As I am sure most parents do, I struggle with whether or not I am doing everything I can to lead my children and teach them the right things to put them on the correct path. Today my beautiful daughter, Faith (6), came to me and told me she had something “very important and serious” she needed to talk to me about. I said, “Okay baby girl, come sit next to mommy and lets talk about it.”
She proceeded to tell me that a few kids at school were picking on her again and she was still getting bullied a little bit and she didn’t like it. She told me she was doing her best to be brave an tell them to please stop it. She expressed that she had talked to her teacher a bit, but she wanted to talk to me about it also. I asked her what was going on and she told me they were calling her names, sticking tongues out at her, and hitting her in the back sometimes. As a momma bear I wanted to blast into protect and conquer mode, but I did not want my daughter to see me react in anger. So, I took a step back and decided to evaluate the process. Here is a little bit of what I came up with and what I have learned over the years in my many roles and professions.
10 Steps To Guiding A Child To Success
- Always encourage your child to come to you and let her know she can talk to you about anything.
- Always take the time to listen and then pray with your child to ask for guidance and resolution.
- If the child is being harmed in any way, remove the threat or work toward an immediate resolution.
- Never lie to a child. Explain the situation truthfully in terms he will understand.
- Lead with compassion and love toward the child and toward the others involved.
- Teach the child to stand up for herself in a kind and loving way, if possible.
- For every one act of discipline or rebuke, it should be followed by at least 10 positive reinforcements.
- Body image starts at a very young age, encourage children to care for themselves and love themselves the way God made them. When they face criticism and name calling from others, reinforce their beauty and the fact that are are made in the image of God.
- Turn to Bible stories, prayer, Christian books on the topic, and other positive examples of handling the problem from trusted sources and be a part of the solution for your child.
- A hug, a smile, a listening ear, a calm demeanor, and the presence of the Lord go a long way in resolving any issue.
This has always been tough for me because I tend to be a bit of a control freak. I have been learning to turn things over to the Lord for many years now, but I still struggle with this everyday. I am usually the one to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to cruelty and kids being mean to each other. I tend to lay down the law and put the ca-bosh on that type of thing immediately. Now that my daughter is in school, I am not there to monitor every single thing and she is learning a bit about handling these things herself.
As she was telling me about the name calling, I asked her, “What names are they calling you?” Her name is Faith, and she told me they are calling her Waith and Baith. This one was a fairly easy one to help her with. I told her a funny story of when kids used to call me names, and about the name game song I learned. I told her that kids tend to go through these stages and the names they were calling her were part of the rhyming name game. I taught her the Faithy, Faithy, bobaithy song and she loved it. She is okay with the silly names now. Then, the real issue came out.
A few kids in her class and in the grades above her keep calling her fat. She told me that fat was bad and that skinny was good. This one really struck home with me because I have always struggled with this issue, as does her daddy, and I know how hurtful that can be. We started this one off in prayer, and took the time to thank God for making us perfect in His image.
Then I asked her if she thought she was fat. She told me no. My next questions was, “Well who makes what those kids say right and what you think wrong?” She told me she didn’t know. After a few minutes of airing her feelings and talking with me about it, she came to the conclusion that she they were not right and that she loved herself just the way she is.
She then asked me if we could work on being healthy and exercising more this summer. We talked about all kinds of things we could do as a family to keep our bodies healthy and honor the Lord with our temples. She really liked this concept and taught me some exercises she learned in gym class.
I pray everyday and with every conversation and moment I have with them that I am doing what God intends me to do and leading my children down the right path. It is hard to listen to your children and coach them on how to solve these tough life issues on their own. I do not always understand why such beautiful and glorious creations from God have to go through this stage of mean hurtful words and actions with each other. I do know that God has a plan and that He sees the big picture, where I do not even have close to enough pieces to start putting the puzzle together.
Parenting truly is the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had the pleasure of doing. What is your take on parenting and dealing with the tough stuff and the tough questions? I would love to hear from you about this. Leave me your comments, and lets talk about it.