Most everybody gets teased some of the time...it doesn't take a medical difference to be chosen as the 'victim'. I know that when you do have a problem that others notice, though, it often seems like you're the only one being teased! Remember that teasing could be about ANYTHING!
Kids who feel good about themselves and who work on having a good sense of humor have an easier time than kids who let the teasing get to them. Joking may make the teaser disappear...well, OK, the person may not disappear, but the teasing often 'bites the dust'.
It's important to remember that teasing says much more about the person who's doing it than it does about the person who's putting up with it. Bill Cosby recommends repeating the word, "so", in response to teasing. That must drive the teaser crazy after awhile!
A lot of time kids tease when they're scared or when they don't understand what's going on or when they're just plain unhappy.
Because teasing can hurt, itís easy to get bent out of shape. The trick is to keep your cool, though, since how you react to a tease makes all the difference in the world. In other words, a nasty remark can "take" only if you let it. Some kids tell me that this way of dealing with teasing works for them: Simply ask the person (calmly and without emotion) to repeat what was said, like, "I'm not sure I heard you correctly. Would you mind repeating what you just said?" Usually the teaser doesn't know what to do after such a comment and will either apologize or tell you to "skip it". If the remark is repeated, though, don't say one single word. Instead, make it a habbit to always leave an insult with the person who made it.
Here's another idea if you're bothered a lot by teasing. Wear a special ring and rub it when you're hurt by something that someone says or does. It could be your 'power' ring, and it could remind you of the first five things on this page. It sure is easy to forget them.
Bet it would be a good idea to write down all the things that kids say that bug you. Then you can come up with some answers that will work better for you than what you're doing now. You know, answers that tell the person that you think what was said is just silly!
An important thing to remember is that you've got an incredible power. It's easy to forget about it, but here's what it's all about. You have the power to choose how to act when someone teases you. You can get all mad and bothered (though that often makes things worse, doesn't it?). You can get sad and cry (but that doesn't work, either, does it? It just gives the power away to the teaser!) or you can decide that whatever is said or done isn't worth getting all bent out of shape about. When you choose to believe that, you've got it made! Then you've got all kinds of ways of answering (or ignoring) that show the teaser that you're not giving up your power.
If you are being teased, and begin to get mad, just stop, take a few deep breaths, and don't get mad, that just makes it worse, you can just walk away... (thanks for that hint!)
Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468
Last updated: November 19, 2004