Labels Belong On Objects NOT People!

Photo by Tara Winstead on

Firstly, I’d just like to apologise to my readers for not posting for a few weeks. The inevitable happened and I finally contracted covid after 2 and a half years of managing to escape it. All is fine now and I’m well again, thankfully!

I felt compelled to come on and blog today after Supernanny, Jo Frost dropped a super-whammy of a post on Instagram yesterday,

Jo became a household name across the UK and USA in the early 2000’s, she became well known for helping parents manage difficult behaviours in children on TV, although, perhaps a little controversial, particularly in recent years.

Yesterday, Jo posted an image stating “Today, in the 21st century people want to banish the word ‘naughty’. They say it is a negative word to describe a child’s behaviour. Yet we want to desperately LABEL our children ADD, ADHD, ODD and every other ABCD“.

Quoted from the image – “Today, in the 21st century people want to banish the word ‘naughty’. They say it is a negative word to describe a child’s behaviour. Yet we want to desperately LABEL our children ADD, ADHD, ODD and every other ABCD“.

Quoted from the description – “The word “Naughty” in the 14th century, was originally used to describe someone who was poor, needy, had nothing. In the 19th century it meant disobedient or a child who misbehaved. Later on into the century it was also used to describe someone being sexually unreserved.

When I came to the USA 19 years ago I was told I could not use that word because the American people would be offended as they knew it more referenced in a sexual nature. I reassured them my understanding of the word would be translated globally, and it was.

So my advice… Focus on your child’s actions of such “Naughty” behaviour, why did they behave as such, what do they need, what can they learn? I’ve been playing in this field for a very long time and I know no child who has ever been impacted by the word “Naughty”. However, I know thousands who were impacted by a parent who defined a child by their behaviour. “Your behaviour is Naughty, you acted very unkind to your friend…” is not: “You are unkind.” There is a difference”.


— Jo Frost (Instagram @jofrost)

In the description of the image she went on to discuss where the word ‘naughty” originated from and how it had a different meaning in the US compared to the UK. She gave her advice on understanding the reasons behind children’s behaviours and the importance of our wording e.g. ‘you acted very unkind to your friend’ as opposed to ‘you are unkind‘.

Although I agree with some of the advice she gave in her description, the wording in the image itself has caused a lot of controversy on the platform, seemingly offending the majority of the neurodiverse community, including myself, the parent of a daughter with ADHD.

I personally took issue with the wording in the image, stating that we are desperate to ‘LABEL’ our children. I find it distasteful for a ‘public figure‘ and self-proclaimed ‘supernanny‘ to pass judgement, when actually the correct term is ‘diagnosis‘. It’s not a fashion statement, it’s a neurological condition. It’s a condition of the brain, it is not a behaviour, it is not a mental health condition, it’s not brought on by a persons environment, lifestyle nor is it learnt behaviours. Labels belong on clothes, food and other objects, not people.

I certainly didn’t go looking for a ‘label’ for my daughter, she had always struggled, she was believed to have autism, I never once considered that she may have ADHD until the day she was diagnosed. I will forever live with the guilt of punishing behaviours that were actually frustrations, struggles, signs of her being overwhelmed at not being able to deal with changes and being overstimulated.

In addition to the terminology around ‘labelling‘ our children, there was a lot of controversy around the ‘and every other ABCD‘ comment. Many commenting felt that it was damaging and diminishes the actual meaning of neurological diagnosis’.


My personal view on this is that it came across as very archaic. I genuinely believed we were starting moving away from the perception that ADHD is a term to describe a naughty child, the age old view of ADHD being little boys running around, stealing and setting fire to things. The fact that Jo linked the two in her image generalises and discredits the scientific evidence of what ADHD is and what causes it. It’s not just an acronym of random letters with no meaning. It’s a genuine neurological condition and daily struggle for children and adults alike.

The majority of the comments on Jo’s post show that many people were annoyed by the insensitivity and clear uneducated opinion. Some seemed disappointed, they’d previously followed her and appreciated her advice on parenting whereas others feel that her parenting advice is unwanted, ignorant, patronising and a little dictatory, tyrannical and overbearing.

