While in conversation with an ex-student who is now a young mom, she revealed something that I knew probably all along, but yet; its lasting impact, surprised me.
She said to me something about labeling kids:
“I remember growing up with many labels, like
‘Weak in Math’
And one after that had almost become a self fulfilling prophecy, ‘I’m unlucky, my stars are unlucky’
My parents unknowingly were labeling my behaviour and somewhere in the depth of my subconscious, I was retelling these stories to myself. Gradually these labels became my reality and my life was becoming a mess.
It took me 15 years to realize that I was unconsciously living with a label that’s limiting me to live the life I desired.”
But now as a young parent, she recognizes the importance of seeing a child’s behaviour as only a behaviour and ensuring not to attach a label to it.
So if your child takes a little more time to understand a concept, don’t be quick about labeling kids ‘Slow learner’ maybe they’ll take a little more time, but I’m sure once their foundation is strong, they’ll grasp things more quickly.
If your child is not ready to share his toy, don’t label ‘selfish’ maybe your child wants to ensure that his toy is going in careful hands.
If your child talks a lot, don’t label ‘too talkative’ maybe he/she is a little more curious to explore their surroundings.
However your child behaves, as a parent you always have a choice to see the behaviour in an empowering way. Try to decode the purpose behind that behaviour and solve that purpose, the challenging behaviour will dissolve gradually.
Today I want you to pause and reflect on the labels you grew up with. Are they limiting you in anyway? Are you raising your children with any labels? If yes, can you drop it for a moment and have a look at your child’s behaviour with a #nofilter approach.
Here’s my approach on How You Can Liberate Your Child From Labels.
Try the Descriptive Praise. Read 5 Ways Of Complimenting Your Child Right
Parents, teachers, and any adults who want to encourage a child to grow without labels can use this.
Below are some other examples of how this might be used as a “label remover.”
- To a “forgetful” child: “You remembered your lunch before you left home! That’s showing responsibility.”
- To a “lazy” child: “You got half of your room straightened up. All those clothes are back in the drawers or hanging in the closet. That’s what I call persistence!”
Other things parents can say or do to help their child have a new image include:
- Let a child overhear you say something positive about him.
“I couldn’t have gotten all my work done if it wasn’t for R. He spent an hour helping me re-arrange his room. He was so helpful.”
- Model the behavior you’d like to see.Dad responds in a calm voice when R yells at his sister, “You need to explain to your sister what is bothering you. Let’s see if I can help you find the words.”
- Be a storehouse for your child’s special moments.
“You remember last week you struggled to make the air plane. Today you’ve done it all by yourself and it’s spectacular!’
- When the old label reappears, state your feelings or expectations.“I expect you to clean up after yourself. Everyone in this family is expected to pitch in.”