Children change and develop but unfortunately labels tend to stick. This can make it hard for children to leave behind negative reputations and start afresh.
How about getting away from good and bad. It's hard to do as we are habitual of it and it's been all around for a very long time. Change is difficult but necessary. What I am suggesting here is to free your child of the label of good or bad. Rather point the good or the bad behaviour. Separate the deed and the doer. For example when your child hits his younger sibling, tell him "hitting is a bad or unhelpful BEHAVIOUR". Tell him "it's not nice to hit. When we don't like something or someone's behaviour, we don't hit". Tell him what to do or what's a much better way to behave like requesting the sibling to share. If your child is sitting and waiting patiently for you to finish your work before he is been taken for play, rather than saying good boy, you can objectify and point his good BEHAVIOUR. When he knows waiting patiently is a GOOD BEHAVIOUR he would be able to associate this behaviour in other areas of his life as well.
Objectifying the behaviour is an encouraging aspect of parenting and breaks the cycle of good and bad labels. It can help start a different way of helping your child to know how to make healthy choices. Ultimately kids do need to know right from wrong and they still need to know that they are capable of doing great things. Asking children what they think of their current action and in what better way they could have dealt with the situation helps them to think maturely and is a great disciplining tool in comparison to punishment.
The biggest disadvantage of labeling is that parents become role models to children to label others. The kids learn to label others from the parents and society at large.
He is a bad boy as he didn't share!
She is a bad girl as she lied to me!
This cognitive or thinking error of labeling others goes a long way with us in life. It becomes the reason behind all conflicts and distressed emotions like anger, guilt, hurt etc which stem from it. For eg. Just think - If you attach a big label of 'mean' for a person cause he didn't share his notes, you are bound to get very angry or hurt. And consequently affects our relationship with that person.
Flavor of gossip accentuates with labeling. Your neighbour eloped with his ex, you are quick to attach a label ' immoral' 'cunning' etc, and see how the grapevine grows. We will have enough to talk and spread rumors about even though nothing is related to our life.