Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stop being a brat!

Anna was typically kind to her baby brother. However, one day 8-year-old Anna knocked her baby brother over with her foot. When her aunt saw this, she reprimanded Anna scolding “Stop being a brat!”

Anna then gave her a look of contempt indicating “I don’t have to listen to what you say.” This made her aunt even angrier and she yelled at Anna “You are such a little snot!”

While it certainly was not okay for Anna to knock over her baby brother, her aunt’s reaction in criticizing Anna’s personality rather than just her behavior added fuel to the fire. By calling her a brat and a little snot, she negatively labeled Anna as a person.

Making children feel bad about themselves does not lead to better behavior. Instead she could have held Anna accountable for pushing her baby brother down by having her find a way to make it up to him. By reminding Anna that she is a loving person and this behavior was less than who she is, Anna would have a chance to redeem herself and choose to treat her brother better in the future.

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