Time to Ditch the Labels and Accept They Are Learning?

16th July 2017

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Is it time to ditch the labels and accept that our children are learning?

We all do it don’t we?

First the Terrible Two’s, then the Threenager, the Effing Fours and the Fantastic Fives.

I’ve done it. I’ve written a post about it, but why do we feel the need to label the years of our children?

True, as our children grow and get older we find ourselves dealing with more tantrums. Our children say more hurtful things and sometimes it feels like they pretty much hate us. We will all discuss which is the worst phase and what we have to ‘look forward to’ but in this are we considering what are children are going through? Or what we are teaching them?

It wasn’t so long ago that I wrote a post saying that the ‘threenager has been the hardest year.’
This has been the hardest year but it has also been very rewarding. Reuben’s personality has really started to come through and being able to watch him grow is amazing. Has he changed in the year? Yes, of course he has. But I think the biggest change is probably with me.

I have accepted that sometimes he isn’t going to be an angel.

He will be tired and that means he listens less. He will have feelings that he doesn’t understand and that will make him angry or scared. And there will be times when he is being a little terror. But will it help me shouting at him? Nope. Not one bit. It adds fuel to the fire and so I have tried to adapt the way I approach things. Don’t get me wrong I still shout but I am trying to think about what Reuben is going through and what has been the trigger. Is it late in the afternoon and he needs to rest? Was he up too early? Has something happened?

So, my point is. Should I have then given him the label of a threenager? Just because he is having a ‘bad day’.

Is that fair? 

I have bad days. I have days where I am tired and grumpy and get a bit shouty.
Would I be happy to be called a moody cow because of it? No.
Would you think it OK to be given the label of moody cow, or something similar, when you were having a bad day?
How would it make you feel? Worse probably. If you heard it you would probably react to it, and not in a great way. Is that what happens when we shout at our ‘threenager’. We might not call them the name to their face but we shout when they ‘misbehave’ and they react just like we would if the shoe was on the other foot.

So instead of us using labels to describe the phases that our children are going through, shouldn’t we think about how we would feel being given a label for having a bad day? I know that it has helped me be a lot less shouty and in return it has helped Reuben to talk to me more about how he feels. We still have our bad days but they are much less than they used to be.

I would love to know your thoughts below.
Do you use the generic labels or are you against labelling your children’s phases?

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15 responses to “Time to Ditch the Labels and Accept They Are Learning?”

  1. Jaki says:

    Guilty as charged. I wrote a post only last week about my four year old. I just think it’s normal as a first time parent, we don’t know what to expect at each age. Thanks so much for linking up to #TriumphantTales – hope to see you again on Tuesday!

    • No we don’t I agree and I too have written a post on my ‘three-nager’. It was only when I thought about the times I haven’t liked being ‘labelled’ that I thought that I do the same to my child – is that right if I don’t like it?

  2. Angela Milnes says:

    I love this post and I agree about the labels. We would like being called moody cows! They are the fantastic twos! Angela #TriumphantTales visiting from The Inspiration Edit 🙂

    • Ah thanks! It’s a mixture of push mummy as close to the brink as I can and then turn on the charm with the I love you’s. Each year has it challenges, they will only get worse I’m sure. But the labelling -is it needed? Does it matter if they don’t hear? But what if they do hear? These are all things that I have been thinking as I throw the labels around and so I’ve decided for me, it needs to stop.

  3. Twinmumanddad says:

    I have used labels such as the terrible twos so refer to our twins behaviour in the past. I don’t tend to think it’s an issue as I don’t say it to my kids. An interesting post. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  4. Nige says:

    I have never used labels for my children, but it is time they got rid great read Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

  5. Rich Sayers says:

    Kids are kids at the end of the day. They will play up, i know both of mine do . We all did it and it is just a part of life

  6. The_tale_of_mummyhood says:

    I don’t tend to use these labels, that’s not to say my children don’t have their moments though! As you say, we all have good and bad days and that’s ok! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  7. suz says:

    Great post. Children pick up on so much more than we give them credit for. Once you start labeling them, they definitely start to act accordingly. Will think of this when my grandson starts acting up 🙂

    • I think we all do it, it is almost second nature. It is also very hard to think what they are going through when they have been acting up all day. This parenting is hard.

  8. Gareth Torrance says:

    Completely agree! My daughter’s two now, and I never refer to her age using that label… Kids are kids… Simple as that. I would hate being called a label…

    • I never thought I would but I started too pretty much as soon as he became 3. Once I stopped thinking that way and started to think about his development and learning, I adjusted my reactions and guess what, his behaviour ‘changed’. More like my attitude changed! I think we need to try and understand our children more.

  9. Sophie Gratton says:

    I absolutely love this post! I think its lovely how you’ve been brave enough to speak out about something as mums so many of us do. All children are learning and they all learn in such different ways, its sad that at such a young age we label them. It’d be lovely if as mums we could all come together and understand our children together more
    Much Love

    • It is so easy to do though isn’t it. You all talk about the hard parts of parenting but no one thinks about how hard and scary it is for our children. The labels we give are ‘harmless’ but are they or does it start a pattern? Taking the time to understand how they feel may not make it all OK but it will make the relationship better, or it did for us anyway.