A Bad Boy

Someone told my son that he’s a bad boy.  He has never heard those words from me.  I have very carefully chosen my words with him and have purposely protected him from hearing himself referred to as “a bad boy” because he is not a bad boy.

Zach makes bad choices.  (Don’t we all?)  Zach is energetic and hyper.  Zach has a hard time paying attention and obeying.  Zach has his share of issues.  But he is NOT a bad boy.

Someone told my son that he is a bad boy. Now he knows the phrase, and he owns it.  He repeats it over and over when he’s made a bad choice or when he’s messed up.

He acted disrespectfully.  “I’m a bad boy,” he repeated over and over.

He skimmed the book when he meant to read it.  “I’m such a bad boy,” was his mantra.

He forgot to take his medicine after I told him to take it.  “I’m a bad boy,” he said convincingly.

He got out of his bed three times in one night.  “I’m just a bad boy,” he again repeated.

Having the phrase and owning it for himself has caused him to lose all grace for himself.  It is nearly impossible for him to forgive himself and move on when he’s messed up.  He heard someone tell him that he is a bad boy, and he believes it.

And now, after having carefully chosen my words with this fragile child for 9 years, I am stuck with having to try to convince him that he is not a bad boy.  Unfortunately, when Zach gets an emotional idea in his head, it is there — strongly there — for a very, very long time.  For each time he actually voices his new mantra, I know it is playing in his head hundreds of times.  How many times will he have to hear it before he again believes that he is a good boy?

Lord, give me wisdom and strength as I encourage Zachary.  Heal his heart from those hurtful words spoken over him.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14
For man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory.  I Corinthians 11:7
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.  Genesis 1:31

16 responses to this post.

  1. Ouch! Whoever said that to him should be ashamed. Those words are very hurtful. I feel for him. Zach is a good boy. Just remind him daily that he is a good boy. He has a good heart. I hope he will soon be able to overcome those hurtful words.


  2. Posted by Sara Watson on January 21, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Wow. That is terrible. I will be praying that Zippy can let those words go and receive your words of truth! That just hurts my heart!


  3. Oh that makes me so sad:-( Words are so very powerful and sometimes they hurt. I wish people really understood this.


  4. Posted by papa on January 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    we can do all things because HE makes us strong! Father please help Zippy to know that he is a good boy , renew his thinking, help him to love who he is — A CHILD OF THE KING .


  5. Ugh. I hate that. If they think they’re a bad boy they’ll act like a bad boy just to provide proof for themselves. I think we’ve been able to break that mentality in Joseph, but I think his low cognative ability helped him in this case. Poor Zippy! Lord, help him to see how YOU see him!


    • “Help him to see how YOU see him!” Yes! Perfect! You’re right that it brings out this “bad boy” attitude and behavior which has been weird. Ready for it to go!


  6. Posted by Renee on January 21, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    I’ll be praying for your family. Father, take Zippy in your arms and hold him and whisper Your love in his ear so that he will know he is exactly who You made him to be! Amen!


  7. How awful! I can’t belive someone would say that to a child. I’ll be thinking of you as you try to remove that from his mind! Give him lots of chances to be successful and proud of himself!


  8. Posted by Sandra Heaslet on January 22, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Nate has said almost these very same things…except his was, “I’m just a bad kid”. Believe me, he didn’t hear that from us! And for a time, I had to help him understand that he wasn’t, that he had just made a bad choice and he was still learning. Then, he started saying it to get OUT of trouble – playing on my heart strings and looking for the sympathetic angle so I would dismiss the bad choice. (I’ve learned to recognize the fake cry). Knowing Zippy, I doubt he would do that. But I do wonder if this is something kids are doing at school? Hmmm…
    Lots of hugs headed your way.


    • Funny, tricky story on Nate! 🙂 I can totally see the manipulation in it! I’m such a non-emotion person, instead of reacting in a sympathetic way to him when he begins his mantra, I just sternly state that that’s not truth over and over. So hopefully if I don’t give in emotionally, this won’t move onto the manipulation stuff! Thanks for commenting, Sandra!!


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