Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nurturing Our Sons & Daughters Series

Nurturing Our Sons & Daughters Series

The Danger of Labeling our Children:Watch What You Say About and In Front of Children and Youth
        In fact, Bruce Perry says, "in order for clinicians to get reimbursed, they have to label. Most secular counselors, doctors and therapist use medical labels, which have shown to have severe effects on people (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2007). Many people feel out-casted and can sometimes cause a person to become lazy by not wanting to take control of their life’s responsibilities.  
        Medical models usually consist of a lengthy list of classifications and emotional and behavioral issues are usually considered as mental illness in conjunction with physical illness (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2007). The medical model stems from an historical view that people with emotional and behavior issues were all demon-possessed.

        Labeling: Labeling children or youth with labels such as "kids At Risk" "Trouble Youth" "Problem Kids" or "Bad Kids" to name a few has a negative affect and
 Using the positive labels helps to instill confidence, security and connect/belonging.This information is based on my experience of Behavior/Emotional observation, Interactions and Encounters with the youth in empowerment program for adolescent females, Working with children, Personal research via: Talking with friends and fellow –classmates (in psychology-social work-counseling class) who have been negatively affected by verbal abuse; and labeled by family members, Case studies, Society, Speaking with counseling professionals and school faculty, Textbooks and Scholastic and Peer Review articles and Research.

        Labeling children and youth as being “Gifted” and “Talented” (Except in certain environments-Performing Arts) is not always the best practice as well and can have some negative affects to 'these kids' and other kid’s (those not considered or labeled as talented/gifted) perception of self in comparison to others. Some might consider using the term At Hope” or "Differently-abled" instead of “At Risk” "Disabled" or “Troubled” or other ascribed medical labels attached to children and youth who may engage in risky behavior because of the above circumstances or who have learning disabilities or behavioral issues. Using the term “At Hope” for All children and youth avoids singling anyone out or in. Medical practitioners are slowly changing their references or medical jargon and terminology but certain medical terms are used for the benefit of billing and reimbursement.

Zastrow, K., & Ashman, N. (2007). Understanding human behavior and the social environment. (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. 

Maia Szalavitz, a senior fellow at, is co-author of "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook" (Basic).

Relative Articles and Websites:
Roth, J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2000). What do adolescents need for healthy development?:
Implications for youth policy. Social Policy Report, 14(1), 1-19.
Labeling theory in juvenile delinquency: An evaluation
The Washington Post: “Gifted? Austistic? Or Just Quirky? : As More Children Receive Diagnoses, Effects of These Labels Seem Mixed:   

At hope’ children better than ‘at risk’? : Washington state lawmaker wants to banish negative labels    

   Since I was a youngster, terms and titles such as Gifted, Talented, At Risk, Troubled
Teens, retarded and disabled people always gave me a negative feeling. I was empathetic of how these labels affect others. I personally believe all children and youth are talented and gifted at something but sometimes are not aware of what area. Children and youth with disabilities, differently-abled or who have hearing issues are treated differently because to the stigmatizing conditions and generalizations that are associated with labeling. In certain environments the title gifted and talented is positive but when used in general can have a negative connotation to it.

   Bottom line; let's be mindful of this when we speak to children, youth and adults because in my research of talking to friends, classmates and others, many of them are still affected by these labels attached to them during their childhood an adolescence. Some of the feel inadequate and unworthy and are anti-social.

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