When Your Child Is Teased at School
All kids tease -- it's an inevitable part of childhood and becomes particularly common as kids enter the preadolescent years. Sometimes teasing can be harmless fun; other times, it can hurt. Knowing the difference can help your child cope better with it.
According to Judy Freedman, author of the book "Easing the Teasing: Helping Your Child Cope with Name-Calling, Ridicule, and Verbal Bullying," friendly teasing involves having fun with someone. It's not offensive, and it doesn't hurt a child's feelings. On the other hand, hurtful teasing involves making fun of someone. It degrades and belittles other people. When hurtful teasing goes too far, it's considered bullying.
Kids tease other kids for a variety of reasons. They want attention, and they think teasing is cool. They may feel insecure, so they make fun of others in an effort to make themselves feel better. Kids may also tease a child with a condition they don't understand, such as a learning disability. If someone in their circle of friends is engaging in hurtful teasing, kids may join in simply because they want to fit in with their peers.
If your child is being teased, you can help by talking about ways to avoid or ignore the person who's doing the teasing. If teasing turns into bullying, ask your child's teacher or the school's principal or social worker to intervene.