When kids tease

I grew up having classmates call me negra and it has been my source of insecurity even until I was older. Even when I tried to achieve in other things, I didn't feel content because I know other people think of me as ugly. It was only after graduating in college that I regained the self-esteem I once lost.

Is your child being teased a lot? He may not show it, but he may be really hurting inside. Help your child properly respond to these name callings by first understanding the reasons why other kids tease. Kaboose, a parenting resource site, lists 5 reasons:

  • The kids feel inferior. Teasing gives them a sense of power over other kids.
  • These kids want to accepted. Unfortunately, they think teasing is a cool thing to do and that it will help them look cool to others.
  • These kids have the wrong role models. They may see teasing as a normal thing in their homes or neighborhoods.
  • These kids are unhappy or scared. It helps them to feel a little better about themselves when they belittle others.
  • These kids are just being playful. They actually do not realize that they are hurting their playmates' feelings.
How can we help our children address this? Here are some tips:

  1. Teach your child to just ignore and walk away. Tell your child to count to ten and breath deeply until the anger subsides. I know it's hard to do but we have to remind our kids that fighting back is not a wise choice.
  2. Teach your child to assert himself and make a strong statment. Tell him to go to the person teasing him and just say, "I don't like what you are doing and I want you to stop." Then, the ignore and walk away move should follow.
  3. Think of comeback remarks to counter each teasing. When Rap was branded as "nerd" by his classmates, his usual comeback remark would be, "matalino naman" ("at least, I'm smart"). Just make sure that the comeback remarks are just witty and not hurtful.
  4. Ask your kid to stay in the company of his friends. "United we stand, divided we fall," so the saying goes. A naughty kid would think twice before teasing another kid who's with his barkada.
  5. If teasing persists, seek help. Talk to your child's teacher or the school administrators about it. You can also opt to talk to the other kid's parents about his behavior. In doing so, you will not only be helping your child but the other kid as well.
  6. Lend a listening ear and a warm hug. Make your child feel better by communicating to him. Avoid prejudging him by thinking that he may have done something to make the other kid get mad at him. Just let him spill the beans and listen. Show him affection so that he will feel a lot more secure, accepted, and loved.
It's important to help our kids cope with teasing. Teasing brings emotional wounds that take years to heal. Let us help them to be confident enough to grow up to be achievers in their own right.

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