Using HeartPower to take in kindness after throwing hurting words away in a Kidpower Trash Can.

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. As part of our global efforts to help protect kids from abuse, bullying, and other harmful behavior, each day this month, we will share a time-tested skill from our Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.


Skill #28: Protect Yourself from Hurtful Teasing. Healthy self-esteem is important to safety. Kids – and adults – who feel good about themselves and have close, positive relationships with others are less likely to become victims of abuse and bullying. At any age, hurting words and mean teasing can stay with us for a long time, eroding our sense of self-worth and confidence. Learning to protect our emotional safety can prevent a lot of misery. Teach kids how to prevent being hurt by words and teasing.

This full practice is a part of the Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.

Healthy self-esteem is important to safety. Children who feel good about themselves and have close, positive relationships with others are less likely to become victims of violence and abuse.

One great way to help children build healthy self-esteem is to teach them how to protect themselves from hurtful words and teasing. Words that hurt can stay with a child for a long time, eroding feelings of self-worth and confidence.

Practice doing the motions with children as you explain the technique and say, “Put one hand on your hip. The hole this makes is our Kidpower Trash Can™. Use your other hand to catch the hurting words and throw them into the Trash Can.” (Make a catching motion with your Mean Word Catcher and show how to throw the words into the hole made by the other hand on your hip.)

Finish the explanation by saying, “Then you can replace the hurting words with nice words to say to yourself.”

To have the young person practice, say, “I am going to pretend to say mean things so you can practice using your Trash Can. I do not mean what I say. Is your Trash Can ready?” (Coach them to make sure they have their Trash Can in position.)

Pretend to give an insult by saying, “Suppose I say, ‘I don’t like you’” (or, ‘your shoes are ugly,’ or ‘you are not a good friend.’ Pick something relevant for the child, but also not too personal).

Coach the young person to, “Catch the words, throw them away, and put your hand on your heart and say, ‘I like myself.’ Good!”

For a FREE explanation on the simple methods you can use to teach children to use each of these skills, download the Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook on our website –this ebook will be FREE of charge in English, Spanish, and Arabic in honor of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Please share this skill with others. Let’s work together to teach young people to take charge of their safety, increase self-confidence, and develop healthy, positive relationships!


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Published: April 28, 2019   |   Last Updated: April 28, 2019

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.