Although I can appreciate the advice Jo was giving in regards to understanding behaviours and focussing on how we say things to our children. I feel that the wording she used on the main image was archaic and in poor taste. The beliefs that ADHD is linked to ‘naughty’ behaviour, similar to the beliefs that autism and ADHD only affect boys has been discredited and belongs in the past and should stay there. Society needs to move along with medical science.

It’s a shame that a public figure such as Jo posted irrelevant views which are technically now seen as false information. We need to educate not discriminate. Social media is such a powerful tool and I would love to see more factual information shared.

Many diagnosed adults have spent the majority of their lives being told that they’re ‘naughty’ for not paying attention, for failing, for being hyperactive and inattentive, when actually they had struggled with an unknown condition throughout their childhoods. Many children still experience this now.

I can’t talk for every parent of a child with a neurodiversity, however, I can categorically say that I never ‘wanted to desperately label’ my daughter. What became apparent was that my daughter struggled, she seemed younger than her chronological age, she struggled academically, she had horrific meltdowns that could last 4-5 hours but then she’d snap out of it at the click of the fingers, but I had no idea what had triggered it. She was excluded because the school thought she was autistic and couldn’t meet her needs, I took her to the doctors out of pure exhaustion and not knowing what else to do or how to help her. She is not an object and she does not wear a label, what she has is a diagnosis and that diagnosis has helped me understand her and I’ve found that she’s learning to understand herself. A perfect example from last week was that her college time table had changed with no warning, she went to her new teacher who said she wasn’t in their class, she went to her old teacher who said she is no longer with them, so she went to sit in the canteen and called me, she said she was shaking and wanted to cry. I reassured and praised her, it may seem like nothing to everyone else, however, a year ago that would have a caused a huge meltdown, the change and not knowing what she was supposed to do would have tipped her over the edge. She has come on leaps and bounds with how she handles herself. She used to ask me why she can’t be normal like everyone else, she now knows this isn’t anything she has done, this is as a result of her being born prematurely, the birth that saved our lives when pre-eclampsia took over my body. She’s been diagnosed for 8 months, she currently doesn’t take ADHD medication, although she is on the waiting list to see a psychiatrist to discuss medication options, she doesn’t benefit from having ADHD, I don’t benefit from her having ADHD, however, we benefit from her having a diagnosis so that we can understand and educate ourselves on how to help her manage it and obtain the right support for her education and in the future, employment. She doesn’t have a label, she has a diagnosis.

Labels belong on objects, not people.

I do not own the copy rights to the above images or quotes above. Credit: @Jofrost Instagram –

I’ve included a few ADHD resource links from the Amazon store below that you may find beneficial. Late Than Never: Understand, Survive and Thrive a Midlife Diagnosis of ADHD by Emma Mahony. Silent Struggle: Taking Charge of ADHD in Adults, The Complete Guide to Accept Yourself, Embrace Neurodiversity, Master Your Moods, Improve Relationships, Stay Organized, and Succeed in Life by L. William Ross-Child. Raising An Explosive Child: The Comprehensive Guide to Help Parents Understand, Discipline and Raise Better Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Without Fighting Or Yelling by Monica Payne. Charge of Adult ADHD: Proven Strategies to Succeed at Work, at Home, and in Relationships by Russell A Barkley.

Disclaimer – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I have not received any free products from Amazon associate.


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2 responses to “Labels Belong On Objects NOT People!”

  1. There is a difference between a diagnosis and a label. I was very relieved to finally have an accurate diagnosis for my own complex mental illness. It meant that I could get appropriate medication and feel that ‘it wasn’t all in my head’. I live in Texas but was brought up in Scotland – I haven’t noticed any difference in the perception of the word naughty. There is a huge difference between a child being ‘naughty’ and have a mental health meltdown. Good luck and take care after Covid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely agree with you. I hate that people still see diagnosis’ as labels. Many people go through very complex assessments to get answers to their health and it can also take many years of waiting. I also have t noticed any different in the perception of ‘naughty’. If my daughters being naughty, she’s been naughty. I would never say it’s her ADHD. It just shocks me how archaic some peoples views are. Thank you for the well wishes too!

      Liked by 1 person

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