Sunday, August 23, 2009

Parenting Tip #2 - John, John, the Atom Bomb

My younger brother John, was the typical two year old that got into everything. But instead of growing out of it, he just got better at it and would make one mess after another. My mother would be so frustrated that as soon as my Dad would get home from work she would tell him all the things Johnny had done that day. And when Grandma and Grandpa came to visit (they lived right behind our house), they would get the full blown stories of Johnny spilling flour all over the floor, and Johnny doing this and that. My mother even wrote a song about "John, John the atom bomb" and each verse highlighted all the diasters and messes he had made. My brother, Johnny, became quite the center of attention.One frustrating day, however, my mother was at her wit's end. She didn't know how she could go on much longer with a child like Johnny. Suddenly a thought came to her, "Johnny is getting so much attention by doing all these naughty things, of course he's going to keep doing them." She decided she needed to change Johnny's image. So each night when my Dad came home from work, she would tell him of the wonderful things Johnny had done that day (boy, were they hard to come up with some days!). And when Grandma and Grandpa asked about Johnny's latest exploits, my mother replied, "Oh Johnny has changed. He's the sweetest little boy now. He helps me around the house and picks up his toys."

And guess what? Johnny did change. He became that sweet little helpful boy and grew up into a wonderful man and has been a great father to his six children. My mother first labeled him as a "terror" and that's what he became. But when his label changed to sweet and helpful, he changed too.

Be very careful of the labels you put on your children.


  1. This is one of my favorite stories. It's the same with older people to, they tend to live up to the label you give them.

  2. That is such an awesome story! I love it!

  3. Thanks for sharing, this is going to help me in how I may have been 'labeling' my children. Your insights are wonderful.




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