There’s been a lot of talk this week about BanBossy, a venture headed by Sheryl Sandberg. I agree: we shouldn’t be labeling girls “bossy”. We shouldn’t be labeling any child, anything.
Labels perpetrate behaviors, and put fixed messages on children who are growing and changing. A child who behaves a certain way for a day, or a week, or a month, is growing, experimenting, feeling out the world. If someone labels that child “shy” or “picky eater” or “good girl” or “bully” or “great athlete” the child has to deal with all the expectations that come along with that label, and they are heavy. A child who is forging an identity may stick to the ones given without realizing.
And what about ‘bossy’? Well, if bossy means, not listening to others, not cooperating, and always wanting to make decisions on your own– those aren’t qualities of a good leader. So let’s ban bossy, all the other labels, and encourage our children to be empathetic, to learn about the world, and to be truthful to themselves and others.