Kids can be cruel. Name-calling, jokes and teasing are all weapons of choice in the arsenals used in the playground war of words. If your child is the target of insults, you may both rest assured that he is not alone, and it’s more than likely nothing personal.
To help him deal with the insults, consider the following 10 ideas:
One of the most controversial ways to deal with insults is to give them back. Having a snappy comeback at the ready can often stop teasing in its tracks. Kids often size one another up with teasing; when you have a witty response, the teaser will often back down.
If it’s not your child’s nature to give and take insults, another option would be to return kindness for insults. It can be disarming, and leave the other kid feeling kind of crummy. Insults are often used to elicit a certain response from the intended victim. Taking the high road also takes the sport out of the tease for the kid doing the teasing.
If possible, your child could avoid the kids that are insulting her. Taunting and put-downs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and when they’re especially cruel they aren’t fun for anyone. In those circumstances, the best course of action is to find a group of friends who aren’t so mean.
Ignoring the insults is always an option. More often than not, the insults are intended to get attention, usually at someone else’s expense. Nothing defuses a caustic insult quite like letting it go unnoticed.
Your child might learn to take the insults less personally if he has the chance to see the situation from a different perspective. It might be fun to watch a comedy where that kind of humor is being used. When your kid sees that it’s just harmless entertainment, he might be less inclined to take insults to heart.
Share your own childhood experience about the subject. Tell your kid how you dealt with it, and talk about how it felt to be teased. Knowing you’ve been through the same thing may help her not to feel alone and encourage her to talk about her feelings.
Explain to your child that some kids who tell insults are behaving that way because someone else has been mean to them, or because they just don’t know of any better ways to associate with others. Teach her to have compassion for those who can’t express themselves in a more positive and friendly way.
If a kid is being overly aggressive, hurtful, or using insults that are of a racial or otherwise insensitive or prejudicial nature, your child should know who to contact should that happen at school. In any case, he needs to know that he can go to you or another adult for help.
If the insults are being sent online, your child should know how to avoid websites where the behavior occurs, how to delete or block offending parties, and to advise you if any contact online is causing distress or discomfort.
It is always a good idea to have regular discussions with your child about her relationships at school. Doing so can help her to work out any difficulties she’s having. It may require contacting school authorities or speaking directly with the other child’s parents to alleviate the problem.
This has been a guest submission by Roxanne Porter on behalf of NannyJobs.org.