What is teasing? How can it be avoided? Is there any way to prevent it from happening all together?
As you can imagine, most of these questions are completely dependent on the individual. What one child may describe as teasing another child may not even notice. Teasing, unfortunately seems to be an inevitable part of childhood. It happens everyday when playful name calling can quickly turn into something more; perhaps even bullying. As much as the word “bullying” is a hot-button topic there is a difference between teasing and bullying and we should be careful as to how we label un wanted interactions.
Teasing stems from children having a need for attention from their peers. Whether they are looking for positive or negative attention it can become a learned behavior. If children learn that they can get a rise out of their peers they will continue with these behaviors. Another thought is that children tease because it is a learned behavior – not just at home but on television, or movies. Their are shows that your children are watching that have created a vibe of normalcy with regards to this kind of behavior. If your child has been coming home complaining of being teased at school there are a few steps you can take to empower them:
1. Make sure that your child understands that you can relate with them; that this is an experience that you went through at their age as well. We’ve all been there!
2. Talk to your child about what is going on. Hearing their perspective of the situation is important.
3. Equip your child with the tools to stand up for themselves. Teach phrases like “I don’t like when you say that.” or “Please stop teasing me now.” Often a child who is doing the teasing doesn’t expect the child to stand up for themselves. These strong responses often work wonders.
4. Remind your child that they always have the option to walk away from the child doing the teasing.
5. Asking for help from a trusted adult is always an acceptable option. Be aware that you must be ready to step in if your child is asking for help.
6. Be mindful of interactions at home – even playful ribbing can bring out strong emotions and/or additional stress.
During Club 45 the teachers try to be aware of any teasing (both playful & hurtful) to keep it to a minimum. Children are exploring their individualities and constantly testing their boundaries so it is hard to eradicate it completely. We regularly discuss the differences amongst each other. Just because someone is different it shouldn’t change the way we treat them.