How to Deal with Kids’ Inappropriate Comments

This 2-MINUTE TRAINING VIDEO will help equip volunteers to be prepared to speak the truth in love.
2 min read

How to Deal with Kids’ Inappropriate Comments

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There you are, teaching about the love of God, and a child makes an offensive, awkward, or inappropriate comment.

What should you do?

Remember that not everything kids say is intentional!

Always be prepared and remember that not everything kids say is intentional—they might not even realize what they’re actually saying.

Here are some ideas for how to handle this situation:

Ignore It

Don’t pounce on something and make it a big deal—especially if no one else noticed.

If you can, just let it go.

Don’t Reward It

If the comment gets a laugh, the child is likely to do it again.

If you can ignore it, do so.

And if you can’t ignore it, deal with it as quickly and graciously as possible.

Don’t Shame the Child

Avoid responses like, “Why would you say something like that?”

It’s possible she was unaware that the comment was inappropriate or that it might hurt someone’s feelings.

Give a Gentle Reminder

Refer to the classroom rules you have posted and give attention to the behavior you want.

Consider comments like “Let’s all remember to be kind with our words.”

Model Kindness

If the comment was directed at someone, support the wounded child or volunteer. Consider saying something like “Everyone in this room is different and wanted.”

This immediately gives back what the rude comment took away—so do this whenever you can.

Follow the Discipline Strategies of Your Ministry

If the comments continue, the child might need to be taken aside and given a warning or placed in a “time out” area.

As a last resort, the child may need to be removed—either by another leader or by a parent.

Redirect the Child’s Energy

If a child clearly enjoys talking in class, take advantage of his enthusiasm.

Have him shout out answers or repeat parts of the Scripture you’re teaching.

Deal with It Privately

If the inappropriate comment seemed intentional or was repeated, you’ll need to address it.

If parental involvement is called for, approach the issue with grace and reassure parents that their child is welcome.

Consider Taking It to Leadership

If the comment suggests an unsafe or abusive home environment, don’t ignore it.

Talk about the incident with your ministry leaders and pray for wisdom and guidance before you respond.

Know your responsibilities according to your church’s policies and state laws.

And, of course, pray for this child and her family.

Always speak the truth in love and keep your ministry goals in mind.

Whatever you do, remember to always speak the truth in love and keep your ministry goals in mind. Make sure kids and parents feel welcome, so they can experience what’s most important—relationship with God.

Questions for Your Team to Think About:

  • Has anyone in your ministry faced this situation? What did they do?
  • What’s your ministry’s discipline strategy?

Your heart beats for kids to know, love, and follow Jesus. And ours does too. Try any or all of our programs and lessons before you commit to buying. Check them out here.

Your heart beats for kids to know, love, and follow Jesus. And ours does too. Try any or all of our programs and lessons before you commit to buying. Check them out here.

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  Updated on April 20, 2021

About the Author

  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

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