Rules for Happier Parents: Children Change. When We Let Them


Here is a list of some of the labels I was given as a child:
Always Late.
Picky Eater.
Hates All Sports.
Makes Excuses.
Messy and Disorganized.
Doesn’t Play Well with Others

It took time (decades, in some cases), but I’ve outgrown every one of those. (You’re still welcome to use stubborn, impulsive and loud-mouthed, however). I’m a foodie, an athlete, a hockey fan, and a reliable worker who never misses a deadline.
But when my parents are around, those old identities haunt me.
As it happens, my parents aren’t intentionally pushing me back into my childhood roles. But, many of us ‘supposed’ grown-ups do feel pressure, especially around the holidays, to take up their place once again as middle child, mom’s favorite, rebel-who-doesn’t-eat-salad.
We resent it when family labels define us, but here’s the real kicker: many of us don’t see the ways we label and limit our own kids.

Read the rest in Better Humans: click here.

One Response to “Rules for Happier Parents: Children Change. When We Let Them”

  1. Sue says:

    Thanks for this reminder. I tend to keep my labeling-speak in check when speaking directly to my children, but I definitely still – in fact, always – label them when describing them to others. Also, you focused on the “negative” labels, and I have found – both as labelee and labeler – that the positive labels (good reader, the athletic one) can be just as confining.

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