In this lesson we are going to explore teenagers and hurt feelings. In it you will learn:
Take a moment and think about how you deal with your own hurt feelings. Do you internalize them? Do you allow them to make you angry? Do you take things personally and let them weigh you down? Do you know how to let them go in the moment so that you’re not taking them with you for the rest of the day?
Now ask yourself this: How do you want your teenager to grow up and deal with hurt feelings? What would you like to teach them so that they can have a healthy approach in dealing with these types of situations? Write down your goal.
While some of this is covered in the lesson on Conflict and Communication (this is available in our private members area), I want to separate this particular issue because it causes so much pain in peoples lives especially when so many don’t know how to address it. When individuals create drama in their life or are faced with certain challenges, it always tends to boil down to hurt feelings. Because so many of us lack effective communication skills, we either react and vent our emotions on someone else and hurt their feelings; or we are insensitive and have “loose lips” and say things in ways that don’t take others feelings into account.
Conflict will always be a part of our life. You can’t avoid it. Unfortunately 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 them. There will be many times that you will have to address your teenagers hurt feelings and it’s important that they learn now how to deal with them so they don’t internalize it. When we “respond” to someone’s behaviors, we are in control. But when we “react”, we are not in control and this is where a vicious cycle of hurt feelings can start.
One of the most important lessons you can teach your teenager is not to take things personally. The sooner they learn to separate what others do or say from having to do specifically with them, the better they will be able to deal with communication exchanges in a healthy manner. We have a tendency to take things on as if it’s “our fault”. If another person has some sort of 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.
Most people don’t like to accept responsibility for their own choices and actions so they direct blame toward other people. Or, people lack good communication skills so they say things in a way that can hurt our feelings. When we take this on ourselves, it can develop into issues like insecurities and self-doubt. We will fear future engagements with people because we develop a deep rooted belief that every time we get involved with someone, if it turns sour, we will be blamed or told off.
What to Do
When your teenager is faced with this issue, it’s important to sit down with them and explain what is happening and why it’s happening. Paint a clear picture as to why the other person is venting on them and although they may have had a hand in it, everyone is responsible for their own choices and actions. You need to tell your child that they should not take it upon themselves and feel that they’re at fault. Yes, you should teach them how to use this experience as a way to honestly look at their part in the matter. However, they don’t need to internalize it and let it bring them down.
You can say something like:
“I know it sucks and doesn’t make you feel good when people act like this. You probably think it’s your fault but it’s not. While you do play a part in it, it is not entirely on you. The reason why this person is speaking to you in this way is because they lack proper communication skills and don’t know how to accept responsibility for their own choices and actions. They’re taking their frustration out on you. The best thing you can do is to let it go and don’t take it personally. Just know deep down you’re not to blame and that this person has their own issues that they need to deal with. If it affects you negatively go somewhere where you can be alone and shake it off or scream really loud so you do not take on their emotions. At the same time, you do need to be honest with yourself and use this as an opportunity to take a close look at your responsibility in it. Is there is something you may need to improve on with how you communicate or do things?”
By doing this you are encouraging them to not argue back with the person (adding fuel to the fire), while at the same time not internalizing the other person’s emotions or taking them on which causes their own painful issues. In being fair, you are also making sure that they are being honest with themselves about the role they may have played. This is also a good opportunity to teach them self-responsibility for their own choices and actions so that they’re not blaming others for their issues.
I am on a mission to help heal this planet because I truly believe that so much of the trauma and drama our society endures stems from the fact that as youth we did not learn how to address our emotions, solve our problems, and discover our authentic selves. If you find any of this material beneficial, please support this school and our message by taking the following actions below.
– Sergio Diazgranados