So many people are now on board with trying to turn the world to a place of equal opportunities, regardless of age, gender, race or stereotypes.
This is a fantastic movement and hopefully we can lead the way for our future generations in acceptance and teach them not to discriminate or label people. Love and positivity is catching, but so is negativity, so why are some young children, even as young as three years old been labelled and categorised by behaviour such as good or naughty?
My friends daughter has just turned three and started nursery in the 'big' room. My friend has had proud mummy moment as her daughter got a rainbow on the behaviour chart. A rainbow means they have been very good, so understandably any parent would be proud of their child. The nursery has a system were the children are put into pictured behaviour categories a thinking cloud - naughty, storm cloud - very naughty, sunshine - good, rainbow - very good and treasure box - they get a prize. I definitely believe in discipline when a child has behaved badly, and praise or reward for good. I do believe good behaviour should be prasied or rewarded but I don't feel we should label our child through a behaviour as bad. Once the bad behaviour has been dealt with, should we not then encourage more positive behaviour rather than stick them with the storm cloud. Is the storm cloud not erasing all the good behaviours they may of done?
When I was a child, my parents had a reward chart which consisted of a tick for good behaviour and they would remove ticks for bad. I felt like they were forgetting everything good I had done so why even bother been good, if it was so easily take it away from me. These are three and four year olds, they need to be shown how to deal with anger and frustration as they are still working out things like emotions and acceptable behaviour. My kids are generally really well behaved preschoolers, but like the rest of them they certainly have their moments. In those moments of bad behaviour they are disciplined with time out, we talk about what happened and then move on. Talking to young children about how to express anger and emotions is important, as they may not even know how to deal with those feelings yet. A balance should be found between positive reinforcement and discipline, so they learn right from wrong without been labelled.
Young children labelled as naughty may start acting naughty as they just accept the label that a grown up has given them. I believe generally mostly children aren't naughty it's the behaviours they sometimes present are. I really don't think we should label them as naughty after a day or week at nursery. Has the nursery tried to talk and find out why they are acting that way (e.g. parents separating or illness), or encouraging positive actions?
If I was labelled as a poor performer at work I'd personally be less likely to want to go out of my way to help. When I was appreciated and thanked I always tried even harder to please my colleagues. I think this is probably similar to how kids may act to labels. Some people grow up to defy labels and prove them wrong but some are beat down by them and become them. Maybe some kids this will work for but personally it made me sad. People are now trying to stop gender labelling, I feel we should also stop behaviour labelling of our preschoolers and instead praise the good behaviour, discipline the bad then show kids how to move on and not be defined by it by a mistake or label. Hopefully this will lead them to making better decisions and actions in the future.