ESSENCE Poll: What Phrases Do You Avoid Saying to Your Child?

Labels have the power to encourage or discourage certain behaviors for a lifetime, especially when enforced at a young age. This is the message campaigns such as Girl Scouts of the USA and’s Ban Bossy are working to spread. 

“We need to recognize the many ways we systematically discourage leadership in girls from a young age – and instead, we need to encourage them,” shared Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, founder of

In her “Ban Bossy” PSA, Beyonce says, “Girls are less interested in leadership than boys and that’s because they worry about being called “bossy” while little boys who step up are called “leaders.” 

“I’m not bossy — I’m a boss,” the superstar added.

Little girls aren’t the only ones bearing the brunt of labels used to squash certain behavior. A video by the Representation Project attempts to address the struggles of little boy who are told to “be a man” or “stop crying” when they show sensitivity, leaving them to associate shame with the very important emotion.

What labels do you try to avoid as a parent? Share your thoughts in the comment below.


[poll id=462566]

Loading the player...