How to Handle the Mean Kid on the Playground

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Bully boys

Do you remember that mean kid in school? That kid always picked on you! Maybe you were the mean kid. Do you remember hearing the words, “I’m gonna tell!” Maybe it was an argument between siblings and one of you said, “I’m telling on you!” Why did we do that? When we feel hurt emotionally, we seem to naturally want justice for the hurt. We want the people who cause our hurt to say they are sorry and that they will never ever do it again. We run to mom and dad so they will put their fingers in that mean person’s face and tell them to never, ever hurt their sweet, innocent child again.

What do we do when this happens in our adulthood? Sometimes it feels like there are still mean kids in our lives. What do we do then? I would like to share some thoughts with you on this.

Thought #1: We still have that kid in us. The kid is that part of us which has a strong reaction to something that is done or said to us. It’s a trigger, a hot button. When it is pushed, we revert back to the playground and express all kinds of irrational emotions and may even stomp off and slam a door or two. When this happens, it more than likely means there is a place in your heart which needs healing, and your spouse isn’t going to be able to heal it for you.

Thought #2: People are typically not the mean kid. They are not the enemy. It’s important to remember who really is the mean kid. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” (NLT)

Thought #3: Go tell your Dad. Before you react irrationally, go tell your Dad first. What I mean is go tell your Heavenly Father. Rant and rave and carry on! Act the age you feel in that moment. Stomp your feet if you’d like. He can handle it all. Matthew 11:28 “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”(NLT)

Thought #4: Then ask the Lord for clarity on why you got so upset and for guidance in what to do. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT) He will show you where the hurt lies in you, and not only that, but He will also show you the path to the healing of the hurt.

He will show you if there needs to be a discussion had or boundaries placed with the person we have viewed as the mean kid. He will also show you if the mean kid really wasn’t all that mean but that was just the way you saw it for the moment. Our hearts are deceitful, our thoughts can be distorted and feelings can lead us astray. So I encourage you that the next time you encounter a mean kid (whether that seems to be your spouse, friend, co-worker or your own offspring), go tell your Dad first. He will never lead you astray and will always lead you toward peace and reconciliation.

Rest in the promise of Psalm 91:1-3 “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he will rescue me from every trap.” (NLT)

Heather Butler is a regular contributor to the Soul Care Collective!
Image attribution: mactrunk / Thinkstock

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Heather Butler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been in private practice for over ten years. She counsels couples, families and individuals including teens. Heather and her husband have been married for over 18 years and have two children. Their daughter is 18 and will be attending college at UK in the fall and their son is 13. They are active members at Southland Christian Church and have taught a marriage class there for over ten years.

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