Mark it down, it’s going to happen.
Your kids are going to come home from school, from church, or some other function, and have had their feelings hurt by a classmate, a teacher, or a friend. Someone said something, or did something that they shouldn’t have, and now you’ve got a “situation” on your hands that may very well be starting to make your blood boil just thinking about it. (I’ve been there many times, and I’m sure you have as well.)
Your kids are going to think it’s the end of the world, and if you’re not careful, you might find yourself agreeing with them. But before you just jump on their bandwagon and ride that emotional rollercoaster with them, there are a few warnings to consider.
Through the many times in our family when this scenario has played itself out, my wife and I have had to learn how to intentionally respond, as well as teach our children how to respond to such situations. Here are some of the things we’ve learned for how to respond when our child has been wronged:
- Don’t Overreact. If you react in the heat of the moment immediately after the situation comes to your attention, you’ll almost always make the wrong decision, or at least have some regrets about the way you handled it.
- Don’t Assume the Worst. Reading into the situation by starting to make assumptions about other people’s intentions and character is very dangerous. By assuming the worst, you’ve just made the problem even bigger than it actually is. But by assuming the best, you’ve given the other person the benefit of the doubt before ‘convicting’ them in your own mind.
- Get the Full Story. Before making any decisions, find out the other side of the story. This requires that you calmly contact the other party involved (or the “middle man” in the situation, if that’s a teacher, pastor, etc.). Ask questions, and be willing to quietly listen to the other side of the story to get all the details before proceeding. Remember, there’s always two sides to every story, every time. (According to my father-in-law, there’s 3 sides to every story… your side, their side, and the truth 😃 )
- Take Time to Pray. Stop, breath, and talk to God. Don’t react, wait, and respond… when the time is right, and when your spirit is right. And make sure to respond biblically, not emotionally, irrationally, or carnally.
- Keep Your Testimony. Sadly, too many well-meaning Christians lose their testimony and credibility over an irrational knee-jerk reaction to a hurtful situation. (I’ve been guilty on occasion myself.) Sometimes we as parents can be at our worst all while hiding behind the guise of standing up for our kids. Remember that no matter what has happened to your child, two wrongs still don’t make a right.
Our kids are learning how to respond to real-life situations by watching how we do. Let’s show them an example of long-suffering, grace, and kindness, even in the most hurtful situations.
Remember, God doesn’t choose to operate through the actions of people who are irresponsible or irrational, but He does operate through those who are yielded to His will, submitted to His word, and guided by His Spirit. Strive to be that person.