Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by. I want to get this message out to all kids. See the message below after I share some brief background info.
I didn’t have my mom growing up because she was not available to be a parent due to her own emotional needs. My dad worked a lot, and while he was amazing for board games and homework, he wasn’t the emotionally supportive type. To give you an example, when I told him I was being bullied in seventh grade he replied, “maybe you need ‘special ed’ if you can’t get along with other kids.”
When my dad said that it sent two messages that were both wrong. The first is that something was wrong with me if I was getting bullied (it was my fault) and the second was that getting special education services is a bad thing and implies you have something wrong with you, which absolutely isn’t true.
I am so glad I know this now but I wish I had someone on my side to explain all this to me back then when I was an impressionable 12-year-old developing my identity. The bright side is that that little girl who didn’t have the support she needed is still inside me and it’s not too late for “adult me” to be in her corner now.
Getting More Involved
During my journey that lead to this very moment, I became a school psychologist and behavior specialist. In my work have met hundreds of children who are hurting emotionally, just as I was, for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include:
- a parent in jail
- a parent who puts their own needs before their child (e.g., dating, drugs, video games etc.)
- getting bullied by peers and sometimes by adults as well
- loss of a parent
- loss of a sibling
- feeling like they “don’t belong” due to cognitive (brain), mental, or physical differences
Just like me, many of those kids don’t have someone in their corner when their hearts are in turmoil. When they struggle and wonder who is there and why they matter, and if they are enough, and how they will make it through the pain I want them to know I am here and the message below is here for them to always look at!
An Important Message for All Kids
I wish someone told me the things I am about to share when I was a kid and I am here to tell them to you! I hope you carry these messages with you as you develop into the amazing adult you are destined to be. From an amazing kid to an amazing grown-up…you got this!
So here’s what I want to tell you…
You are more than just a kid. You are special for being alive. You are light and hope. You are priceless and worth more than you could ever imagine!
What other people say doesn’t change or define who you are.
You are at your best when you love and believe in yourself. To love yourself means to care about what happens to you and to treat your body, mind, and heart well because you deserve nothing less than that
When you feel that no one else loves you or believes in you, keep your head high because no one else determines just how amazing you are. And, I’m right here believing in you.
Things will be hard and things will be easy. Don’t give up when things get hard because getting through the hard stuff shows you how strong you are.
When bad things happen keep pushing through. You will find something good on the other side.
Think about how what you say might make others feel. If you think it might hurt someone don’t say it or think of another way to say it. This will help avoid unnecessary conflict, arguments, and negativity.
Listening to other people (like parents, teachers, and friends) shows that you are a respectful person. It will broaden your perspective on the world, strengthen your knowledge, and improve your conversational skills. Take time to listen. Don’t assume it doesn’t matter or that you already know all you need to know.
Help others (share, offer help when you see someone struggling, tell someone you care and you are there). It will add positivity to the world and create a lasting effect on humanity.
Try something new even if you think you won’t like it. You never know who you can become. If you limit yourself you won’t find out. If you fall, get back up and keep trying.
It is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to hurt others or destroy things in your anger. Talk about it, take a walk to cool off, write down how you feel, do something you love, or take very deep breaths (fill your whole belly up when you inhale, just like a balloon, and slowly blow all the air out of your mouth). It is never okay to hit or break things because you are angry.
It is okay to cry. We all do it. If someone else tells you to stop crying or that you are being a baby, it does not make you a baby. It does not mean you are doing something wrong. Crying is natural and something everyone experiences. It happens for a reason.
Crying might be okay but whining is not. Say what you want to say in a nice way. If someone doesn’t listen or hear you, try again later, write it down for them, or just pick something else and move on.
When people tease you, laugh at you, or call you names (it happens to everyone) know that the ones who are mean need to work on their own communication. It has nothing to do with who you are. When you believe in yourself it is harder for the words of others to bring you down.
You also have a right to stick up for yourself and tell someone to stay away from you, give you space, speak respectfully to you, and/or keep their distance from you. If they don’t leave you alone when requested, that’s harassment and violating your boundaries. You have rights, so if one adult can’t help, keep going until someone will. Even if you have to seek help outside your family.
If you are a child in the US here is a hotline to call if you are being bullied, harassed, etc., and cannot get support 1-800-273-8255. Click here for a whole list of numbers.
You only live once. You are in control of where your life goes. It may not seem that way now, but one day you will be the only one to decide where you go and what you do. Make it count so when you look back you can say “I am proud of the choices I made and the person I became.”
I am here. I believe in you! You matter.
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Rachel Wise is a certified school psychologist and licensed behavior specialist with a Master’s Degree in Education. She is also the head author and CEO at educationandbehavior.com, a site for parents, caregivers, educators, counselors, and therapists to find effective, research-based strategies that work for children. Rachel has been working with individuals with academic and behavioral needs for over 20 years and has a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of children and the adults who support them. For Rachel’s top behavioral strategies all in one place, check out her book, Building Confidence and Improving Behavior in Children, a Guide for Parents and Teachers. If you want Rachel to write for your business, offer behavioral or academic consultation, or speak at your facility about research-based strategies that support children, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.