Creative Child

The Message Behind “Be Good” and What to Say Instead

by Rebecca Eanes on Jun 24th, 2015

I hear parents all the time pleading with and warning their children to “be good.” This common phrase has escaped my lips a few times, too. There are a couple of reasons why I’ve decided to drop this phrase for good.

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“Be Good” is Too Vague

Children aren’t mind readers. It’s much more helpful to give them specific instructions than to assume they know exactly what we mean by “be good.” It’s a very abstract concept for children, even if we think they should know what behavior we expect.

Instead of saying “be good,” try:

“When you’re at grandma’s, I want you to pick up your toys when you’re finished playing and listen when she asks you to do something.” 

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“At the store, you may help me push the cart or walk beside it. You may not run in the aisles or ask for a toy today.”

“In the movie theater, be quiet while the movie is playing and don’t put your feet on the seats.”

Alternatives to "Be good" on page 2...

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