What to tell a child when a friend hurts their feelings? Part 2

It was only on Tues that Bea had an upsetting incident with Jack. I gave her some coping strategies, hoping that she wouldn’t have to use them too soon.

The next day, when I picked her up, the Teacher said, “There was another incident today, very minor, almost the same, Jack said something and Bea got a bit upset, walked to a corner for a brief minute and then was okay.”

So, when we were in the car, I asked casually.

M: So the Teacher said, something happened with Jack today?

B: It was nothing, I walked away and I was okay after that. I don’t need to talk about it.

So I respected that and said nothing more. She had followed the strategy that we discussed the day before and to me, that was progress already.

After dinner, I casually brought it up again.

M: Bea, you know, in a way, Jack is helping you. He is teaching you how to deal with people who don’t talk nicely. Some people are like that, they don’t have bad intentions but sometimes the words and the way it comes out their mouth can be very hurting. So it is important to choose our friends wisely. You don’t want to have a good friend who keeps hurting you. A good friend should not do things or say things that hurt you even if they say they don’t mean it.

B is quiet.

I can see that she is processing it in.

M: You want to know something funny? There is a Cantonese saying when people talk like that – “Thong hei kau fai” – which means treat the person like a dog barking. ¬†These people are like dogs barking, “Bow Wow Wow – I don’t want to you to help me clear up – Bow Wow Wow – I don’t want to play with you…” So they are just barking away. So you walk away. You can’t reason with a barking dog.

B laughs out loud.

M: There is somethings else to, sometimes, I imagine the person’s head on the dog’s barking… of course I don’t say it but it helps because the person is not being nice anyway… You can imagine Wong Choy with the person’s head on his body… wouldn’t that be funny? Remember Wong Choy with the elf ears? Imagine him with a human face!!!

Elf dog

Wong Choy the Elf


By this time, B is laughing her head off.


The next day, after I pick her up from school, before I say anything, Bea excitedly informs me that she has shared the barking dog strategy with Fran and Amelia. I hope I don’t get a call from school.


  1. What to tell a child when their friends hurt their feelings – Part 3 | Royal Rae - August 2, 2014

    […] Just a few weeks ago, I was writing about how there was this boy, Jack, who had hurt her feelings¬†and then when it happened again, I wrote about a coping strategy I taught her. […]

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