Teaching Your Child How To Deal WIth Bullying & Teasing – Liz Laugeson, PsyD


We know that verbal teasing is very, very
common amongst adolescents and it doesn´t even really matter how popular you are. Everybody
gets teased as a teenager. It´s how you react to it that determines how often you get teased
or how severely. And the problem is that as adults we often give kids the wrong advice
in how to handle teasing. In fact, I ask teens this question all the time. What do adults
tell you to do in response to teasing? And they are always told to do these three different
things: they are told to either walk away, ignore or tell an adult. And then I ask them
if it works and they say, “No.” It doesn´t because the reality is is that is not what
kids who are socially accepted actually naturally do. What kids who are socially accepted do
in these situations is they act like what the person said didn´t bother them and in
fact it was kind of lame. So they will give a short little comeback that shows that. They
will say something like, “Whatever,” or “Yeah, and or your point is?” or “I am supposed to
care? Is that supposed to be funny?” or they will say, “Anyway.” And they will roll their
eyes and shrug their shoulders. And they give this impression that it doesn´t bother them
and what you said was kind of lame. And the reality is that when people tease us, they
are trying to get a certain reaction out of us. And that´s not the reaction they are
trying to get. They are trying to get us upset. They are trying to get us mad. They are trying
to push our buttons, but if we make the teasing not fun for them by acting like what they
said was kind of lame, it´s making it less likely that we will be teased in the future.