Learning and Sharing

Load Up Your Toolbox for Dealing with Teasing and Bullying

on August 4, 2014

Beautiful blond boy shows a message "Help me!"



Is it teasing or bullying?  There is a difference.  It is important to help students understand and see teasing and bullying on a continuum, rather than using the terms interchangeably.

Positive or fun and friendly teasing is at one end of the continuum.  Friendly teasing causes everyone to laugh. Joking around can be friendly teasing.  It can be a fun way to strengthen a friendship by showing closeness and affection with another person. Teasing can also represent an indirect or non-threatening way for resolving conflicts by providing an outlet for expressing frustration.  Teasing is common-96% of elementary age children report involvement.  Teasing is acceptable when it is not meant to harm anyone, and if you asked the person to stop, they would.

Next on the continuum is hurtful teasing.  Hurtful teasing is cruel and involves making fun of someone.  It could be name-calling or putdowns.  Cruel teasing  also includes exclusion.    Behaviors such as the “silent treatment”, stares or eye-rolling are also hurtful.



Also, on the continuum is peer pressure.  Someone may try to talk a student into something that is unsafe or wrong.  Maybe someone tries to pressure a student into being mean to somebody else.

When does teasing become bullying?  When the words turn from affectionate to hostile, when there is a power imbalance, when the child being teased is upset or hurt by the interaction, and when the child who is teasing means to upset or hurt the feelings of the child being teased is usually the turning point when teasing becomes bullying.


Here are some visuals to help children learn the difference between teasing and bullying~











Todays tool for the toolbox is:  The Shrug

When you want to show people that their teasing doesn’t bother you, use The Shrug.  It is a quick, easy, and effective way to deal with teasing.  When you use The Shrug, you show teasers that you don’t care about their words.  You just look away, walk away or say something like “whatever”.  Give that person teasing as little attention as possible.

Happy August!



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