WHEN IT’S OKAY TO IGNORE

“Mom, Ryan’s baseball friend told me that I’m small and that I can’t play baseball,” our three-year old Joaquin said.

Over the years, even my older kids have come up to me at one time or another to report that a classmate or a friend told them they were not good enough.

It’s inevitable that our kids will hear put-downs from others about their looks, their potential, their achievements and just about any trivial thing that concerns them.

As parents, we can react in different ways. We can go and confront that boy who put down our child and warn him to stop bullying our son “or else…” Or we can pull out our child from that school and look for a more friendly environment for him. Or we can constantly hover around our child and make sure no one comes near him who has bad intentions. Or we can teach our kids to attack with meaner words like “Yes I’m small but I’ll grow bigger but you, you’ll stay ugly forever!” (Believe me, there were times in the past, I was so tempted to attack!)

Or we can simply tell our kids to ignore the comment. We can teach our child to listen to the right voices and reject the wrong ones.

When Joaquin told me about the incident, I reminded him of the video we just watched entitled “Dave and the Giant Pickle.” (Talk about timing…) This was VeggieTales version of the biblical account of David and Goliath. I reminded Joaquin that even if David was small, he was able to kill Goliath because God was with him. So even if other kids tell him he’s small, he can still do great things because God will help him. “So Joaquin, you are big because God is with you!”  I saw how his face lit up as he received affirmation from me.

Of course, your response will depend on the gravity of the situation. If your child is constantly being bullied by his classmates and he is starting to hate school because of that, by all means move him to another school. But if it is a simple case of immature teasing, teach your child to ignore those comments, and feed his mind with the right ones. When others say discouraging things to our children, let our words of praise and affirmation speak even louder!

TEASING

Got a message on facebook from a mom asking for advice:

I need a parental advise. I have two kids. An almost 4y/o- girl and a 3.6 y/o boy. With my eldest, I’ve never much encountered this prob much as I can recall, but with my boy, I just did yesterday, twice – being called names, like “bakla” and “iyakin”. It brought back my being pikon when I was a child. And I realized, I wasn’t prepared for this. My father in-law made a joking remark as he was talking with my kid, “bakla ka raw?”. I instantly reacted, asking who said that, and I told him in a nice, but defensive way, “No, Papa, he’s just cautious”. That’s really his character. And he mistakes it as kabaklaan. grrrr…. And so I told my husband that he should tell papa to avoid saying those things to him… then, on the same day, my husband’s cousin teased my boy “iyakin!”, several times. Admittedly, my boy cries easily when pushed or hurt, what should I do? I believe, I should be prepared in such encounters, and I want to respond right, as well as prepare my kids of the real, tough world… I just don’t want to keep mum when anybody says negative words to my kids. hayyy…. help! 🙂

Sad to say, teasing has been accepted as part of our culture. I see many parents who just look the other way, or even join in, when their kids are being teased, not realizing the negative effects teasing can cause in their kids’ lives.

Here’s my reply:

Image and video hosting by TinyPicIt is hard to protect our kids from careless remarks, because we cannot control the people around our kids. But what you did was right. You stood up for your son. But there will be times when we won’t be there to protect him. The best thing you can do is to affirm him whenever you’re together. Our kids primarily get their security from their parents. Even if they are criticized, as long as they receive the affirmation they need from us, they will hold on to our words. Be generous with your positive words. Constantly tell him things like “you’re the man!” “you’re strong” “you’re a hero!” “you’re a blessing!”. You and your husband should make it a goal to build him up with words everyday. As early as now, teach him how to deal with criticism. Explain to him that there will always be people who will not like him. And what they say is not necessarily true. Remind him that he was wonderfully made by God and that God, dad and mom love him unconditionally. If he gets teased, first ask him if  there is any truth in it. “Are you really iyakin?” Cause if it’s true, then maybe he needs to make adjustments also. We can always learn from criticism, whether they’re true or not. If we respond in a healthy way to criticism, God can use that too to make us a better person. On the other hand, if the criticsim is totally untrue, tell him to reject it and to ignore it. And go the opposite spirit by blessing him. So if someone says “bakla” to him, tell him “you are gonna be a mighty man of God, like David who killed the giant Goliath”. Bless your kids everyday.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.