Monday, September 30, 2013

CAN LABELING CHILDREN BY THIER BEHAVIOR BE HARMFUL


 

I've met LOTs and LOTs of parents, teachers and non-parents who are closet MDs. That whenever they see a child act a certain way or behave a certain way they have a name for it.
Sad to say we throw around the word/diagnosis "ADD" or "ADHD" like it's a band aid for all types of kids.  We even joke about it, like it's nothing but a 'catch phrase' to explain super-activity or no focus.

I know we love having a name and a box for people, especially children, but it has been proven to be completely overdone.
WHEN I WAS YOUNG THERE WAS NO NAME

There wasn't very many people knowledgeable about ADD or ADHD or AUTISM or OPPOSITIONAL DEFIENCE when I was younger. However, there was a use of the word, "STRONG WILLED CHILD". And I hate to admit it, but I like the 'strong willed child' label better.
With the onset of medicating kids, some who really needed, others who could go without, and most who are seriously MIS-DIAGNOSED by people who aren't professionals in the medical field. I prefer things when I was younger.

Even if a kid had tendencies or issues above, society, parents, teachers, and even other kids just adjusted to it.

WHY DO PARENTS INTRODUCE A CHILD'S LABEL WITH THE CHILD'S NAME
This personally upsets me. I have met parents who tell me their kids name, then explain to me all the medical issues their kid has in one sentence. Truth is, "I want to know your kid without their diagnosis."

Try not focusing on your child's differences or challenges. Focus on ALL the positive blessings having such a child yields.

I want to tell these parents - 'Your child can hear you telling all their business' (remember my grandma said you don't need to tell everyone all your business, let them get to know you on their own)

HOW DOES YOUR LABELING AFFECT YOUR CHILD?

When a parent spells out to other parents, kids, etc that something is wrong with their kid before you even get to interact with the child, I'm sure that kid feels awful.

Your kid hears it EVERYTIME you say it. 'Well you know he's got ADD' or 'She's been diagnosed as ...'

I used to watch my neighbor's daughters cringe whenever their mom met a new lady or kids and she had to share that two of her girls suffered from 'ADHD' and they were adopted. I had to wonder if the parent was doing this for herself - to make us other parents feel bad for her kids/or her - or to prepare us to not judge when she couldn't or wouldn't attempt to control the behavior of her child.

Before you say something about your child while your kid is standing there, imagine how'd you feel if your parent, husband, or even child mentioned ... 'Mommy and Daddy have yelling problems'.

MISSING THE MARK - WRONG ASSUMPTIONS
Now for the longest, I've had people assume that my BOYs were 'ADD' or 'ADHD' because they both were high energy, strong personalities and they sometimes had tantrums (oh my!).

But what people didn't know that both of my sons were subjected to bullying and mistreatment by several teachers and students while in school.
Those situations caused both kids to kind of gain a 'Fight Back' spirit. They were great and well mannered at home. But at school they were aggressive, verbal, and rather bored.

After taking both of my boys at different times to doctors for evaluation, their Pediatrician and Therapist noted that they were fine, intelligent kids and they would out grow much of their hyper and impulsive 'kid' behavior.
You know what? They did. The magical age was 12 yrs old for my oldest son. My youngest son is turning  10 yrs old and with homeschooling he's totally calmed down.

Somethings I noticed about my kids - they lacked the proper amount of sleep. My youngest suffered from 'Sleep Apnea' so we had his tonsils and abnoids removed. It made a big difference in his sleeping habbits and crankiness.

GET A DIAGNOSIS FROM A DOCTOR...not A-wanna be

So I mention this to say, before you allow yourself to be 'bullied' into thinking you need to medicate or evaluate your child. Go to a certified DOCTOR! A teacher, a friend, your mom, is not qualified to make these diagnosis based on their personal opinion.

WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN WITH LABELING?

 

13 comments:

  1. Before you say something about your child while your kid is standing there, imagine how'd you feel if your parent, husband, or even child mentioned ... 'Mommy and Daddy have yelling problems'.

