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Good Child Syndrome - An Overview

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Good Child Syndrome is a behavior in which kids try to be exceptionally good and perfect to please their parents, and they regard this behavior as a responsibility.

Written by

Dr. Ssneha. B

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham

Published At February 17, 2023
Reviewed AtMarch 2, 2023


Good Child Syndrome is not a medical condition. Instead, it is a term to denote kids who try to be extremely good to be in their parent's good books. However, by doing so, these kids do not express their real feelings and fake themselves. This can create a setback in their growth and development. Good Child Syndrome develops in childhood and, if left unattended, can transition into adulthood too.

How Does Good Child Syndrome Develop?

Parents praise kids when they do simple activities like learning to crawl, walk, attempt a new activity, and so on. However, if a parent scolds a child for misbehaving or being naughty and withholds their love from the child, it could frighten the child and force them always to be a 'perfect' child to maintain the unconditional love from their parents.

Another reason is when parents thrust their opinions and choices on their kids and make decisions on their behalf; they lose their ability to think and be independent.

What Does Being a 'Good Child' Mean?

As every parent wants their child to be good, well-mannered, and maintain a good rapport in society, they describe certain characteristics of a 'good child' to their kids as follows:

  • Being honest.

  • Non-complaining.

  • Good-natured and not getting angry.

  • Not being self-centered.

  • Not fighting with others.

  • Being helpful and not selfish.

The repetitive mentioning of these characteristics by parents and expecting the child to follow the same gets firmly entrenched in the child's mind, and they move to adulthood with the same thoughts. Hence, even in adulthood, they act like the child they were conditioned to be at a young age.

Parents characterize a 'bad child' as follows:

  • Being noisy.

  • Fighting with others.

  • Being dirty.

  • Skipping school.

  • Being selfish.

  • Telling lies.

  • Swearing and talking in foul language.

What Are the Signs of Good Child Syndrome?

These kids grow to be perfect, mature, and well-behaved. However, they feel guilty and become anxious if they cannot meet certain expectations. Some signs exhibited by these kids include the following:

  • They might push themselves beyond what they can achieve something and earn a good name.

  • The 'good' child fails to appreciate their inner feelings and becomes apprehensive about following their instincts. They work hard to achieve the dreams thrust on them by their parents.

  • These kids cannot accept failures and study for long hours to get good grades and panic when they get low grades.

  • Behaving like an 'adult,' which is not appropriate for their age, and feeling that by doing so, they will be praised by their parents.

  • Helping with household tasks that might not be suitable for their age.

  • Engaging only in activities that are considered productive and meaningful.

  • Joining work at a young age to support the family and get a good name.

  • Avoid getting into a quarrel with anyone so as not to earn their parents' hatred.

  • Lying or hiding certain behaviors from parents.

What Are the Effects of Good Child Syndrome?

The following are the consequences of being a 'good child':

  • Everyone desires to get a good name in society, but a 'good child' is taught that this can be achieved only by obeying and agreeing all the time. This prevents them from opening up and speaking their mind. They agree with everybody, even if others are wrong at some point. They do certain works unwillingly to please others. In the long run, they may feel frustrated and worthless.

  • They may feel demotivated, anxious, and worthless when parents take credit for their accomplishments.

  • They cannot tolerate certain relationships if they get criticized, mocked, or not praised by others.

  • These children do not bother about others as they are taught to focus on themselves only.

  • There can be extremities in the consequences. One is that the child may continue to please everyone so they may be praised every time. The other is that they become introverts and do not socialize if they face criticism frequently.

  • They find ways to get upset even if a person talks to them gently and with empathy. Later, they blame the person for making them upset.

  • The 'good children' can plunge into bad habits like drug or alcohol abuse to get over the pressure.

  • They can become incapable of making simple decisions.

  • They always like to be the center of attraction.

How Can Good Child Syndrome Be Corrected?

The parents must correct their approach to the child before correcting the Good Child Syndrome. A few of the methods to help the child overcome 'Good Child Syndrome' include:

  • Polite Approach: Any parent's instinct is to scold or beat the child when they behave in an extremely naughty manner or misbehave. But what matters here is the approach. Instead of punishing the child, locking them in a room, or not talking with them, parents must politely make them understand that what they have done is unacceptable and they need to correct their behavior. Though they may be upset with the child, the child must be reassured that they are still loved.

  • Please The Self: The kids should be taught to listen to their instincts. They must study to place themselves in better positions in the future and not to please others.

  • Not Everyone Can Be Pleased: It should be explained that it is impossible to please everyone. Moreover, they may be exploited at the workplace for their good nature but not adequately rewarded.

  • Learn To Say 'No': If a child is not comfortable doing a particular work, they must be taught to say 'no.' Saying 'no" does not mean they are disobedient, but rather expressing their disinterest in doing that work. It is normal to take care of oneself and is called 'looking after number one.'

  • Talk Loud: These kids must be taught to speak loudly in front of a group or a crowd because parents would have scolded them if they cried, sang, played, or did anything too loudly. So these kids restrict themselves and do not express their emotions.

  • Speak Your Mind: A 'good child' must be told that it is acceptable to disagree with someone's opinion. This need not be done harshly or rudely but rather in a polite way. Not everybody is correct at all times.

  • Set Boundaries: The kids should be taught to maintain boundaries for themselves. They need not share a relationship with someone who treats them badly. They should get rid of such toxic people. By doing so, they gain respect from themselves and others.

  • Ignore Negative People: However nice a person may be, there will always be a person who hates them. So, the 'good child' must learn to impress themselves rather than others and avoid negative people.

  • Try Something New: Enroll themselves in new activities that they are not used to. If they fail in their attempts initially, they should be ready to seek help and rectify the mistake. Once they accomplish the task, they feel confident and comfortable with their failures.

  • Talk To Yourself: Encouraging the child to practice positive affirmations like:

  1. It is fine to make a mistake.

  2. I will learn from my mistakes.

  3. I am growing, and I am learning.

  4. I am worthy and brave.

  5. I will be kind to myself.

  • Relaxation Techniques: Enroll the child in yoga, deep breathing techniques, walking, reading, or doing something they like.

  • Book Reading: Encouraging them to read novels or biographies of persons who have overcome failure and become successful.

  • Be Supportive: The parents must motivate their children to challenge themselves if they consider themselves a failure. They must be supportive if the child scores less and be advised to learn from their mistakes. Also, they must be assured that any work cannot be carried out with complete perfection. Focusing on quality is more important than being perfect.


Good Child Syndrome is a behavior that sprouts up due to bad parenting and pressurizing the child to be 'good.' Instead, parents must be supportive and make the child understand that 'To err is human, to forgive is humane' and that they must learn from their mistakes and be independent in their thoughts.

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Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham
Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham



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