If your kids are leaders, do they use sarcasm to be popular? Today our parenting skills expert and author of the book, Teaching Kids To Be Good People, Annie Fox, is here to share a short story and her advice. I will offer a special formula.
The Story of a Sarcastic Leader
A co-leader on a school team wrote to Annie and complained about a guy who insulted her in front of "everyone." He told her she was a poor leader and that she used humor to hurt people. She told Annie that she is "fairly sarcastic." She said, "but I try to make it obvious when I am kidding."
I admired her openness in her questions to Annie.
1. Am I supposed to apologize to him?
2. To the team?
3. Am I in the wrong?
She added that she knew there was a life lesson about what types of humor are appropriate. (From pages 96-97.)
Annie's Coaching Advice Pointed Out 2 Mistakes and 2 Solutions:
1. Sarcasm isn't just kidding. Annie suggested the girl take the young man's feedback to heart. She advised the girl to apologize to the team and to each person she hurt.
2. The fellow was wrong for embarrassing her in front of the group. Annie didn't tell her to apologize to him but rather tell him, if he ever had another issue with her, to talk with her privately about it. (From page 217)
I appreciate how Annie encourages the girl to face the challenge and apologize. Because of pride, apologizing can be like approaching an iceberg - scared to face, hard to crack, and difficult to do. I believe this girl took this opportunity because of her openness to learn life's lessons.
In a way, Annie is speaking to all of us when she tells the girl to talk with the insulting young man. Although his feedback was valuable, his manner of giving it was wrong. If we have an issue with someone, it's better to speak privately rather than embarrass that person in front of others. That's hard to do.
The Feedback Formula
I suggest discussing difficult issues with people in this way:
Here's How The Girl Could Have Used the Feedback Formula:
When you say in front of everybody that I'm a poor leader and that I use humor to hurt people, I feel angry and hurt. I want you to talk to me privately when you have an issue with me.
I like the Feedback Formula because it goes straight to the point, it's short, and easy to remember. It also avoids throwing in remarks that I might regret later.
If you or your child use sarcasm, realize that the victim feels the sting and doesn't think it's funny. Follow Annie's advice and apologize. In addition, consider using the Feedback Formula when you have an issue with someone. And always remember sarcasm's cruel not cool.
Let's THANK Annie for sharing her wisdom about sarcasm, apologizing, and dealing with people we have issues with.
Pick up Annie's book, Teaching Kids To Be Good People: Progressive Parenting for the 21st Century and read her great emails from teens and her wise advice to them in return.
Available at Amazon.com
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