    I LOVE it!

    I particularly dislike the "strong willed child" label. ALL human beings have strong wills - it's just that some are open about it, and some hide it.

    My Mom always said that saying something bad about someone else doesn't tell us anything about the other person - it ONLY tells us about the person speaking.

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  2. Thank you Anna for confirming this. I just feel so bad for the kid. We as parents should love and praise our children dispite their challenges. Our jobs are to help them overcome them as best as they can, not remind them of it at every turn.

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  3. I think of a label as more a DIRECTION for helping the child, learning about their condition, and understanding what they're going through. My youngest son has Sensory Processing Disorder and a number of challenges that go along with it. Only when he was younger in a few situations did I ever mention his diagnosis as it was important to know during the activity. He knows the label, but also knows that it's not important. It's just a name. We focus on making his life comfortable, fulfilling and loved. :)

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  4. Jessy thank you. I do believe having a name for a disorder is helpful to the parent and that we love our kids the way they are. Some parents though, use the label a little to often and point it out when it's not always necessary.

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  5. Thank you for posting this! I blogged about my son and ADHD recently and how we choose not to medicate. My son would be the first to say: "I HAVE ADHD I am NOT ADHD. It's not my name it's my diagnosis."

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  6. Thanks Chrystal, what gets me is how rude people are by pointing out what they think is wrong with someone else's child. I like your son's attitude.

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  7. My son has sensory integration disorder. I never told him nor anyone else and he is doing fine. I spent a lot of time teaching how to deal with his "issues" and I am glad I did not allow him to be labeled. I think he would not have done so well and worked so hard if he thought he had an excuse for the way he is....just my two cents.

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  8. Thanks for posting, not pointing out your kids challenges but helping them to work through them makes a world of difference. Even when your kid doesn't have a diagnosis or even need one, all of us have areas we have to overcome.

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  10. I've actually been planning to write a post about this. I don't consider a diagnosis a "label" and I'm guessing you don't either by the fact that you suggest getting a diagnosis.

    I've never introduced my kids as dyslexic or bipolar or ..whatever. They have these things but it's not how I'd introduce them. Ever. Only recently did I have the courage to post it on my blog. I use the term "courage" very loosely. It was with a full-on anxiety attack that I posted it. I wasn't sure how people would respond. Fortunately, they responded with love, acceptance and support. A.D.H.D. is an easy one to share. Bipolar disorder is not.

    With that said, hiding Type 1 bipolar disorder is impossible. Anyone who is around us will eventually be told that the one child who has it does have it. It's the only way of explaining the extreme out-of-control moods. It's far better for a person to understand the child has a mood disorder than to think the child is a brat (label!).

    I also would never dream of telling another parent their child has such and such! I have parents come to me all the time, through my homeschool consulting business, asking for help. I'm perfectly willing to listen, compare it to my experience with special needs and suggest a course of action for teaching the child and for seeking a true diagnosis.

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  11. I truly believe in getting a diagnosis, what I don't think people should do is point out or throw out a diagnosis without purpose. It's so easy for people to say or name a child's behavior. Sometimes even children they don't know. But as a parent, I believe in only pointing out my kid's issues if I need to. I remember inviting a friend's child over and before her kid could even start playing she told me about why he was punished the day before. The kid just slumped his shoulders and refused to play.

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    1. Oh gosh! I won't go into much about this but I had someone who use to do that. She would brag to others about how she "made" me do something by threats or punishment. To this day, I hate being told what to do. Even if it's right. Even if I should do it. In those situations, I find myself silently refusing to comply just because I was told. It's a personal battle for me. lol

      I agree. If it's not NECESSARY.. don't do it. On my blog, I run everything past my girls first. If they don't like it, it doesn't get posted.

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  12. I love love love this post! I hate labels and I agree with every word you said. Just today someone called my 2 year old ADD because she didn't finish her juice box before putting it down! That's crazy! Oh my, did I just use a label. ;)

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