The issue of labels is very important. Think of jars of jam in a supermarket. It's easy to stick labels on them, as it's done sequentially by a machine. However, have you ever tried to remove one of those labels? It's almost impossible. You can try to get it off using hot water, alcohol or a scourer, but it's not easy. It's the same with the way we label children and other people. When you create a label for yourself, or if others devise one for you, almost without noticing, you start to behave in the way that's expected of you.
The academic system focuses too heavily on qualifications, exams and tests. Almost no value is placed on effort, despite the fact a child might have been working hard every day of the school year. In the end, whether you use one methodology or another, you still have to sit a test. If your child gets very good grades, you should acknowledge how much effort they've put in over the year, rather than focusing on what their results are. It's a matter of getting them to realize that the grades they got are a consequence of the effort they made. Above all, they should know that you'd still be pleased if their grades hadn't been so good, because you want them to be able to learn and enjoy what they're doing, rather than just get good grades. You should try to convey that you want them to be curious and motivated and that you value their strength and energy.
We all want our children to be obedient. My own children are still small, so, when we're outside, I want them to do what I say. I want them to stop if I tell them to, and I want them to behave in way that makes my life easier. However, when children approach adolescence, things get more difficult because the relationship you have with them changes. Teenagers no longer see their parents as sources of inspiration and guidance and instead start to focus on their peer group more as their frame of reference. If you teach them to be blindly obedient when they're little, they're going to behave in the same way when they're teenagers. So, when the leader of their group of friends says, "Smoke this, it's awesome," they'll do it.
Instead of teaching our children blind obedience, we should encourage them to think critically. However, as parents, that's much more difficult to do when they're small because it's time-consuming and inconvenient. You have to exercise restraint, bite your tongue, be patient and stay one step behind. However, if you encourage your child to think critically and not just do things because either you or someone else tells them to, as they grow up, they're going to be better able to distinguish between right and wrong and will not just stand by when they see someone being treated in a demeaning or unfair way. Instead, they'll be able to stop this type of behavior from occurring. Furthermore, they will have the awareness to avoid taking unnecessary risks such as drinking alcohol and driving without observing safety regulations and will also respect their own bodies and make sure others respect them. They can only do this if they value critical thought over blind obedience. Of course, we all have to follow the rules, but only when it comes to things we think are important. Therefore, as parents your job is to make this easy for your kids by only expecting them to be obedient when they really have to be.