The other day, I witnessed some kids teasing one another. I was horrified, and thought to myself that my kids will never do that! There have been lots of things that I have thought that about. The whole situation got me thinking though, is there such a thing as good teasing? And if so, how do I teach my kids how to avoid the wrong kind of teasing?
My first question is easy, sure there is an enjoyable way to be teased. When I’m playing with my daughter, and telling her I’m going to get her with the “tickle monster.” Or when I snatch up my son and pretend to gobble him up, I am in fact, teasing them. So it seems pretty simple to me why kids can sometimes think teasing is okay. It is not a hard line to cross between the two.
This past month, we have been talking a lot about the other kind of teasing too. I don’t want to over burden my daughter with lectures, I don’t think she would really get it at this point. Instead, I exposed her to some teasing. We know a little girl who likes to tease. Under my supervision I watched my daughter deal with her. We talked about how it made her feel, and how she thought she could handle it. To my surprise, it didn’t bother her at all and she was quite reasonable in dealing with it. But I still fear her teasing others. Later that day, my son had an obvious poopy diaper. Smiling I said, “Boy, you are stinky!” Normally I wouldn’t think anything about it, but realized that I was teasing him. Lucky for me I caught my faux pas and said aloud to him, and my daughter, “Wow, I’m sorry, what mommy said wasn’t very nice. I feel bad now for making you feel bad buddy.” Hopefully by acknowledging where I went wrong, my kids will learn to think about others and how they feel.
I can only hope that if I keep up the dialogue my kids will keep up their nice behaviors and teach them a healthy dose of empathy.