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Why I'm Teaching My Children to 'Ignore the Noise' When Other Kids Are Cruel

There are some times when it is really hard to “just shake it off.”

When my teens struggle with this — when it feels a little too heavy to just shake it off — we work together to discover and uncover other tools to help them navigate. Lately, we’ve been working to “ignore the noise.” But, man alive, I gotta tell ya, sometimes that is really hard, too. Sometimes the noise is just too loud. Last night was one of those times.

I laid awake last night arguing with myself about whether or not to even share this. Clearly, since you’re reading this the momma bear and the writer in me won that argument. And the more I think about it, the timing is actually quite, well… timely.

August is wrapping up. Summer is winding down. Our kiddos, if they haven’t already, will be heading back to school soon. Back to mathematics and English and history and mean girls. Wait…what?!? Yep, you read that correctly. Mean girls. And you know it’s true. Whether you want to admit it or not, the subject of mean girls is, unfortunately, a part of the unofficial curriculum in every school across the nation. I wish it wasn’t. But it is.

So, let’s talk about it. I’ll go first.

To the young ladies who thought they were the only two in the room Tuesday evening, you weren’t. She was in there too, working hard. You just didn’t see her. The critical, unkind, hurtful and ugly words you spoke about this other young lady last night were heard. Loud and clear. And that young lady had to fight really hard to forget those words and ignore your noise.

But she did fight.

And last night, despite your noise, there was something else that was heard. It was hidden deep in the wrinkles of her unsteady voice… but it could be heard.

I heard it.

Last night, through, above and around your noise, the sound of confidence and strength and resilience began to break through. And pretty soon it easily and beautifully drowned out the sharp notes of your cruel and meaningless noise.

To those two young ladies…

You didn’t break that other young lady’s spirit. You didn’t win. And as long as you put nothing out there but cruel and meaningless noise… you won’t ever win.

Stop criticizing. Stop comparing. Stop cutting others down.

Stop making So. Much. Noise.

Getty image via Moore Media