It might be hard to wrap your head around this concept, but I think by the end of this, you’ll understand where I am coming from. As a parent I make it known to our kids, that God only creates Good people in the world. “But what about the bad guys?” My response to the is: “There are no bad people in this world. They are people who make a lot of bad choices.”

bad people

Why Don’t I Say “Bad Guys?”

I have a real passionate stance on this, especially after my time working with students labeled Emotionally Disturbed. It was an eye opening experience for me especially after being heavily sheltered from the lifestyles some of my students experienced. Their lifestyles weren’t always horrible, like you may start to think. These kiddos could very easily be your neighbor and you wouldn’t have a clue.

But many of these kids had been called “Bad Boys” (I had a full class of boys) by family and peers. Can you imagine how you would feel if someone called you a “Bad Person” after you made a mistake? This happens to kids all the time, especially my previous students.

We know kids like to act rotten sometimes. Even my own children like to push my limits, and they’re not making mistakes, they’re pushing boundaries. Still, I can’t look them in the eye and say, “Why are you being a bad boy right now?” or “If you’re a bad boy, then you won’t get your dessert tonight.” Now, I’m fully aware MANY parents say this, it’s sad because it almost comes naturally, but it does affect our kids in a way we might not expect.

Kids Don’t Always Know What You Mean Unless You Say it

Kids believe almost anything their parents say. We condition them to do so with things like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. I’m not joking when I tell you I believed my Dad when he told me, “Deer don’t cross the road on corners” (that’s probably a story you’re interested in, but NOT today… lol!). So when a parent tells a kid they’re “bad” a kid could believe it. Now, no parent here believes their kid is bad, they’re using it as a way to show the kid to be good… so they can be called a “good boy.” But your kid doesn’t always know that. In fact, I’d say they rarely know what you mean if it’s not what you’re saying.

Disclaimer: You are a great parent, no matter what I write about. I can write this, because I’ve had experiences with kids who have repeatedly been told their bad. And in a kid’s mind, “They already think it, so may as well just be bad.” I can also say this, because before then, I wouldn’t have ever given this a thought! I’m sharing my experience so you can make your own decisions. You’re probably a more Rockin’ parent than I am.

Who’s to Say Who is Bad and Who is Good?

Like I mentioned before, I make it very clear to tell my children that God has made everyone in this world, and not one thing he made is bad. So then who has the right to label anyone as bad? My kiddo asks, “What about the people who kill people? What about the people who steal children? ”

My answer: “They were born as a baby like #5, they grew into a toddler like, #4, and at one point they were in school just like you. And each day you make choices to do good things and to do bad things. But no one has the right to calling any one of God’s creations bad.”

{I am careful not to put my children at risk by sharing their names, since I’m already sharing their pictures, so to you their names are… #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5, Thanks for understanding!}

Different, Not Less.

Temple Grandin

This conversation can go in all sorts of directions from here, but generally we get to talk about praying for the people in jail, or the people we see on the news, and so on. I allow for my kiddos to bring up the questions and I answer. I don’t like to add too much, because I’m letting them process the information their collecting. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think my kids can process better with simple, direct, and limited information at a time.

So How Do You Protect them From the “Bad Guys” if Everyone is Good?

Yeah, this is where parents feel it’s important to differentiate good and bad. I get it, but listen to this. Calling people bad doesn’t help a child recognize someone who is unsafe. In our household we really focus on what people will do or say if they could be a potential risk to our children. To counter that though, we also want to describe someone who could be trustworth. In fact, it’s good practice for your family to practice this.

I can hear you now, “How do you practice this? You’re a little out there.” Stay with me.

When you’re at a park or the zoo, or anywhere a child can see other adults, you can practice finding someone trustworthy. Ask your child to identify someone they could ask for help if they ever got lost. Once your child points someone out, then ask, why did you pick that person? What about him/her makes your child see them as someone who could help?

“Don’t Talk to Strangers…..Really?”

I’m adding this final thought, even though it doesn’t go with my original title, but it’s important to me and it goes with the last point I made. We don’t like the phrase, “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” because kids have to talk to strangers in order to save themselves from bad situations. Maybe I’ll write another post on this later, so I don’t hijack the conversation already going on, but just think about it. If a kid is in trouble and won’t tell anyone because Mom and Dad said not to talk to people I don’t know. There could be an instance when a child could find themselves in a situation where they know absolutely NO ONE. What then?

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Posted by:stmarthaslens

5 replies on “There Are NO Bad People in this World.

  1. I love this perspective! Calling someone “bad” is so full off judgement and assumption. While I don’t have to like everyone or their behavior, I always strive to have compassion for everyone.

  2. Such a beautiful article, and a good reminder, so thank you! I keep catching myself getting swept up in that bad habit of using “bad boy” to my toddler, and I hate it because the last thing I want is for that message to damage the way he sees himself. I needed to read this.

    1. I get it! Without my experience in that classroom I’d be right there with you. I know you’re doing a good job just based off your comment. Parenting is all about “figuring things out”.

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