It’s unfortunate that I have to write about this issue but it comes to my attention that parents are failing to see how big of a deal name calling really is in our children’s lives. I have a five-year-old beautiful little girl who completely loves Kindergarten this year, however she has come home twice already upset because other little girls are calling her “fat.” This breaks my heart not because she’s my daughter but because she’s not the only child going through this. Children are learning negative behaviors from home, television, and school at such a young age now that it really is quite frightening to think about the adults they will become.
I am a firm believer that a child’s behavior towards others comes from what they see and hear at home. If as parents we refuse to explain to our children that negative words or actions are not ok then who will? There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t tell my children how beautiful and smart they are, there isn’t a moment I don’t hug them and tell them I love them, but when another child out of jealousy or pure meanness calls them a name, everything that I have built up in them is taken away in that moment.
One negative word puts more self doubt in a child then a million positive words can replace.
Some parents have the attitude that if your child is fat then what’s the problem with my kid saying so. Well simply put, it’s respect! Respect yourself and others. Insults, name calling, bullying of any kind hurts the inner self of a person and when this type of behavior starts at such a young age how in world do you repair the damage?
So how can parents help stop name calling?
First we have to set a good example, if children see adults calling names out of anger then it automatically becomes their way of releasing anger.
Make it a rule in the house that no one is allowed to call anyone a bad name. Anyone caught name calling will have consequences to their actions. This means no name calling in the home or out of the home!
Make it a point to sit down and talk to your child from an early age about how name calling hurts people. Children don’t know the outcome of their actions if they are never told.
As for the children who are being called names, all we can do is be there for them. Boost their self esteem, make it clear that they are not what the bully is calling them that the bully has a problem. I find myself reminding my daughter that these little girls are being mean however it is not ok for her to be mean back to them. Two wrongs don’t make a right and no matter how much it hurts to allow these kids to go on without being made to feel the way they are making my little girl feel, it’s more important to me that I’m raising a daughter who will think about others feelings before she speaks to them.
It’s just sad that not all parents understand that their children’s emotional abuse is sometimes worse then physical abuse and every time their child calls someone an ugly name it is quickly tearing them apart inside. No child deserves to be made to feel badly about themselves, so please take time to talk to your child or if you’re a teacher talk to your whole class about name calling. What you teach a child today can save the way another child sees themselves in the mirror tomorrow.