We cannot change our looks or our inborn abilities. Unfortunately, much of the teasing that goes on is focused on these “unchangeables.” Here are some ideas to help your children deal with occasional teasing.
- When someone is unkind to one of your children and is making fun of them in some way, teach your child to deflect the comment by expressing their confidence in God’s plan for them. Encourage your child to think to themself, or to say aloud, “You may not like ________ (my hair, my face, the way I sing etc.), but God made me this way and I am going to enjoy being me.”
- Use the discussion questions to help explain to your children that although others may make fun of them, they can have confidence in knowing that God considers him or her a treasure, simply because God made them. (Further intervention must be taken if a child is the brunt of regular ridicule versus occasional teasing.)
- Also encourage your children to divert honour to God whenever people make positive comments about their appearance or their abilities. For example, teach your children to say, “Thank you for noticing how God made me unique.” (For more on honouring God after a compliment, see the hands-on option “complimenting God” in the humility lesson.)
- Practice these suggestions with your children, using stuffed animals to act as “bullies.” Allow each child to practice responding confidently in scenarios where he or she is being picked on. Be sure to practice receiving compliments as well.
- Even though we know that what God thinks is so much more important, unkind words from others can still be very hurtful. Review with your children a strategy to diffuse the pain caused by comments made by other kids.
Questions for discussion
- How can you choose to honour God with the special gifts He has given you?
- What does a person say or do to bring honour to themself?
- When someone compliments you about your talents or your looks, how can you give honour to God?
- If someone makes a negative or critical comment about your looks or talents, what should you do?
Note that the ideas here are not designed to address habitual cruelty. Bullying is a serious issue and if you suspect your child is being bullied in any way, do not hesitate to intervene.
1 Samuel 16:7
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ ”