Child Discipline: “Awareness of Word Choice”

In the former post, I talked about how important to chose “I” sentence.

Awareness of own judgement, and how to avoid it.

This time is awareness of choosing our words, that can cultivate our value.

For example,

“Kids” vs “Children”

They are both used in the schools to point out those young people. Those 2 words have the exactly same meaning: it’s young people!

However, there are big difference in the context as a value.

When we use “kids,” we have this feeling that we are looking down those young people from a higher position, “grown ups.”

When I hear this word, “kid,” I always feel that we are not on the same hight.

If you pay attention to the sound of “Kids,” they have really strong consonants, “k” “d” and “s.”

To pronounce this word, our mouth, our breath include some kinds of power. We need energy to pronounce “kids.” It’s very similar energy to pronounce, “F◯ck.”

I don’t like this feeling that the word, “kids” carry.


On the other hand, the word “children” are something different.

When I hear it, I can feel some more respect for the young people, also we are standing on the same hight. The sound is much more milder than “kids.”  Recently, we, the early childhood educators, talk about “young people’s citizenship.”  Yes, this “children’s citizenship” was one of the big topics in the Japanese Education Conference, which was held just few days ago, too.

If we are not standing on the same hight, can we really do “children’s citizenship” ???


When we talk about young people’s something in official way, we never say, “early kidshood education” nor “kids development.”  We always use, “child” or “children.”  So, we actually know that the word “kids” have something negative context.

Thus, in my writing, in my speech, I barely use the word, “kids.”  I’m intentionally avoiding using “kids.”

There is no need to agree.  It’s your choice. But, it is important to be aware what you are saying.


Another example is English greetings.

“Good Morning!”
“Good Afternoon!”
“Good Evening”

Very basic, daily greetings. But, when I compared to Japanese greetings, there are huge differences.

“おはよう! (It’s early time of the day)”
“こんにちは” (It’s today!)
“こんばんは” (It’s night time!)

All Japanese greetings are very objective and just stating the moment of time. On the contrary,  all English greetings are including a very subjective/judgemental word, “Good” “Good” “Good.”  I’m a Japanese, so when I moved to the U.S., I had a very hard time to adjust this greeting.  No matter what I’m feeling, I have to say, “Good morning.”  Also, as a teacher to start a day, I have to force children to say, “Good morning…”

It’s off topic, but I also had a hard time to adjust using every sentence with subjects, “I,” “I,” “I,” “You,” “You,” “You,”…  In Japanese, we often times omit subjects, also position words, “my” “my” “my” “your” “his” “her.”  So, when I started using English, I felt so bad that I was separating myself from everybody, everybody from me, he from her.

Sorry for my strange writing, but we need to aware that English greeting has judgemental word within.  And, we are using it everyday, children are hearing and forced it since they are born!  Also, this language is very exclusive.  English clearly separate I from you, and so on.

I’m not a language specialist, so I don’t know how much “English” really impacts children’s emotional/social/cognitive development.  But, from my experience, I felt so self-centered when I started using English.  I felt selfish and lonely.  It’s my true feeling.


Until you read this article, maybe, you didn’t notice those things.  This much, we are using language without awareness.

This is why in my class, at “meeting time” (Yes, I don’t call it “circle time” because in the adult world, we never call meeting time as “circle time.” It’s also something we look down children.), you hear I ask children, “How do you say ‘Good morning’???”  Of course, diversity in different language is important, but more than that, I want children to think/feel about our greeting.

It’s important to understand what we are saying and what’s value we are carrying.

By awareness of your language, your word choice, you can start thinking about your value. When you aware it, you can change it.  You can’t change somebody, but you can change yourself.


Again, I know that this will help your relationship to your child because respect is the love itself.


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