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Being teased

teasing; bullying; unlearning; feelings; harassment; safe; tease; dobbing; sad ;


feeling sickSometimes everything seems to go wrong at once.

Maybe the teacher is giving you a hard time.

Maybe your parents are giving you a hard time.

Maybe your brother/ sister/ cousin/best friend is giving you a hard time too.

Maybe kids (or a particular kid) at school are giving you a hard time.

How it feels to be teased

It's not fun is it?
It can make you sad, it can make you cross, and it can make you feel like you don't even want to go to school.

This is what some children said about being teased

"I felt sad and wanted to fight."

"I felt put down."

"I felt lonely."

"I felt like I was a loser."

"I felt really depressed when my friend and some others teased me."

"I feel mad when people tease me. I think they don't like me."

"It felt like everyone was teasing me and I felt like I couldn't come to school."

"Sometimes I cry when I am teased. It hurts my feelings."

Is teasing OK?

There are three different kinds of teasing.

  • Teasing which makes you feel good (like between friends and family when you're just all having fun)
  • Teasing which makes you feel bad (like name calling, put downs, frightening, threatening and bullying behaviour)
     teasing others
  • Teasing which makes you feel uncomfortable because it's a mixture of the other two. You're not too sure whether it's fun or hurtful

Remember that it isn't your fault if someone else is teasing you. They are responsible for what they do.

But maybe there are some things you can do to help them see that teasing doesn't work!

Maybe they need to do some 'unlearning'?

What is 'unlearning'?

Have you ever learned something 'off by heart ' and then found out ages afterwards that you'd got it wrong? 

dinosaurLike the little boy who thought dinosaurs were smelly creatures.

He thought his teacher said 'Dinosaurs stinked' when she really said 'Dinosaurs are extinct'

I bet you can think of lots of things that you learned when you were young that you had to unlearn when you got older because you'd got the wrong idea.

These kids had to do some 'unlearning'.

  • "My mum is called Meredith, I called her "murfit" when I was little."
  • "My sister calls Milo, mymo."
  • "I used to say "hopsicle" instead of hospital."
  • "My little brother calls spaghetti 'biscetti'. I used to do the same when I was little."
  • "I was throwing wrong in baseball and it took a long time before I could throw properly."
  • "Last year I was always in trouble but this year I'm trying real hard."

Sometimes people think they know all about you and they could have the wrong idea.

They need to 'unlearn' and then learn what you are really like.

The people who do the sort of teasing which makes you feel bad need to do two lots of 'unlearning'.

  1. They need to 'unlearn' what they think they can get out of teasing.
  2. They need to 'unlearn' what they think about themselves.

What people think teasing will do

They think that if they tease you:

bullet point imagegril cryingYou will look sad.

bullet point imageYou might cry.

bullet point imageYou might chase them.

bullet point imageYou might get angry and shout.

bullet point imageYou might fight them.

bullet point imageYou might be afraid of them and run away.

Sometimes people feel bad about themselves and they think teasing others will make them seem big and powerful and important.  There is some helpful information for these people in the topics Teasing others and how to stop, Feeling lonely and Making friends.

They will need your help to 'unlearn' what they think.

How you can help people 'unlearn' teasing you

Here are some ideas that some children have tried – do you think any of them would work for you?

  • Tell the people you don't like what they are doing and ask them to stop. Say "I don't think that's funny' or "That's a very unkind thing to say (or do)" in a voice loud enough for others to hear.
  • laughing at othersIf they're calling you names - pretend you didn't hear, walk away or start talking to someone else. Imagine there is a hard plastic bubble around you that their words can't get through.
  • Make a joke out of what they said, "'Yeah, that's me, 'metal mouth'"
  • Make them look silly, " Wow, you noticed that I wear glasses!" "Did you think that name up all by yourself?"--- act as if you really admire their 'cleverness'.
  • Ignore what they said by making a comment, eg "Good we've got sport this arvo".
  • Think, "nobody can tease me if I don't let them."
  • Show that you don't care about what they are saying. Practise walking past them without looking upset.
  • Don't get into a fight. 

Whether you win or lose a fight why should you provide entertainment for others, risk getting into trouble for fighting and risk getting hurt or hurting someone else?

If you think the other person might hurt you don't try any of these things, just quietly walk away.

What else you can do
  • If these ideas are not working remember that everyone has the right to feel safe. Tell the person that you don't like what they are saying or doing, and that if they keep teasing it will be 'harassment'.
  • Tell your parent and teacher about the teasing if it is not improving and they will be able to help you and the teaser to sort things out. (That isn't 'dobbing' or 'telling tales' – it's keeping safe).
  • Try not to let the teaser see that you are upset. (This will help you to improve your acting skills.)
  • Make friends with others who are being teased. There is safety in numbers.

If the teasing is not friendly and is making you feel bad, and you've tried some of the ideas and it's still going on, then that is bullying and is more serious, and needs to be dealt with.

See the topics on Bullying - being unkind to others, Dealing with bullies and Are you a bystander to bullying?

Everyone teases their friends, family, and other people in the team or group. Often it's a fun thing when people share and laugh together. People might tease others about good things, not just bad things.

It stops being funny when all the teasing is one way or if the person being teased isn't laughing but is feeling bad.

Dr Kim says

Dr Kim

"Everyone likes to have a laugh but if some people are not laughing because their feelings are being hurt, then that's not funny.

You may not be teasing someone, but watching someone being made really unhappy shows that you think teasing is OK. This can encourage the teasing to continue. Is that OK?

 Teasing can easily become bullying and bullying is not ok. Have a look at this site to find out more about bullying."    

What some kids wrote about being teased

Teasing can be friendly.
Teasing can be mean.
Hurting people's feelings
Is not a happy scene.
Being a kinder person
Makes others kinder too
So be aware of others
'Cos 'others' can mean you!   

When I was teased
I felt alone
I felt like crying
And going home
I didn't want to go to school next day.
But when I asked for help
Things got better right away.

By Lauren
There was a kid who was wagging school
Because no-one thought he was really cool.
But this kid was really sad.
And, of course, he was really mad.
He said, "It's time for teasing to stop."
But the kids kept on so he called a cop.
The cop told him to walk away,
So he did, and the other kids went astray.
The kid was happy they stopped teasing, so,
Now he's in school. That's the way to go!

By Gordon

This site may have some helpful ideas if you or your friend are being bullied. It is a website that has been developed by the Australian Government to support children who are being bullied and to help bullies to stop hurting other people. 

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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