Labeling Children Education

Labeling is for classification, as in the field of science, or organization of office files and personal identification. When applied to children in school files or by parents or doctors within ear shot of the child damage is done to their sensitive self-images that may take years to repair. And here is why. People identify themselves by how they perceive that others view them. Once a label is burned into their memory it literally becomes them even if it is not true. Children will live down or up to this perception as long as they believe it to be true and it then defines them.

And on the other hand when a label is slipped into a school file it follows the child throughout their school years, passed from educator to educator who will apply their own perceptions about the label leading to how they should educate the child. For instance a child that is labeled with ADHD often causes teachers to form a picture of trouble in their minds, without ever having met the child.(Just looking at the large letters sends waves of red flags to my mind.) Once you form a disapproving opinion about a child it is very difficult to reduce the negativity you project in a classroom. The teacher’s energy eventually spreads to the students which cycles back to the targeted student. Truthfully it’s not the teachers fault, but the seed of distrust that has been planted in them when they read the big bold adverse label in that students file.

No child should have their life defined by a label. Every child’s stage of development should be a time of discovery.  By applying labels we smother the opportunity a child deserves to encounter pure life.

You can always tell a child that has been labeled by the story they convey.  A child that introduces himself with excuses for his actions rather than pride about who he is has been labeled. A child that refuses to make any effort to reach a goal or improve behavior has probably heard the label slow, stupid or unreachable at some time in his/her tender years.

The power of suggestion in the formative years can go either way of course, but the best way is to avoid it altogether. Leave labeling to the grocers, the files or the scientist who must classify new discovery. Children should only have one label the name they were given on their birth certificate and everything else is just their unique qualities.