Children without labels, educate children without typecasting them


Without labeled children, a book that analyzes how labels typecast and affect children during their growth, by psychologists Alberto Soler and Concepción Roger


Labels condition children's development: this is one of the conclusions of Children Without Labels, the new book by Alberto Soler and Concepción Roger, psychologists, in which they analyze which labels are most used with the little ones and what effects and consequences they have on them.

Recently published by Paidós Editions, the book reviews different stages of the children's growth process, addressing the problems that often arise and offering a series of tips so that parents can properly educate their children without typecasting or comparing them.

"We have been working with children and families for a lot of years and for quite some time we saw how the issue of labels affected the development of children because it does not allow them to develop in a free and complete way," psychologist Alberto Soler explains to EFEsalud.

Soler, who understands labels as a mechanism that helps us simplify the world, sees in them a problem when we start applying them to people, since "they are very easy to put on, but very difficult to remove".

"It's something that in a very important way ends up limiting a person's development," he says, "because when it comes to relating to or perceiving yourself, he ends up behaving according to the label they've put on him."

This fact, he points out, is especially noticeable among brothers, where comparisons are inevitable and conflicts are common.

"When you have siblings, often one of them has been labeled in a certain way, which causes the other store to behave differently because it needs to differentiate itself," he explains.

"Many times we also put the labels that put us as part of our need to differentiate ourselves, to show what our identity or personality is to others," he adds, and advises, "We have to try to be as descriptive as possible when talking to our children, going into the slightest value judgments, and not correcting by making a comparison with another person."

Growing up in a safe environment

Fear, jealousy, gender differences, dependence, or disobedience are some of the topics explored throughout Un-Labeled Children, but in all of them lies a fundamental idea: the importance of growing up in a safe environment that allows children to express themselves freely and respond to their needs.

"Normally, we take into account needs such as food, safety, health or shelter, but they are not the only needs that children have," Soler says.

Even though they are "in a struggle for autonomy," are people who "depend on their family to survive and get ahead on a day-to-day life." "Children need to feel that they belong to their environment, that they can participate," says Soler, who adds: "All of that ends up having an impact on that sense of safety and the way they deal with their day-to-day life and their environment."

For Alberto Soler, it is necessary that the dedication we make to children "contributes to them feeling safe and accompanied" because otherwise they will end up having important repercussions in their future.

The psychologist believes that the economic and social conditions in which we find ourselves hinder the reconciliation between work and the family, which can have an impact on the education we offer our children.

"Conciliation is still an outstanding issue that is affecting women especially," says Soler, who advocates demanding from public authorities "a serious, important and determined involvement in policies to support and promote paternity."

Public aid

Soler calls for public authorities to place children as a priority, "that the needs of adults, but also children, be noted, and that the voice of children be "heard", a right recognized by the Convention on the Rights of Children. "Today decisions are made about them but without hearing what their preferences are or what their needs are," he criticizes.

It also calls for an "increase in maternity leave", as they are "among the lowest within the European Union". "They are not even enough to accompany babies during the six months of exclusive breastfeeding recommended by WHO," she says.

In this regard, it notes that these permits should be "flexible", that families can "freely choose how to organize them" to suit their "reality", and recalls a historical request: "direct aid per child in charge that is universal to all families", as the economy plays a decisive role in onforward needs of children to be covered.

"These are a series of measures that are present in many other countries, but which in Spain we have not managed to get them to start with real commitment," he says.

Changes in education

In recent years, the way parents educate their children has evolved, moving away from certain violent attitudes that prevailed in the past.

"There is a progressive awareness of this issue," says Alberto Soler, who stresses that "more and more families are concerned about educating and raising their children in a conscious way."

However, the psychologist also admits that there is still "a long way to go," and that there needs to be "more socially" to "recognize children's rights" and get "on the same level as other people without any discrimination."

In this sense, Soler emphasizes the tone with which we address children, sometimes with implicit violence that we would not tolerate if we spoke to an adult, and calls for us to increase "the awareness that children are full-minded people to be able to respect."

Children "are very capable people, with great values, who deserve to be given the best possible care."