Monday, June 1, 2009


I was at a wedding shower this weekend and ran into one of my favorite fellow adoptive moms, whom I hadn't seen in quite some time. She has a grown daughter from Korea, and I remember feeling like a "stalker mom" every time I would run into her in public over the years. I wanted to hear all of her wisdom and experiences, since her daughter always seemed so well adjusted and happy as an Asian teen in a 99% white Oklahoma high school.

We had a really interesting conversation because as I was telling her some of the things my daughter had experienced this year in 3rd grade, she was telling me how her daughter had gone through the same things in elementary school. But the differences in how our children dealt with the obtrusive comments from peers was like night and day. For my daughter, they caused real sadness and pain. For her daughter....they rolled off her back and were gone in an instant.

I'll give you one example. Both of our daughters faced teasing in school for having a flat face. For my daughter, this was a very hurtful experience. The kids teasing her compared her face to a pug, and we have had many conversations on why children can be so mean. My friend's daughter had faced the exact same situation but handled it completely differently. When a child once teased in a crowded classroom, "wow your face is totally flat," her daughter instantly retorted, "I'm Asian, you idiot." No tears. No hurt feelings. Just an eye roll over anyone being so clueless. Her mom told me that she had always faced the world that way and really believed that anyone who made a racist or ignorant comment was completely unworthy of her time.

So how do your kids react to these type of comments? Every child is different, aren't they? As we discussed some of the ways my friend's daughter had responded to kids over the years, truly not letting people ruin her day, I was wishing there was a way to bottle some of her "I'm not going to let you upset me" attitude to share with my own kids and quite honestly even with myself.

I think her daughter is a wonderful example that there will always be people who are out to try and hurt us, but we really do have the choice on whether to let their comments into our heart or not. So are you a duck who lets the "water roll off your back"? Or are you someone who lets what others say get to you? Personally I think I need to still work on learning how to quack a bit better. : -)



  1. Thanks for sharing wisdom in this story, Amy!

  2. Great and insightful post, Amy. I think in large part our children's reactions to such comments are directly related to their personalities. Our older daughter, adopted from China, would react to racist and mean comments be dropping her head and crying. She is a super-sensitive kid. Then our youngest, a firecracker, would likely have some sort of, "Watch me put you in your place, stupid person," reply. I think we can certainly help teach them about how to deal with these people as they grow, but in the end I think that so much comes down to their personalities.

  3. I would love to be able to teach my kids that attitude. Did this mom mention whether it was her influence or just the girl's attitude? I'd like to read how other parents try to guide their kids in this area.

  4. We all react differently to situations like this, don't we? Lori, as far as the mom's influence goes, I think it has been huge. She is a woman that I really admire because she is always upbeat, always laughing. She is one of those people that lives the idea that if life gives you lemons, you made lemonade. I am sure her daughter grew up seeing examples of that over and over. Seeing her again really emphasized with me that I want my own kids to be able to shake off ignorant comments because truly they aren't worth stewing over. We shouldn't let mean people drag us down with them. I've definitely learned over the years that we DO have a say in our attitude and at any point we can choose to re-adjust ours. I'm going to start using some of this mom's examples of trying to lessen the pain of hurtful comments through laughter and raising an eyebrow in disbelief.

  5. Many years ago, we experienced this with our niece. We taught her to respond to such comments with, "your ignorance is appalling". Her fellow 1st graders didn't know what to make of that! My daughter has yet to experience this, but she's only in preschool - I'm sure it will come up sooner or later.

    Our kids need to be reminded that "Those who care don't matter and those that matter don't care."