At one point or another, we have all been teased in our lifetime. Even in cases that were few and far between, it’s highly unlikely that you have forgotten, because that type of stuff sticks with you.
Perhaps that is why it hit me especially hard when my little ones came home to me and told me that they were being teased. It was almost as if the wound of being teased is reopened but in a much more profound way, because it is your baby that is being teased. In my mind, I could feel the pain my child had experienced as if I had felt it myself. The worst part was that momentarily, I felt powerless. However, I did my research and helped my kids to overcome the bullying empowered.
Here are 8 ways to help a child that is being teased.
1. Help them with their self-talk.
Talk with your child and be understanding and empathetic. Help them to understand that while the teasing isn’t optimal, they can handle it. Coach them to handle the situation by reminding themselves that even if the teasing is uncomfortable- that it is nothing beyond what they can handle. This will help them to cope in the long run when situations like this arise again.
2. Tell them if at all possible to ignore it.
If the person or people teasing them is just making rude remarks, encourage them to ignore it and to keep doing whatever they are doing. The bully wants a reaction, and if they don’t give them that, it’s far more likely the bully will stop. As a parent, you can help them to ignore it by praising them for their actions.
3. Encourage them to ask for help.
Sometimes, a teaser is not going to stop. In this case, encourage your child to tell their teacher or bus driver, or whoever can be of help in the situation.
4. Reframe it.
Teach your child to reframe it. What I mean by this is that if they are being bullied for their glasses, tell them to respond, “Thanks for noticing my glasses.” Or, if it’s their braces, “Thanks for noticing my teeth,” for almost any scenario, there is a way to reframe.
5. Teach visualization.
Another good tactic is to teach them visualization. When the bully is saying mean things, tell them to imagine their words hitting them and imagine a shield or suit of armor causing the words to bounce off.
6. Agree with the facts.
Sometimes, the best way to handle a bully is to agree with the facts. So, if a teaser calls them a crybaby, they could say, “Well, I do cry a lot.” Oftentimes agreeing with the facts will help them to eliminate feelings of fear associated with the bullying.
7. Respond with a compliment.
As my mother used to say, kill ’em with kindness. There is nothing more powerful than to turn a bully on their head by responding to their teasing with a compliment.
Humor is like magic medicine. While you may not be able to stop the teasing, you can laugh at it and encourage your child to do the same. In most cases, laughing can turn a humiliating situation into a funny one.