Good Girl/Bad Girl

The good girl/bad girl dichotomy sucks.

It was a punch in the gut when, two years ago, an acquaintance told me how surprised he was that my daughter was so well behaved and fun to play with. Apparently, some mutual friends I had confided in regarding her “fucking fours” stage had told him different. It is one of the downfalls of being open about the good and bad parenting stumbling blocks. The bigger picture reveals the good kid/bad kid binary Western society clings too, and in my kiddo’s case she also gets to deal with the good girl/bad girl dichotomy, too.

My daughter is independent, that labels her as good. But she questions her teachers: bad. She gets notes sent home saying she is a caring friend (such a good girl!) she gets notes sent home saying she disrupts the class with her jokes and performances (bad girl!). At six, she definitely does not depict the seen and not heard ideal, and her confidence is enviable. From what she reveals, she is pretty secure with herself. But a secure girl is a bad one.

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As the parent of an energetic, creative, independent child, security is temporary if in place at all. When she is found to be fun and charming, I’m a good girl (oh, yay!) But when she isn’t interested in what someone wants her to do, I’m a bad girl. Not even the cool kind with sunglasses, the naughty kind that needs a time out.

The reasons as to why my daughter is bad are whispered and gossiped about, unintended for me to hear. Theories include my single status and the assumption that I am not regimented enough. And quite frankly, that ignorant nonsense no longer bothers me. But I won’t let others define what makes my daughter’s person good or bad based on her expected obedience to others. My daughter isn’t good, she isn’t bad, she is a fantastic rainbow filtered shade of grey.

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