Your child wants to know that he matters. She wants to know that she has impact. Especially on their friends and family. And there will be times, that he or she will try to impact those friends negatively. He will call a boy in his class a name. She will write a note that is hurtful. Any time you are made aware of your son or daughter impacting another in a hurtful way, they need your input. He will not understand the impact—actually, the hurt his words can contain. It will be up to you to help him learn—and enforce these ideas.
Often, she’ll try the words out at home first. She’ll call her sister “fat.” He’ll call his brother “stupid.” As a family, you can have a list of words that are not included in the life of your family. You can call them Sticks and Stone Words, Red Light Words or Go Straight to Jail words—or whatever that’s clever that you can come up with to set them apart. Have your child help you come up with the list. Stupid, fat, liar, hate, retarded, gay, any “name” should be included. And you can even, together, come up with an immediate consequence when one is spoken—by anyone in your home.