Which of the following sentences do you use for your children or for children of your friends or loved ones?
1. Oh, you are such a beautiful girl.
2. Wow, you look gorgeous in that pink dress.
3. You are a handsome boy.
4. How well behaved is this child!
5. If you get a little better in your studies, then you will be the best boy on earth.
6. How organised is this little girl.
7. She has all the qualities of a good girl.
8. See, how much he helps his dad, good boy!
9. She is very charming, despite a dark complexion.
10. When you reduce weight, you will start looking gorgeous.
11. You should eat a little more to look energetic.
12.Your eyes look dull, don’t you get enough sleep!
13. Oh, she hasn’t picked up on her height! May be her aunt was short.
14. Boys don’t cry, come on be a good boy.
15. Hey there, no exercise these days, visible!
16. Hey, this boy never back answers, so obedient.
17. Look at his sister, she is so hardworking, why can’t he too be!
18. I don’t know what to do with this boy!
19. I don’t think she is good for anything, she should be married off soon.
20. What on earth will teach you the right lessons!
Some of these may appear to be compliments, while others appear to be suggestions by wellwishers and some are remarks or comments passed on the children.
Please go through them once again, do you find a common thread from each of the above sentences? Each of the above statements carry a label.
Consciously or unconsciously we start giving labels, naming names from the day the child is born. “Oh, she’s so fair”, “Oh, he looks like his dad”, “Her features are not as sharp” etc. all these are familiar labels that we get to hear usually.
I am not approving of giving ‘good’ labels, forget about the ‘bad’ ones. If a child is called ‘beautiful’, her expectation from herself shall always be to look beautiful. If a child is called ‘artistic’, he may start feeling bad if he loses interest in art.
The impact of negative labels is certainly understood by all. If you are calling a child ‘disorganised’, he starts believing that he cannot organise himself. Hence, he puts no efforts in that direction. Similarly, if a teenager is labeled as a ‘rebel’, he will develop tendencies of disobeying and over a period of time decides to prove the label right. All this may happen at a subconscious level.
Actually speaking, labeling comes very naturally to adults, more or less all of us have also grown up with labels. At a very tender age we try to assess that what are the inclinations of children and start giving inputs to our own minds subconsciously. It has to be the act that is labelled. For example while practicing for competitive exams, your son does well in DI, then please appreciate his efforts and not call him a good statistician. If the toddler in your house teaches his soft toys while playing, it does not mean he will be a good teacher. If he uses his building blocks to create his own designs we can’t label him as an architect.
I have come across friends who believe in moulding the child in ways that they think are right. For example, if they believe that being responsible and being sensitive are virtues of women of substance, they deliberately (as part of parenting) label their daughters as responsible and sensitive. This in turn makes the daughter responsible and sensitive and can go very far.
Let’s pledge to stop labeling our children- good, bad, neutral
“Don’t Rely Too Much On Labels, For Too Often They Are Fabels.”
– Charles Spurgeon
Cheers to Parenting
Guest Author: Sadaf Chaudhary
Sadaf Chaudhary is a Happiness Coach. She has about 20+ years of experience in dealing with the Happiness of children and women. She is an entrepreneur and a trainer too, not to forget, a passionate parent at heart.
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