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Is this belittling a child? And what to say about it?

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Last Saturday, my church was having a “Fun night” for the youth. The youth group leader and I were the only two adults present and there were a few youths, all around 13-15. We decided to play Disney Scene it and arranged it so it was boys Vs. girls, with the youth group leader and I on the girl’s team. There was a question pertaining to the movie Treasure Planet, and as the timer was ticking, one of the girls on my team bursts out with, “Jim Hawkins!” Only problem was, it wasn't our turn. Whoops! The boys took the answer and got a point, and that should have been the end of it, however, when it was their turn again, one said, “Oh, (name), if you want to tell us the answer again, feel free to.” And then the youth leader turned to the girl in question and said, “(Name), keep it zipped!” The girl did so, for the rest of the game, and my hinky meter went off. Later during the night, I found her crying in the bathroom. She said she had honestly not realized whose turn it was, as the system we were using of boy turn, girl turn, both answer had confused her and that the comments from both the boy and the youth group leader had really hurt. I feel like I should say something to the youth leader about this.

Think of it as "intel" and let him know.

She may just be extra sensitive--I can see lots of people getting those comments and not reacting that way.

But it would be good for the youth leader to be fully informed about the temperaments of those he frequently encounters in the group.

I was pretty sensitive as a kid and I wouldn't even have blinked at those two comments, I think. Although I guess the youth group leader's comments could depend on whether they had said it sternly or jokingly. But just going by what's given, I don't think the leader and the boy were rude or belittling. Still, it would be good if you let the leader know for the future.

This kinda reminds me of an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (what?) where two of the ponies run around playing pranks on everyone, but they purposely avoid pranking one particular pony because they know she's more sensitive and wouldn't react well.

I see the boy's comment as fairly normal teasing behavior for that age group.

The leader's comment, on the other hand, struck me as kind of harsh, with "keep it zipped!" There were other ways to get the message across without sounding so mean. I guess a lot depends on tone of voice, but I kind of flinched when I read that.

So I'd let the boy's comment go, but I would mention this to the leader. If the girl is very sensitive, as Toots says, the leader should know this.

I just know if I were 14 and an adult leader had said that to me, I'd have been surprised at the vehemence of it (it's just a game, after all), and hurt and embarrassed. I'd expect teasing from the other kids, and some complaints from my team, but I would not have expected an adult to react that sharply.

In fact, I'd have expected the adults present to help me learn to deal with making such a mistake, not call me out in public for it.

I think that what happened was mean to the poor girl.

She blurted out an answer without thinking.  This happens all the time in team trivia.  It's just a momentary embarrassment.  Everyone laughs and lets it go.

Harping on her mistake spoiled the girl's fun and made her far more embarrassed than her mistake warranted.

I would definitely  say something to the Youth Leader.  The goal was for the kids to have fun together but this girl was effectively excluded and made to feel bad about herself.  To me, this seems especially inappropriate at a church function.


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