One of the most effective tools you can give kids is permission NOT to get upset. Surprisingly, kids don’t always realize this…especially young children who still have a fairly black and white understanding of good and bad. When kids realize they can ignore someone else’s wrongdoing and stay happy, they gain a sense of control rather than feelings of victimization. Ultimately they realize someone else doesn’t control their day and their mood. They control it!
When children approach me to recount a simple wrongdoing by a classmate, my go-to response usually sounds something like this – “Is that a big problem you want to try and fix or a little one you want to let go so you can stay happy.” More often than not they choose to let it go, and choosing to do so (rather than feeling powerless) makes all the difference in the world. They are in control of their feelings, not someone else.
The more we model this train of thought out loud for our kiddos, the more likely they will be to use it themselves. And if we can help kids learn to let the little things go when they’re young, imagine how much easier their life will be!