Teens’ hurt feelings can spiral to extremes when they internalize the opinions of others. We can help them put the comments of other people in perspective, so they don’t take them personally and allow comments or remarks to weigh on their hearts and minds.
It helps to explain:
•No matter how nice a person is or how they may keep to themselves, no one can control other people’s behaviors. What we can control is how we respond to the things other people say or do to us.
•It is better to thoughtfully respond to a comment instead of reacting to it. A response considers what responsibility we may have in the situation, whereas an in-the-moment reaction does not and can cause a vicious cycle of hurt feelings.
•Teens and adults have a tendency to take things on as if it’s “our fault”. If another person has an issue (even if they direct it towards us), it’s not ours to take on even if they’re trying to tell us it is.
•Avoid getting drawn into an argument with a person who hurts your feelings; rather, consider whether he or she is trying to assign blame to someone else, or if the person lacks the skills to communicate constructively about what’s really going on.
The goal is to teach young people how to thoughtfully consider their part in the matter at hand. However, they don’t need to internalize the situation, carry it with them throughout the day, and let it bring down their mood.
Blog by Karen Aspenson
Karen Aspenson is a former clinician with the E3 program at Hortonville Area School District, where she provides youth mental health screening and referrals via Samaritan’s Connected Community Wellness Screen Program.
This blog references material first published by Sam Miller of Parenting Teenagers Academy.