A wide range of studies has shown that parents may be among their kids’ worst judges.

I presume you might want to ask, why?

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Humans! Yes, the simple answer is because they are humans like everyone else. Granted they are supposed to model for their kids the right way to behave and put their emotions in check.

But the sad truth is, they sometimes fail to do so. It does happen quite regularly with some parents, and they rightly feel horrible about it.

However, whether or not you are one of those parents that regularly label their kids when they err. Asking yourself certain questions before labeling your child’s behavior as bad, can help you drop the habit.

Here are seven possible questions you can ask yourself before labeling your child’s behavior:

1. Will Labeling My Child Teach Him Or Her To Behave Differently?

Affirmative no! Labels can be difficult to shake off whether implied or accurate to the extent that, your child can get the wrong impression when you discipline him or her.

He or she could assume that your words and negative feelings are aimed at his or her personality rather than the exhibited behavior.

So, rather than label your kid as being “aggressive.” Why not teach him or her that there are better ways to expressing one’s self than being aggressive?

2. Will Labeling My Child Strengthens Or Breaks The Bond Between Us?

While it is important you make your child understand that as a parent you have authority to appropriately discipline him or her for exhibiting bad behavior.

It is also important that you show your child how much you love and care for him or her afterwards. 

But should you decide on communicating your child's behavior to him/her by labeling the child, that could create some distance in the parent-child relationship thereafter.

3. Wouldn't I Be Covering My Own Inadequacies As A Parent By Labeling My Child?

In most cases, most parent that label their children's behavior as bad, do so in order to cover their own shortcomings as parents.

So, when next you feel the urge to label your child, just remember you could be feeling that way because you suffered the fate in the hands of your own parents.

4. Are my expectations of him or her realistic?

Your child’s behavior could seem bad to you because of what you expect of him or her.

Some parents, for example, will expect their who is barely two years old to sit in/on a chair for as long as 25-30 minutes during meal time. Such parents clearly do not understand that a child of that age will most probably be experiencing motor development.

It will, therefore, be unwise to label such behavioral restlessness portrayed by the child while having his or her meal as a bad behavior.

5. How will labeling my child make him or her feel?

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Before you label your child's behavior as bad, do well to consider how such a label will make the child feel.

The truth is when your child hears you labeling his or her natural feeling of shyness or timidness as a bad behavior, that will make the child feel more self-conscious.

The effect is always going to be negative since the child will sooner than later begin to see his/herself as a shy person. In most cases, the child grows up nurturing this false belief.

6. Can a child be accurately labeled?

To answer this question, I'm going to ask you a question as a parent.

Do you currently feel reluctant about working to earn a living the same way you probably felt when you were much younger and had no family to take care of?

I guess the answer is most probably a no. It is, therefore, safe to say that you have changed, and that is what happens to us as humans, we change consistently.

So, if you could change from that person who always felt reluctant to work years ago - don't you think it will be gross inaccuracy for you to label your child whom could very well grow up to become a different individual from the one you know now?

7. Wouldn't labeling my child make him or her to falsely believe that talents are innate and unchangeable?

Just like I said earlier, that your child could grow up having a false belief that he or she is shy when you label the child as being shy or timid.

In the same light, labeling your child could give him/her the impression that talents are innate. So, when you label him or her as being too weak or lazy to run fast for instance.

The child will grow up with the false idea that he or she can never become an athlete because she will never be able to run fast.

Whereas, on the contrary, he or she could actually become a great athlete with practice.

I hope with the above questions we can learn to refrain ourselves from labeling our kids as parents.

For more information or to schedule appointment online, please visit our Child Counseling page or call us at 919-647-4600.

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