Here is an example of the negative effects of being labelled by a so-called ‘good’ label.
Another example from our Peace of Mind workshops was of a “good girl”. The parent using the label had intended to reinforce the good behaviour of the youngster, but the woman relating the story to us was almost tearful, realising that she had almost put herself in a kind of “jail” – hadn’t done normal teenage things because “good girls” didn’t do things like that!
Whether we use labels to criticise or to praise, it implies judgement more of the individual than of their actions. The alternative strategy would once more be to focus on the behaviour:
I think the way you knuckle down to your homework every day is wonderful, instead of “You’re a good boy / girl”.
You managed to balance your bike on one wheel all the way up the road without falling once! Instead of “You’re so clever!”
Again, this way of constructing sentences separates the do-er from the deed as was mentioned in Labels as expression of our own feelings a few entries ago.
There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”, including material and exercises on LABELLING. Download chapter 1 free now!