Welcome to ‘come back coaching’ – where we talk about what to say, and how to manage your own emotions when someone says something that hurts your feelings.

We are all different and that’s OK. You may be listening to this because you’re a kid with cancer. Your appearance, and what your body can and can’t do have probably changed A LOT or they may soon.

Sometimes people say things that hurt our feelings, but it wasn’t on purpose. They didn’t mean to hurt you, even though they did.

Sometimes people say something that hurts your feelings – and it WAS on purpose.

Other times people see someone who is different to them and they want to talk about it, they might want to praise you or ask you questions. Sometimes you feel OK to hear these things, other times you just want to be left alone.

All of these scenarios can sometimes feel a bit confusing and confronting and its completely normal to be stuck for come backs – what to say – when these things happen.

Practicing what to say to come back to these comments stops us from letting them ruin our ENTIRE day.

Our comebacks can fall into three different zones

The ‘Education’ Zone

The ‘Funny’ Zone


The Tennis Zone where you can return serve


The Education zone – Being you is pretty rare – sometimes people are genuinely interested in what you’ve been going through. Sometimes the best come backs are to explain.
The benefit of the education zone is that you can avoid the same questions or comments being made again – because people have learnt more about your experience –– by educating people about what it’s like to have cancer, you’re doing a solid favour to EVERY kid with cancer.


The Funny Zone – Humour is a great tool. Everyone loves to laugh and if a person hurt your feelings accidentally, helping you both laugh about it, is kind to both of you. If someone hurt your feelings on purpose, the BEST WAY to diffuse that situation is to get a laugh. The Funny zone helps stop the conversation and gives you a chance to walk away.


The Tennis Zone is an opportunity for you to return serve and put the spotlight back on them. This isn’t a chance to say something hurtful, but is IS a chance to remove the focus from yourself. See the video for ideas.

Before you take either of these ideas out for a spin, it’s an excellent idea to practice with Mum and Dad or an Auntie and Uncle, perhaps an older brother or sister.

First talk about the type of comments that DO hurt your feelings or talk about things that might come up – and then come up with several ideas for come backs.

How to use Come Back Coaching

1. Repeat back what you heard – this gives you a chance to think about what you want to say.
2. Decide which zone you want to come back in
a. Education
b. Funny
c. Tennis Player returning serve
3. Deliver your line
4. Walk away

If you’re having trouble with comments that hurt your feelings, drop them in the comments and Lara will help you come up with some great come backs. 

Love Deb and Lara.

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