Good kids

I get really unhappy when someone calls my children naughty. Even as a joke, or playing around. Because I can confidently say they’re not.

Yes, I say this boldly. And even when you point out how my youngest daughter is pinching her sister (again!), I will still adamantly disagree with you that my child is naughty. Why? Because naughty is a swear word in our house. Let me explain…


I am sure you will agree with me that you will never stand for someone else, an adult or a child – even as joke – tell your child he or she is dumb. Agreed?

Even though they might do dumb things. I know what I’m talking about with my kids licking a toilet bowl, picking off chewed bubblegum from under the restaurant table, and trying to stand on a ball. They do dumb things. But THEY. ARE. NOT. DUMB. And I will never say that to my own children, or anyone else. Because words have power.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

not naught faces


I know my children do naughty things. I am not naive or ignorant of their behaviour. Just like you, we discipline our children when they act out or do something naughty, we teach them better, and hope they learn. But we want our kids to know that the acts of naughtiness do not define them. We do not see that when we look at them.

So here is the key: Kids DO naughty things. They ARE not naughty. Who they are or will shape who they become, largely depends on you. What words are you speaking over their lives on a daily basis, to their faces or even when they’re not in the room…?


We do not swear in our house. And because this is something we already stand so firmly on, we decided to add two more words our “bad words list”; Naughty and Stupid. No one in our house may use these words to define, joke around with, or hurt with.

One day, Alexander came home from school crying. When I asked, without hesitation he immediately told me what he did in class, and burst out in tears when he said, “…and then my teacher said I’m naughty! And I’m NOT! That’s a bad word!” He already knew that what she said hurt, and that it is a word we do not use as a family towards anyone.

Don’t worry, we’re not raising naive purists. We’ve explained to our children why these words hurt, and why we do not want them using it, or allow people to use it over them. Take accountability when you do something that is naughty, or isn’t right. But know that who you are as a person is not naughty.


In everything we do as parents, we try to raise children that will become better humans, better friends, better spouses than we could possibly be. And in no way am I judging parents or teachers who use these words to discipline or to joke around. We always do the best we possibly can with what we know and have. I feel, however, that when we know better, we should do better. So maybe this blog isn’t for you. And maybe, just maybe, today you’ll be a little more aware of the words you use towards your own kids and others.

And please, don’t tell my kids they are naughty. Tell them who they are, even though they sometimes do naughty things…



6 replies
  1. Johan
    Johan says:

    Very refreshing approach which I totally support.
    Especially if one realises the base word of NAUGHTY is NAUGHT.
    Original meaning: Posses Nothing.
    combind with WICKED.
    Not to be ascribed to kids EVER!

  2. Lize-Marie
    Lize-Marie says:

    Praat jy nou so uit my hart. Ek het al stoksielalleen gevoel met hierdie opinie. Dankie vir die deel. Ek voel nou tuis 🙂

    • Simone
      Simone says:

      Ek is so bly! En nee, jy is nie aleen nie. Jy hoef nie terug te staan vir ander wat dit nie verstaan nie – of vir wie dit nie n big deal is nie. NET ONS vat die volle verantwoordelikheid vir ons kinders.

  3. Tamarah
    Tamarah says:

    I seriously thought I was the only person who has banned the word naughty. People look at me funny, but I stand by addressing the action and not labelling the child. Children (all people) internalise their labels. I don’t want “naughty” to be one of those labels


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