"He Called Me Ugly"

When a classmate insults your child, what should you say? 

I have a fundamental belief that people—including children—appreciate being leveled with. They feel more confident when they are given an accurate representation of reality. On the flip side, they feel unsure when they are given bogus information.
 
You need not look much further than your own children to see evidence of this. Children learn to spot a parent’s gush at an early age and, the older they get, the more they realize that Mom and Dad see them through rose-colored glasses—glasses that the rest of the world isn’t wearing. The more often Mom and Dad's words conflict with reality, the less likely their words will have any power.
 
So as painful as it is when someone says something unkind to a child of yours, your best bet is to level with your child. Postpone the gushing and the over-the-top praise, which reminds them that you love them, but gives them little...
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When Children Say Horrifying Things

Question: During a play date, my friend’s seven-year-old daughter announced: “I’m fat! Look at my tummy! Why does it stick out?”

We were all horrified, especially because she is tiny—maybe even underweight. I think she was just saying it to see our reaction. What should our reaction have been?

Answer: Here is a great mantra to remember when children say something concerning:

Stay calm. Be curious.

Stay calm because sometimes the adult’s reaction is much, much worse than the problem, and it gives the child too much attention for something that might not need attention. Beyond that, responding in horror to issues of body size or looks—either through gasps or words—communicates to the child that you believe being “fat” (or “ugly” or whatever the word might be) is something to be terribly upset by—and this can cause a cascade of problems down the line.


What if the child later struggles with weight?...

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Here Is a Strategy for Getting Your Kids to Confide in You

We all hope that our children confide in us. But sometimes, they might feel afraid to tell us what is really going on.

Or, they might feel embarrassed. 

Here's a great way to keep the lines of communication open.

Let your kids pick out a journal they love. Tell them that if they ever feel afraid to tell you something, they can write it in the journal and leave it under your pillow.

Promise them that you will do your best to write your response on the next page of the journal and leave it under your child's pillow.

Of course, there may be times when your children disclose something that requires a one-on-one, in-person conversation.

But often, you can save your children a little embarrassment or anxiety by simply letting the conversations occur in a journal. It will help your children open up and continue to confide in you as their lives become more and more complex.

If you like this tool, check out Resilience-Based Parenting, where we provide 52 tools for raising...

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