Teach Children: Hurtful Words Only Have Power if You Give it to Them
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
Hello friends. I hope you are all doing well.
Today I was talking to a dear friend who was upset after someone said something hurtful and untrue about her. It doesn’t matter how old we are, or if we know the source of the insult/lie is wrong, it’s still painful to hear someone say something ugly about you, especially if it’s unwarranted. As adults, we’ve learned to look at the source and know that for the most part, it’s not worth the trouble to argue, explain or try to defend yourself against some people. The truth always surfaces about a lie, people who hurt others are usually in more pain than the ones they hurt, and it’s always better to take the high road. But it still stings, at least for a while. We adults know that those hurtful words only have power over us and our emotions if we allow them to. While we don’t have control over somebody else’s mouth, we are in complete control over how we allow their words to affect us. Kids though, don’t know that. We need to teach them that they have the power and control to decide what to believe. I’ve always told my students, if somebody told you the sky was purple with green polka-dots, you would easily dismiss their belief and say they were wrong. You have the same ability and control to decide whether the insults or hurtful words they said about you are wrong. It’s your choice! (That’s actually the title of one of my stories about this topic in my upcoming book.) Remind them, that even though the words may sting, and they will for a while, they get to decide what to do with them. They can choose to hold on to the words and allow them to cause them even more pain, or they can get rid of them. For some children, it may be helpful to see the hurtful phrase written down and then destroyed. Rip the paper to shreds, crumple it and throw it in the trash, or have an adult toss it into a fireplace or firepit and burn it into ashes. If you are a family of faith, you can also have the child place the hurtful words in a helium balloon and send it to God so He can heal the child of the pain and help him or her forgive the person who hurt them. It doesn’t matter the method you and the child use to get rid of the painful words, only that they learn that they can and should.