Time and time again school counselors have to deal with students’ inability to relate to others. “Julia has been really mean. She keeps making fun of me, calling me names and getting others to laugh at me.

During the later elementary school years, into middle school and even beyond, students can be very hurtful. Many tears are shed during the process. For some students it ends in them becoming reclusive so they won’t get hurt again. Personality types vary in their reception and treatment of these issues. Some cry for a day then bounce right back up again. Others will be absolutely devastated.

Some will say, “Well, I learned from my counselor not to react to a person who’s trying to upset me. He/she told me that when I react the other person gains power over me and will try to gain control over me. When they see me upset, they know their tactics worked.”

What can you do as a parent to teach your child to be kind to others?

  • Be a good model of kindness.
  • Do random acts of kindness to others, then your children will grow up experiencing those values and are more likely to follow your example.
  • Ensure you provide a really secure environment for your children to grow up in. Hurt people tend to hurt people.
  • When you see your child being unkind to anyone or an animal use that as a time to teach the importance of being kind. Jump on the problem as soon as possible while the incident is fresh.
  • Tell your child that if they are kind to others there is more likelihood that others will be kind to them.
  • Kindness can deflate anger and soothe a hurt, so try using this in your home situation. Maybe your kids need a motto. ‘When all else fails, be kind’.

Written by Brian Burgess, School Counselor, Percy Priest Elementary School, Nashville TN