When dealing with complainers I tend to try to pull little phrases out to acknowledge that I hear the complainer, but deflecting any action on my part. Sayings like, "Wow, you must have been brave", or "It's ok that your pants are covered in mud! That's how we know you're a kid! Kids are suppose to have fun and get dirty outside." It's enough to confuse them and let them know that they are not going to get anywhere with sympathy from me.
Yesterday I was trying to run a reading group when a little boy kept trying to show me his scrapes from the day before. He'd been climbing a tree and had really scraped himself up and was suddenly overcome with the amount of scrapes on his hand right when he was suppose to be listening to my book introduction. The "wow, brave you" comment didn't work and I was a bit frustrated. The next thing I knew I heard myself saying, "AWESOME! Really? Those scrapes are from climbing a tree? So COOL."
There was nothing he could say to that. He quickly became quiet and read his book. Now I'm just worried about angry letters from parents complaining that their children went out to climb trees and get scraped up because their teacher told them that was the cool thing to do.
It could have been worse. I could have told his blood shot eyes from playing video games all night was cool. At least I was encouraging an outdoor activity. Still, something seems wrong about telling a kid that their scrapes are "cool".