Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus
Terese
Terese asks:
Q:

7 year old being teased because mom looks young.  How do I address this situation?

My son is being teased b/c I look very young.  I am a young wife and mother, 27 yrs old to be exact.  I can't help that I look even younger than my age. I was in tears this morning and hopefully my son wasn't feeling the same way:(  He doesn't want me to walk him to his class anymore.
In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Motherhood
> 60 days ago

|

Expert

lkauffman
Oct 16, 2009
Subscribe to Expert

What the Expert Says:

Dear Terese,

I'm continually stunned by some of the things that kids use to tease one another about! I'm saddened and disappointed that you and your son have to endure the teasing, but I am hopeful that we can devise a plan to help your son manage the harassment in the future.

First, I would have a discussion with your son about how to best handle the situation. I would let him know that teasing is not acceptable, and you will do whatever it takes to make certain that he feels safe at school. If he is comfortable, I recommend approaching his teacher to discuss the teasing. Let him or her know that your son is being negatively affected by the teasing, and you expect for it to stop. You are familiar with the research citing the negative effects of teasing (e.g., increased sadness, worry, physical complaints, such as stomach aches), and you expect that the teasing may escalate if it is not stopped.

Problem-solve strategies for managing the boys' teasing. His teacher may choose to be nearby as students are entering school. The mere presence of an adult often discourages teasing. Also, if the teasing does not stop, the boys' parents will be notified and brought in for a conference and a review of the school's anti-bullying policy (hopefully, they have one). If not, you may want to spearhead a program to develop one.

Second, you can discuss strategies for managing the teasing in the moment. Explain to your son that bullies get excited by the hurt and angry reactions of their victims. They experience this as reinforcement for their behavior and will continue to bully as long as they elicit strong reactions from your son. Thus, your son may choose to begin to ignore their teasing and walk straight to the teacher when they begin their teasing. Your son may also enlist a trusted friend to stand by his side during times when the bullies are most likely to tease him.

Finally, it is important for you to model positive coping strategies and reassure your son that he can manage the situation with your support. Let him know that you are sad that he is being harassed, but together, the two of you will beat the bullies.

Sincerely,

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Child Psychologist
Education.com
Did you find this answer useful?
4
yes
0
no

Additional Answers (1)

dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi Terese,

I'm sorry to hear that you and your son experienced this teasing. Have you checked out Education.com's special edition on bullying and teasing? http://www.education.com/topic/school-bullying-teasing/

This article in particular offers some concrete actions you can take:
http://www.education.com/reference/article/parents-witness-bullying/

If the students who are teasing your son are in his classroom, I would speak to his teacher about the issue. If the students are in another class, approach the principal for follow-up. Regardless, you shouldn't stop being involved in your son's school (or stop walking him to class) because of this.

After explaining to your son that the teasing behavior is unacceptable, you might also point out some of the benefits of having a young, vibrant mother who loves him very much. I wouldn't go so far as to put down mothers who wait until later in life to conceive, but you could emphasize that he's fortunate to have a mom who cares enough to be involved in his life, to take him to class, to feed and clothe him, and love him unconditionally. This is also an opportunity to talk about how not all mothers look alike, and that it isn't as important how you look as how you treat people (including those you love).

Good luck -- I hope you are able to both put an end to the teasing, and to strengthen the bond with your son from the experience.  

P.S. For what it's worth: I too have a seven year old and look young for my age. I also grew up with a mother who was less than 20 years older than me. While we haven't yet experienced the teasing you did, I do empathize with you, and wish you the best in resolving the issue.

Did you find this answer useful?
1
yes
0
no
Answer this question
Anonymous
Welcome!
Please sign in.
Not a Member? Join now!