Nellie stopped crying long enough to say, “Some girls were teasing me in the play area behind the center. They called me names and made fun of the way I dress and wear my hair.”
Annie answered, “Tell me who they are. I’ll go talk to them and they’ll be sorry they teased you.”
Miss Sue shook her head, saying, “Annie, it is nice of you to want to stick up for your friend, but Nellie has to learn how to handle it when others start teasing her.” Nellie nodded her head in agreement.
“Well,” said Miss Sue,”There is good teasing that your family and friends do just for fun. You probably do it too. Then there is the kind of teasing that hurts, that’s mean and makes you feel bad. That’s the kind of teasing you have to learn how to handle. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Remember that words cannot hurt you unless you let them.
- Don’t stand around and let other kids tease or make fun of you; walk away.
- If you can’t walk away, pretend you aren’t listening to what they say.
- Don’t let them see that they are hurting your feelings or upsetting you. That is what they want.
Then Annie said, “Let me tell you what I do. This works every time.
You know that I like to shoot hoops whenever I can. Sometimes kids will come along and start making fun of my hearing aid. They’ll say, “Do you know you got a wire sticking out of your ear? Bet if you took that out of your ear you couldn’t play.”
I just stop, walk over to them and say, “This is my hearing aid. It helps me hear what I want to hear and I don’t want to hear what you have to say. With that I turn down my hearing aid, give the teasers a big smile and go back to shooting hoops.
The teasers don’t know what to do. All of a sudden I can’t hear the stupid things they are saying and teasing me just isn’t any fun anymore. “
Nellie and Miss Sue looked impressed. Nellie said, “What a cool idea!” She thought for a minute, then said, “But that won’t work for me; I don’t wear a hearing aid.”
Miss Sue smiled and said,”Annie’s point is …you don’t have to listen. You don’t have to let teasers hurt you. You can ignore them. They are just being mean and acting stupid. Why pay attention to kids who are being mean and stupid?