Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Avital.

You want a present, peaceful and playful family life? I'm here to help you make that a reality.

read more

Are you labeling your child?

Ever heard the phrase, “Labeling is Disabling?” Wonder what it means?

Labeling means using an adjective to describe your child’s character. Basically any time we’re boxing a child into one set of personality traits such as “He’s creative”, “She’s bossy”, “He’s wild”, “She’s a bad eater”… we’re labeling them. It’s the most ‘natural’ thing in the world, something I do all the time and something I’m trying to be very  conscious of.

So what’s so bad about labeling?

  1. Some labels are positive… wouldn’t that reinforce the positive behavior in the child? There is some research to suggest that yes, when you label a child as “a kind child” or “a helpful person” (rather than saying “you’re being kind” or “he was very helpful”) – that these characteristics become strengthened within the child’s self definition.
  2. The problem with labeling begins when it’s done mindlessly and often. We human beings are all so much more complex than just one set of characteristics. We know today that brain plasticity continues throughout our entire lives, and that, therefore, change is always possible. We know from our own selves that we change and behave differently (indeed, perhaps seem likely we are completely different people) in different environments and company: sometimes shy, sometimes outgoing. With some highly strung, with others easy going. At times sensitive and at times tough.
    Even (especially?) when they’re true, they’re disabling. Of course, the labels we use to describe our children inevitably hold some degree of truth. The problem isn’t so much that little Jonny isn’t wild (and don’t say he is!). It’s the fact that they are limiting the child, and the perception of the adult, to that behavior . Even when labels are correct, like stereotyping, they are rarely helpful.
  3. And even positive labels can be limiting. Consider the child who is labeled the “Responsible” one. That child may now be too inhibited to take risks, or act goofy for fear of losing their “positive” label. In this way we are limiting them, yet again. Or if a child is the “Creative” one, that often infers that she cannot also be the “Scientific” one…

    Children (heck, most adults) don’t have the capacity to understand labels or to navigate them. When I was a child one of the labels I was often described with was “sensitive”. It was something I was (ironically) pretty hurt by… shouting back through tear streaked cheeks: “I. Am. Not. Sensitive.” (Yes, I can see the humor in it now!). It took me years to unpack this label and to understand (along with the fact that it was true, I am sensitive) that “sensitivity” takes many shapes and forms, that it needn’t define me. That I, in fact, could own it, shape it, and mold it to please my own self image. I could be sensitive and easily insulted, or I could be sensitive to other people’s needs. As an adult, the choice was mine. But children may not have the capacity to understand and process the labels they are given, much less to take ownership or authorship over them.

  4. Plus, they’re a self fulfilling prophecyWhen we label someone (even in the privacy of our own minds) we are boxing them in to that behavior, and we are wearing glasses that will forever see the child through that lens. So next time they display a contrary behavior, we may chalk it up to “fluke” or as an exception to the rule. The child who is labeled “messy” may not be recognized when they take pains to become neater. The child who is labeled “inconsiderate” will be painted in that light even when their motives are kind and pure. Labels close us off to seeing where the person truly is right now. My goal is to remain open to my children (and to all people!) and allow them to change, adapt and grow in and out of characteristics and behaviors.
  5. When we label, we’re missing the flip-side of that very shadow characteristic. Every human trait has, like a coin, a flip-side. When we label, we tend to go for the shadow trait – the one that we find intolerable or, at least, annoying. This means we’re missing out on the positive traits being displayed. For example a child that is “Wild” might be “Energetic”. Someone who is “Bossy” could be a “Leader”. A kid that is always “Daydreaming” might be “Imaginative”. It’s sobering to realize that many of the traits we value in adulthood (assertiveness, independence, leadership) are looked down on in childhood (oppositional, defiant, demanding). Rather than overlooking the positive traits in our children – or worse, seeing only the negative – let’s flip that coin and (internally, to ourselves) acknowledge the highlights of our children’s personalities.
  6. Labelling is a serious matter. The labels we use to describe our children eventually become the labels they believe to be true about themselves. We can gift them positive self talk that will last a lifetime by avoiding negative labels (and often positive ones, too), and always allowing space for change and growth. Further, we can be that person who always sees the best in our child, and gives them the benefit of the doubt when others might not. What an enduring, meaningful gift.
Were you labelled as a child? How do you avoid labeling today? 
You may also like...

