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Parents hear all the time that their baby is either a “good” or “bad” baby. This label follows our children all the way through childhood, where specific characteristics imply that a child is socially acceptable or a complete social rebel. But is there really such a thing as a “good” or “bad” baby?

If your new baby sleeps all night, they are a “good” baby. But if they get up 10 times during the night (which both of my boys have done, faithfully) then they are a “bad” baby, somehow in need of repair and a sleep training regime. If your toddler sits quietly in the cart while you’re at the grocery store, they are “behaving so well”, but if they are screaming at the top of their lungs because they desperately need the grape that fell on the floor, everyone in the store looks at you like you are the worst parent in existence.

There are no “good” or “bad” children. Children come prepackaged for us with their own character, temperament, and preferences. There isn’t much we can do about these innate aspects of our children. Of course we have influence and can help discipline some of their undesirable behaviors, but a baby who doesn’t take three perfectly timed naps during the day is not flawed. And the same goes for the child who is overwhelmed in every department store they enter. As parents, we have to consider if this is just part of their character makeup and accept them where they are in this development. Take some deep breaths and just be present in the moment with them. Try to see the world from their view sometimes. They are new to all the things we are accustomed to…like not eating the grape that is on the grocery store floor. ?

Well-intentioned adults (including strangers) always have their opinion about raising kids and apparently have found the golden guidebook for disciplining every child created. Seriously though, every person in this world has a unique fingerprint, so then why do we think that babies and children should all behave in “good” ways and fit neatly into our lives? Parents with more than one child will quickly confess that they are each different, with individual personalities and preferences. One slept all night with ease, while the other never took a nap without a drag out fight. They are unique in their own ways and yet they loved them all the same.

There is no such thing as a “good” or a “bad” baby or child. I hesitate to even use these words when interacting with my toddler as I don’t want to impress upon his self-esteem. Every child is different, and has individual temperaments that have made them the loving, cute, and alarmingly intelligent members of our families that we absolutely adore.

So, we have to ignore those well-intentioned adults who offer unsolicited advice on how to raise our kids. Just smile and enjoy your child who isn’t perfect, just like nobody else is either.

Then find the kid another grape. ☺️