two girls lying on the ground
Primary school-aged children often get upset about what other children say to them. Their reaction is to either say something back, to use a physical reaction or tell on them. They are probably the most common things children do when they are hurt by a comment. It is very common for children to experience insults or teasing from children being mean.  When I’m coaching a child experiencing this, I will often ask them about the perpetrator and whether they should care about what that person said. I ask,  “Who is this child? Are they a friend of yours?”. The answer is normally “no”. The next question I ask is, “Do you like them?”.  Again, the answer is usually “no”. So what they are saying is that they are caring about someone who they are not even friends with. Why?

Children Being Mean And How To Deal With It

If a child is on the receiving end of a comment by someone they don’t like then they shouldn’t care. After all why should they care about people that mean nothing to them? They are not good friends. In fact they don’t even know the real ‘you’. In this instance it is best to say something simple that is going to make the other child stop, or try to ignore them. Children need to understand that what their close friends think is much more important than what people you don’t know think about you. A friend will know what they are good at, what their weaknesses are and should be supportive of them. Friends don’t say unkind things. They do make jokey comments and banter. If your child has a friend who likes to banter with them they need to know what they are saying is to be taken as a joke and not get upset. The best thing is to laugh with them or give back as good as they got.

Help your child to recognise which of their friends really care about them and to do to their best to ignore the opinions of others. If others are mean they need to learn to stand up to unkind behaviour. Here’s how.

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