February 7, 2022

What you need to know about 'Good Child Syndrome'

What is Good Child Syndrome?

Good child syndrome refers to a child who aims to meet their parents’ expectations the whole time and be an angel in their parent’s eyes. They feel they always need to meet whatever is asked of them. They tend to work hard at keeping their parent's love and learn that bad behavior will meet their parent's disapproval. This puts in their minds that they always have to work hard for affection.

Causes and Implications

Children that are given this label may seem happy-go-lucky at first, but they often hold in their feelings as they are too busy trying to meet the expectations of their parents and this can cause them to hold onto their feelings and not express their emotions, which can have negative effects on their development. One can develop Good Child Syndrome out of necessity when children can see how their parents withdraw love when they misbehave. This drives the child to want to stay in their parents ‘good books’ and out of trouble. They often don’t go through the rebellious stage that toddlers, tweens, and teens go through and sometimes miss out on a childhood that they might dream of.
The dangers of the Good Child or, as some like to call it, ‘Perfect child syndrome’, is that children learn to suppress their true self, their emotions and hold secrets away from their parents. They are often on the receiving end of more abuse than most children and find it hard to stand up for themselves. This can cause a huge amount of pent-up anger. The sad thing is the feeling of always wanting to meet other expectations that carry through to adulthood and they can often be called ‘the Good Adult’ and continue for the rest of their lives. For some children, this can lead to a withdrawal from society because of the fear of not ‘being good enough. They have a constant need for people-pleasing and if they don’t please the crowd it can lead to disappointment and a fear that their idea was not good enough. They don’t like to disagree with others and rather just go with what is being said. They don’t like to stand up for themselves for fear of the reactions that they might encounter.
Educators, friends, and family should watch out for exaggerated good behavior and look between the lines and see what is going on because, more often than not, something is underlying this behavior. Often ‘The good child’ will have other psychosomatic symptoms, which is a psychological condition that gives one physical symptoms similar to stress, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and other concerning symptoms.

Overcoming Good Child Syndrome

How can one go around working with someone with good child's syndrome? Creating a different way 
of communicating with your child in a friendly, none-boisterous way can keep the child calm and make them realize that it is OK to make a mistake. If reactions are over the top and too exaggerated, the result can lead to trauma and this leads into a deeper hole of Good Child Syndrome and inevitably makes the child's life miserable.
If one has grown up having ‘The good child syndrome’ and has carried it through to adulthood, it is a good idea to set personal boundaries for others to get an idea of how to treat you. This also allows you to decide who to socialize with and will keep others from overstepping the line.
Many of the behaviors of ‘The Good Child Syndrome’ are received from the discipline they get from their parents. Parents need to accept and respect their child's personalities and let them develop their own identities. Giving the child room to grow and allowing their children to develop their own views is an important part of the child's growth process.





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