How else will they learn to make good decisions if they don't get reprimanded for the bad ones?
I do not want to tell my 2 year old that she is a bad person. She is only 2! I do not want her growing up thinking she is worthless and can't do anything right. I do not want to instill in her a sense of worthlessness. If a child is told all her life that she is bad, what is to keep her from continuing those bad choices through adulthood? If there is nothing she can do to make herself a better person, why try? Why not just do what you want and live for yourself? If you call me a bad person, then I will act like a bad person!
If you tell your child "What you did was bad." or "That was bad!" you are telling them that their decision was poor. You are letting them know that they are not a bad person, but that they made a mistake. Giving them the opportunity to change their ways and make a better decision next time. Especially if you tell them "I love you, but what you did was wrong." this lets the child know that they have not lost your love, but just because you love them does not mean you can overlook their bad choice. God loves his children, but he gives us consequences for our actions. That does not mean he does not love us, just that we need to see that what we did was wrong.
Also, constantly giving positive feedback for good actions is a GREAT way to show the child what she SHOULD do, so that when she does mess up she knows she can still do good things as well. Saying things like "That was Very Nice!" or "Good Girl for...!" are great ways to give positive feedback and encourage good behavior.
ha! this did start out as a sort of rant. and ended up more like a child development lesson. oh well.
Those are my thoughts for the day.