Children without Labels, a book that analyzes how labels pigeonhole and affect children during their growth, by psychologists Alberto Soler and Concepción Roger
Labels condition the development of children: this is one of the conclusions of Niños sin Labels , the new book by Alberto Soler and Concepción Roger, psychologists, in which they analyze which labels are most used with children and what effects and consequences have on them.
Recently published by Ediciones Paidós, the book reviews different stages of the growth process of children, attending to the problems that usually arise and offering a series of tips so that parents can properly educate their children without pigeonholing or comparing them.
“We have been working with children and families for many years and for quite some time we have seen how the issue of labels affected the development of children because it does not allow them to develop freely and completely “, explains the psychologist Alberto Soler at EFEsalud.
Soler, who understands labels as a mechanism that helps us simplify the world, sees them as a problem when we start to apply them to people, since “they are very easy to apply, but very difficult to remove.”
“It is something that in a very important way ends up limiting the development of the person,” he says, “since when it comes to relating or perceiving himself, he ends up behaving according to the label that has been put on him .”
This fact, he points out, is especially notorious among siblings, where comparisons are inevitable and conflicts are common.
“When you have siblings, many times one of them has been labeled in a certain way, which causes the other to behave in a different way because he needs to differentiate himself,” he explains.
“Many times we also put on the labels that they put on us as part of the need we have 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 to when talking to our children, enter into the minimum value judgments and not correct by making a comparison with another person ”.
Grow in a safe environment
Fear, jealousy, gender differences, dependency or disobedience are some of the themes that are explored throughout Children without labels, but a fundamental idea underlies all of them: the importance of growing up in a safe environment that Allow children to express themselves freely and respond to their needs.
“Normally, we take into account needs such as food, security, health or shelter, but they are not the only needs that children have,” says Soler.
And it is that children, despite the fact that “they are in a struggle for autonomy”, are people who “depend on their family to survive and get ahead on a daily basis.” ” Children need to feel that they belong to their environment, that they can participate, ” says Soler, who adds: “All that in the end ends up having an impact on that feeling of security and on the way in which they face their day-to-day life. its environment”.
For Alberto Soler, it is necessary that the dedication that we give to children “ helps them feel safe and accompanied ” because, otherwise, they will end up having significant repercussions on their future.
The psychologist considers that the economic and social conditions in which we find ourselves make it difficult to reconcile work and family, which can affect the education we offer our children.
” Conciliation is still a pending issue that is especially affecting women,” says Soler, who defends demanding that the public powers “have a serious, important and decisive involvement in policies to support and promote paternity.”
Soler demands that the public authorities place childhood as a priority, “that not only the needs of adults are noticed, but also that of children”, and that they begin to “listen to the voice of childhood”, a right recognized by the Convention on the Rights of the Child . “Today decisions are made about them but without listening to what their preferences are or what their needs are,” he criticizes.
In addition, it calls for an “ increase in maternity leave ”, since “they are among the lowest within the European Union”. “They are not even enough to be able to accompany babies during the six months of exclusive breastfeeding recommended by the WHO, ” he says.
In this sense, he points out that these permits must be “flexible”, that families can “freely choose how to organize them” to adapt them to their “reality”, and recalls a historical request: ” direct aid per dependent child that is universal for all families ”, since the economy plays a decisive role in ensuring that children’s basic needs are covered.
“They are a series of measures that are present in many other countries, but in Spain we have not managed to start with real commitment,” he laments.
Changes in education
In recent years, the way in which 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 highlights that ” we have more and more families who 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 depth at the social level” so that the rights of children are “recognized” and put “at the same level as children. of the rest of the people without any type of 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 with an adult, and calls for us to increase “the awareness that children are fully Right to which we must be able to respect ”.