What’s in a Label

LabelRepetition can create truth- just ask any political campaign manager. The same holds true in your family. We parents all secretly hope that by the umpteenth time we’ve repeated something, it finally sinks in and the desired outcome happens.

While there’s a natural aversion to cleaning up the room or taking the time to close the door quietly that delays that desired outcome, not so much when it comes to the labels and nicknames that families frequently attach to the children. And there’s real baggage that comes along with these tags.

Keep on telling me what I am, and that’s what I’ll become” – so very well put by Sue Atkins over at She suggests that we parents look for the labels and nicknames our kids are getting tagged with, and consider their repercussions, consider ways to nudge things in a different direction.

Labels can become self-fulfilling prophecies that you don’t want for your child; the anxiety induced by the label can produce the exact results the child wants to avoid. Labels can also become limits, when we want limitless opportunity for our children. Labels can circumscribe the child’s view of himself, cutting off whole unexplored areas.

So what might seem like a harmless tease or a loving gesture can have significant consequences that we parents should be aware of and watch for in our family dynamics.

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