To label a child in derogatory terms is one of the worst things that anyone could do. The mind of a child is pliable, and can be used against that child in so many ways. Adults who should know better – including those who teach – have fallen into the trap of ‘labelling’ a child simply because of the way they look, their race, colour, the way they dress, and the way they act and behave within a crowd.
By their very demeanour, a child can be labelled for all kinds of reasons – some of which are mentioned above. A child may also be labelled if he or she is chronically shy, or introverted in some way – or indeed, holds some kind of physical or mental disability. If a child does not ‘conform’ to the ‘norm’, then they are in danger of being labelled.
If a child is slow to learn and has to be told over and over again, then they can become the butt of cruel and heartless pranks and insults. To constantly label a child only reinforces, within that child’s mind, their own insecurities. They see themselves not as being like all the rest, but as completely different and seperate from the rest.
Some try desperately to conform, to be like their classmates, to ‘look intelligent’ and to fit in. But time and again they are discarded, ignored, laughed at and abused. They begin to see themselves not as a human being, but as an object of fun. These feelings of an inferiority complex can stay with them for the rest of their childhood – even into adulthood and throughout the rest of their lives.
They may have trouble learning and taking in information. This is simply because of the lack of patience shown to them by their ‘teachers’. If a teacher does not expect anything from a child, then why should a child try? They may shy away from school altogether and become withdrawn. And they may even show ‘victim tendencies’ – walking with their heads down, never looking at anyone in the eyes; shuffling on their feet as they stand, not knowing what to do, or where to put themselves.
They may view themselves as less than worthy of anything. Although they may be extremely talented in a given subject – this is hidden from the rest of the class. Bullying ensues, in which the child, who is labelled constantly, has to battle – not only with the daily insults in school, and even from some of the teachers – but with society and within themselves too.
Labelling a child can cause unimaginable damage to the well-being of that child’s mind. To label a child in such a way is paramount to killing their creativity. It is paramount to killing their individuality, and not recognising them as a person in their own right. The damage that this can cause to a child can lead to self-harming, and eventual suicide. There is no doubt that ‘labelling’ harms a child. And it is one of the worst types of mental bullying that any adult can place within a child’s mind.