Teaching our kids to “Not Take It Personally”

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m so excited! We finally have warm weather here in Michigan! I went for a walk earlier today and it felt great, the warm sun on my shoulders and a gentle breeze against my face. Ahhh….it was wonderful.

As I walked, I thought about some of the teen organizations that I’ve been involved with throughout my life. The one thing that’s been consistent with all of them is that they are teaching girls that we need to be nice. Now I agree with the concept, we do need to be nice. But what happens when they’re thrust into a situation where they’re the victim of not-so-nice behavior?  I feel that it’s important to teach young girls the coping skills that are needed in these situations.

Because let’s face it, when they get to Corporate America they’re going to run into people who don’t play by the “we need to be nice” rules.  Things become competitive and some people play dirty.

As I ponder these questions I look back on my life where I’ve been wronged by individuals, and I ask myself how could I have protected myself or changed the outcome in some way?  And the answer is that I couldn’t. There’s no way to see the deviousness of people until it’s exposed.

So, I believe that instead of focusing on protecting ourselves from that kind of behavior and raising suspicious and withdrawn children.  Maybe we should focus on not allowing it to suck our children into negative emotions. We need to teach our youngsters not to take this behavior personally.

This is much easier said than done. But it can be done. I know, you’re wondering how, right?

Well, the first thing that needs to be taught is that someone’s behavior is a reflection of them. I know, you’re laughing. Because, how are you going to teach your child that when Billie Joe punched him in the eye, it had nothing to do with him?  This is really hard, but it’s an important lesson for youngsters to learn.

We need to teach our children that they are responsible for their own actions and not anyone else’s. This is true for the child that was hit as well as the child who threw the punch.

I know what you’re thinking. How do we do that? Well, let me give you an example. Let’s say my son teased another little boy about a new haircut. Not in a malicious way, but in a “hey you got a new haircut” kind of teasing way that little boys do. Now, let’s say the boy who’s teased punches my son.

Now, the first thing parents will say is, “you shouldn’t have teased him.” And that may be true, but I’m sure my son wouldn’t have teased him if he knew how upset the other youngster would get.

Now, we’ve explained to our son that hitting is not an option when you’re in a situation like this. So, he knows the other little boy shouldn’t have hit him. So, he’s confused about what to do here. This is where we tell him to walk away and find an authority figure.

And we also explain that the other little boy’s response was inappropriate and that he shouldn’t have hit him. He should have explained that my son’s teasing hurt his feelings, giving my son the opportunity to apologize.

The message we don’t want to send to our son is “well if you wouldn’t have teased him, you wouldn’t have gotten punched.” This message makes my son responsible for the other child’s behavior and we don’t want to do that, because he will remember this message and will grow with a victim mentality. He’ll believe when bad things happen to him it’s because he caused them. This is a subtle lesson that needs to be taught but a very important one, especially with all the bullying problems in schools today.

This is the groundwork that needs to be laid to prepare our children for later in life when the stakes are higher and the inappropriate behavior much more damaging. By starting now, we’re paving the way for stronger, healthier adults. And isn’t that what parents are supposed to do?

Thanks for reading my post! I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! 🙂

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About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
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12 Responses to Teaching our kids to “Not Take It Personally”

  1. Having spent my childhood learning how to deal with my Mother, all advice is useful and I shall, if and when the time comes, try to be a better m,other myself.

  2. Sara Stinson says:

    Wonderful message today, Lisa. I enjoyed it and hope many young and old read this. 🙂
    Sara

  3. Hello, Lisa! You are one of the fifteen bloggers I nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. The award says it all, I guess, and I believe you deserve it. Cheers! Congrats! =) — Francis (www.thefrancisbaraanivblog.wordpress.com)

  4. Jodi Desautels says:

    Lisa, I agree with you. This is so true! I am impressed by the nomination by one of the other commenters. I would love it if you would want to guest blog with a similar message some time… geared more to the education world.

  5. A well deserved nomination, and an excellent post on proper coping skills. It’s a very valuable coping skill when dealing with – gulp – the adult world and applies to every stage in life, including relationships. It hinges on empathizing with anohter person’s issues, without letting it suck all your own energy, or not standing up for yourself. I liked this. Thought provoking. Needs to be said more often.

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