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This one is about: Teasing - TV Interview with a Family Psychologist

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To those who might be interested, this is my interpretation of what Family Psychologist, Kevin Leman, PhD, told Joan Lunden on the Good Morning America show yesterday morning regarding teasing:

First of all, he said that teasing is a "right of passage" for kids. He said that kids 3-5 yrs. are teased all the time, and by the time they get to middle school "kids are mean."

He gave the example of something that happened with his 5 year old daughter, Hannah. He said she came home from school one day and announced that she didn't want to go to school anymore. After he heard what one of the boys had told Hannah, his parental reaction was that he wanted to kill that kid (he uses this word "kid" throughout). The boy had told Hannah that he was "gonna get a gun and shoot your eye out."

He went on to say that "words hurt." (Didn't we ALL know that?) He cautioned parents not to tease their own children. And, not to allow siblings to tease one another in their home. He said you should immediately take the kids to a neutral corner in a different room. Tell them you are "not going to tolerate this, and life isn't going to go on until this problem is solved."

If the teasing is a case of another kid in school, empathize with your child and understand. Then get involved. GET THE FACTS! He said, maybe YOUR kid is doing some of the teasing, too. If the problem cannot be solved through the teacher, ask for a conference and get everyone together in the same room.

He mentioned that getting involved and "taking things in stride" will cause our kids to take it in stride.

Be sure to tell your children the "everyone is not going to like you," and "everyone is not going to approve of you." Let them know that comments DO hurt and they should "ride with it" and poke a little fun at themselves.

Never dismiss your child's hurts. Sit down. Listen. Find out what is going on. There will be tears, then they will tell you what happened.

Regarding schools, they are beginning to be aware of how tough teasing can be. Some schools are putting up signs around school that indicate the school is a "No Put Down Zone." The idea, of course, is the "awareness" that words hurt.

Most importantly, affirm and love your kids. He said it is "Like putting an invisible shield around them." Then, when teasing happens, children will get through it. And, we must take it in stride.

That's my Good Morning America review on Teasing.

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