PARENTING THE EXTRODINARY
Labeling things allows us to put them in neat little groupings.
It helps us identify and sort things like: Red Onions in the first bin, Yellow Onions in the second… etc.
This helps us to organize our lives, have a sense of control, and even be more productive.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately) people are not onions.
We cannot categorize people like places or things because people, unlike onions (sorry Shrek), are very complex.
The woman with brown hair and brown eyes likes coffee. All women with brown hair and brown eyes like coffee.
Not even close.
So it is with labeling things like autism, anxiety, gifted, and all other diagnosis.
Just to be clear, it’s not about being for or against these terms being used, but it is important to understand how labels are used and how they affect outcomes.
First of all, if it’s true for one, it’s not necessarily true for all. For instance, some kids with autism are non-verbal; others are highly verbal but have no emotional language. So, is one autistic and the other not?
A person with social anxiety may not be able to go to the movies while a person with math anxiety would have no problem. Unless of course you are planning on seeing Hidden Figures! They both have anxiety; maybe even a phobia, but they are not the same.
So, the first step in making peace with a label is to know that it is an idea, or a group of identifiers, but there is and will always be many variables.
Knowing this helps us to be flexible in our methods of coping, helping, and teaching.
Second, with every name, label, or concept we are creating identities. You maybe be thinking, 'Okay, my child is gifted. What’s wrong with him identifying with that?' Well, nothing, and everything. Of course there is nothing wrong with being gifted, but what if, as a result of pasting that moniker on to a child it gets in the way of letting them create their own identity. What if they feel they don’t have to try because “I’m gifted” or worse, they feel like a gifted failure because they should have been able to do something they weren’t able to do.
The same idea applies to autism, depression, anxiety, and much more. These words are malleable, and in a constant state of change.
Making sure we and our children know that giving something a name helps us to find resources, support, and encouragement, but it does not have to define us.
It’s not to say that letting your child know their diagnosis is bad, it’s not. We can let them know, if they are curious, and teach them that it’s all an evolving, changing thing. It’s not an identifier that is immovable or stuck. All of the things we are reform and create new pathways within us, we are not in a constant state of anything. The target is always moving and reshaping.
That’s the point of life, parenting, and contentedness… to exponentially activate the evolution of the self. Keep the target moving.
Being flexible with labels, names, and diagnosis allows us to change and to achieve unknown potential.
Let’s not take that from ourselves or our children.
So take that label and … put in the file for use when necessary!
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Hi! I’m Yvette Marie a Thought Wrangler (an intellectual nomad looking for understanding and hope in all things). I created this blog space because I believe Flexibility and Flow in Neurodiversity is not only possible, but necessary for living a full life of health and wellness.