Everywhere I go, I hear, people being called by a different name. As if their name or their being human was not enough. They have been given another label all together.

Noticing these trends to be highest among well read sections of the society, especially the ones who are constantly net savvy or bookworms.

Do not wish to label any particular institute or society or class of people, but surely the ones who are given the responsibility of molding the child’s future, are the ones who do play a safe game. When they are unable to help a child or they feel the child is beyond controllable measures and most importantly to play a safe game, they start labeling the child.  Parents, who are busy and wish to abide by the societal rules, then rush helter-skelter for help. Sometimes it is for their betterment, but sometimes it is just a mere waste of time.

Some of the common label we hear are:

  • ADHD: Say if the child is aimlessly moving around, disturbing the class, not listening, a little adamant, or just does not wish to listen.
  • Slow learner / Learning Disabled: When the child is unable to quickly respond, spelling or sentence errors, does not answer in the class, incomplete books.
  • Autistic: When the child does not at first attempt mingle with others, is shy, does not raise hands to ask questions, loves to be with himself during breaks or on the playground
  • Kleptomaniac: When kids generally pick up things from the desk or while moving around, though they do return back the things after using it.
  • OCD: Last but not the least, OCD. When the child is lying upfront, or wishers to write with one pencil even when it is the tiniest, or cries for their guardian or stands at the window.

While I do not disagree that when a child shows such symptoms which are at a Preliminary stage, which if ignored, later can turn into a big time issue. But my only concern is with “Labels”.

Does Labeling, help to correct the issue. Also for a kid who is still a toddler, would such labels actually have any meaning.

Instead, the kid begins to either continue with their behavior or they shell themselves up. Mostly the child’s subconscious mind starts relating to the Label, whatever meaning they can identify with and they start  molding themselves according to that label.

 

Instead of labeling, certain measures that can be taken would be:

  1. Observation: The moment any of the above issues are noticed, the child needs immediate observation. By observing, one can get to the root cause of the issue, and then remedies can be sorted
  2. Change in Communication: Immediately try and change the means of communication with the child. Preferably a non-verbal communication would be better. Other than that modulating the pitch or tone, could be the best for the child
  3. Strategies: Once you begin to observe the child, you would be aware of what they like and accordingly strategies. Then as per his response use, Rewards and Punishments, Time-outs, Behavioral Charts etc. Modify the teaching methods with the child.
  4. Cause and effects: Explain the child why things must not be done. Instead of reprimanding him all the time, explain him, how his behavior makes him a Bad child and how people will react with him accordingly. What impact that behavior will have.
  5. Act on: Sometimes, just a mere explanation or reasoning with few kids do not work. So once it is better to enact the punishments. You don’t have to be harsh or beat the child. But you can definitely, make him stand separately from the group or can completely ignore him. Please note that a punishment when announced must be followed immediately.
  6. Space and freedom: Most important is let the child be themselves only. They will learn through experiences and your ways of communicating what is good or what is bad. This is the only time, when they can be what they like to be. A restriction at this age, where they hardly understand can be a revolting act from the child. Best is let the child be on his own with keen observation from your end.
  7. Professional Help: Another best option would be to help the child meet a Counselor. Instead of just working on the child alone, they can also work with the Parents and teach them different means of communicating with the child. At the same time, a space for the child, helps the counselor reveal a lot of hidden emotions which could be the underlying cause of the issues faced.

One must keep in mind that however young the child is, their means of understanding your non-verbal communication is the strongest. So they are keenly observing your expressions and attitudes towards themselves. This also includes your mere actions too. At the same time though they may not understand the meaning of the words spoken, but they do understand the meaning through your pitch and tone, which follows your actions.

Since it is the formation stage of the child, whatever reaction they get it is being molded in them. So a wrong label, can lead them to creating a bad self image, which may indirectly pulls out their self confidence and then it can have detrimental issues during the child’s growth years.

 

Be careful, and do not Label the child. Anyways in future, they are going to be labeled by the society based on many other factors, So why push the fact of labeling on them now. Labels look good on notebook covers. Let them be there….

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