Time for me to talk about something pretty much completely inane!
Now, I usually don’t have much to say about particular parenting decisions, not having any kids of my own. (I find that the older I get, the more sympathy and empathy I have for the screaming young person. Life really does suck sometimes. I expect I’ll have more sympathy for the parents once I have my own children!) However, I am the oldest of five, two of which came along by the time I was old enough to be their mother myself (joy of half-siblings), so I’ve seen some parenting up-close-and-personal, rather than filtered through dim memories of my own childhood years.
So, that brings me to this article, in which a random person questions the different reactions parents have towards calling their children “good girl.” (I think “good boy” can also safely fall under the same umbrella – the child in this case just happened to be female.)
Now, normally one would think that calling a child “good girl” or “good boy” for good behavior is a pretty harmless form of praise. I happen to know better, thanks to having an autistic sibling. If one is “good” for good behavior, in the logical mind of my brother, that means he’s a bad boy when he misbehaves (which is quite often). Nobody actually ever called him that – he figured out the analogy all on his own, much to our distress! That’s why my parents had to stop using such a generalized praise for being and start tailoring praise to actions instead. The last thing any parent needs is to have their child latch onto the notion that they’re a bad person. Real life is not like Megamind, after all.
I think that the parents of the girl handled it very well – simply stating that they don’t use that phrase. (On the other hand, I dock them points for bringing a young child to a fancy restaurant in the first place, no matter how well behaved she was. Unless everyone with small children is bringing the tykes, get a babysitter.) I think the author of the article is engaging in a bit of ego-stroking in even writing the article, because even though she writes that she knows she shouldn’t have taken the correction personally, she obviously did, and then blew it all out of proportion in her own mind. And now she’s looking for emotional support from the internet.
You’re not a bad girl, Kiri, but I’m disappointed in you. Adults should show a little bit more emotional maturity than you’ve done.
However, a lack of emotional maturity and analytical skill is par for the course for the Pink Blog Ghetto. I find most women bloggers unbearably tedious – note that the two I link to most often are Ann Althouse, a law prof who has a habit of trolling her own commenters, and Amy Alkon, an extremely opinionated and somewhat abrasive advice columnist. Which is why I don’t hesitate (much) in posting my own opinions; maybe someday I’ll get a comment that isn’t spam and have somebody challenge me!
I need more practice in controlling my own emotional responses to People Being Wrong on the Internet, after all. 😉