Helping Your Child Respond to Rudeness

Boy on playground looking sad
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My 3-year-old son, Easton, and I were at the park one day when I ran into some acquaintances and their children. I introduced my son to the other kids, and a 6-year-old boy started calling him by the wrong name, as if to tease or annoy him. Seeing how the wrong name upset my child only encouraged the older boy to continue. I told my son to ignore the teasing, but it really seemed to bother him.

Answering why

As we left, my son asked, "Why did that boy keep saying the wrong name? That's not my name."

I wanted to tell him that the other child was just being rude, but since my son would likely face similar situations with other kids in the future, I recognized the incident as a teachable moment.

First, I told my son that we often don't understand why people do upsetting or hurtful things. If we saw this child again, our goal would be to treat him kindly, to help him behave better by modeling loving actions.

So I told my son, "I don't know why he acted like that, but you know what we should do? Pray for him!"

Our response

On the car ride home, we prayed for the boy in the park and asked the Lord to help him be kinder and treat others as God would want him to. I immediately felt better about the whole situation, as did my son. Through this experience, he learned to pray for those who try to annoy him, especially when there's nothing he can do to change the situation. Praying for others also allows our children to see other children not as enemies, but as human beings with problems of their own.

This article first appeared in the October/November 2016 issue of Focus on the Family magazine and was originally titled "How to Respond to Rudeness." If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. Get this publication delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.
© 2016 by Emily Downs. Used by permission.

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