Who Has The Power To Make You Behave Badly?

This past school year was the first year that either of my kids have ever gotten in trouble at school.

Prior to this year, we never really had to deal with discipline issues anywhere but at home. (I have to say, sometimes I wondered what we were doing wrong! Our kids were angels at school, but we definitely had our moments at home!)

This year though, there were a few times my son had some disagreements or bad behavior that warranted a conversation with his teachers.

When we got home, I’d always sit down with him and try to get to the root of what happened.

Typically, the trail of events lead back to him feeling HE had been wronged in some way. Mostly minor offenses, nothing major or earth shattering, but to him in that moment he felt the need to strike back.  (usually with words or temper tantrums and yes, at least once he pushed someone back who had pushed him)

We viewed these incidents as teaching opportunities and explained to our son that someone else’s bad behavior is NEVER an excuse to behave badly yourself. 

Don’t let someone else’s sin become the reason you sin, we told him. Instead, we tried to arm him with the words and the actions that could help him in future situations.

For instance:

  • If someone steals something from you, ask them to give it back nicely and offer to share. If that doesn’t work, tell a grown up. Or be the bigger person and figure out if it’s really worth the hassle. Maybe it’s time to move on to something else.
  • If your friends don’t want to play with you, ask what they want to play. Just because someone doesn’t want to do something YOUR way doesn’t mean it’s a slight against you. It might make more sense to compromise. A good friend gives and doesn’t expect in return. If someone consistently rolls over you though, they might not be such a good friend. It might be time to look for someone else to play with.
  • If someone strikes out at you physically or verbally, don’t strike back (but you can defend yourself to get out of the situation, IF the altercation is physical). The worst thing you can do is engage someone who has resorted to being abusive and mean. Instead, we gave him these words “You can’t say that/do that to me. Stop being mean to me.”  If the behavior continues, we told him to leave the situation and if necessary, tell a grown up.

Basically, what it all boils down to is that we expect our children to treat others how they would like to be treated. However, if they feel they aren’t being treated fairly, that doesn’t mean they are allowed to behave badly or lash out.

This was very convicting for me. I have been known to lash out (never physically of course!) when I have felt wronged. I have been known to hold grudges or take things way too personally.

Truthfully, I realized that I was allowing others to have power over me. Power over my behavior. How could I do this?

I’m an adult!

This revelation taught me so much. I learned to bite my tongue more and give grace often. I learned to look the other way when necessary and to disengage myself from situations where I felt compelled to lash out.

I think it made a big difference for my son as well. I’ve seen how he handles himself in tough situations and I’m so proud of him.

It’s not weak to walk away or to disengage. It’s weak to allow someone else to have that power over you!

What do you think? Do you allow others to have power over you? Do you let others bad behavior cause you to behave badly yourself? Tell me in the comments! 


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