We woke up to rain today. Seems like we have rain more than sun lately. By early afternoon the rain had gone and the sun was out, although still a little chilly. It didn't matter, the neighborhood kids came out in swarms. Our kids wanted to join them.
Now, We have three children, almost 8, 5 1/2, and almost 2. It is time to let our two oldest ride bikes and venture out into the neighborhood. It is time for me to let them grow up a little this summer. I am really having a hard time with this. That is a different post for a different day.
So out they went. They know where they can play. We have set up all the rules and guidelines and they are good about staying close and looking out for one another.
I was in and out of the house, checking up on them and trying to let them have freedom at the same time. You should see me, I am a joke. I can't stay inside for more than 5 minutes and I have to walk up the street, make sure all is well and then walk back down. 5 minutes later I find another reason why I "need" to go check on them. I. Am. Pathetic.
After my 50th trip to check on them, I came inside to get our youngest a drink. We finished and headed back outside. That is when I saw her. Our daughter, who is 5 1/2, walking towards our house, sobbing. Out loud. Huge alligator tears streaming down her face.
I started towards her trying to gauge if there was an injury. She was walking fine, I didn't see any blood.
She reaches me and begins to talk through the tears like only a girl can. There is so much sobbing I can't even make out the words.
"What is wrong?", I continue to ask.
"Stop crying so I can understand you."
"Take a deep breath, and then tell me what happened."
The crying slowed down and she started to tell me that an older girl, a sister to the girl she was playing with, said something mean to her.
"What did she say?", I asked.
"You are really pretty...."
"That's not mean." I said.
"I said thank you", my daughter told me.
"Then the girl said, Yeah, pretty stupid".
And the sobbing started again louder than ever.
This older girl is 10.
I took into consideration that maybe our daughter provoked the teasing, but after our son and a few other kids came down to find her, they all reported that she had done nothing to deserve the rude comments.
Regardless, None of this mattered. Even though they are just kids I found myself getting hot inside. I was ticked. I wanted to march up the street, sit that girl down and give her a piece of my mind. I started thinking about how she needed more discipline and how her parents let her do what ever she wants. I wanted to grab her by the arm and haul her inside and tell her mother how I felt about both of them. I really felt like that old joke people make about momma bears fighting for their cubs. My cub got her feelings hurt today and I was ready to fight.
Have any of you been in this situation? When someone wrongs your kids, you have a one track mind. It made me so mad that someone would hurt her. She had been betrayed, and it was crushing to her fragile 5 year old self. She could not understand why someone would be mean to her like that. I couldn't stand to see her so hurt.
I was hoping we had a few more years before we had to deal with this. But we don't. Tonight was the night. We have talked about it a little before, but tonight we armed her with tools she could use when she gets teased. I know it will happen again. It is part of life.
My husband and I sat her down and had to explain that teasing is going to happen, kids can be mean, she can't take it personal, and tried to teach her how to handle the situation next time. Then for Family Home Evening we role played. Before bed we read The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Teasing by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
By the end of the night she was feeling better, and I was still irritated. I am going to have to try really hard to be nice to this little girl at church on Sunday. She hurt my little cub.
Here are some Tips for dealing with teasing.
1. Gather the Facts:
Try to get the real story. Ask your child what happened, What they said when they were teased, how the teaser responded, etc.
2. Acknowledge your child's feelings.
Don't underestimate how bad they have been hurt. Research shows us that our brain responds to rejection and teasing the same way it does to physical pain. When kids get their feelings hurt, it really hurts. Acknowledge that they are sad and hurt by what has happened.
3. Don't rescue. It will be hard, but try not to tell your children not to worry because you will "take care of it". Acknowledge that this is a tough situation and then teach your children how to handle it the next time.
4.Teach your children why kids tease. There are lots of reasons. To make people laugh. To put others down so they feel better about themselves. To get attention. Because they are mean. To get even. To fit in.
5. Role Playing. This is one of the best ways to help children deal with teasing. Say things to your children that a teaser would and then practice different ways to respond until you find the one that your child is most comfortable with.
Some responses could include:
- Turning the teasing into a compliment. "Hey thanks for the compliment, that was nice of you to notice."
- Ignore It. Walk away. This is a good one if your child has a hard time with verbal messages.
- Tell them how you feel. "It really makes me mad when you say mean things like that to me."
- Question them. "Why would you say that and hurt my feelings?"
- Be forward. "I want you to stop making fun of me."
- Be sarcastic. This is good for older kids who understand sarcasm. "Like I care."
- Agree with them. "You are exactly right."
When I was in graduate school, one of my professors taught us how to deliver a comeback when we were dealing with our spouses. I think it applies to our family situation today also. We taught it to our daughter tonight.
C -Calm down. Take a deep breath and stay calm. (Our daughter needs to work on this, and I probably do to).
A- be Assertive. Stick up for yourself
L- Look at the teaser. In the eye. Don't look down. Stand tall.
M- Mean what you say. Do not insult or tease back, but be determined and confident.
What do you do when your kids get teased?
Ever want to take matters into your own hands?