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What if My Child is Being Teased About His/Her Appearance?

Guidelines for the Development of Positive Self Esteem.

Social inhibition, or feeling uncomfortable in social situations is common for everyone, but particularly for people who think they “look different”. Teasing is the act where someone annoys another person persistently, or bullies another person to anger, resentment, or confusion. Many problems can occur because of the behavior of the person who looks, or think he looks different. Problems also occur because of facial expression, and concern with appearance.

Important social skills to learn and practice:

  • Reassurance: for yourself and others – try something that helps people see that you have feelings just like them – a big smile can make you feel better.
  • Energy and Effort: get on others wavelength, make an effort with your appearance so you feel good about yourself and match the energy of the person you are talking with.
  • Assertiveness: make your point directly and politely, be prepared, think about questions you have had to answer before.
  • Courage: try and think positive, “I can do this”, give yourself encouraging messages, even if you don’t quite believe it.
  • Humor: don’t be afraid to use your sense of humor, have a few little jokes for especially awkward times.

Practice the above skills, with your family, with your close friends, and in front of the mirror. If you get comfortable with yourself, you will get comfortable with others and they will get comfortable with you.

When faced with an uncomfortable situation:

  • look at the person straight in the eyes and SMILE
  • when asked a curious, but hurtful question about your face or body, be up front; give a short explanation of what happened. Make sure you are comfortable with the story you give. Or you can just ask “why on earth would you ask or say such a thing?”
  • make a joke that everybody can laugh at without hurting anyone’s feelings, including your own
  • think of something else, tune out hurtful comments, like you didn’t even hear them, actively switch the topic of conversation or switch to a different friend or group of friends
  • find a teacher or adult who is supportive and will also HELP
  • if it’s just a couple of kids or a special group who is always giving you a hard time, avoid the places where they hang out – staying away from hurtful situations is a smart thing to do, not cowardly.