“Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Hurtful words do hurt!
They can have a devastating impact on a child’s mental and emotional well-being. They can leave them feeling rejected, embarrassed, discouraged, anxious and can affect their self-esteem, self-worth and identity.
After one of my presentations a young lady shared that she was being called fat and she didn’t know what to do. It happens way too often to both girls and boys!
I shared an activity that has helped me, my son and others bounce back from hurtful words.
The goal is to take the hurtful word – in this case F.A.T. – and change it to a meaning that strengthens confidence and resilience, which is beneficial for both mental and emotional health. When you encourage kids to practice this, they will start to see themselves differently.
They will learn that what they say to themselves is in their control and what they choose to tell themselves matters.
F.A.T. could mean
Fabulously. Awesome. Teen.
Fun. And. Talented.
Fit. And. Toned.
Apply One of the Options Below Using the New Meaning to the hurtful word.
Option 1 – ‘You are right! I am a Fabulously Awesome Teen!’ (or the meaning they have created) Since the person delivering the hurtful words is not getting the reaction they expected, there is a good chance they will eventually get bored and stop.
Option 2 – If saying, ‘You are right! I am a Fabulously Awesome Teen!’ feels uncomfortable, then just repeat, ‘I am a Fabulously Awesome Teen!’ to yourself as you walk away.
For every word that hurts, take each letter and have it stand for a positive, empowering meaning. Then use option 1 or 2 with the new meaning.
The more kids hear their own voice saying encouraging words, the more their self-worth will shine!
Until next time…
14 Sep 2022
Strengthen a Child’s Resilience
As kids get older they start to rely more on the relationships with their friends, and less on their parents.
This can be problematic if they believe their friends are the only people they need in their village. Without the benefit of life experiences, friends usually can’t give the support and advice a young person needs to responsibly navigate to adulthood.
Even though I had wonderful friends, they didn’t have the guidance I needed when I shared my sadness and confusion around my parent’s divorce, the lack of relationship with my dad after the divorce and the boy in my class who made fun of me most days.
My mum could see I was struggling and recognized I needed more than she could give me. She realized she needed to expand my village. She started sending me to character development courses, support groups and leadership camps.
As a preteen and teen I wasn’t the least bit interested in going. Getting really angry telling her I didn’t want to go and telling her I didn’t like her, got me nowhere. My Mum would simply reply, ‘You don’t have a choice.’
How does expanding a child’s village help?
I couldn’t see any benefit in my mum’s decision at the time – all I could see was that her choices were taking away time from me hanging out with my friends. Now in reflection, I can clearly see that by expanding my village to include mentors, coaches, teachers, new experiences and wisdom taught me to be confident, responsible and resilient.
Teaching your child the importance of learning from different mentors and role models will not only enrich and expand “their village”, it will also help develop their mental, emotional and physical well-being
Your child will probably not thank you for expanding their village. However, one day they will look back as I did…