The Dangers of Labeling a Child

While the school systems – both public and private – do have a tendency to wrongly label children based on certain criteria, that isn’t the systems only way of failing our children.

For instance, they teach our children that we are all equal and to be treated as such. While that is a nice concept, that simply isn’t the way that the real world operates. Yes, we all got here pretty much the same way, but past that, we are all unique, and there is nothing equal or fair about it.

But our children, after 12 or 13 years of public or private school education, come away believing that everything is supposed to be fair and equal. That puts them at a great disadvantage out in the real world, simply because they are expecting things to be much different than they actually are.

Unfortunately, our children spend the next 12 or 13 years getting knocked on their butts on a regular basis until they realize that the concept of equal and fair simply doesn’t exist in our adult world.

It gets much worse than that. You see, our schools no longer teach our children anything, in the true sense of the word. Our children are taught how to pass a test – a specific test. They are only taught the things that are required to pass that test. If a child can’t learn the things that they need to know to pass that test, they are labeled as learning disabled. If they excel on that test, they are gifted.

Children are now being taught that conflicts are not tolerable or acceptable. Again, that is a nice concept, but unfortunately, that isn’t the way it is in the real world. In the adult world, we face conflicts every single day – whether it is an argument with a spouse or a fight to right a political wrong.

Is it any wonder that an entire generation needs counseling and therapy? They weren’t taught to face or deal with conflicts in school like the older generation was! They can’t handle it, because they haven’t been faced with it.

Yes, we have become a nation that doesn’t want violence. Back when our parents were kids, if two boys had a conflict they met on the playground after school and duked it out. If they were caught fighting, parents were called, and they may have served some detention, or even gotten ‘pops’ in the principals office. But they learned from the experience. They learned that fighting is wrong, but sometimes it is just necessary to settle a conflict.

Today, our school’s have ‘no tolerance’ policies. If kids fight, their parents are called, but so are the police. One or both of the children may be charged with assault, and they will both have to go before a judge and be punished (usually with community service and fines). It doesn’t matter who started the fight, or what the fight was about – they are both equally responsible and punished. What a crock!

Is it any wonder that this generation is growing up not only to believe that we shouldn’t have conflicts, and that we shouldn’t have any violence – but also that to defend one’s self against violence is wrong?

We are raising a confused generation. They are taught in school that all is fair and happy and light. If they aren’t doing well, they are supported or put into a slower class so they can keep up. They aren’t expected to work harder or try harder – it isn’t their fault that they are ‘learning disabled.’ If they want to be on the team, they are automatically on the team – no matter how good or bad they are at the sport in question – all must be fair and equal.

Then, at home, they watch violence on television. They see older siblings that are allowed to do this or that simply because they are older. Their parents tell them stories about how things were when they were in school. The kids don’t know what is right and what is wrong based on the two conflicting things that they are seeing – and the conflict itself is disturbing because they are being taught that conflicts should not exist.

On top of that, when they finish school – IF they finish school – we throw them out into the world and expect them to be prepared to live in it. They apply for a job and don’t get it, which isn’t right because everything is supposed to be equal and fair and it shouldn’t matter that the person that did get the job had more qualifications or skills. But since conflicts shouldn’t exist, and your child doesn’t know how to deal with conflicts anyway, they aren’t equipped to do anything about this unfairness that shouldn’t be.

The rent comes due, and the now grown kid who didn’t get that job (how unfair was that?) doesn’t have the money to pay it, and can’t understand why the landlord can’t put them into a slower class so they can keep up. They end up on the streets, again, not understanding how this could happen since everything is supposed to be fair and no conflicts exist.

This goes on and on – and the poor kid has to either adapt and learn the real rules of living in the real world – or they sink into lives of drugs and crime. The other alternative is that they are forty years old, still expecting Mommy and Daddy to take care of them, because Mommy and Daddy won’t let anything bad happen to them.

Not only are the school systems failing our children, society is also failing them. What can we do about it? Well, we can home school our kids, but that isn’t a feasible option for many parents.

The only thing that most of us can do is try to make sure that our kids get the education that they need in school, teach them what the school isn’t providing, and let them know that the ‘equal and fair’ concept is just an illusion. We have to teach them to fight for what they want – preferably with their heads and not their fists. We have to teach them how to face conflicts. We have to teach them that they will have to work hard to reach their goals, and that things will be expected of them all of their lives.

This is the hardest part for parents: You simply have to let your kids fall on their butts while they are still young, and don’t do anything to help them up, and don’t allow the school to help them either. Force them to figure things out for themselves in some situations – and they will learn that everything is not always equal or fair, that conflicts do exist, and that they must learn to deal with all of that and face it head on if they are to survive and succeed in the real world.

Again, that is hard for any parent, but in most cases, it is the greatest gift you can give to your child. Allow them to fall now, and let them figure it out while you are still close enough to stop anything harmful from happening to them…later, you won’t be standing by, and you and your child both need to know that they will be able to get back up and keep working towards success.