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    Why Is Everybody Always Picking on Me?

    By Sara Richmond Walls     

    When to Be Worried About Your Child

    When I was twelve I had braces, thick, blue plastic glasses, and long wavy hair. Very Sarah Jessica Parker in Square Pegs. Needless to say, I was an easy target for other girls and boys to pick on. But I got through it and picked up some words of advice for the parents of those students who seem to be the most “pickable.” Included in this article are specific things to watch out for and tips on what to do to help your teen through these years.

    Watch Out for the Physical

    Teasing comes at your child in different ways, some more threatening than others. Some kids may just hurl taunting nicknames at each other, while others resort to physical acts. Even within this physical category there are varying levels of severity. Is your child coming home with spaghetti on his new shirt, or is he coming home with bruises, cuts and scrapes that aren’t from playing outside? Physical teasing may not come against your child herself, but may come in dead roses taped to her locker or other physical suggestions. This is a level of teasing that should be discussed with the teacher, principal, or both.

    Depression and Social Anxiety

    Have you ever heard the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” In reality, words can hurt, and they can hurt badly. Even if your child is physically making it through the day, you need to watch how they are handling things emotionally. Be sure to pay attention if your child who was once a big talker becomes quiet and withdrawn. Monitor sleeping habits. If he or she sleeps more often than before, for example taking naps right after school and then going to bed again right after dinner, you may be looking at the beginnings of depression. Remember that teasing and picking can have a damaging effect on your child’s self-esteem and self-image.

    What to Do?

    If your child, pre-teen or teen is being picked on and you know that you need to act based on the above observations, there are several approaches you may take.

    · Understand that there is little you or school administration can do to change the teasing child. Even if the school can punish the child and minimize in-school teasing, what happens on the bus or at the mall? Your concern is your child.

    · Let your child know that he or she cannot change the picking child. There is a great saying that goes something like this “I can’t change you, but I can change how I react to you.” Most bullies pick because they get a reaction. Give no reaction, and they get bored. It’s a concept that might be hard for your child to put into action, but it’s highly useful.

    · Act subtly. If you choose to talk with the teacher, principal, or even to the parent of the child, do so behind closed doors or on the telephone, anywhere private. If news breaks that your child couldn’t handle the situation on his own, that in itself will be great easing fodder. You may or may not want to tell your child you are speaking with administration. That will vary with the child.

    It’s not easy being the picked-on child in school, but there is a whole lot that you as a parent can do to ease your child’s suffering. It all boils down to taking the time to listen, reinforcing your child’s self-esteem, and making sure that he is learning and gleaning all that he can from the experience.

    Written by Sara Richmond WallsRate this article:

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