Easing the Teasing Strategies

Children can use the strategies listed below to feel empowered and reduce feelings of helplessness. When children realize that there are effective strategies they can use in teasing situations, their coping skills are strengthened.

1. Self-Talk
  • Encourage children to think about what they can say or do in a teasing
  • Reminder: Do not react with anger or tears!
  • Questions:
    • "Is the tease or insult true?" Often it is not.
    • "Whose opinion is more important ... the teaser's or mine?".
  • Think about positive qualities or special experiences.
  • A child should say to himself, "Even though I don't like this teasing, I
    can handle it."
2. Ignore
  • No eye contact or verbal response
  • Pretend the teaser is invisible.
  • Practice/role play
  • If possible, walk away and join others.
  • May not be effective with chronic teasing.
3. "I" Message
  • "I feel upset when you make fun of my glasses. I would like you to stop.".
  • Effective in more "structured" or supervised situations.
  • Effective when communicated to a friend.
  • May not work in unstructured settings because it may lead to more teasing.
  • Make eye contact, speak clearly and politely.
4. Visualization
  • Create a mental picture that the words are "bouncing off."
  • Pretend there is a shield to repel the put-downs and teases.
  • Create own visualization. "I am going to kick the teases down the soccer
5. Reframe
  • Accept the tease as a positive comment rather than a put- down.
  • Take or accept the tease as a compliment.
    • "Thanks for noticing my glasses."
    • "Thanks for your opinion."
6. Agree
  • Agree with the facts: "Yes, I have poor vision."
7. "So?"
  • Conveys the message of "so what?" or "who cares?"
8. Respond to the Teaser with a Compliment
  • "I wish I could see as well as you."
9. Use Humor
  • Laughing or smiling defuses the mean comments.
10. Ask for Help
  • An adult can often intervene very successfully.
  • Tattling vs. Reporting
The Other 3 R's
The effectiveness and success of the other 3 of the Easing the Teasing strategies are generally dependent upon the child feeling comfortable and confident in using them. Comfort and confidence develop from "the other 3 R's": rehearsal, repetition, and review. Just as children have to consistently review math facts and spelling words, they must repeatedly practice these techniques. Frequent discussions and role-plays foster and enhance a child's successful use of the strategies.
Copyright © 2001-10 by Judy Freedman. All rights reserved.