Counseling Newsletter K-3 By Kara Elmer, Allison Eaton, & Brooke Dusenbury
Easing the Teasing: How Parents Can Help Their Children Taken from Educational Resources Information Center Strategies for Parents: When your child experiences teasing, it is important to see the problem from the child’s point of view. Sit down and listen attentively to your child in a nonjudgmental way. Ask your child to describe the teasing. Where is it happening? Who is the teaser? Understand and validate your child’s feelings. It might be helpful to relate your experience of teasing as a child. Also try the following:
· Do not overreact. A parent’s overreaction can result in a child overreacting.
· Convey the message, “You can handle it”
· Encourage the children to be with children who make them feel good, not bad.
· Review your own behavior. Do you model the behavior of a “victim,” or do you tease your children inappropriately?
· Teach or review and practice the strategies discussed below.
Strategies Parents Can Teach Children:
· Self Talk- encourage children to think about what they can say to themselves during a teasing situation. “Is the tease true”; “Whose opinion is more important, the teaser’s or mine”. Also, have the child think of positive qualities to counteract the negative remarks.
· Ignore-displays of anger or tears often invite more teasing; therefore, it is often effective for children to ignore the teaser.
· The I Message- this is an assertive way for children to effectively express their feelings. “I feel upset when you make fun of my glasses, I would like you to stop”.
· Visualization- many young children respond well to visualizing the words “bouncing off” of them. It provides them with the image of not having to accept or believe what is said.
· Reframing- reframing is changing one’s perception about the negative comment; it is turning the teasing into a compliment. For example a child that gets teased about wearing glasses, such as, “four eyes”, the child could politely respond “thanks for noticing my glasses”. The teaser is generally confused when there is not a reaction of anger or frustration.
· Agree with the Facts- this can be one of the easiest ways to handle and insult/tease. Teaser says “You have so many freckles”, the teased child responds, “Yes, I have a lot of freckles”. Agreeing with the facts usually eliminates the feeling of wanting to hide the freckles.
· “SO?”- the response of “so” to the teaser conveys an indifference that the tease doesn’t matter.
· Respond to the Tease with a Compliment- when a child is teased, it is often effective to respond with a compliment. For example, if a child is teased about the way he runs, he can answer, “You are a fast runner.”
· Use Humor- humor shows that little importance is placed on the put-downs or mean remarks. Laughing can often turn a hurtful situation into a funny one.
· Ask for Help- at times, it is necessary for a child to seek adult assistance or intervention if the teaser is persistent.
Here are some fun relaxation activities to try with your children.
The Big Sponge
Imagine that you are a sponge. To squeeze out stress and tension, tighten all your muscles (without hurting yourself) and silently count slowly to five. Then relax all your muscles for five seconds; Repeat this three or four times. As you tense and relax your muscles, you will wring out more and more stress.
Imagine that you are making lemonade by squeezing out fresh lemons. You can use a couple of stress balls or imaginary lemons and tightly squeeze both fists. Squeeze to a count of three or so, and then relax and stretch your hands for five seconds. As you squeeze your fists tightly again, imagine that the lemon juice is dripping out and taking all your tension with it. Repeat several times.
The Big Balloon
Imagine that your stomach is a balloon. Breathe in slowly through your nose and watch your stomach (balloon) expand. Hold that breath to the count of three, and then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Do this several times and watch your tension blow away.
One Minute Vacation
Give yourself a minute or two to daydream a bit. Imagine a favorite place or thing you like to do that is relaxing and enjoyable. Some examples might be playing at the beach, hiking in the mountains, playing a favorite sport, etc. Pretend you are there and imagine what it looks like, smells like, feels like, and sounds like. Enjoy a few moments there before returning to your classroom.
Sit at your desk and put your feel flat on the floor. With your hands, grab underneath your chair on the sides. Push down with your feet and pull up on your chair at the same time for a slow count of five seconds. Then relax for 5-10 seconds. Repeat this procedure three or four times.
Yoga Breathing Exercise
Stand with your feet slightly apart. Let your arms hang at your sides. As you inhale, raise your arms slowly out to the sides, palms up, and over your head. Exhaling, clasp your fingers and turn your palms toward the ceiling or sky. Now inhale slowly again, stretching up and tilting your head slightly back. As you exhale, drop your head down to your chest and let your arms slowly return to your sides. Repeat this exercise several times.
Take in a deep breath through your nostrils. Hold your breath for three seconds and imagine pushing the breath into the extremities of your body, such as your hands, feet, and head. Slowly breathe out, noisily, through your lips. Repeat a few times, smoothing out the inhalation and exhalation so that there is one apparently seamless inflow and outflow of air. As you breathe in, feel the calm entering your body; as you breathe out, feel the tension flowing out of your body.
Nolting, Paul D. (1997). Winning at Math. Academic Success Press, Inc.
Arem, Cynthia. Conquering Math Anxiety: A Self-Help Workbook. Brooks Cole Publishing Company.
Frank, Kim. (2008). The Handbook for Helping Kids with Anxiety and Stress. Youth Light Inc.
It is a privilege to work with you and your children! Once again, please do not hesitate to call with questions, specific needs, or suggestions.