Help Your Child Cope With Teasing (page 2)
Teasing is something we all grow up with. It's part of family life, it's part of childhood, even adults tease each other. But sometimes teasing is not playful — it’s downright mean. How do parents know where to draw the line?
Teasing is common among children, especially between brothers and sisters. It can be OK only if it is used with care. It’s a way to offer gentle criticism. As a parent, you must understand the visible signs:
- Friendly teasing: playful, gentle, with a genuine smile
- Aggressive teasing: overly critical, taunting, sneering, hurt feelings
Teach your children the difference. Stop it if it isn’t fun for everyone.
What if your son really did do something silly, but your daughter is going overboard teasing him about it? Should you intervene?
You should balance the situation. Explain to your daughter that everyone has the right to make mistakes—that’s how people learn. Encourage your daughter to be tolerant about differences – to see her brother’s point of view. Let her know that she is going too far, and it's time to stop. Have her leave the room if she doesn't stop. Above all, don't allow teasing to escalate into anything more aggressive. Make it clear what is allowed.
Some people say that children and adults who tease are compensating for their own shortcomings.
Sometimes people accuse others of the very weaknesses they see in themselves. It's a defense mechanism that keeps them from admitting what they fear.
What if your child comes home and is heartbroken because of teasing that day? How do you console him teach him to be strong and not let it bother him?
If he is heartbroken, then examine those feelings with him. Is he angry, sad, or merely frustrated? It’s OK to feel bad about it. It’s not OK to plan revenge.
Try to help him understand it:
- what was it really about?
- why did the teasing bother him?
- is there some truth to it?
Help him explore ways to resolve the problem:
- is there something he can do so he's not teased about that again?
- use humor to brush it off
- ignore it
- ask for help from an adult
- make the teaser a friend—it often works
When do you get professional help?
Seek help if the child seems depressed and withdrawn or if you see an unhealthy change in friends and activities.
For more information on coping with teasing, call 553-3000 or toll-free (877) 553-3001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted with the permission of the Heartland Family Service. © 2008 Heartland Family Service
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