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Stop Labeling Children: How Negative Labels Hurt 

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Parents and Teachers, Stop labeling children and students: Here’s how negative labels hurt children.


Ever spoken or heard these negative labels: ADHD, Dyslexic, lazy, disorganized, too energetic, bully, too much, stubborn, mean, too loud, grumpy, sassy, bossy, selfish, or liar?

Your children and your students are not these labels. Let’s stop labeling children because these negative labels hurt.

Maybe you were labeled as a child and you know how that has hurt you and has stayed with you into adulthood. If you don’t want that to be repeated in your child’s life, you’ll want to tune in to this episode.

I’m talking about the dangers negative labels have on children. You’ll hear Bailey’s story about how she and three others in her grade four class were told to stand up in front of the class so that everyone could call them “outcasts.” 


I want to share with you Bailey’s story about how she was labeled as a child.  I know it is not an easy story to tell, so I am grateful for Bailey sharing with us.

Bailey’s Story – An Abusive Kindergarten Teacher (3:15)

Bailey’s Kindergarten teacher hit her in the face. She went home with bruises. From then on, she never really felt great about herself.

Bailey’s Story – ADHD (Bad Kid) Diagnosis in First Grade (3:41)

In Grade 1, Bailey was officially diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. It was the early 90’s, so her teachers handled it as the bad kid diagnosis. They said that she was uncontrollable and they couldn’t get her to do anything she didn’t want to do.

Bailey’s Story – Not good enough, too loud, too energetic, too wild, too strong headed, too stupid (4:45)

School was a tough time for Bailey. Even at church, it was drilled into her that she was not good enough, too loud, too energetic, too wild, too strong headed, and too stupid.

Bailey’s Story – Called “Outcast” in Grade 4 (5:13)

In Grade 4, the teacher called Bailey and three other children to the front of the class and had their classmates call them outcasts. She was called stupid every day. As Bailey said, “Every negative label that could be put on a child, you could have been slapped it on me and I would have believed it.”


We see from Bailey’s story that we need to stop labeling children because negative labels hurt. How come we still give negative labels to our children and students?

Is it that we don’t understand them?  Why won’t they sit down, shut up, follow directions when we need them to?  It’s too much in a classroom or a church class to have a child always talking, getting up, or causing trouble.  That’s understandable, but who said to handle it, you can hit them or embarrass them in front of the class by calling them “outcasts” or give them negative labels?

Is it that our personalities clash?  Is it that we don’t have time for this outburst or this misbehavior?  What do we do with this super energetic child that won’t sit still?  They’re driving us crazy.

Are we expecting children to behave like adults?  To have enough cognitive reasoning to understand that now is not the time or the place to let loose or to hold their tongue? 

Are we worried about what other people think of us and our parenting or our classroom management?

What do negative labels achieve for us parents and teachers?  From Bailey’s story, we know for sure they hurt.  She said from early on, she never really felt great about herself.

Bailey’s Story – Those Negative Labels were her Identity (7:43)

At this part in her story, Bailey was getting into trouble all the time. She cried out to God asking, “Why did You make me this way?  I don’t understand.” Very few people who loved her for her. Children want to be loved and to belong for who they are.


I remind you that your child is two parts: one being who they are, designed by God, and two being their behavior which is a choice. Their behavior is not their identity.

Bailey’s teachers and church people got that mixed up.  They saw her behavior and when they didn’t know how to handle it, they forgot her beautiful God given, made in His image, identity.  They spoke negatively about her behavior, labeling it as too much. Bailey, as any child would, took that to mean her identity.  I am too much.

When really, what Bailey needed was a whole lot of love and a little bit of guidance in how to take all of that energy and spirit and things she wanted to say and the friends she wanted to have and guide that into behavior right for the moment.

Bailey’s Story – Making Choices Based on Negative Labels (9:32)

Bailey learned how to read people well.  She could tell when someone didn’t like her. As she grew up, she matured and school became easier. But all that happened to her between the ages of five and fifteen, stayed with her.  Naturally, she made choices based on the negative identity spoken over her.

As Bailey said, “If you don’t believe you are good, you will seek out things that aren’t good.  You don’t believe you deserve good things.” Out of high school, Bailey got into an abusive relationship and many of the choices she made seemed to prove to people that all of those negative labels were right.


Do you have a story like Bailey?  Did a teacher or a parent’s negative labels hurt you?  If so, share in the comments.  I want to hear from you.

Mama, we are all about renewing how we think, speak, and respond.  Negative labels must be kicked out of our thoughts, words, and responses.

Stay tuned for the next five episodes of the Renewed Mama Podcast.

In Episode 84, we talk about positive labels and whether or not they can help or hurt children.  Could it be both?

In Episode 85, Bailey told us how “life is miserable living by what others say about you instead of what God says about you.”  It’s so true.  I can’t wait for you to hear what she shares about that.  So we’ll explore what it is that God says about you and your children.

The best thing you can do is to teach your children how to take off negative labels spoken over them and how to put on truth filled ones.  To do that they need to know the truth of what God says about them. 

In Episosde 86, we talk about what you and your children can do if they experience the same negative, shaming mistreatment in the classroom as Bailey did.

In Episode 87, Bailey shares how she often asked “Why is it so hard for people to be Jesus to me?”   We all hurt others.  How can we make it right with others when we mess up and place negative labels on them? 

In Episode 88, Bailey joins us on the show. Bailey is such a fun, spicy, homeschool Mama.  This is a fantastic conversation you want to listen to.

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Where you once used a negative label over your children or students, use Speak Life Badges, sticker award badges.   

I know that you want to celebrate, encourage, and motivate your children and students.  I know that you want to help them break any lies they are believing from negative labels put on them.

Speak Life Badges is a tool that you can use to turn negative labels into positive labels, to speak the opposite, the truth to your children and students.

I know that Speak Life Badges is an actual label.  It’s a sticker award badge that your child or student can wear on their shirt or put on their notebook or in their I Am Loved Journal.  

Each sticker badge has an positive I Am message that speaks to who they are as a person and who they can grow to become.  Some badge phrase speak to their character.  Some speak to their actions or behavior. 

The scripts are a guide to help you to change your words and to speak in a way that stays patient, positive, and honors your child or student.


Mama, you know that I am here for you.  Do you need help breaking off the negative labels spoken over you as a child? You know that they are holding you back, but you can’t change the negative, critical tape that is replaying in your mind no matter how hard you try. If that’s you, then go right now to  I can help you root out the lies from negative labels and help you to replace them with a truth filled identity.

Go to Renewed Mama Coaching and book your first coaching session now.  Sometimes, all you need is someone else to talk to along with a small tweak here or there of your mindset to unlock a renewed identity for you.

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