How to Respond to Name-Calling

Hearing your child being called names is a gut-wrenching experience for any parent. It’s natural to feel anger, sadness, and a desire to intervene immediately. But before you react impulsively, let’s delve into effective strategies to address name-calling and support your child.

Validate and Empathize

Start by acknowledging your child’s emotions. Let them know you understand how hurtful and upsetting name-calling can be. Phrases like “That sounds really tough” create a safe space for them to express their feelings.

Avoid Minimizing

Don’t brush it off with a quick “they probably didn’t mean it.” Name-calling, regardless of intent, can have a lasting impact. Validate their experience and assure them it’s not their fault.

Gather Information

Ask your child what happened, who was involved, and how they responded. This helps you understand the situation and determine if further intervention is necessary.

Empower, Don’t Retaliate

Encourage your child to stand up for themselves assertively, not aggressively. Practice phrases like “I don’t like it when you call me names” or “That’s not okay to say” to help them assert their boundaries.

Promote Self-Esteem

Lastly, help your child build a strong self-image by focusing on their strengths, positive qualities, and accomplishments. Encourage them to surround themselves with supportive friends who value and respect them.