Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Loud. Can't sit still. Talks too much. Active, boisterous, and energetic. Curious and getting into things, even breaking things sometimes. Too many questions.

It may be annoying when a kid is all those things. It may be an awful lot of work to harness that energy and keep the child safe and the contents of the house from ruin. But is this a bad child?

I've noticed several times in the last week that "naughtiness" is equated with something like a toddler's climbing, or a 10-yr-old's high decibel-level, or preschooler's precociousness and unrelenting chatter, or a baby's crying from colic. It seems to me that naughtiness has more to do with stubborn willfulness, deliberate disobedience, or taking delight in hurting others. I'm wondering why so many people will think of naughtiness primarily as a child's actions that are inconvenient or unpleasant for the adults ... as opposed to naughtiness being attitudes and behaviors that are outright sin.


  1. That's why it always bothers me when people at church tell me what a "good" baby James is. He's easygoing, quiet, smiley, and cheerful 98% of the time, but that makes him an easy baby, does it make babies who aren't those things "bad." I comment when I can that we are blessed with our laid back James, but that when he's tired or hugngry, he's supposed to fuss to let us know his needs. That if he had tummyaches more often , or a different personality, it wouldn't be "bad" just different. Anyway, I 100% agree.

  2. Did you write this for me, Susan?

    I have mentioned that Audrey is naughty. She pulls shenanigans that any toddler would try to get away with, but I still correct her so that she doesn't continue to do them. It's when she carries on and does it right after I tell her not to that I consider her behavior naughty. Then the issue at hand is her disobedience, and I will not tolerate that.

    Anyway, I agree with everything you said. I just have to step back sometimes when I get frustrated and remember that she's just a curious little kid, and curiosity is a good thing.

  3. Oh Meghan, no, I didn't aim this at you! :-)

    It's primarily because I heard from three different people last week about "good" children being those who are quiet and calm and don't get into things. Personally, I like the kids who are spunky and lively and curious! But as you said, it's a problem when a kid does something insistently and stubbornly when you've told them NO. It's that attitude of "I WILL do whatever I want, and you ain't gonna stop me" that is the mega-naughty problem. And that can show up even in quiet children who don't make messes. On the other hand, there are kids like Philip who, when he was little, could make mind-boggling messes and break things and spill things and be oh-so-loud, but was almost never willful or intentionally disobedient. He kept me hopping and he needed plenty of correction, but it was, I guess, easier than if he'd been sneaky or vindictive.

    I know three little girls who are full of spunk and creativity and are cute as a button, but who weary their moms with their stubbornness. Boy, do I pray for those three women; God be gracious to them and give them the will and the energy to keep winning the battles!

  4. Haha--it just sounded like it was written for me, which isn't a bad thing at all. I needed to hear it anyway. :)

  5. It is true that I am more likely to smirk at those things you mention that might be called naughty. The antics at church are pretty funny. I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If one does not want to be inconvenienced by the ever exploring mind of short people than they will miss the opportunity to smile more. I have a few of these 'naughty' children myself. My favorite kids if one can say favorite, are those with a little bit of creative energy. Crawl inside their brains and imagine what they are thinking. Sigh. Thank you Susan.

  6. Meghan, I remember one post you had about Audrey attempting to turn her charms on Alex, and you said, "Don't fall for it; it's a trap" or something to that effect. And I cheered for the smart mommy!

    Karin, yes!, to getting inside their little brains and finding delight in what they see and figure out and how they're processing what's around them! It's one of the great joys of mommyhood!

  7. Susan, I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lauri-who got punished PLENTY for talking too much and who still has a hard time with being quiet! I am glad I have lots of people around me now who don't mind my babbling.

    This post reiterates something you said in another post...adults often feel/say/believe a child is "bad/naughty/terrible/annoying" when that child prevents the adult from doing what s/he wants to do.

    I am sorry to say that is especially true for me as a mom when I am sitting at my computer!

  8. Dear Rebecca,

    I had a child who slept 20 hrs a day, vomited a little too much, but in every way was the perfect baby. Then she grew into the perfect toddler, cute, articulate, comfortable with adults, and very loving. Then came her sister, colicky, aggressive as a toddler to her five year old sister and others, and so defiant with her mother's direction. One became quietly defiant as a school age child and the "naughty" one became rule respecting in school age. Now they are both quietly defiant but in very adult appropriate ways, though they think differently. And they are both blessed with very spirited children of whom I love. Who would have thought