My boys like Mr. Men books by Roger Hargreaves. Everytime we go to Fully Booked, they ask me to read at least one of Hargreaves’ books. There are characters like Mr. Fast, Mr. Slow, Mr. Happy, Mr. Busy, and the list goes on and on.
At times, I feel that I have silent labels for my own kids using similar adjectives. I know it is not good to label your children when the labels are negative, so I avoid saying these things aloud. But, I have messed up, too, especially with one son in particular.
One of my sons is very curious. He tends to get his hands into EVERYTHING and he is very physical. He has a reputation for dismantling electronic equipment, toys, and is the type to write on furniture and on walls. Besides this, he tends to injure himself when he is not paying attention to his surroundings or when he is running around. Just this afternoon he fell on his face in the parking lot because he was chasing after a toy. Three days ago, he hit his face on the window sill because he was playing recklessly. So he has a scratched up face right now, but he is fine.
I am sharing these things because he is the one child that sometimes frustrates me. I have shamefully called him, “Destructo-boy,” and my other sons picked up that title, too! I may have been kidding around when I first used it, but because I called this description out, the thought has stayed in my head. Every time he breaks or takes something apart, I immediately revert back to that description. I think to myself, he is really my Mr. Destructive! I’ve been feeling guilty about it lately because if I perpetuate this thought, it will make me think of my son negatively.
So how can I solve this concern? This afternoon, I had a realization. As my mother-in-law was sitting down with us for a chat, she said something about this son of mine that caught on. She said that he was “Mr. Spontaneous.” I don’t think she knows about the Mr. Men books but she gave that title to him and I liked it! I liked it because it was a positive way of describing my son’s curiosity. And it got me thinking, I need to create positive labels for all my kids – labels that encourage and do not discourage. Instead of saying “Mr. Destructive,” I could call my one son, “Mr. Builder.”
The point is, think of the behaviour you want your child to have and then call him by that name instead of the opposite. One of my other sons is the type that gets easily distracted so I should call him “Mr. Focus.” If you have a son that tends to be negative, you can call him “Mr. Positive.”
Labelling is not good when we use words that tear down, but I’m thinking that words that build up can be labels to encourage the right behavior. I’m going to test this theory out! 🙂