Bad Days Need This Positive Tool

Scott Turansky

Dr. Scott Turansky

There are things you can do on good days that you can’t do on bad days. Good days are those days when a child is trying to overcome the weakness you’ve been working on. He’s tried to respond better to instruction or is controlling his anger and not venting it  when he doesn’t get his way. At the end of a good day you’re encouraged, believing that there may actually be hope for a positive future.

Don’t Sugarcoat Bad Days

Bad days are those days when kids resist you, don’t cooperate with the plan, and seem intent on making the situation worse instead of better. Although we all wish that days would be good, the reality is that sometimes a bad day is happening now and needs to be addressed. Sometimes we just need to say to a child, “Today seems to be a bad day for you so far. It looks like your heart is having some real struggles.”

You’ll want to take advantage of the lessons that can be learned on both good and bad days. Because change comes in small steps, you’ll often see some encouraging good days but it’s also likely that a bad day is just around the corner. So take advantage of the good day by providing a lot of encouragement and praise. You can acknowledge how positive you feel when your child is making progress, but be sure to affirm the growing character you see in order to encourage a positive sense of growth in your child. “Corey, I’m enjoying your compassionate heart.” “Sharla, I know it’s hard to be honest sometimes and I can tell you’re really working on it.” See Parent to your child’s strengths  in order to address their weaknesses.

Good Days Can Provide Hope

Kids sometimes can’t see their own growth. After all, they don’t have enough life experience to see that change happens. In fact, many parents are silent about progress and quite loud about deficiencies. Even in the midst of positive days many children believe they’re doing poorly. You might say, “Mia, I’m impressed with your ability to handle frustration today. It used to be that you’d quickly enter a temper tantrum but now you seem much stronger in this area.” Your affirmation on good days can go a long way to bring hope to your child. Keeping discipline positive by affirming approximately right behavior.

Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” A parent’s encouraging words said at the right time can provide just the medicine for a child’s heart. Some parents are quick with sarcasm, harsh words, or wit to “teach this kid a lesson.” Remember that the positive words of encouragement set the stage for growth in a child’s life.

When you emphasize the positive you are bookmarking that day. In the next few days when things aren’t going so well and a bad day seems to be developing, you can look back on that exceptionally good day and say things like, “Do you remember last week when we had that great day. You were really trying hard then and we all felt better about life. Could you try to go back to doing the same things that you were doing back then?”

Bookmark Those Good Days

Bookmarking good days gives children a memory to go back to. Remember, in order to create a bookmark, you have to express affirmation and encouragement in abundance on the day that things were good. So, don’t just sit back and rest up for the next challenge when things are going well. Instead, take advantage of the moment and be proactive in affirmation and encouragement.

On the other hand, there are things you can do on bad days that you can’t do on good days. Bad days are those days when your child isn’t responding to the correction strategies you’ve set up. You’re doing all the things that you know to do but your child is still not responding well. See Overwhelmed parents need to start here to define the problem. Sometimes on bad days you as a parent can totally change your approach to see if another tactic may help. Other times, children are determined to just have a bad day and you as a parent must hold your ground. Don’t try to sugarcoat a bad day by pretending it wasn’t so bad. It was bad. Let’s just go to bed and try again tomorrow.

Furthermore, a child learns on bad days an important lesson. “I don’t want to have bad days.” That may seem obvious but children who have a number of good days sometimes revert to previous negative behaviors because they forget how bad things were then. You may have to help your child see that a bad day is really bad and that their present choices determine the outcome. Your increased discipline is in direct response to the poor behavior.

Make the Message Clear on Bad Days

Most of the time bad days are followed by better days. Children don’t like bad days any more than parents do. When a parent holds the line using discipline not punishment and makes a point by not giving in, kids get the message and make adjustments accordingly.

A child’s bad day is tough on parents. You’ll likely be upset a good portion of that day. Remember that if you’re doing the right thing and your child is determined to resist then you’re working to break down the stubbornness in the child’s heart. Don’t take your emotional turmoil out on your child. See Anger with Kids while justified is rarely wise.  Just hold the line firmly.

Sometimes the Solution is to Get Help

If the bad days outweigh the good days and what you’re doing doesn’t seem to work then get help. The Biblical Parenting Coaching Program has trained coaches ready to walk beside you to lead your family toward more effective strategies and growth.

Effective parenting requires steady growth. Just because you did all right with one child doesn’t mean you’ll do well with a second or a third. Children are all different and they’re always changing, requiring that parents be on the cutting edge of growth.

Parenting is tough, requiring a lot of work and continual learning. Look for ways to help children have good days. They need them and so do you. Good days provide the footholds for hope to develop and a positive working relationship between parent and child.

This tip is taken from the Christian Parenting Handbook. You can learn more about it here.

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Bad Days from Scott Turansky on Vimeo.




  • Julie Lenzinger
    Posted at 07:05h, 06 January Reply

    Very helpful. Thank you.

    • scott turansky
      Posted at 09:40h, 06 January Reply

      You’re welcome Julie. Thanks for taking time to comment.

  • Rachel Meurer
    Posted at 20:29h, 06 January Reply

    This was a very timely reminder

    • scott turansky
      Posted at 08:54h, 08 January Reply

      Thanks Rachel.

  • Alicia Patterson
    Posted at 07:22h, 08 January Reply

    Solid, actionable advice. Encouraging as well. Thank you.

  • scott turansky
    Posted at 08:55h, 08 January Reply

    Yes Alicia. When it comes to parenting I’m committed to being biblical, practical and focused on the heart. Thanks for commenting.

  • Suzanne Lesser
    Posted at 10:45h, 08 January Reply

    Good reminder to emphasize success and practice we it, but also balanced in admitting kids sometimes regress. Thanks for this!

    • Suzanne Lesser
      Posted at 10:47h, 08 January Reply

      …emphasize success and praise it….

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