Rip off your child’s label and throw it away

We often label our children

There’s a new labels advert on TV at the moment. Seen it? The one where kids run round their classroom labelling everything in sight, including themselves. The final message on the screen reads “Labels are powerful”. You bet they are!

As parents, how often do we label ourselves? “I’m a control-freak”, “a worry-wart”, “a rubbish cook”, “a useless mum”. And how often do we label our children?

“You’re a liar”

“A troublemaker”

“A mess!”

“A dyslexic”

We’re so quick to capture something and put it in a box; so impatient to label everything as if that gives us some control over it. When we take it to extremes it easily becomes “We” are right, and “you” in the box or wearing that label, are wrong in some shape or form.

But we’re not nouns, are we? We haven’t been captured in some Star Trek-like stasis, condemned to be held for all eternity in one fixed posture. We are verbs. Full of doing and being. Full of loving, growing, enjoying, exploring, caring and teaching, playing and suffering. We’re not static and unchanging. Our child is not “a pain”, he’s just causing us some at the moment! She’s not “a coward”, she’s just feeling afraid. My son is not “a dyslexic”, he just suffers from dyslexia.

Here’s an example of what can happen when we label kids. Sad isn’t it? Beneath all these labels is a living, changing, dynamic human being. Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes I want things, even people, to be carved in stone so at least I’ll know how to navigate round them. But people do change, and grow. Kids do excite us and disappoint us. And life is messy. Let’s not try too hard to make it neat, to force ourselves always to colour inside the lines. Let’s allow a little room for running, dancing, singing and discovery. No labels. Just being.

What favourite label for your kids are you going to rip off and throw away?




Image courtesy of warradmu /


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