Step 2. Help your child practice delivering the comeback effectively.
Let's face it -- kids don't want to be around someone who's always teased. It just ups the chances they'll be picked on. And they especially don't want to be around someone who always crying, whining, or threatening to "tell" when teasing is playfully delivered among friends. So just remember that when you teach a comeback to your child, it is just as important to make sure he knows to say it calmly and confidently. Here are the six steps your child needs to learn so he delivers an effective comeback that stops the teaser.
- Decide if it's friendly or unfriendly teasing. If it's friendly teasing (the person is having fun with you) shake it off. If it's unfriendly teasing (making fun of you) try not to get worked up.
- Choose if you want to confront your teaser. If it looks like you could be hurt, get help.
- Look the teaser in the eye. Don't look down. Hold your head high and stand tall.
- Stay calm. You can't let the teaser think he's got your goat. So don't get worked up. Take a deep breath to stay calm, tell yourself to "chill out," or count to 10 inside your head.
- Use a strong, firm voice and say your rehearsed comeback to your friend. "Cut it out!" "Get real." "Thanks, but I've heard that one already." "You noticed; it's been a problem all my life."
- Walk away. Do not insult or tease the teaser back. Just keep walking.
Hang in there, keep practicing friendship skills together, and you will make a big difference for your child. Remember, simple changes can reap big results.
Dr. Borba is a recognized expert on parenting and violence prevention. Her proposal to end school violence and student bullying (SB1667) was signed into California law in 2002.