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Health Information For Parents
My young son has a cleft lip, and other kids have been making fun of him. How can I help him handle the teasing?
Adults can help by letting all kids know that teasing and making fun is never OK — that it is unkind, unfair, and hurtful.
Still, many kids will experience occasional teasing, and it can be difficult for them to handle. Kids with a cleft lip or other physical differences can be easy targets because the differences are so visible.
Kids who get teased may need help knowing how to respond. Encourage your son to tell you if he gets teased. Calmly listen and show him that you understand his feelings. Then talk together about some ways he can deal with it if it happens again.
For example, depending on the situation and your son’s age, you may want to teach him to:
Talk with your son about which of those ideas might work best for him and practice them by role-playing. Remind your son not to tease back, fight, or say something hurtful in return, which can only make the situation worse.
You also can help him become more resilient by offering your support and encouraging activities and friendships that develop his strengths and confidence. When you’re hearing about his day, be sure to focus on what he enjoyed and what went well, in addition to any difficult moments he faced.
Many schools now have programs to deal with teasing and bullying and promote positive relationships between kids. Ask the school staff (a teacher, guidance counselor, or principal) if your son’s school has such a program. If teasing tends to occur in specific settings (like at the bus stop or during recess), work with school personnel to make sure that an adult in charge responds to the situation when it happens.
If teasing becomes an ongoing issue or if you notice sudden changes that concern you (like your son doesn’t want to go to school, seems sad, or seems to have a hard time separating from you or family members), talk with a counselor or mental health professional for additional support.
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. Here are some suggestions on what to do if online bullying has become part of your child’s life.
No one likes a bully. Find out how to handle them in this article for kids.
Bullying has everyone worried, not just the people on its receiving end. Learn about dealing with bullies, including tips on how to stand up for yourself or a friend.
Hear what kids say about being bullied, and how they handle it.
Everyone has a bad day at school once in a while, but some kids really don’t like school. Read this article for kids to find out more.
Hear what real kids have to say about bullying and how it feels to get bullied or watch it happen to someone else.
School counselors know how to listen and can help kids with life’s challenges.
Unfortunately, bullying is a common part of childhood. But parents can help kids cope with it and lessen its lasting impact.
Using technology to bully is a problem that’s on the rise. The good news is awareness of how to prevent cyberbullying is growing even faster. See our tips on what to do.
Did you ever feel like another kid was trying to get you to do something you didn’t want to do? If so, you’ve felt peer pressure. Find out more in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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