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What Do I Say When My Child is Made Fun of?

smiling woman with one hand on her hop and holding a speech bubble sign in her other hand.  Kimberly Muhtar explaining what to say when your child is made fun of.  parent coaching, Christian parent coaching, positive parenting tips, confident kids

What do I say when my child is made fun of? What do I do if my child is being bullied?

“I can’t believe I have to see your ugly face two days in a row.”  That was what one boy said to my daughter.  He just walked right up to her out of the blue and said those words.

You know what she thought? “Wow, that must have taken a lot of courage to walk right up to me and say that to my face.”

What?!  Mama!  That is what we are here for!  Raising our children for maturity, to not take offence, to believe the best about another person, and to choose wisely whom they call their friends.

It was almost a year later when my daughter told me of this incident.  I wanted to get up my Mama Bear punching fists and go talk to that boy and his Mama!  I gave her high fives and cheers for her mature response instead. 

We Have All Experienced a Bully

All kidding aside, we have all experienced a bully.  At some time, we were all made fun of.  And now your child is being made fun of.  What do you do?  What do you tell them?

How you respond when your child is bullied is important.  You can think right, speak right, and respond right so that you empower your child should they face another bully in the future. 

That’s the goal – empowering your children.  Find out how in this episode of the Renewed Mama Podcast.

Other People’s Perceptions

First of all, help your child understand that it comes down to other people’s perceptions.

What is perception?  It is the way that someone sees, understands, and interprets something.

People view life through their own unique lens. It does not matter the age, whether you are in school, the workplace, church, or the grocery story, people view life through their own lens. 

Each person views the world differently. 

We Can Only Control Our Perceptions

We cannot control other people’s perceptions nor can we control how they behave toward us.  They are fully responsible for themselves just like I am responsible for myself and you are responsible for yourself.

We can’t control what they think of us or what they say to us or whether or not they make fun of us. 

All we can control is our perceptions, our own viewpoint, our own thoughts. 

The question is: Will we find the TRUTH about the bully and the situation we find ourselves in?  Regardless of what someone else says or does, what is the truth here?

TRUTH is Found in WHO They Are and WHOSE They Are

The truth always come back to WHO they are and WHOSE they are?

It’s challenging because belonging and being liked is important to young people. But we need to teach our children that what matters most is not what their peers say, not what their teachers say, and not even what we say as parents sometimes even though we love our children dearly.  We have all spoken things that we shouldn’t have out of our frustration and overwhelm and our children are on the receiving end of those not nice words.

Our job is to teach them, to write on their hearts, WHO they are and WHOSE they are.  Their identity and who they belong to. Anytime I am struggling with a lie or I feel discouraged, I come back to who I am and Whose I am.

The Truth

I am a child of the most High, God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son.  I am His daughter, and I am loved by God as much as He loves His Son, Jesus.  John 17:23,26

He is my Abba, Father, Daddy.  Romans 8:15

Because of that, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says about me.  My identity is found in Him and what He says about me.  He calls me Chosen.  Accepted.  Redeemed.  Isaiah 41:9

He sings loves songs over me.  He rejoices over me for good with shouts of joy.  Zephaniah 3:17

He fights for me, and no weapon formed against me will prosper.  Deuteronmy 3:22 and Isaiah 54:17

Mama, He feels the exact same way about you whether you believe in Him and claim Him as your Heavenly Father or you feel that you can live life without Him.

Even if you’ve been rejected by your father and mother, the Lord will take you up.  Psalm 27:10

This is how God showed His love among us; He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  I John 4:9-10

I am smart, strong, and determined.  When hard stuff comes up, I can face it because God will help me.  I am kind and I’ve got a big heart for helping people. 

Who would you say you are, Mama?  Who do you belong to?

So Mama, if there is a bully in your child’s life, your number one to-do is to teach them the truth of WHO they are and WHOSE they are.

Who truly cares?

Tell your child that if their classmates truly cared about them, they would not make fun of them.  They would not laugh or joke around.

When someone truly cares, they create a safe place to try, to fail, to get back up and try again.  There is no judgment and no criticism.  Only the freedom to be you and to be accepted for that.

Tell your child that it’s not that they don’t like them.  It’s not that they aren’t worth caring for.  It is just the simple fact that the average person cares first and foremost about themselves and themselves only.

The bully is only concerned with “What is good for me?  How do I look?  Will someone talk to me?  Will someone be my friend?  Might I fit in?  Do I belong?”

It’s the honest truth.

It is rare and special to find someone who cares and thinks more about other people first than about themselves.  And while we want to be that person who loves and serves others first, our human nature is to think, “What about me?” and to look out for ME first. 

They were only thinking about themselves.

They were thinking, “Whew!  I’m glad that it wasn’t me who was put on the spot.  Glad that it wasn’t me who blanked out.”  And they covered up those fears with a joke, a giggle, or a tease because they didn’t want others to know what they were thinking.  It is a self-defense tactic.

The truth is: Everyone has a moment where they blank out and forget something.  No big deal.  I won’t take their jokes to heart.

The truth is: We all messe up now and then.  Everyone trips.  Doesn’t everyone get toilet paper stuck to their shoe? Haven’t we all left our pant zipper unzipped? Skirts get tucked up in our tights and we walk out of the bathroom with our undies showing just like I did in junior high.

And it’s OK.  We might want to melt away and die of embarrassment at that moment, but it’s OK.  The sun will rise again tomorrow, and we give ourselves grace even if the rest of junior high or high school doesn’t because we know WHO we are and WHOSE we are.

By the way, if a classmate only thinks about themselves, and has to lift themselves up by putting others down, that’s up to them.  We just found out who not to choose as a friend.  It’s OK to say, “Sorry, you are not the friend for me.”  This standard of friend may rule out everyone in your class but maybe one or two people.  That just might be the reality.  But trying to fit in with the crowd who only thinks about themselves is not worth belonging to.

Let’s go find a new friend who truly cares.

Now It’s Your Turn

I sincerely hope that these thoughts and suggested scripts help you to know what to say to your child the next time that they are made fun of.  Now, it’s your turn to teach your child these things and then give them space to work through it.  Check in regularly to see how they are doing, and pray for emotional healing.  They can come out of this challenge stronger, more compassionate, and gracious to others.

Share in the comments how these suggestions help you and your child. Please share anything else you tell your child when they are made fun of so that we can all learn, too.

Reach Out if You Need Help

Mama, if you need someone to talk to, reach out to me through Renewed Mama Coaching, and we’ll hop on a coaching chat together so that we can talk through your specific frustrations, what you’ve already tried with your child that isn’t working, and what you can try instead.  We’ll go fruit to root together and help you to think, speak, and respond renewed.

You don’t have to do it alone.  It is so much better working through it together. We’ll pick a time to chat that works best for you, and we’ll get you the answers you’ve been praying for.

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