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Moms- don't do this to your children.

Kirsten Long  Life Coaching Blog

My late sister was three years younger than me. When she was in matric choosing what to study, the headmistress of the school called her in:
"I hope you're not going to be a dropout like your sister"
The headmistress was referring to me, and thought this because I had not chosen to become a teacher. She labelled me as a dropout.
She could have said something like:
"I was so disappointed that your sister didn't choose teaching."
What she in fact did, was to confuse my behaviour with me personally.

Can you believe that after all these years, it still irritates me? (And she's not even with us anymore) Fortunately, she was the only person who ever said that about me, so I did not adopt it as a truth about myself.

It did teach me a lesson though- and it was something I've always been very careful with in terms of my own children. Instead of labelling the child, rather talk about the behaviour.

Say “I’m unhappy with your marks" rather than "you're stupid" or “you’re lazy".

Say "Your behaviour on Sat afternoon was unacceptable" rather than "you're a liar and a cheat".

By the way, this is also important with positive things.

Say, "You can see your hard work has paid off" rather than "you're a genius".

Say, "The colours you are wearing compliment you well" rather than "you're gorgeous.

The thing is this: labelling someone often results in them living by that label. If you are told you are stupid, then you will see this as a characteristic of yourself which is difficult to change.

There is a huge difference between saying "You failed " and "You are a failure". The second one describes what you think about the person and does not contribute to the child learning anything.

If you say something specific about the behaviour then the person has a good idea of the actions they are taking and the consequences arising from that. This way they can also adjust their actions in the future, if necessary, or continue taking actions that are providing positive consequences.

Labelling a child disempowers them.

Talking to their behaviour gives them choices to do something different next time.

So watch your language when you talk to your kids and, above all else, avoid labelling them!

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