When Someone Isn’t Nice, Should You Ignore It?

People can be rude or insensitive.

How to react when someone is mean

If you are on the receiving end of a hurtful remark, you may be tempted to ignore it or brush it aside rather than risk adding to your discomfort by giving it further attention. Snubs, slights and other verbal “sticks and stones” are part of life, but our words matter, and what we say affects other people and affects how they feel about us.

A caring and constructive response is to talk to a friend, confident, family member in a way that gives you a chance to share your feelings, and the two of you an opportunity to reflect together on how to handle moments like this.

Often, such comments are made in a context that you or may not have witnessed yourself. Even if you think you know the circumstances, there may be more to it than you are aware.

How to navigate socially when you hit a bump.

  1. Tell it Like it Is.  Acknowledge to yourself or your child that what was said was inappropriate—a poor way for anyone to speak to someone else, whatever their gripe may be.
  2. Acknowledge feelings. Ask yourself, “How do I feel about what was said?” This gives you a way to analyze why it hurts so much.
  3. “What was that about?” No need to interrogate the offender, but try to put yourself in their shoes. Could you have misunderstood? Was it intentional. Could they be having a bad day? Is there any evidence that I brought this on?
  4. Do a quick reality check. Are your feelings reasonable given the circumstances? Just for your own understanding, listen to your self-talk for any emotional extreme that suggests you are struggling with something bigger than you might have imagined.

No matter what, there is always a choice. We can either believe the things that makes us feel small, or we can fight hard for ourselves and our worth.

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Learn more on how to connect better

5 Signs Your Child Is The Classroom Bully

No child is perfect. Most parents, at some point, have seen their child be mean to other kids. But if you’re worried that your son or daughter might be a bully at school because they seem to have a habit of putting others down, there are some subtle signs of bullying you should watch out for.

Maybe, in the past, you’ve gotten a phone call from your child’s school. Your son has pushed another kid’s face into some pasta at lunch. He has been reprimanded and is in trouble again.

Or you saw your daughter be snarky to other girls at a classmate’s birthday party and heard her say snide things, like “We can see you are a genius” or “I’m trying to picture you with a personality” to other kids.

Perhaps your child’s peers do his bidding, or you overhear a comment from another child to her mother at a coffee shop — “Casey says I can’t be a sweater-saurus at Halloween” — and you wonder, “Wait, is that like MY child telling other people what to do?”

Overall, you think, “Heck, no, this is not happening.” But sadly it is.

No one ever thinks of themselves as the parent of a bully; no parent wants their child to be a bully to others.

We spend a lot of time thinking about those who are bullied, but as a parent, one of the loneliest experiences is to be the mom or dad of a child you suspect may be bullying other kids and not knowing where to turn or what to do.

Children who turn to bullying others often do not mean to be cruel, but things happen that may lead to them eventually putting others down.

This can be their own low self-esteem, struggles at home, impulsivity, poor relationships and connection to others, poor control over their emotions, social discomfort, a desperate need to fit in, their experience being punished all the time, seeing violence or aggression, or struggles at school.

Being aggressive can become a lifelong pattern that will hurt your child’s future. Part of being a parent is playing detective and trying to figure out what your child needs from very little signs.

If you’re worried your child is a bully, here are 5 signs of bullying behavior that signal your kid needs help.

1. A lack of empathy for others

You notice your child does not try to walk in other people’s shoes. They don’t show compassion or empathy and don’t think about other people. They may blame other people and tend not to take responsibility for their actions.

More than their peers, your child just does not seem to worry about the feelings of other people or their impact on others. This lack of empathy may be a sign that your child is a bully.

2. Obsessing about fitting in

Some kids are very acutely aware of the social hierarchy and social status. Thus, they feel tremendous pressure to fit in. They may try to manage and orchestrate control and are obsessed with their social image, social media, and they spend too much time worrying about how they are perceived.

This can lead your child to make choices to fit into, making them turn into a bully, even though they don’t mean to.

3. Previous experiences with anger, violence, or bullying

Your child has experienced and witnessed bullying, violence, anger, and punishment. They’ve been pushed around so they see aggression and punishment as the answer to their problems.

Since your child has been a victim or has experienced injustice or witnessed adults using aggressive behavior, they may turn to this as their go-to reaction. This may not be their intention and as a parent, you can help him find another way.

4. A tendency to put other people down

You notice your child tends to put other people down while building themselves up. They point out flaws in others and jokes about them, as well as insult them.

Low self-esteem, fear, and even feeling overwhelmed can make some kids become dismissive and put other down others. This is a sign that your child needs your help feeling better about themselves so they don’t resort to bullying others.

5. Recurring behavior problems

Your child struggles with controlling their emotions. They have a history of behavior problems and you notice their friends also share these characteristics.

Behavior problems may mean that your child doesn’t mean the actions they take. Instead, they are impulsive during fights, leading them to act like a bully.

Bullying is a complex issue and parents are not to blame. 

If your child is struggling and becoming a bully, you can help by spotting these 5 signs when he or she is acting up. As a parent, you can help them pick themselves up and adopt better behaviors so that putting other people down doesn’t become a life-long habit.

This article first appeared on Your Tango and has been republished with permission.

As Parents Are We Doing Enough?

A girl with a snotty tone is standing in front of me in line to a haunted hayride. She says snarky things to her friends – clearly a queen bee. She is mean in that cruel, covert, and subtle way. It’s all about the tone and how you look at the person as if the “mean girl” is gauging how mean to be while the victim prays for mercy. The mean girl’s mother is with her and does not even seem to notice, much less care to reprimand her. I’m intrigued. We can’t control everything our kids do, but we can do things to help the bullied children. Often, these kids are left out and struggling right before our eyes, and many parents are not aware of this.

People are having a lot of conversation about the bullying epidemic on social media and coffee shops these days. On the other hand, many parents are washing their hands of the problem, as if to say, “I see it going on around me, but it’s not happening in my house”. Please understand, I am not condemning parents. I am simply asking that we all do our part and try to be more aware. Mentally sign a manifesto to care about what is happening within our control. Talk to your kids about the proper way to treat people, and furthermore, model that behavior. Sit with the mom who pleases you less or maybe is even a bit boring or strange; give her a chance and you might be surprised what you learn about her. It is important we all do this, because our kids are watching.

Some things to think about:

  • Invite everyone or no one

  • Don’t send paper invitations to school

  • Talk to your child about who they interact with to better understand who might expect an invitation

  • Call out kids on mean behavior

  • Set an example of being nice to people in front of your kids – they are watching

  • Ask your child to be sensitive to other people’s feelings and show them what it looks like to be kind to someone

  • Ask your child what he or she may be thinking when someone is harsh or makes fun of them. Expect your child to model a kind tone even with kids they don’t like

We tend to worry more about academics and sports these days, but developing well-rounded, good human beings is actually one of our most important jobs as parents.


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