“I am Not A Baby!” This is perhaps the most repeated phrase I hear from my five-year old daughter on a daily basis.
Teasing, when done in a friendly way can be taken lightly, and we should actually encourage our kids not to be too sensitive and uptight, learn to take a joke in good strides.
As long as the teasing is mutual and friendly, kids can have fun teasing each other. But, if the teasing becomes unkind, hurtful, and constant, then there’s need to intervene, as that borders on bullying.
More often than not, as parents, when a child comes to us to report being teased, we just tell them “Sorry”, without making sure that their feelings are taken care of. Teasing, especially when it is hurtful is not something that should just be brushed aside. In fact, it can go a long way in affecting a child emotionally and impact on their self-esteem.
It is also important to teach your child not to tease another child, especially when the other child doesn’t find the teasing fun!
You may not be able to do much about preventing other children from teasing your child, but you can teach your child how to handle the teasing. As a parent, how can I safeguard my child’s emotions?
- Empathize with your child and his feelings. Never discount their feelings of being hurt about the teasing, take their feelings seriously. For instance my five-year old daughter does not like to be teased, so I have constantly told my son not to keep teasing her whenever she protests. And as a rule in my home, I do not encourage name calling.
- Build self-confidence in your child. Reinforcing your child’s self esteem with positive words of encouragement goes a long way in dealing with teasing. When your child is being called names, he can confidently say to himself that he’s not who the teaser says he is
- Model for your child the kind of teasing that is acceptable. No child likes to be teased in front of others, especially their friends and other non-family members. Let your child know how to separate friendly, fun teasing from teasing that is done to deliberately hurt
- Teach Your child to calmly respond to being teased. The power the teaser has on your child is in getting your child to be upset. If he refuses to show any emotions, then the teasing is likely to get boring to the teaser, and consequently it is stopped. This may not be an easy task for younger children, especially when it comes to dealing with older children. We just have to keep showing them how to be calm
- Your child can walk away to be near other children who won’t be mean to her
- Report the incident to another adult when it becomes a constant thing
- You may need to physically ask for your child to be separated from that situation if all strategies to stop the teasing doesn’t work, or if the teasing becomes full fledged bullying resulting in physical assault of any kind. For instance, you can request for your child’s class to be changed if possible.
The emotional stability of a child is key to helping them maintain healthy relationships as they grow older. Help your child.
This post was first published on www.strivingnigerianmom.com