I’m used to it by now. I hear the labels strangers or other people place on my kids.
“He just doesn’t pay attention.”
“He seems so defiant.”
“She won’t sit still.”
“He is so picky.”
“He never gives me a hug, he’s not affectionate.”
“He’s too shy.”
At first those labels sparked a surge of shame inside my chest. “How could I have raised a kid to NOT be social, sit still, pay attention, or obey what other’s ask them to do?” The pressure of making my kids meet the expectations of others weighed on my heart like a ton of bricks for a few years.
That Load Started To Lift
Piece by piece as I started to see these labels as something different, the weight of those labels lifted from my chest, and all made sense after a chat with my aunt this past summer.
Labels come because, as Jade Teta of Metabolic Effect says; we are “meaning making machines.” As humans, we make meaning out of everything so it fits into the story WE want to tell.
All those labels? They are part of a story someone else wants to tell about my child. A story to explain why my child is different, why my child doesn’t follow THEIR rules. That story always includes that person as the center, that person as “right”, and that person as justified in their reasoning. Reality is a little different.
This summer the load of bricks was completely released when I heard a compliment that changed the way I saw all of this.
While visiting my aunt she and I were watching my kids play, when she turned and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said; “Wendy, your kids are all so amazing. They are each unique versions of themselves. I can see exactly who THEY are, and they are doing the very best they can in every moment. They aren’t miniature versions of you. They aren’t robots following every command placed on them. They think, they feel, they reason on their own. They are truly the best versions of themselves.”
The weight of those labels disappeared in that moment. My kids are themselves, they are more than negative labels, they are unique, strong, powerful, wonderful, and downright SUPER!
They won’t submit to something just because a stranger says it’s right, nor should they.
They won’t flippantly give out hugs and affection unless their heart tells them to do so, they are in control of their bodies and do a great job of creating boundaries around it.
They don’t like to sit still as we have an active family that doesn’t sit around and watch TV all day. Sitting in a chair is more than their bodies were made to handle, so they get wiggly.
I see the positive, those who look farther than their own meaning making stories can see it too.
That’s why my friend Dayna Abraham has written a book about Superkids.
She believes all kids have super powers, unique traits, and wonderful abilities to rise above labels, do their best, and be themselves. This activity guide was written to empower parents and children to come out from under the weight of the labels and rise up to be themselves, and feel proud of who they are.
If you see the super traits in your child and want to show them how to rise above the labels, change the story told about them, and become confident about who they truly are, this book is a great way to get there. Or simply telling your own story as my aunt did this past summer. Either way, we want the weight of these labels to be lifted from our shoulders, and away from our children. We no longer care about being a character in someone else’s story, we create our own!