You're probably familiar with the idea that putting a label on kids is a bad thing. They will do their darndest to live up to it. Call little Johnny a trouble maker often enough and he'll show you just what kind of trouble he can get up to. "Man, Suzy, you're such a whiner!" is not likely in the slightest to reduce the whining.
Yeah. This I know. And, yet, I've got Max all labeled in my head. In fact, we've even said it aloud. Anthony and I joke that Max's motto is, "If it's said to me, I must disagree." This is funny and true. But, are we helping to make it true by saying it?
Truly, Anthony says at dinner one night, "It didn't rain on me on my bike ride today." Max said, "No! It was raining!" He wasn't even there! It's crazy stuff like this that he argues about.
He also is unreliable in the truth department. Sometimes I can tell he's telling the truth, but a lot of times I can't tell. So, yes, we've sort of labeled him as a liar. I try hard to tell him both that it's hard to trust him because he isn't always honest and to let him know that I expect he'll start telling the truth sometime and then, after he's done that for a while, I'll be able to trust him.
It's a hard thing this whole labeling deal.