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Naughty or not

Tell me Internets – how much power does one word have?

I’ve seen ‘naughty’ referred to as ‘the N word’ (really people??), and I’ve read the claims that calling your child naughty will damage their self esteem.

I have yet to use the word with Monkey – it just doesn’t really occur to me. I don’t actually think the undesirable things he does are naughty – I just think they’re dangerous or a pain in my ass (usually involving cleaning).


Maybe I am being naive. Plus anyone who knows me knows I am ludicrously patient.

I tell Monkey ‘no’ plenty – in fact way more than I would like. Sometimes I feel like that’s all I ever say to him, no matter how hard I try to find things to say yes to!

Hubs however has always had a shorter temper than me, and on occasion does tell Monkey ‘naughty’.

Just as one word. Naughty. Not ‘that is naughty’ or ‘you are naughty’, just straight out stand alone ‘naughty’.

It makes me squirm. I can’t decide if it’s the word itself or the delivery, which is identical to the way we use it with the dogs.

What’s your take on naughty? Do you use it, or is it forbidden in your house? Will you use it in reference to behaviour but not the child themself? And if so, how do you make sure the distinction is clear?

5 comments on “Naughty or not

  1. Pomegranate
    June 6, 2013

    I never thought of this as a forbidden word. Maybe it’s regional? I only ever use it affectionately as in “what are you up to, my naughty little monkey?” or “i see that naughty look you’re giving me, sonny boy.” Bunny has this measuring sidelong glance he pulls out when he’s testing his limits that is so clearly nothing but naughty.

    I would say it’s how you talk to your kid, not the words you use, but words like dumb stupid etc are way off limits for us, so the words do matter.

    • boringyear
      June 7, 2013

      I use cheeky in that context – and I sometimes wonder if it is going to be self-fulfilling LOL

  2. glumbunny
    June 7, 2013

    I HATE NAUGHTY. Sorry. It’s less to do with labeling things in a negative way (I’ve been known to call my children BAD, though only in an affectionate way, as in YOU BAD BABIES!) and more to do with…yeah, that word is gross. But I’m not sure I’ve found the right word…I think in reality I tend to use ANNOYING. Which she can’t possibly understand. SIGH. Need to get my act together.

    (The thing my husbands says that drives me NUTS is “WE don’t do that”, as in WE don’t stand up in the bathtub, which is NOT TRUE. SOME OF US DO! UGGH! SO patronizing.)

    • boringyear
      June 7, 2013

      Because that word has been sexualized?

      I’ve occasionally heard ‘we don’t’ come out my own mouth and then been like… well actually, I do it myself! So yes I try to avoid that one too because it just seems inaccurate!

      It’s so complicated – do we just over think everything these days?

  3. Gemini Momma
    June 7, 2013

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing comments on this! We don’t use “naughty” but not for any particular reason. It’s just not really part of my common vocabulary. I have been known to say “you’re acting bratty” but not “you ARE a brat.” I purposely differentiate between behavior and personhood. I also try to point out the desired behavior instead of the negative (“kind hands please!” vs “dont smack your sister!”) But ya know, I think tone is a big deal and if there is a solid relationship foundation there, those kind of occasional comments aren’t going to break a kid. There’s a fine line, it’s good to think about, but it is also super easy to over think.

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This entry was posted on June 6, 2013 by in baby talk, brain fry.
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