This article, entitled TeaseMonster, comes from children's author Julia Cook.

Teasing is a human social exchange that can be perceived as friendly, neutral or negative. The goal of teasing should be to create closer relationships and make connections.

Pro-social teasing helps to satisfy a fundamental human motivation - to be an integral part of a group. It has its benefits: Teasing can be playful, help to promote social affiliations, allow people to better deal with awkward situations and help bring both the teaser and the person being teased closer together.

Teasing turns into bullying when kids use it to gain greater social status, or when the intent of what is said or done is to harm. The best way to learn how to deal with teasing is to better understand it. Here are a few tips:

  • Teach your child how to tease and accept teasing through body language, laughter and sarcasm, so that he/she can see the differences between serious and joking interaction.

  • Define the differences between teasing and bullying with your child: Teasing creates stronger relationships while bullying damages relationships. Teasing adds to your character as a person while bullying takes away from your character. Teasing occurs between equals (age, power, intelligence, friendships) while bullying occurs between people are unequal. Teasing maintains dignity or respect toward a person while bullying is done to embarrass or hurt the feelings of a person. Teasing may include harmless nicknames that the target also thinks are funny. Calling a target names that are derogatory or directed at his or her religion, ethnicity, speech, appearance, etc. is bullying.

  • Listen to your child without disagreement. If your child tells you that one of her classmates said her clothes are ugly, don't jump in and reassure the child that her clothes are beautiful. If you do that, you infer to your child that she has been victimized. Instead, listen carefully to what your child is telling you, and then work with her to come up with a plan to address this situation the next time it happens.

For more information or to purchase this book please visit Julia Cook Online

About the Author...
Julia Cook
Julia Cook is an award-winning children’s book author and parenting expert.

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