32. Are you restricting growth by labelling your child?

Do you have a little queen or princess at home? Or maybe a little monkey!


Labelling is included in our Sharing Parenting programmes and we discuss whether labels are a positive or negative thing.

If you have felt a connection from a relative who has also ways had a nickname for you then this can be a positive thing.

However, labels can be restrictive (even if you don’t mean them to be).

Drawings of labelling consequences

For example does a little princess feel permission to climb trees, play with mud, join in with the games at Forest school or messy play?

Does the little monkey sometimes want to be recognised for sitting still, concentrating, reading a book or playing quietly?  

With a label it is easy for them and others to make assumptions about the person we are labelling.

Remember also if we are given a label it is sometimes easier to live up to it. That’s often why ‘naughty children’ just carry on with naughty ways – they have been given permission without you realising it.

So, what can you do instead?

It is always better to describe the ‘behaviour’ not the person (or the deed not the doer).

Small drawing of a child with a D hat on a stall and label message

E.g: That was a ‘naughty thing’ is better than you are naughty.

Or she enjoys playing football rather than ‘she’s the sporty one’.

This then opens the options for children to explore – the girl who enjoys football might want to try her hand at art or the boy who is often quiet might want to join in with a noisy activity and this can support them to do so.

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