Everyone gets teased. Its part of growing up. In fact, every one of us can probably remember getting teased at one point or another when we were younger AND having one particular teasing stick out in our mind.
I can still remember one of the first times I was teased. I was in the first grade and, like most first graders I’m sure, I still had some lingering baby fat. Additionally, my parents, who don’t really have a sense of fashion, happened to dress me that day in my sister’s clothes (not a dress, but think pink t-shirts with ponies) – which they thought was ok because shirts are unisex right? No – they are not. Needless to say, the chubby cheeked boy dressed in girl’s clothes got it pretty bad on the first day of school.
Fast forward a few decades later and I’m now a parent with a child in today’s new world of bullying and teasing. As a first time parent, I’m really not quite sure what to do. Part of me thinks, look this is part of growing up and everyone goes through it. I turned out OK and I was teased (a lot unfortunately!). My parents never got involved, nor did they really need to. But, part of me wants to protect my kids, shield them from getting teased and get involved and kick the crap out of the teasers (and potentially their parents). What’s the right thing to do? You want to protect your kids from harm but you don’t want to over-protect them to the point where they can’t handle a little teasing on their own…
Luckily my oldest daughter is not yet 3 and these problems are still a few years away, however I got my first taste this past weekend. I was changing my daughter for her swim lesson when a couple of boys (not sure how old – 6, 7?) walked by and noticed she was still wearing a diaper. They stopped what they were doing and started pointing at her and saying things like “what a baby, she’s still wearing diapers!” Then they giggled and walked away.
It doesn’t sound that bad as I write this, but the actual event felt worse. After they walked off, my daughter kind of looked at me like she didn’t understand what was going on. This got me thinking about what I would have done a year from now, when she’s older and understands she’s getting made fun of.
What to do…?