By Joey and Carla Link
March 17, 2021
In the “Back to the Future” movies, the word “Chicken” always caught Marty McFly’s ear. You could call him any other name, criticize him and say anything else bad about him, but when you called him “CHICKEN!”, it made him mad and he wanted to take that person on and would not back down. Name calling by kids towards siblings or other kids has gone on since Cain and Abel’s time in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Words such as “idiot”, “stupid” and such were not allowed in the Link household when our kids were growing up. We are fairly sure such words aren’t allowed in your households either. These kinds of words only cause one thing and that is “Bring on the fight!” Have you taught your kids how to hear a name thrown their way that is meant to hurt and not take it personally?Have you taught them how to let it go so it doesn’t control their thinking and tempt them to seek revenge?
- Joseph’s brothers threw many a sneer at him before they sold him into slavery. For some reason they didn’t seem affected by the Godly character of their father Isaac, but they were consumed with jealously. Joseph didn’t respond to their verbal jabs and later saved the family from certain death by starvation and showed the true meaning of forgiveness. (Genesis 37-45)
- David’s brothers didn’t think much of him when he went to visit them when Goliath was calling the armies of Israel out to fight him. David’s brother called him “conceited and wicked”. That is like calling someone “Arrogant, stuck on themselves and evil”. (I Samuel 17:28-29)
How to Help Kids Deal with What Others Say About Them
- Know who they are in God: David had a strong faith in God and in His protection. Are your kids as confident in who they are in God and that He loves them and has a wonderful plan and purpose for their lives? We loved the bracelets “WWJD” (What would Jesus Do) when they were popular. We used that term in our family a lot and encouraged our kids when they faced a Goliath to ask themselves that question 1st.
- Be confident in their family’s love: Do your kids feel loved and accepted by all members of your immediate family? This is where having a strong family identity comes into play. Kids who know their family is a safe, secure (in who they are) and fun place to be don’t need the approval of peers. Oh, the 2nd question we encouraged our kids to ask themselves after “What would Jesus do?” is “What would Dad and Mom do?” followed by “What should I do?”
- Learn to control their emotions: James 1:19-20 says “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
What are you doing to help your kids keep their emotions in line?
- Be Quick to Listen – How well do your kids listen to you? What do you do when they don’t?
- You can have them repeat back to you what you have said to them every time you talk to them to get them to listen.
- You can also hold them accountable to do what you have told them to do with no reminders.
- Slow to Speak – If your kids are always talking (those with the Sanguine or Choleric temperaments) they will respond to what they think you are saying before you are done saying it!
- Have them sit in an isolated place and tell them they can get up when they are ready to listen to you without talking.
- They need to apologize for not being quiet when you were talking to them.
- Slow to become Angry – Have your children worked on getting their angry outbursts under control?
- Can you look back over the past few months or year to see how they have worked to control their anger when someone says something to them they don’t like?
- If not, it is time to come up with a plan to work with them on it.
Teaching your kids to control their emotions starts at home. When their emotions get out of control, have them sit in a place by themselves until they get them back under control. Even good emotions such as being silly or bouncing off the walls with giddiness is out of control.Apologizing every time their emotions are out of control will help them learn to keep them under control.