Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for naughty

As a parent of small(ish) children I use this word on several occasions most days. It was only recently, when one of them challenged my why an action they were doing was naughty that I stopped to think about how I use it. There are the obvious things such as hurting each other, drawing on walls and deliberately damaging toys or siblings stuff that I would class as naughty but now it seems to have evolved and includes things I find vaguely annoying.

Now I am lucky enough to have my own study it is naughty to go in there without permission, it is naughty to move stuff and naughty to open the door and go out to the car before I tell them to, but is it really? Some of this stuff just gets on my nerves and I am using the word naughty in the vain hope that it will deter them from doing what they are planning, other times it is a safety thing, I prefer them to wait for me not because there is a busy road outside or someone waiting to take them away, but because in other places we go there might be.

I have also noticed that they behave differently around different people, some they are quiet in front of, others they try and show off in front of in the hope of getting their attention. At school they seem to do as they are told whereas at home they practice selected listening. How much is really 'naughty' though and how much is just plain annoying?


alisonboston said...
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Anonymous said...

I find the British use of 'naughty' annoying and if I were a kid, I'm sure I'd be confused. There is the way parents use it, such as how you've described here; and then the way adults will use it to describe the action (or inaction) of an adult. The other day someone missed an appointment and someone said: "he's being naughty" and I thought - no he isn't, he just got the dates confused. What's naughty about missing an appt? Unless you intentionally set the person up to attend an appt you couldn't make? Growing up in Canada, naughty wasn't a word I heard a lot, and when I did hear it, it was usually one of my British parents telling one of us that we had done something very wrong, and perhaps most important, was that when we did the action - we 'knew' it was wrong - and it was that 'knowing' that made the action naughty much more so than the action itself. Do you know what I mean?