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11.04.2007 Social News

Teasing Isn’t Always Funny

Once in a while we tease a friend, a sibling or a classmate for one reason or another. It could be about a dress that person is wearing, a mistake he or she made in class or the person's physical appearance.

Some people are given nicknames such as 'Monkey', 'Too Short', 'Miss Skinny' and many others which, most of the time, irritate the victims.

Teasing, however, gets worse when those doing the teasing are asked to stop by the victims. They ignore the caution because they enjoy it when they realise that the victims are actually affected by their taunts. And since most of the time the names given to the victims are derogatory, they affect their self-esteem and self-worth.

While some people who are teased are able to stop those who do so from continuing with their taunts, others are unable to and sometimes end up with very low self-confidence.

There are others who turn the taunts into something positive — they accept the nicknames and use them throughout their lifetime. That is why you can find many adults today who still use the nicknames given to them many years ago.

Teasing can sometimes make teenagers feel tensed, anxious and isolated. That can affect their concentration in school and undermine their performance.

Some teens feel compelled to take drastic measures, such as fighting their bullies. Others, in desperation, even consider dropping out of school in extreme cases.

When you are teased because of your physical appearance — you're are short or tall, slim or fat, have big eyes or long ears — you should realise that we are all unique human beings.

Your friends may admire you secretly for those unique features. You may also have other qualities your friends or siblings do not have.

Never give up when your friends or siblings tease you. Prove to them your worth. Here are some tips to help you.

• Talk to your parents or a trusted adult, such as a teacher, school counsellor or headteacher, who can help you to deal with the problem.

•Try and stay calm. Sometimes it's good to say nothing and walk away. Other times you can make a joke, join in the laughter and use humour to defuse the tension they create.

• If a particular group of people usually tease you about something, try not to use the same route they use when going home, especially after school. If possible, try and leave for the house at a different time or avoid them during break.

• Consider participating in extra-curricular activities or joining a group outside of school, such as an after-school programme, church youth group, sports team or drama troupe.

• Do not resort to violence. If you try to defend yourself violently, you may, in the process, harm innocent ones which could land you in trouble with the law.

• Finally, if you are fond of teasing your friends, you have to put a stop to it. "Don't do unto others what you do not wish them to do unto you."

This is a true saying which must be adhered to. You obviously wouldn't like it if your mates tease you so don't do that to others.