Labelling kids. Why as adults do we do this?

Labelling kids. Why as adults do we do this?

Labelling kids

This has been preying on my mind for a few days now so I thought I would write about it.

It’s relating something I heard last week and it relates to labelling kids, characterising them by picking out traits, often the not so positive ones, often exaggerating them and labelling them because of this.

I’ll admit, I’ve sometimes thought this way myself but I recently overheard a child say ‘my mum says you’re sometimes [insert not so positive word]. It stopped me in my tracks. The word being used was anything but positive and a rather strong word to use, which seemed even stronger when said by a child to a child.

We all see and hear things in the school playground, at soft play, on the kids football pitch.

Kids will often say things without really meaning them or even properly understanding them. They sometimes laugh at people because of their traits. They sometimes laugh because of the bag a child is carrying or because they are wearing glasses, because of lots of things.


Why do we label kids?

It got me thinking. Why do we label kids?

Naughty, cheeky, boisterous, timid, shy. The list goes on.

There was a little boy in my sons old nursery. He was known as the naughty one. My son told me that he was naughty and that he had heard people say this little boy was naughty.

The little boy was 3 years old. Even at that young age he had already been given a label that his other little friends were using to describe him.

The part about negative labelling of kids that really irks me, I mean really really irks me is when an adult shares this label with their child. This may be done without being mindful of the consequences but why would an adult label another child in a negative way, in front of their own child?

We all want to bring our kids up to be kind. To not to call each other names, to share, to play nicely together, to appreciate everyone’s differences and to get on with everyone. So why would an adult call another child a name/negatively label them and tell their own child? I just don’t understand it.

As a parent surely we’ve got to be mindful not to encourage this sort of name calling? The playground can be a lonely place without adults re-inforcing this sort of name calling as being acceptable.

I’m not saying that people aren’t entitled to their own opinions of others. Of course they are and as parents we all have opinions of other kids. All I’m trying to get across is that we should do this in an accepting way rather than a negative and dare I say it irresponsible way…that’s the part that really annoys me.

I really want to watch the film Wonder with my 6 year old.

They are learning about accepting others at school and accepting everyone’s differences. There is a quote in the film that really resonates with me (especially as a parent and of course always being right about things – I say this tongue in cheek!).

‘When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind’. 

I think that says it all really.

What do you think? Am I being overly ‘ranty’ here? I’d love to hear your views on this.

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