Create a marriage you LOVE with the partner you've got! ⁣

Parent in love to create family bliss.⁣

Are you joining us? We begin July 1st. Check out Parent In Love >> Link in bio @parentingjunkie ⁣

#parentinlove #peacefulpartnering #parentingtogether #mindfulmarriage #familybliss #loveparenting #loveparentingwithhim #loveparentingwithher

There's still time to slide right in! With just 24 hours left, all you need to do is sign up now (for $0)'ll have another 14 days to decide! #ParentInLove Link in bio @ParentingJunkie ( ...

Now look, we’re all tired of the over-inflated results that course creators are flaunting on the interwebs. We’re all suspicious of online courses actually delivering on all their bloated promises. So if you think, “Bah, just another expensive course I don’t need” - I feel you, I do. I take the same wary approach when buying new programs. ⁣

But that’s why I want to share real human beings from all walks of life who have actually been through this course and received meaningful and priceless renewals in their relationships. ⁣

Like Chelsea, who remarked: “When I joined Parent in Love, I was ready to give up on my marriage. Today, my marriage has had a complete overhaul! It's practically a different marriage altogether.”⁣

Or Tanya, who reported: "This course has ABSOLUTELY TRANSFORMED our marriage, our family life, and my own personal growth journey! We still fight, but the fights are fewer and we tend to make up quicker and in front of the kids now!"⁣

And here's what Jonna said: "I have tools that give me hope and I know how to start resolving our conflicts. I have started to notice how my own shift of thoughts changes the whole atmosphere in our home, not only between me and my hubby but with the kids also."⁣

Check out my IGTV for more amazing success stories.⁣

Parent In Love is a 6-month deep-dive online program that will transform your marriage from the inside out. ⁣

Check it out!⁣
LINK IN BIO @parentingjunkie ⁣

Ever find yourself waiting for your partner to change? Sometimes, it feels easier alone. ⁣

As much as you want and need the support - I know sometimes it can just feel easier to run your home on your own. ⁣

No one criticizing. ⁣
No one judging. ⁣
No one commenting. ⁣
No one watching. ⁣
No one adding to your to-do list with their needs.⁣
No one irritating you.⁣

Ah. Bliss. ⁣

But did you ever have these thoughts only to then think: "Yikes! That's not really what I want, is it? What's wrong with me? What's wrong with us!?"⁣

And what has waiting for your partner to change gotten you so far? ⁣

Stop waiting... ⁣

You deserve to have a happy marriage, and your kids deserve to have happy parents. ⁣

And don't wait on your partner, because the Parent In Love program is DESIGNED to be done alone - so that YOU can focus on what YOU can change: yourself.⁣

Your partner will necessarily be affected by the changes you make - because that's how relationships work, we're intertwined like that. ⁣

So TAKE A BREAK trying to change your partner right now, and finally, start to see some real transformation. ⁣

Psst... Your partner doesn't even have to KNOW you're doing the program - not that I'm suggesting you hide this from them, especially if you two are used to discussing financial investments you make - but I DO want you to know that many members have gone through Parent In Love WITHOUT letting their partners know about it. ⁣

And what happened? ⁣

Well, typically their partner would suddenly begin to NOTICE a profound (wonderful!) shift in their relationship and wonder "what's going on?!" ⁣

If you really want to take this program but you're struggling to work through their concerns, especially about the $ investment, I've provided scripts to help you have those important conversations with confidence. ⁣

Get the free Make It Happen PDF in the >>> FAQ >> (link in bio @parentingjunkie) #parentinlove

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.
Add a Comment


2 Replies to “Labeling is Disabling”

  1. I remember being labeled “positive” things by my parents, but it was really a way of conditioning me into approved roles and paths. So when I look back I see how they told me I was so talented in specific areas, but denied me any affirmation in many of the ways I wanted to express myself.

    From my siblings I was labeled as being too talkative, having a big mouth – but honestly, it wasn’t that. It was just because they didn’t want to hear me. I look back at that amazed, because I am really not that talkative. Or, was it the label that shut me up?

Comments are closed.