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...