Do you ever wonder, when your child does something really naughty and doesn't appear to care about the consequences, if your child just has a natural "evil" streak? (Evil is probably too strong of a word.) Maybe you wonder if your child will always be a little bit rebellious.
When I ask this question of you, I am thinking about my own son, the youngest of seven. This little tornado of mine is strong-willed, destructive and rough. He regularly dumped all of his toys out of the two big buckets I kept them in within his room. He didn't dump them out because he was looking for a specific toy; he dumped them out just for the sake of it. He would also take the sheets off of his and his brother's beds and empty all of the clothes out of their dressers into a jumbled pile in the middle of the bedroom floor.
He did this several times a day until I removed all of the toys from his room. That's when he started rearranging his furniture. I would find their dressers situated in the corner of the room as if he'd been trying to build a fort out of them there. Later, I would find his dresser and his bed in the middle of the room where I would catch him in the act of jumping from one to the other.
He has broken several expensive items in the house. He loves electronic gadgets, and, no matter how high up out of his reach we place them, he finds a way to climb up to them. Going to the bathroom and having to take my eyes off of him for that minute is risky business in my house.
Yet despite all of this, he is really very sweet. He loves to cuddle up with me on the couch while watching "Dora the Explorer," "Peppa Pig" or "Tomas the Tank Engine." He gives me kisses often. He tells me he loves me. He beams with pride when I praise the scribbles he lovingly draws for me. When he is in his stroller while we ride on the bus, he leans himself as far over as he can to lay his head on my knee and hug my legs.
His eighteen year old sister jokes about his tendency to take things apart and then smile about it. She says he is amazingly clever. She says he is an evil genius who is on his way to becoming an evil overlord. She's right about him being very clever.
I think his intelligence is part of the problem. He is so clever that he bores easily. His curiousity about things gets him into trouble. And he challenges me regularly because, for him, it's fun and it gets my attention.
There is no such thing as an evil child. Some children require more effort than others, but all children are good at heart and just need a combination of rules to live by and the love of their families. Things can happen in a child's life that lead them away from their better nature, but they all start off pure.
I can still remember a day when I was still in preschool. I was (and still am) a chatterbox. My biggest problem in preschool was that I would talk too much and talk when we were supposed to be quiet. I saw everyone as my friend and wanted to chat away with whomever was nearby. One day, I got in trouble for talking when we were supposed to be listening. I was made to stand in the corner and I felt absolutely miserable and ashamed! I can remember the heartbreak of it even to this day. I had not intentionally done anything bad; I had just forgotten that I was supposed to be quiet. And I adored my teachers and was so upset that I had behaved badly enough to get in trouble with them. I cried my eyes out while I stood in that corner.
And I think that is kind of what happens with my son too. He doesn't do any of the bad things he does with any kind of bad intentions. He just forgets that he is not supposed to be doing certain things. He really does want my approval.
And he has it. I love my son, and I believe he is going to do great and awe-inspiring things with his life.
And the answer to the title question is: No, you're child is not evil. And neither is mine.