What Parents Should Know About Teens And Teasing At School

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For most teens, going back to school means sharing classrooms and a building with many other students. Unfortunately some learners have to deal with inappropriate behavior such as teasing. Teasing is the act of harassing someone playfully or maliciously, especially by ridicule. It is hurtful and potentially dangerous.

Judy S. Freedman’s book “Easing the Teasing” is very helpful for dealing with children’s teasing issues. It specifically helps parents learn strategies to help their children deal with teasing. Some of the suggested strategies can also be used successfully with teens so it’s definitely a recommended title for parents and educators to peruse. This article is not going to describe the strategies so well explained by Freedman. The goal of this article is to impress on parents the reality of teasing in our school system and how schools in general undertake to deal with discipline and behavior management issues. From this understanding it is hoped that parents will be are more able to work collaboratively with their teen and school personnel should a problem arise.

Due to the differing sizes of elementary and secondary schools, it can generally be asserted that during the elementary school years there is more of a ‘handle’ on teasing than in secondary schools. That is certainly not to say that secondary schools are ignoring the problem. For example, secondary schools may have home room teachers discuss such topics with students; there may be the occasional guest speaker such as a police liaison who addresses the students on this or a similar topic and, faculty are surely expected to reinforce standards of appropriate behavior. Administrative personnel at many schools use an electronic system to track inappropriate student behavior – usually serious incidents. Grade-level meetings are also commonly scheduled to discuss student achievement, work habits and if relevant to the former, behavior. The main challenge in most secondary schools however, is that each teacher typically instructs over a hundred students daily so it’s understandably difficult to monitor, document and discuss student behavior with colleagues on a consistent basis.

Parents who notice a sudden change in their teen’s behavior should consider contacting the school counselor and home room teacher to investigate whether or not the student is having trouble at school. It is important to note that even if a student consistently earns good grades, all may not be going well for the young scholar; they may have other challenges at school. Because teens might try to hide a problem with teasing, parents need to be extremely vigilant in their observation, listening and conversation. Teasing is hurtful and potentially dangerous. It is a form of bullying. Low self-esteem, depression, eating disorders and in the extreme, teen suicide are possible results. Experiencing harassment in this form – whether it is done ‘playfully’ or maliciously, is clearly a serious problem that must be dealt with.

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